Saturday, February 22, 2014

It Gets Better


When reading Safe Spaces this week the one thing that kept popping into my mind is the popular "It Gets Better Project".
You may have seen commercials or YouTube videos featuring the campain. 

Started in 2010 by Dan Savage, author, journalist and newspaper editor with the help of his husband Terry Miller, the project began with a video of Dan and Terry discussing their belief that life as a gay person does in fact get better. They begin the video discussing their upbringings and how difficult it was going through the catholic school system as a gay youth. Within the first two minutes of the video, Dan Savage says: "Your life can be amazing, but you have to tough this period of it out and you have to live your life so that you're around for it to get amazing"
Dan and Terry's bravery in sharing their story has led to thousands upon thousands of replies from people around the world sharing their own personal stories and passing along comforting thoughts to those struggling with being an LGBT youth. Even President Obama joined in on the growing campaign to share his thoughts: 

The It Gets Better Project now has over 580,000 members on its website: as well as 51,000 subscribers on YouTube, 99,000 Twitter followers and 333,290 likes on Facebook. And these numbers are constantly rising. 

To me, the It Gets Better Project and Safe Spaces are directly correlated. With the intent of preventing suicide of LGBT youth, the gay adults featured in the It Gets Better videos share their stories of life improving after completing the traditional K-12 schooling. At the same time, Safe Spaces aims to share ways in which the K-12 experience can be improved for LGBT youth. Safe Spaces suggests that the more students are introduced to LGBT topics, the less taboo and alienated it becomes. In fact if evey class was identical to some of those featured in Safe Spaces, perhaps there wouldn't even be a need for the It Gets Better Project.  But unfortunately that isn't the case and we don't live in a perfect world. So for now, there is a need for LGBT support groups such as It Gets Better. But who knows, maybe someday there won't be such a stigma associated with being LGBT. For now though, LGBT youths need to remeber...It Gets Better

Below I've included links to all of the It Gets Better Project's social media sites in case you're looking for more information on the campaign: 

YouTube Channel:
Facebook Page:

Or you can also visit to see more videos from White House officials.

Thanks for reading this week ! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

“Speak to us en inglés”


“Speak to us en inglés". This sentence sounds all too familiar to me but instead of inglés I hear “Speak to us en espanol” Every Monday and Wednesday night I know exactly how Richard Rodriguez feels. Like probably every other RIC student I’m required to take at least two semesters of a foreign language. This year I’ve been busy fulfilling this requirement with Spanish 101 and Spanish 102.

After having taken Spanish 101 last semester, I thought returning to Spanish again this semester would be a fairly easy transition. However I was entirely all wrong. “Speak up. Speak to the entire class, not just me!” All these phases that Rodriguez recalls the nuns saying to him in Catholic School seem identical to those of my Spanish professor. Walking into Spanish class is somewhat intimidating. I sit in the back of the class so as not to be detected when class participation begins. Hiding behind my laptop screen I silently pray that my name isn’t called. The thought of potentially not understanding her questions and looking like a fool in front of the class crosses my mind every time her eyes scan the room for her next participant.
               When reading Aria, by Richard or should I say “Ricardo” according to page 35, Rodriguez I couldn’t help but identify with the feelings that Rodriguez describes on the first page when he talks about speaking in class. When I’m in Spanish class I feel alienated, like I have no clue what’s going on. I can only assume that that’s what Rodriguez must have felt like during the beginning of his schooling before he was fully able to comprehend English. Because the reading was so short I found that it was easy to quickly read through the passage without fully taking into account just how much Rodriguez’s life changed that day the nuns came to visit his parents. To me that was like thinking if my Spanish professor came to my house and told my parents I wasn’t participating enough and that I need to start speaking Spanish at home too. I would be mortified. The two hours I spend in class is terrifying enough to try and speak a different language, let alone trying to do it all day, even at home where you’re supposed to feel relaxed and have time with your family. I guess the point I’m trying to get at is that even though English is my first language and I’ve never had a problem with speaking in my regular classes, my experiences in my Spanish classes have given me an insight as to some of the emotions that Rodriguez must have been experiencing throughout his early schooling. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been. 

While on Huffington Post I stumbled upon this article that discusses language in schools, I wonder would Richard Rodriguez would have to say about it: 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Thoughts on The Silenced Dialogue

Reading The Silenced Dialogue this week was somewhat difficult. I found myself re reading paragraphs and sentences over and over again trying to fully comprehend the points Delpit was discussing. I struggled at first to really find something that sparked an interest and that I could relate to personally until around page 8. Unfortunately it took me half the reading to finally connect to something but I’m glad I did because honestly I think it helped me to understand Delpit’s argument more. On page 8 Delpit begins to discuss differences in the way that middle-class white children and black children are spoken to at home. Delpit states that “middle-class parents are likely to give the directive to a child…as a question…By contrast, a black mother, in whose house I was recently a guest, would never pose the directive to her son in the form of a question.” I found this statement to be highly interesting. It was crazy to think that just the way you speak to your child and address them is something that varies based on race. And to think that that could set them ahead or behind in school is even more alarming just because it doesn’t seem like it would be that problematic. When I read Delpit’s paragraphs on page 8 about the variation on how white parents versus black parents interact with their children I couldn’t help but think of the numerous “Vines” and Instagram pictures that I had seen with titles like “Black Parents vs. White Parents”. If you’ve ever seen one of these Vines then you’ll know how stereotypical they are. Growing up as a middle class white girl, I have no clue how a black parent in real life actually speaks to his or her child. But it seems that these Vine videos and photos really seem to support Delpit’s argument. Like this one for example:  
See what I mean, totally stereotypical. Although these videos and photos are made with the intention of making people laugh, this speech difference is one of the contributing problems to Delpit's culture of power argument. Differences in speech between people in the culture of power and people outside of the culture of power is something that furthers the gap between the two groups. So even though these may give us a slight laugh from time to time, it's shocking how true they are, even if they are somewhat exaggerated. 
Another social media site where this topic of "Black Parents vs. White Parents" has been brought up is Twitter., a blog and magazine for parenting recently compiled a list of White Parent quotes and Black Parent quotes that were posted to twitter. I feel that this article too is another real world example of what Delpit is talking about on page 8: 
White Parent Quotes Vs. Black Parent Quotes: Stereotypes Battle It Out On Twitter

Hope you enjoyed my post! Thanks for reading !

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Disapproving of the system won't be enough to change them."

I have to say, between Writing 100 last year and FNED this semester, it's really beginning to come to my attention just how fortunate I am to have been born into a middle class, white family living in suburbia. I mean I've always known about racism, but of course I learned about it just like Peggy McIntosh described it in her and her colleague's experience: "whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow 'them' to be more like 'us'." Just so you guys have a better understanding of the neighborhood I'm from I figured this pie chart would be pretty helpful:
As you can see, if diversity is something you're looking for in your public school system, Smithfield is not the district for you ! 
But this helps to illustrate my point of why I was raised the same way Peggy McIntosh was. When a majority of your students are white, do you really think that the concept of "white privilege" is going to be taught? Of course not. Like McIntosh states on page two, we've "been conditioned into oblivion about its existence." This is a statement that I can whole heartily agree with. When reading McIntosh's list of ways she feels she is privileged I sat there and thought "oh yeah, I am able to do this or that because of my race" or "wow she's right, the faces of our nation typically are white just like me". These are experiences that I would have previously never thought about attributing race to. That's just the way things were.  So I guess the point I'm trying to make here, is that the more I continue on with my education at RIC, the more and more it's brought to my attention just how many problems there still are in the world pertaining to racism and inequality. 

But just like McIntosh says, "having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?" Honestly right now, I couldn't tell you what I would do. But I feel that as this semester goes on and we embark deeper and deeper into FNED, hopefully I'll find a way to become a part of the solution. 

For now though, while we're on the subject of racism and white privilege I wanted to point out one of the points Peggy McIntosh makes in her list of privileges. On page three, McIntosh's 20th privilege listed is "I can easily buy posters, postcards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children's magazines featuring people of my race" The second I read that statement I thought about a short video I had recently seen posted on Facebook. In the video there are black and white baby dolls being shown to younger children. The reactions that the children have is interesting because in this case, even though a black version of a toy was manufactured, it doesn't mean that the problem is solved. I figured this would be a perfect post to share this video in.


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Get to Know Me !

Hey everone ! So like my blog says, my name's Jen. I recently turned 20 in January. I'm a sophomore at RIC and my major is Art Education along with a minor in Art History. For as long as I can remember I have been in love with art and creating things. Which hopefully clarifies why my background is a photo of Jackson Pollock's studio (I'm a pretty big Pollock fan). In high school I took every single art class my school offered. I was also usually the only girl in the wood shop and furniture making classes too just because I loved creating things with my hands that much. I've known since kindergarten that I want to be a teacher, but I was always a little undecided as to what it was that I wanted to teach though. It wasn't until high school that I put two and two together and realized that being an art teacher was the only career path that I wanted to pursue. As an art teacher I could continue creating and making things throughout my whole career, as well as share my enthusiasm for art and hopefully inspire kids to pursue art as well. To me, no other job could ever top that.  I remember my English teacher during my Senior year of high school asked me what I wanted to go to college for and I told her art. She laughed in my face and said "I don't know how wise of a decision that is, no one is really hiring art teachers. You should go for something like business or nursing instead." Even though I understood where she was coming from I thought that was the rudest thing to tell me that. And unfortunately for her, telling me that just motivated me to be an art major even more. Nothing will ever stop me from pursing my dream job. But basically that's it about me. When I'm not in one of my five classes this semester I'm usually hanging out with my boyfriend and friends, or in the newly built art center across the street from HBS, working on a sculpture or painting. I'm taking this class because it's of course a requirement for the Art Ed program, but also because one of my roommates last year said she loved it when she took it. I'm really looking forward to what this semester will bring and hope we have a great time in FNED :) So I guess that's it. I decided to attach a few photos of some of my artwork, just to share for fun. Hope you enjoy !

3D Synthesis, Final Project (this thing was massiveeeee)
 Drawing 1, Figure Studies
 Drawing 2, Face Studies
 Design 2, Final Project
 Ceramics 1, Wheel Thrown Pots and Mugs
 Ceramics 1, Finished Glazed Mug
 Free Time, Spray Painting
Drawing 1, Observational Drawing

Thanks for visiting my blog !