Monday, April 21, 2008

Last Blog

Privilege, Power, and Difference: What Can We Do?By Allan Johnson


· Power
· Privilege
· Race
· Acceptance
· Change
· Discrimination
· Differences
· Solutions
· Problems

Johnson argues that change in our society can only be possible if we become more aware of the problem and issues concerning privilege and power in today’s world and the best way to make change is to change your own ways first.


1. “Rather than trying to change people, the most important thing we can do is contribute to shifting entire cultures so that forms and values that support privilege begin to lose their “obvious” legitimacy and normalcy, and new forms emerge to challenge their privileged place in social life.”
2. “In many ways, the biggest challenge for members of privileged groups is to work with one another on issues of privilege rather than trying to help members of subordinate groups.”
3. "Once we can see and talk about what's going on, we can analyze how it works as a system. We can identify point of leverage where change can begin" (126).

Points to share:

I think this last piece that we have read was a perfect and extremely powerful wrap up to a great semester. This piece wrapped up everything we have learned. We have the power and now it is time for us all to enforce change in the world by teaching our students about privilege and power. I think this piece was a great choice for our last blog.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


we worked on our main arguments and are finishing up our slides

should be done soon


Monday, April 14, 2008

Bernard Lefkowitz's Our Guys


· Cruelty
· Mistreatment
· Rape
· Disability
· Privilege
· Lack of respect
· Anger
· Friendship
· Advantages
· Friendship
· Laws
· Defend
· Jocks
· Rules
· Status


Lefkowitz argues that affluence and privilege can inflate the self-importance of otherwise unremarkable young men, not always with good results.


1. 1. "I began to frame Glen Ridge as a story of power and powerlessness: the power of young males and the community that venerated them, and the powerlessness of one marginalized young woman-" (2)

2. “But I also recognized that even with all these advantages, kids don’t always fulfill their parents’ expectations. Some people have the benefit of wealth and nurturing parents and a good education, and still wind up morally and financially bankrupt. There are no fool proof master plans for success. I knew that because of what had happened three months before in this town”( 4)

3. “But these glen ridge kids they were pure gold every mother’s dream, every father’s pride. They were not only glen ridges finest but in their perfection they belonged to all of us. They were Our Guys”(5)

4. “Millions of Americans discovered that Glen Ridge was not a foreign and alien culture, but all too closely resembled their own communities. Glen Ridge’s test of character became America’s test of character… Like Glen Ridge, America has been forced in recent years to define what are fair, just and principled relations, between men and women. That has not been easy for Glen Ridge to do. And it hasn’t been easy for America either.”

Thoughts to share:
This story truly shows the privilege of white wealthy males in our American society. Reading this made me cringe. What those boys did to Leslie was awful and what made it worse was that people in the town were blaming her for it. The boys knew better without a doubt in my mind. This type of incident I am sure happens throughout America. And I think that it’s sickening that people who have power and privilege just dismiss it and think it’s ok and that it’s a tragedy to the perpetrators and the victim was asking for it. this is a prime example of what we have been talking about all semester

Monday, April 7, 2008

Whites Swim in Racial Preference
By Tim Wise


§ Race
§ Whiteness
§ People of color
§ Power
§ Inequalities
§ Racial preference
§ Rights
§ Privileges
§ Lack of privileges
§ Laws
§ Families
§ Fair vs. unfair
§ Opportunities
§ Change


Wise argues that “it is hardly an exaggeration to say that white America is the biggest collective recipient of racial preference in the history of the cosmos. It has skewed our laws, shaped our public policy and helped create the glaring inequalities with which we still live.” and we don’t even realize it.


1.“White families, on average, have a net worth that is 11 times the net worth of black families, according to a recent study; and this gap remains substantial even when only comparing families of like size, composition, education and income status.”

2. “Yet few whites have ever thought of our position as resulting from racial preferences. Indeed, we pride ourselves on our hard work and ambition, as if somehow we invented the concepts. As if we have worked harder than the folks who were forced to pick cotton and build levies for free; harder than the Latino immigrants who spend 10 hours a day in fields picking strawberries or tomatoes; harder than the (mostly) women of color who clean hotel rooms or change bedpans in hospitals, or the (mostly) men of color who collect our garbage.” I think this quote is really powerful I never think of these jobs as racial but when you really think about it you never see a white individual doing the “dirty jobs” unless they are truly forced too. And the sad part is that many of these indivuals aren’t even getting the pay rate that they deserve.

3.” We strike the pose of self-sufficiency while ignoring the advantages we have been afforded in every realm of activity: housing, education, employment, criminal justice, politics, banking and business. We ignore the fact that at most every turn, our hard work has been met with access to an opportunity structure to which millions of others have been denied similar access. Privilege, to us, is like water to the fish: invisible precisely because we cannot imagine life without it.”

Points to share:

I think this peace is an incredibly eye opening read, it was very straight forward and presented many facts very frankly think as a white individual I do take many of these things for granted and personally I really have never thought about them. This class has opened up my eyes to the struggles that all races have to deal with on a daily bases. And I am really glad that I am not so oblivious to them anymore.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Charles Lawrence “One More River to Cross"


o Race
o Rules
o Inequalities
o Misunderstanding
o Hope
o Differences
o Power
o Privileges
o School
o Laws
o Whiteness
o Color
o Students
o Separation
o Fairness


Lawrence argues that the Supreme Court’s reasoning in striking down an interdistrict desegregation order in Detroit was flawed in that it misunderstood the true nature of the institution of segregation. The Court’s failure to recognize and articulate the true nature of racial segregation was more the product of an intentional, knowledge decision than the result of any inability to comprehend.


1. “segregation’s only purpose is to stigmatize and subordinate rather than to simply separate is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that the whites in the antebellum south had no aversion in commingling with blacks as long as the institution of slavery made their superior status clear.”(pg 282)
2. “ black children are injured by the existence of a system of segregation, not merely by particular acts that result in the segregation of schools”(283)
3. “ segregation is self-perpetuating: once established, it will not disappear of its own accord, and its elimination requires affirmative action by the state”(284)

Thoughts to share:

This reading was one of the toughest readings we have worked on so far. I found myself continuously rereading and feeling still confused. I looked up many words. And even now I still am confused. I looked at the brown vs. board before but they way this was presented just didn’t interest me very much. However I believe it is an important topic that we need to look at.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tracking: why schools need to take another route
By: Jeannie Oakes


o Needs
o Schools
o Grouping
o Individuals
o Controversy
o Success
o Weakness
o Ability
o Tracking
o Differences
o High
o Low
o Performance
o Uneven opportunities


Oakes argues that schools need to find another route other then ability grouping because students in the lower ability classes are not receiving the same education or the same opportunities as those in the higher ability classes.


1. These differences in learning opportunities point to fundamental and ironic school inequities. Students who need more time to learn appear to get less; those who have the most difficulty learning seem to have fewer of the best teachers"
2. "In low-ability classes, for example, teachers seem to be less encouraging and more punitive, placing more emphasis on discipline and behavior and less on academic learning"
3. “Students in the low ability classes were likely to have little contact with the knowledge or skills that would allow them to move into higher classes or to be successful if they got there.”

Thoughts to share

At first I found this reading to be a little hard and confusing but I think by the end I got the main point of it. I can relate this too my middle school in 6th grade it was mandatory for the highest level of students to do a science fair project where the other levels were not required or even offered to do the science fair. I’m sure many of the students would have loved to do a science fair project and probably would have done a better job than I did. I think all students should be given the same opportunities to succeed in the classroom no matter what their abilities might be.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Talking points #5

In the Service of What? The Politics of Service Learning by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer

Service learning
Community service


Kahne and Westheimer both argue that service learning is a great aspect to a classroom curriculum but that should not be the only requirement. They feel if you require them to work with the homeless they should also learn more about agencies that help and read about homelessness and also help in their community.


1. "Efforts to integrate service learning activities into the curriculum have great potential and deserve the support they are now receiving." Incorporating service learning into the curriculum not only gives the students the lesson it gives them the hands on experience that they can learn from and better their community with.

2. “These two service learning projects have much in common. Both provide authentic learning experiences, reflection on matters of social concern, and opportunities for interdisciplinary study linked to curricular goals.”

3. “They stress the importance of compassion for those in need, and they encourage children and young adults to find ways to help.”

Points to share:

I thought this article at times was a bit challenging and drawn out however it did have a good point to it. Community service is a great aspect to a classroom and it has been in the classroom for many years. I can remember since kindergarten doing some type of service whether it is collecting cans, charitable shows or just volunteering. The service learning here at RIC is also a great experience. However I think what helps it work is that we talk about it and learn from the experiences of what and what not to do in our FNED class maybe not directly but the things we talk about will be in the back of our minds when we have our own classroom someday. I think service learning is a great part to any classroom.J