Friday, September 25, 2015

Aria by Richard Rodriguez (Reflection)

My boyfriend Chanda is Cambodian. He was born in the Philippines when his mother and father were fleeing the war ridden Cambodia. When he was a year old and his brother was two, his parents finally came to the United States. They eventually made their way to the East Coast and settled in Massachusetts. After divorcing her husband, Chanda’s mother took him and his siblings to Rhode Island where she raised them on her own. Chanda’s mother speaks Khmer and Chanda and his siblings were raised on that in their home. As they went through school, they picked up English and now use that as their primary language. After Chanda and I started dating, I was introduced to his mom and there was a huge language gap between the two of us. She speaks very broken English and is often so bad I can hardly understand her while I do not speak Khmer at all. At family gatherings, everyone speaks Khmer because that is what their mother speaks and will speak English directly to me but I feel so left out because I do not understand anything they are saying to each other. Rodriguez’s reading reminds me of this. He mentions he was sitting in school and did not completely understand his teachers because his parents spoke Spanish at home. Only after his teachers visited his home did they practice English in the household which created a great disconnect between the children and their parents. I feel I can relate to this because I will never have a true connection with Chanda’s mom because of the language barrier whereas he is very close with my parents because he can speak English.

This reading also brings me back to Delpit when she talks about the different commands teachers use compared to parents. She mentions teachers often frame things into a questions such as: “Should we be playing with that right now?” when they really mean “Put it away, it is not time to play with that.” This can relate to the language that is spoken at home compared to what is spoken in schools. Both Rodriguez and Delpit show how differences in communication can cause a student to fall behind because they are not completely understanding what is going on or what their teacher is really asking of them.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol (Quotes)

I absolutely LOVED this reading. I feel a bit awful saying this because the piece is so heartbreaking to read, but the way it was written and the feelings and stories Kozol put into this made it so much easier to read and understand. I loved the story of Cliffe. At only seven years old, Cliffe had seen more than many see in an entire lifetime. He’s seen loss, tragedy and evil but is still an imaginative, interesting child at the end of the day. I can picture him as a beautiful little boy with a bright, wide smile all the time because he knows he is loved by his mother and God. There were definitely a few quotes that stuck out to me.

1)      “The pastor tells me that the place is known as the ‘Children’s Park’. Volunteers arrive here twice a week to give out condoms and clean needles to addicted mean and women, some of whom bring their children with them. The children play near the bears or on a jungle gym while their mothers wait for needles,” (Kozol 12).

a.      Every child has a teddy bear when they’re younger. It is your first best friend and your protector in the night. The fact that there is a tree with teddy bears tied to the limbs to distract the children from what is really going on surprised me. The things these children see on the streets is worse than seeing their parents receiving clean needles and condoms. It makes me wonder if that is one of the reasons these children become victim of their environment. They are distracted from the prevention aspects of their lives and exposed to the negative ones.

2)      “’Somebody has power. Pretending that they don’t so they don’t need to use it to help people—that is my idea of evil,’” (Kozol 23).

a.      This quote specifically stuck out to me because of Johnson’s idea that the privileged don’t see they are privileged but the underprivileged do. In this statement, Kozol was speaking with Ms. Washington’s son about Ms. Washington becoming sicker and sicker to the point her son believed she was purposely starving herself to become sick enough to receive SSI benefits. As he was speaking of this he mentioned an evil in the world. The evil is that the rich have the power to make a change but don’t. This reminded me of Johnson and maybe there are people that are willing to help and have the opportunity but don’t realize their options and do not know how to get involved while there are others who don’t realize their privilege and power and do not put it to use. However, the ones who need help the most do understand the difference in power and ask for help but don’t receive it.

3)      “’The point is that they put a lot of things into our neighborhood that no one wants,’ she says. ‘The waste incinerator is just one more lovely way of showing their affection,’” (Kozol 10).

a.      Kozol references the waste incinerator after Cliffe takes him by it on their walk. With high numbers of AIDS infected individuals, this waste incinerator can be used to burn bandages, linens and even amputated limbs from those infected. The fumes and odors from this building can cause health issues which may include cancer. This was brought up in the fact that the incinerator was originally planned to be built near Manhattan until parents shut it down because of the issues it could cause their children. The new plan was to put it in Mott Haven. It makes you realize that these people don’t have a voice. They can’t shut down the plans to build in their neighborhood because of the health issues it can cause their children. It all relates back to Johnson and how those who are privileged don’t see it and those who are not do.

After reading about the large numbers of HIV/AIDS infected individuals in this reading, I wanted to look up the numbers. I found an article the connected HIV/AIDS numbers with poverty in New York and what I found was astonishing. Mott Haven, mentioned in this reading, is one of the highest places in New York for HIV/AIDS.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

U.S.A., Land of Limitations? By Nicholas Kristof

After reading Kristof's article, I IMEDIATELY thought of Delpit and Johnson. Kristof talks about the vast difference in the income barrier of the U.S. “A child born in the bottom quintile of incomes in the United States has only a 4 percent chance of rising to the top quintile, according to a Pew study, (Kristof 1). This study shows that children born in poverty are less likely to move into the top economic status in adulthood because of their economic status at birth. The children suffer from lack of resources and opportunities which prevents them from being successful in school and advancing to college or even finishing high school.

            “’Rich kids make a lot of bad choices,’ Professor Reardon notes. “They just don’t come with the same sort of consequences,’” (Kristof 1). This statement reminded me of Johnson when he said that people of privilege don’t realize they have privilege. You often see in the tabloids and news stories the children of someone famous doing something wrong. They were born with all the opportunity in the world at their fingertips and instead of putting it to good use, they get into partying, drinking, etc. and when they get into trouble, their parents bail them out. However, there are children who do not have the opportunity to attend school because of monetary issues that would give almost anything to have a chance but their parents’ economic status prevents them from doing so. Sometimes they are forced to steal to survive and when they are caught, they suffer the severe consequences which only inhibits them further.

            “School might have been an escalator to a better life, for Rick had a terrific mind, but as a boy he had an undiagnosed attention deficit disorder and teachers wrote him off,” (Kristof 1). Delpit specifically referenced teachers writing off students in her reading. She discussed that children who ignore veiled commands in class can be classified as behavior disordered and will be looked at differently going through school. Those students that go undiagnosed such as Rick may struggle in class but become labeled as a behavior problem because their parents do not have the opportunity to have their children checked for learning disabilities or afford medications to assist them. I found a website that discusses ADD/ADHD and learning and ways to assist students but its main focus is the cooperation of parents and teachers. If the teachers have already written off the students, they may not be willing to work with the student and causes them to fall farther behind.

My parents are not rich. I was not born into money. My parents both work fulltime to provide for my brother and I and I realize that we are more privileged than some. I traveled to South Africa in 2010 to study abroad and I noticed the vast difference between their economic statuses. We stayed in a shanty town overnight and their homes were shacks made of different materials they could find. After reading this article, it made me think of South Africa and how the US could head in the same direction if something isn't done to decrease the gap.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Me, Myself and I

Hey everyone, I'm Erica Frazier!

Me at a wedding last December

I'm from Coventry, RI and I am currently attending RIC for my second degree in Physical Education/Health Education. I will be 25 at the end of this month and I have a boyfriend, Chanda, that I've been with for over 3 years.
Chanda and I at my cousin's wedding this summer.
Over the summer, my brother, Chanda and I took a trip to Texas to visit some family. My uncle lives on a lake in Montgomery, TX just outside of Houston so we spent the week tubing, swimming and catching up. We don't often get together so my grandparents requested a picture of all the grandkids while we were there:
When I'm not in class, I am usually working at Applebee's. Besides that I'm a HUGE sports fan. Especially when it comes to the Bruins and Patriots:
My Saint Patrick's Day Bruins Jersey
Other than watching sports, I play softball. I've been playing since I was 5 and look forward to it every spring.

I'm a pretty simple person looking forward to this semester and learning to blog :)