Saturday, March 26, 2011


Brown v. Board of Education was the catalyst that changed everything. Segregation is illegal, schools cannot be run separately based on race.

I'm in an interesting mood right now, so what you're about to read is going to be different from my usual.  Like puppets on a string, I'm going to play around with this. ** indicate actions.  And the initial descriptions are in there as well.  Direct quotes from anyone look like this.
I apologize if this seems long. It likely will be.

Wise and Herbert v. Society
*Tim Wise and Bob Herbert enter the crowded courtroom and take their place at the prosecutor's bench.  Wise is  a 42 year old white male and prominent anti-racist essayist.  Herbert is a 66 year old African American male, formerly an op-ed writer for the New York Times on poverty, racism, and politics.*

*An older white gentleman enters the courtroom next, walking to the defendant's place.  He has grey hair, slightly balding, and is wearing a formal pin-striped suit.  Wrinkles cover his face sparingly, making him appear younger than his 77 years.  He is the former CEO of a Fortune 500 company.*

Bailiff: All rise!  The honorable Judge Bogad presiding.

*Judge Bogad enters and sits.  She is a 39 year old white women and is a professor at Rhode Island College, teaching education and social justice classes.*

Judge Bogad: *bangs her gavel* Court is now in session. You may all be seated. In the matter of Wise and Herbert versus Society, are all parties prepared?

Wise/Herbert/Society (in unison): Yes, your honor.

Judge Bogad: Very well. If the prosecution would start?

Wise: Thank you, your honor. The prosecution alleges that the defendant knowingly discriminated against millions of American citizens on the basis of their race and social class, especially in education.

Herbert: Society was told years ago in 1954 that it could not have segregated schools, but this continues to be the case today.  Segregation in schools is still an issue.  Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality.

Wise: It has taken many years to get as far as ruling segregation to be illegal. Now, we need to charge society with changing, by making this an event big enough to inspire other events. The election of Barack Obama as President is one of those changes, but it only proves Racism 2.0 is alive and well--*Judge Bogad interrupts*

Judge Bogad: Forgive me, but I don't know what Racism 2.0 is and the jury probably doesn't either.

Wise: *nodding* Of course, your honor. Racism 2.0 is the second stage. There has been a decrease in what I call Racism 1.0, the old school overt bias.  2.0 deals with enlightened exceptionalism. In this instance, President Obama was elected because he is above the rest; he is essentially transcending race because of his rare credentials for a man of his race.  However, the norm for blacks and browns are still considered sub-par.  We live in a society of double standards, where a man can be an idiot and elected to office but it takes an exceptional black man to be elected.  And denial is everywhere. People are denying the problem and have been for many years. You can be a good person, a decent person, and remain oblivious to everything. We'll let Society give his opening.

Society:*Gives a curt nod to Wise before clearing his throat* Thank you. The American people respectfully deny your misinformed claim. We admit that there are some instances that might appear to be segregation, but we assure the court that it is not. Where parents choose to reside is their decision, and consequently, that is where their children enroll in school.  People are habitual, they return to their roots, make friends with people of the same social status and race as them, and then live near one another.  It is not due to any actions on the part of anyone else. It is their decision. There are no excuses. And blaming the white population at large of 'segregation' is an excuse.
(Above quote is by Wise)
----The End

Wise and Herbert would get along well with one another. Their viewpoints are similar in how segregation and racism still exist today.  To them, Brown v. Board of Education was a step in the right direction, but it needs to be followed up more other significant events as well.  Yes, it ended the overt racism (1.0), but 2.0 is still prevalent.  Until the day schools, communities, and the country are integrated and mixed, neither Wise nor Herbert will agree that racism and segregation have ceased to exist.  The point Wise makes about needing many large events over time to occur before change can happen is a good one and something that Herbert would prefer differed. Herbert wants change to happen now, widely, and without political sidesteps to achieve.

Why did I pick such a description for the representative of society?  Because he is a rich, white male who was 20 years old when Brown v. Education took place, and the fictional ex-CEO of Wal-Mart, which is currently fighting a lawsuit that it is discriminating on the basis of gender.
Also, I've tried to capture the style of everyone's speech. How well did I do?
I realize that this is a bit of a recap of everything we heard and read, but I wanted to let society 'defend' itself as well.  In your mind, are schools just as segregated as they were before? Or perhaps not to such a degree, but given that my school only has a 9% white population, it would appear that the neighborhood has a higher population of Hispanics and African Americans. Why not a more equalized population? What makes that area have such a lower percentage of white students?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Higher the Discourse, the More Rallied the People

This song is often called the Higher 9/11 Remix or World Trade Center Remix.
I'm comfortable enough with myself to admit that I'm not 'manly' and this song makes me cry. I don't know why, it just does. This, and I'm Already There by Lonestar.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What are we doing this for?

In The Service Of What? The Politics of Service Learning -- Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

This article was quite interesting. I don't know if many of us realized the two types of service learning. It raises several good questions. Is it enough to just 'help' and be charitable with your time or does it take some thought before and after to help and make a change? What we do in this class? I think it all depends on who you are. Yes, we have our discussions and the entire semester is spent learning about the differences and hardship some of the students may be facing. But really, it all comes down to what you make of it. Yes, we are giving our time. Yes, we don't have a choice in the matter. But aren't we working to help change lives? Isn't that why we want to become teachers? [It's not for the pay, certainly :) ] In trying to help the students, we should be trying to create that little spark within them to motivate them, to make them think that they can succeed, that they DESERVE to succeed and that they can go on to college, graduate, and live their lives the way they want to. That is the ideal. Without the discussion, the collaboration, the research that goes on in our classroom, that ideal would be further away than the sun. Without the classroom content we learn, we'd only be helping the students to pass their next test. There would be no lasting effect; once we left, they would be on their own again, perhaps only slightly better off than they were before. One person can change the world, yes, but only through effort and understanding.

What do you think? Are we making a difference and contributing 'change' rather than 'charity'? If we didn't discuss things so heavily in class, do you think it would be the same experience for you? Is there something I say that you disagree with?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dissident of Dreams

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us by Linda Christensen


Linda Christensen argues that children unconsciously have their ideals shaped through cartoons and other media.
We are all products of our environment.  Everything we see leaves an imprint on us, especially when younger.  Many cartoons and other media leave us with a small imprint, an expectation of values, that is distorted in some way, whether it be racially, socioeconomically, or sexist.  The "secret education" given to our children is one that must be questioned.  Only after it is questioned, can it be understood and applied to the world in a broader sense.  Christensen's other message is that an outlet needs to be formed.  It is not good to hold in all the thoughts and disgust these stereotypical media create.  Writing about it, to provoke others to search their own thoughts and those hidden in media, or creating projects that can be presented to family, church groups, members of the community, or beyond, is how she had her students cope.  Being frustrated with the tactics used in media and knowing that many of their dreams were by-products of ill-meaning childhood was crushing for many of her students.  After coming to terms with that, they were tasked with spreading the word to others, to help create a network of more informed people, distancing themselves from such media.
The most important aspect of her argument?  Don't keep it inside - unleash it on the world in a way that can help others see.

Reading this article, I thought back to many of the cartoons I watched as a child.  Most were dominated by white males.  Females were either no present or helpless.  And trying to think if there were different races, I can't remember any off the top of my head.  Did you watch any cartoons (or something else) that breaks this pattern and might make Christensen happy?

Just like Racism, it's not always easy to spot things in cartoons and other media.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I'm hoping everyone has a chance to see this tonight and tomorrow.  If anyone would like to include the information from Infoworks but are unable to do so, try this link instead.  If you still have trouble, let me know :)