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Voice Paper #2

What continually catches my eye is the picture that Jo posted of meals provided by schools and jails. We briefly talked about it in class but I thought we could have discussed it some more. I think I have always had this defeatist attitude towards public school lunches. I was on free/reduced lunch so I didn’t think I had any right to complain – at least I was being fed. I remember being so hungry after three or four hours of class and rushing down to the cafeteria. But what was I rushing for? The only food items sitting on my tray were poor excuses for school lunch. Because of these unsavory experiences I had in school, I’d like to further explore how tightly scheduled activities that are more commonly overlooked, such as mealtimes, serves as a way to oppress people both in schools and jails.

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Institutional Racism

Slavery dies, but race lives on.

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Voice Paper #1

Voice and Identity

After leaving our class lunch in the Haffner courtyard on Friday, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I have been thinking a lot lately about my choice to take a risk that day and say what I needed to say. I thought about that small window of time offered to “those who haven’t had a chance to say anything.” This sentence has been repeated every class and I found it puzzling each and every time. Whenever I heard my professor say this, I would stiffen up, look around the room, and silently do a roll call and mark off all my classmates who contributed at least once to the discussion. You spoke, you spoke, you spoke. I would come to same realization even though deep down, I already knew what was wrong. I hadn’t spoken.

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Which is Worse?

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Resisting the Urge to Empathize

After today's carousel activity, I'm finding myself resisting the urge to relate to the texts we're reading. This whole conversation about empathy shook me up a little because I feel like the best way I learn is by trying to relate the texts to my own life. I try to find connections that I can make to others because too much theory can overwhelm me.

I still don't really know if I agree with Sommer's idea that we shouldn't try to look at things in a more universalist lense. I understand what she's saying and agree with her to some extent, but I don't know if I'm willing to change the way I learn and think about things because it's problematic (in her eyes). I feel like in my last post for this class where I was making a connection (or empathizing as Sommer would probably say), I wasn't necessarily trying to relate to my experiences of hardship to Rigoberta or the Quiché. Or maybe I was. I don't know. I was trying to connect my experiences to my mom, who could probably relate more to Rigoberta's stories or horror and hardship than I ever could. I suppose my mom's life story (or any story told by a refugee escaping genocide) would be more worthy of relating to Rigoberta's. I think when I posted that I was just too homesick and missed my mom... I'm so ready for Fall Break.

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Food for Thought

I couldn't remember if we were supposed to post about "I, Rigoberta Menchu" or this Tuesday's readings so I'll just stick with posting about Rigoberta because we haven't had a full discussion about her story yet. As I looked through my notes, I came across a quote that I guess I thought was significant enough to write down. In Chapter 4, Rigoberta describes the horrid conditions of the lorry and how terribly the Quiché were treated. While my experiences will never ever compare to hers, I felt like I could relate to her when she said, "The children, who are hot and hungry, are always asking their parents for treats and it makes parents sad to see their children asking for things they can't give" (26).

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Love Letters and Prisons

I thought yesterday's field trip was a lot of fun. I was reluctant at first to go because we had to leave so early in the morning on a Saturday, but it was beautiful out! I think my favorite part of the trip was the Mural Arts Tour. When I visited Bryn Mawr for the first time, we took a walking tour and I learned about Philly and how big it was on murals. I've been taking the Market-Frankford Line into West Philly for work for the past year and I always noticed these funny, lovey-dovey messages in mural form on the top of the buildings we pass. My friend told me that they were love letters but I didn't believe her. But in the Mural Arts bookstore, as I flipped though a little booklet detailing how these love letters came about, I couldn't stop smiling. I'd totally take a mural over flowers any day!

I think this idea of creating murals to prevent tagging and beautifying the city is a brilliant idea. It's so cool to hear about how people in the city take pride in the murals and how the people respect the artwork and take ownership of it.

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One Way Conversation or No Conversation At All

For most of my life I was brought up in a household where my father thought he could control us. I stayed pretty quiet when I was younger and followed my mother’s lead. My mom had plenty of opportunities to speak up and say something to him but I believe she stayed silent because she didn’t want to cause any problems. After a long day of work, the last thing she needed was an argument with my father. But as my siblings and I grew older, we also grew tired and angry of having to keep our mouths shut just to make him happy. I don’t even think that I kept my mouth shut because of my dad. I think I did it to make my mom happy.

Looking back at this experience, I see silence as being equal to obedience or even fear. Even if I were walking down the stairs to get out the door to run to the bus stop, my dad would yell at me in Khmer to “keep it down” and point his finger accusingly at me. His booming voice and index finger made me feel so small and helpless. It made me feel like I couldn’t ever do anything right, like I was a disappointment. He wanted me to walk around quietly and conduct myself in an unobtrusive manner, like all the other Asian women he had come across. Even if I were quieter walking down the steps, I knew that if I did what he said then I would be reinforcing his control on the rest of the family. His controlling ways were unbearable and unhealthy for my family and I had to find a way to stop him.

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Education: Who Deserves It?

After reading the Jones & d'Errico and Silva articles, I've been feeling really conflicted lately about the question of who deserves to be educated. My initial response before reading any of these articles would've been an enthusiastic "EVERYBODY" but I thought Silva's mentioning of William Weld's suggestion of Boston University offering the free education program to the poor, law-abiding citizens rather than the inmates was mind-boggling, and yet kind of a good one. I can't seem to make up my mind! Do we have to pit the two groups up against each other? Are the two groups at the same level on the playing field? If I had to pick which group could receive the education, I don't think I'd have to think twice about giving it to the poor, law-abiding citizens. But that doesn't mean I agree with Weld's "lock them up and throw away the key" attitude. The fact that these two groups had something in common to struggle for was surprising, but I don't think it should have been.

I always knew there was some sort of educational access hierarchy that existed, but I could only think of that situation using groups of people categorized by socioeconomic status - I never once considered inmates as a group that needed to be considered in this discussion about rights to an education until now.

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Talking in (a HIgh School/College) Class

As I go through my sophomore year here at Bryn Mawr, I've been finding myself constantly making comparisons about my experiences in high school and Bryn Mawr. My high school was a great place and I know I recieved an exceptional education there, but right now I can't help but feel like I've been wronged in terms of how I had to learn things, as if I didn't have any other options to choose from. I've been slowly coming to the realization about why I began to lose interest in classes where the subject I once used to love seemed to be working against me. English used to be my favorite and best subject (perhaps it was my favorite because I was good at it) in elementary and middle school. I loved reading and writing because I was able to use my imagination and I could be creative. But when I took AP Lang and AP Lit in high school, I was miserable. Both of my teachers were wonderful people but I would always get this sinking feeling in my stomach when I stepped into their classrooms because of how difficult of a subject English was becoming to me. I felt rejected, rejected because the subject that I had enjoyed the most was now helping me realize how weak of a student I actually was. A particular activity that helped me feel this way was the Socratic Seminar. Half of the students would sit in a circle and have a discussion about the text and ask each other open-ended questions while their partners (who were sitting outside of the circle) tallied the number of the times their partners were speaking. It was my worst nightmare.

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