This second week of class, January 16th and 18th, we covered John Hope Franklin in class. We read an article by John Hope Franklin entitled “Ethnicity in American Life: The Historical Perspective”. We were supposed to watch a film, but Dr. Soady couldn’t locate it.
John Hope Franklin was a black male who believed that Europeans or descendents of Europeans were the true Americans. He believed that they set the norms for the American culture. Franklin believed that in America there was ethnic exclusiveness. White was the race to be and if one wasn’t white one was an immigrant or an outsider. The Anglo-Saxons of America felt that immigration was a threat to Puritan America. Slowly America began to define ethnicity, but only to mean “non-white”. Although now ethnicity is known for meaning other things such as: custom, language, and religion. Franklin’s hope was that ethnicity would someday be seen in terms of the integrity of the man instead of the color of the man.
I truly didn’t learn anything new. Franklin offered many of his opinions, opinions that have been heard by many. My opinion is that in today’s society the European race may be the norm, but America is becoming more diverse. Things that weren’t accepted in past times are now slowly being accepted, such things as: interracial relationships, homosexual relationships, and integrated schooling. Maybe America hasn’t become the “melting pot”, but many more things are now being accepted than in the past. Maybe it isn’t meant for Americans to become the melting pot. The melting pot is merely a formulated theory; it isn’t something that must come to pass. America does have a long way to go before it becomes perfect, but I truly do not believe that the presence of the melting pot will make it perfect.
This week’s work related greatly to the issue of the Confederate flag. This has been a very burning issue within the media. Surprisingly enough, the layout of the Confederate flag has been changed. It still has a smaller version of the recently debated flag, but it still show to me that the European race is not as powerful as they have been in past times.
Week 3- Journal Entry 2
This third week of class, January 23rd and 25th, we discussed in class the writings of Grace Paley, Michael Novak, Bharati Mukherjee, and Judith Levine. We discussed in the greatest detail “The Loudest Voice” by Paley. The other articles were: “Neither WASP nor Jew nor Black” by Novak, “American Dreamer” by Mukherjee, and “White Like Me” by Levine.
In Paley’s article assimilation was discussed. It was discussed very clearly how people of other nationalities come to America and are expected to act as Americans. Paley paints a picture by telling a story of a young immigrant girl, Shirley, who was given a part in her school Christmas play. Her parents were thrilled that Shirley had a part in the play, but the dilemma is that her family didn’t celebrate Christmas. So the question was, should American customs and religions be forced on American immigrants?
The other three articles by Novak, Mukherjee, and Levine bring the WASP (White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant) to the audience’s attention. In all three articles it is shown how the WASP are the standard Americans. It was clearly described in all three articles that in America if one isn’t a WASP, one is seen primarily as a second-class citizen. Second-class citizens not only include races other that white, but this also includes women. No matter how hard a non-white or a female works he/she will never meet the WASP standards.
On the issue of people of other nationalities coming to America, I believe they should act as Americans. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t practice in their own cultural activities, because they should. All I’m saying is that it shouldn’t be expected of America to cater to or even observe the beliefs of other nationalities. If this were done what type of culture would America have that others don’t have anything to do with. Addressing the WASP as the standard American, this is for the most part true. An example of this is the American government. We have always had a white president. Females and African-Americans have recently been able to assume governmental positions, but the numbers are scarce.
In the case of Elian Gonzallez, it was expected for America to make an exception by allowing little Elian to remain in America. America is the land of the free, but certain rules must be imposed in this country. America can’t be expected to bend the rules to satisfy other countries.
Journal Entry 3
This week in class we didn’t get a chance to discuss any authors in class. We were told to read “In the beginning There Are Babies” by Angela Phillips, “Time Warp in the Toy Store” by Ellen J. Reifler, “How Women Are Treated in Language” by Janet Shirley Hyde, and “Some Individual Costs of Gender Role Conformity” by Janet Saltzman Chafetz. Our major focus was to be on Chafetz’s article. Phillips, Reifler, and Hyde’s articles told about the differences between males and females, social differences. It was shown how people in society treat males and females differently due to social expectations. Chafetz’s article also talked about gender roles, but in grander detail. Chafetz actually talked about how people actually conform due to social expectations. Chafetz believes that people have the choice to conform on not to conform, but if a person does not choose to conform he or she could be treated as an outcast. For females, in order to become a success she must become a non-conformist to the views of society. According to Chafetz, if she does there will be some cost and benefits. The same is true of males, but females seem to have more disadvantages than the male. Females also statistically have more harmful traits than males, which is why females are “supposedly” not as successful as males.
I feel that people do focus too much on males and females doing the “Right” thing for their gender. I think people are afraid, like discussed by Reifler, that their children will grow-up to become homosexuals. Children don’t know anything about being homosexuals. A child should be allowed to express him/herself freely by playing with either gender or playing with any type of toys.
The current event that relates mostly to this weeks work is the argument of people being born homosexual vs. people being raised to become homosexuals. Some people believe that people are born homosexual, because they don’t think homosexuals would make a personal choice that would cause them to be ridiculed by others. Others argue that people choose or are brought-up in an environment that causes them to become homosexuals. They believe that homosexuality is a personal choice.
Journal Entry 4
In class this week we watched a film entitled “Women of the World”. We also read “Don’t Ask” by Deborah Tannen and “The Automatic Nature of Stereotyping” by Diane Kobrynowicz.
The film “Women of the World” filmed males and females in different countries to gather their views on gender roles in a variety of ways. In every country it seemed to be agreed upon that males and females are quite different beings. Women and men of different social classes all seemed to encounter the same problems with the opposite gender. The video made it seem as if women are all essentially the same and men are all essentially the same.
In the article “Don’t Ask”, Tannen captured the behaviors of males in contrast to females to see the difference between the genders. Tanner made it apparent that everyone wants to be “on the top of things” in any situation, but while males take a macho, aggressive approach, females take a helpful, caring approach.
In the article “ The Automatic Nature of Stereotyping”, Kobrynowicz believes that the difference between males and females isn’t really as huge as it seems. She believes that due to stereotypes it only appears that males and females are so drastically different. Korbrynowicz also believes that stereotyping is the cause of prejudice and discrimination still being alive. She believes that the answer is to become more aware of being stereotypical so that one can control one self from prejudice and discrimination.
I feel that males and females are different, but I don’t understand why differences should be looked upon by gender. In general, people are different. As discussed in Kobrynowicz’s article, the differences between males and females are basically huge stereotypes. No male is the same and no female is the same. The only similarity is that they are called male and female and the genitals that they have.
One ongoing issue within the media that relates to this topic is the issue of gender pay scales. Males get paid more than females, even when performing the same task. This is discrimination in the highest form, but some how employers get away with it.
Journal Entry 5
This week in class we were to get our assignments from Galileo. We had eight articles to read and reflect on. The articles were “Rewiring the World” by Meg Murphy, “Claiming the Digital World” by William E. Kennard, “It’s a Man’s World” by Becky Ebencamp, “Minority gains Essential to U.S. Technology Future” by Richard Bruner, “Women out of Technology” by Eva Pascoe, “Globalization: The Product of a Knowledge-based Economy” by Lester C. Thurow, “Are Americans Becoming Internet Slaves?” by an anonymous author, and “Sex in the Digital City” by Nicholas Thompson.
In Murphy’s article she discussed involving women of the third world counties in the Internet revolution. A conference was held in Beijing to help women to feel more comfortable with the new technologies. The women were also made aware of technological opportunities that could also be a threat to them if they didn’t try to gain the technological knowledge that was being offered to them.
In Kennard’s article he discussed the digital divide. He was saying that people without access to the Internet are falling behind. It was noted that African-Americans and Hispanics were 40% less likely to have a computer at home and Internet access. Kennard believes that the people falling behind should seize more opportunities in order to close the gap of the digital divide.
In Ebenkamp’s article she discussed the difference between women in America versus women in other countries usage of the Internet. The number of women in America who use the Internet out way the number of men in America who use the Internet. While in other countries men using the Internet out way the women. Furthermore, the people who do use the Internet in other countries go to an average of 17 sites per month versus 10 sites per month gone to in America.
In Bruner’s article he discussed mainly how women and minorities are becoming larger competitors within the workforce. He feels that women and minorities should be better prepared for the future positions that they will hold. He believes that preparation can be obtained by having computers within the home and/or by having access to the Internet.
In Pascoe’s article she discussed how even after women become a success in the business world, the stereotypes are still present to keep them down. Lots of women largely do well in the business world, but the women that do not do so well are the ones that the attention gets focused on. In reality, the downturns that the women are experiencing in the business world, men experience them just as greatly.
In Thurow’s article he discussed globalization. He discussed the positive and the negative aspects of globalization. The main thing that tied this article to the others was the mentioning of other countries trying to keep up with American practices to better their own countries. Thurow feels that the problem with this concept is that other countries may not stand equally with America economically; therefore they are causing themselves trouble while trying to better their countries.
In the article “Are American’s becoming Internet slaves” the author discusses the growing use of the Internet. The time that used to be devoted to watching television and spending time with friends is now being devoted to Internet usage. The author feels that once one becomes a frequent user one’s identity is very similar to other Internet users. Usage of the Internet can save one time or take all of one’s time, depending on what one is using the Internet for.
In Thompson’s article he discussed sex on the Internet. While sex on the Internet is not physical sex and it won’t cause STD’s, it can still cause problems. People have become addicted to the Internet because of the very sexual nature of some of the online sites. People also risk divorces because they neglect responsibilities to their spouses by spending time finding other fantasy mates online. Sex on the Internet may not be real sex (physical sex), but it is real risky business.
After reading all of these articles my view of the Internet has been broadened. Internet usage has become very widely encouraged, but Internet usage is not always a good thing. The Internet is good for looking up information quickly, finding cheaper prices on practically anything, and for making many types of business deals. On the downside, one lacks personal contact with individuals, less time is being spent with loved ones, and people do not have to have completely honest relationships online. While I’m definitely not completely against the usage of the Internet, I’m not completely for it either.
There was no particular case in the media that grasped my attention for these articles. The last article by Thompson did make me think of an ongoing thing in the media. I thought about people meeting one another in chat rooms and then planning to meet the person in-person. Many of these stories have turned out well, but others have been tragedies. Some people do not live to tell the story of there Internet experiences.
Journal Entry 6
This week our class attended the VSU’s Women’s Studies Conference. This particular journal entry is in response to a session that I attended on Thursday entitled “Fairytales I: Hidden Oppressions, Risky Spaces”. In this session three different fairytales were analyzed.
First, Heather Holloway analyzed the story “Rumpelstiltskin”. She entitled her paper “The Monarchy, the Patriarchy, and the Idea of the Normal: Oppressions as the Basis of ‘Rumpelstiltskin’.” Holloway pointed out that the Miller’s daughter was never given a name throughout the story. She was constantly looked upon as the property of her father, who could someday give her away to a man. Holloway also felt that throughout the story, although the daughter of the Miller receives no real recognition, the Miller’s daughter was constantly used. The king used her for gold, her father used her for social status, and Rumpelstiltskin used her for whatever he could get.
Second, Jami R. Brantley analyzed the story of “Little Red Riding Hood”. She entitled her paper “Little Red Riding Hood and the Path of Oppression”. Brantley believed that oppression began with Little Red Riding Hood’s name. Her name labeled her as an object instead of a person. Brantley also believed that Little Red Riding Hood’s red hood symbolized the entering into adolescence; she was almost at the point in her life that she would be to menstruate. This is what tempted the wolf; he was actually ready to rape her. The wolf in the story appeared to be Caucasian, but if seen by the views of society the wolf would become a black male. This is why the white men come from the woods to save the little white girl and mutilate the black wolf.
Another way Brantley viewed “Little Red Riding Hood” was in a religious way. Little Red Riding Hood carries the blood and body of Christ to her grandmother’s house. She becomes led off of the path of righteousness after being swayed by the wolf (a man), but she then gets back on the path. She then waits to be saved from the wolf by her salvation, the stranger, before she and her grandmother could take communion.
Third, Kelli Orlandi analyzed the story of “Cinderella”. She entitled her paper “People Who Live in Glass Shoes”. Orlandi believes that Cinderella is what society says that a woman is “supposed” to be. Even though Cinderella is a slave to her stepfamily, she is still very kind because she knows that one day her prince charming will come. The irony in the story is that the prince is not really rescuing Cinderella, because she still will not be looked upon as a woman. She will only be wearing finer clothes and become queen. The prince only wants a beautiful child bearer.
At first I thought that these stories were a result of people with nothing better to do with their time. In some ways I still feel that way, but the main jest of the analyzing of these stories was to take a look at our American society. These stories were a different, yet cut approach at looking at the real world. This was a nice touch to add in the conference.
All of these stories discussed the oppression of women, which brought to my mind the articles that our class read from Galileo. Women are now being left behind without really even knowing it. The Internet has a growing community with mostly men. Women are again being secretly oppressed.
Journal Entry 7
This journal entry also refers to the VSU’s Women’s Studies Conference. This was the plenary session four. It was entitled “Flight of the Soul”. The Veronica Women’s Theater of Portland, Maine performed this session. The performance was in honor of the soul’s path from youth to old age. Our soul is the core, just as the root is to the tree. We must have a willingness to meet what our soul has come to do.
Three women were assembled on stage, besides for the two singers in the backdrop. The first lady, Vernika Rowe, represented a female in her youth. She moved with much agility. She had the task of figuring out who she was. She had to find her place in the world. She must convert from childish ways into an awakening of adulthood. Once she became more experienced and mature she had to accept the fact that she had grown older and accept her stage of womanhood. The second lady, Frederica Chapman, represented the largest portion of a female’s life, from the peak of womanhood to the acceptance of old age. At this stage the woman moves very smooth and gracefully, as a person with experience would. The things that were once believed in childhood have now come to realization. Then there comes a point in the woman’s life that she must realize that she has become older, with a plethora of wisdom. Chapman then releases herself to the third lady, Mary Blum. Blum represented the stage of wisdom and nurture. She was breathing Mother Nature. At this stage she could seek her own answers from within herself, for with age she can answer her own questions from within because of experience. As stated in the play, “the twilight knows what the dawn only suspects”. The older woman could only release herself back to nature, death. She was brave in doing so, because she understands more now with age.
At the end, the dancers passed out apples to the audience, as to nurture the audience in regards to the passing away of the older woman.
This was a wonderful journey that the Women’s Theater presented. It actually looked a woman for who she is on the inside, not how society sees her. This act was very beautiful. It awakened my womanly senses. At several points I was overcome with chills and at the verge of tears. I thought that it was wonderful. I especially loved how they incorporated the audience at the end by passing out apples, besides I had been looking at those from the beginning of the play. I give “Flight of the Soul” two thumbs up!
Instead of the true woman being looked at in the media, and her needs, there is a lack of looking at the woman as an individual. We always see women in the media in regards to men, a man’s wife, a man’s daughter, or women needing to keep up with the accomplishments of men. Women should be allowed to express her self without always being in regard to a man. Women should also be allowed to do things at their own pace, and not the pace that the media and men try to push her towards.
Journal Entry 8- “Down in the Delta”
For the week of March 13, 2001 we viewed the film “Down in the Delta”. This film examined the family ties of an African American family. The family includes the roles of a mother, father, husband, wife, son, daughter, sister, brother, and a child. These are the roles played within an average family. Although in this film the characters individual conflicts may have been different from individuals within typical families’ conflicts, the message lies within the unification of the family. A mother, who worked at a shelter in the city, struggled to provide for her grown-up, drug addicted daughter, her grandson, and her autistic granddaughter. After trying everything she thought could ever be possible to keep her daughter off of the streets, the mother decided to send her daughter and her grandchildren to Biloxi, Mississippi to live with her brother until her daughter could raise enough money to get a beloved family heirloom out of the pawnshop. This was a hard decision for the mother to make, because the family heirloom had been in the family since the days of slavery, and it was not guaranteed that her daughter would go down the right path. Luckily, the daughter, while in Mississippi with her uncle, became successful at working at her uncle’s chicken restaurant. She was able to raise the money to get the family’s heirloom from the pawnshop, and she had found her a place to settle down and work.
This movie was a great example of how families, particularly African-American families, have to stick together to help one another in their times of need. It also showed how things such as a family heirloom that are held dear to the family can play a role in keeping a family together. It also showed how it could tear a family apart if the family is more interested in the heirloom rather than the family ties that it represents. “Down in the Delta” was a wonderful, deeply heartfelt movie that every family should view.
This movie made me think of a normal African-American family. Most African-American families, which I know of, work as a family to get things done. They do things such as live together in extended families in order to make ends meet, take care of the elderly members of the family within the home, and help one another out financially when needed. “Down in the Delta” displayed these characteristics of the African-American family as they are usually done in the real world.
Journal Entry 9
For the week of March 6, I read an article by Laslett and “Subtle vs. Overt Racism” by David K. Shipler. In Laslett’s article he discusses the problems with interracial relations between Asian and Black Americans. He believes that the violence and hate is a result of a lack of knowing about one another’s culture. He also believes that Blacks are angry because they feel that Asians are progressing more rapidly in the American society. He believes too that most communities in which violence strikes between Asian Americans and Black Americans are poor communities. He feels that this fact alone brings out aggression within people of the community. Laslett believes that Asian and Black Americans can get along better by finding common interest in one another, and learning more about the others culture.
In Shipler’s article he discusses how racism in the present times has become undercover. He believes that since laws exist to prevent obvious racism, people do racist things more slyly. Just because laws exist does not mean that people have changed the way they feel on the inside. Racism is still alive and well, just in a different more dangerous form.
Both of these articles were written in regard to racism. I believe that the only way racism can be eliminated is through education. Just reading these articles filled me in on some facts that I wasn’t aware of. Courses should be taught in high schools on various cultures and races to begin educating students before they enter into the real world.
As far as real world issues, these articles represent America as it is everyday in real life, in the news, and in the media. There is not really one incident in particular, it is just life as Americans know it today.
Journal Entry 10
This week I read “The Nature of the Beast”, by Anita Hill. In this article, Hill tells her readers about the research that she has gathered about sexual harassment. Hill, being a former victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, is concerned about the well being of other females within the workplace. Hill believes that men sexually harass women in order to gain power over the woman. She feels that sex does play a part in some peoples’ remarks and gestures, but most men want to feel that they are in control and have power. Hill does not have any concrete answers on how to stop or even eliminate sexual harassment within the workplace. She does believe that by becoming more educated on the issues we can come closer to an answer.
I think that sexual harassment is a huge problem, but I believe also that the problem is not as gigantic as it is being portrayed. One of the largest problems with sexual harassment, in my eyes, is that people fail to report it. I do understand the reasons why; but until abusers are pointed out more frequently they will continue to harass others. Sexual harassment can not just be blamed on men, many women sexually harass men and get away with it as well. I personally feel that the cases of sexual harassment should be viewed individually and not in a statistical manner. Some things that could be sexually harassing to some may not be viewed the same by another.
I have learned that sexual harassment is being taught in the schools at earlier ages. An eight-year-old child mentioned the word sex to me. When I asked him what he knew about sex, he told me that they were learning about sexual harassment at school.
Journal Entry 11
This week I read “Persistent Welfare Stereotypes” by Renu Nahata. According to the media, the statistical welfare recipient is black, unwed, unemployed, a teenage mother of several children, living in the inner city. This is also what is perceived by many to be true. These “Truths” are not true. Nahata shows how the news media can form stories, not always on purpose, to make it look as if these myths are true. Nahata, despite the myths, reveals the true statistics of a welfare recipient. She is white, lives in the suburbs, and wants to work and stay on welfare for less than two years.
The media displays these myths, which is what most people rely on for their most accurate news and information. Until the media can show its viewers what is truly going on in the world or people are further educated, people will continue to hold these myths as truths. I also feel that another reformation should be made within the welfare system to positively correlate with the true statistics.
This article in itself focuses on the real-world issues within the news media. They portray the welfare mother the same as the myth makes her look. Although it is inaccurate, they get away with it and viewers believe it.