Monday, October 29, 2012

Personal Response to Certain Tweets....

A few years ago, I sat in my living room watching some rerun of Two and a Half Men. Charlie was telling Alan about "phone cajones", or how people have more courage dealing with people over the phone than in face-to-face situations. Over time, I have seen this concept grow through Facebook and Twitter. People resort to tweeting or posting statuses about people rather than confronting anybody. This causes tension and drama to unfold in social situations because, let's face it, we all know who was talking about who.

Today in class, while we were presented with tweets from our peers about Joyce Murton, I was utterly disgusted. Seriously, how ignorant does someone have to be to trash someone because they are a transgender individual? And when I saw the tweets referring to her as "it", I got so internally frustrated. That is insanely low. She is a person. Not an it. "It" refers to a table, or a book, or photograph, or some inanimate object. SHE. Is a person. SHE. Has feelings. SHE. Has a heartbeat and can react to words, statements, and emotions. She did what she felt necessary to fit in with the world. Can any of us say we're different in that regard? The pure fact that people my age in 2012 are insulting her JUST because she is transgender blows my mind. I can't even understand.

So, Dr. Palmer, you asked if I believed that Joyce should come back to speak at JCU. I say definitely. Her speech was enlightening and gave perspective on something probably 90-95% of the audience had no experience with. I really hate what my peers had to say about her and it embarrasses me to have to call them "my peers", but I believe it was an hour well-spent.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Service Reflection #6

Prompt: "What have you learned about the people you are interacting with, and what have they learned about you?"

I have learned that, even several weeks into service, many of the kids are not willing to open up to me. While it is understandable, it was more understandable during the first couple weeks of service when I was the most unfamiliar. I try to connect with these kids despite the fact that I am so outrageously different from them. I know I come from an entirely different world and I accept that. I have not seen or known what they have. In return, what they have learned about me is that I will keep trying to connect, but I do not pry. I find it useless to pry. They have also learned that I am patient and will help with anything, regardless of difficulty (or lack thereof), without making them feel non-intelligent. I hope my experience gets better as service continues.

Monday, October 22, 2012

4 Types of Politics

1) Informational
  • According to the article about the four empirical cases that we discussed last week, informational politics moves to make information more available to the public and lets the public know the reality of certain situations. This is found in the article about the viral video. When an unpaid worker in China stars in a parody about conditions in China, she names a Chinese official. In this way, key information was let out, and it became more well-known as the video became viral and was scattered all over the internet. Through this, it is clear that informational politics is prominent.

2) Symbolic
  • Symbolic politics is found when someone or something is used as a symbol for a cause. In the article about the four empirical cases, the face of the girl that was murdered at Beijing University was used to raise awareness of the situation. In this article about the viral video, symbolic politics is highly apparent; the person in the viral video is used as a symbol. Because of the popularity this video gained, the migrant worker who starred in it became the symbol for the conditions she and other workers had to work in.

3) Leverage
  • The article on the four empirical cases defines leverage politics as using well-known people, mainly celebrities, to stand up for the public in order to change a situation or bring awareness. For instance, when Christian Bale went to China to find out why an artist's family was being held under house arrest, this was leverage politics. This is not present in the viral video. While the other types of politics are, no well-known figure was attached to this and helped the cause; It was solely the migrant worker and someone playing a reporter. 

4) Accountability
  • Accountability politics is used to hold a specific person or group responsible for their wrongdoings by proving their affiliations and making it known to the public. The migrant worker did this by naming a specific Chinese official in the video, which was later spread all over the internet. Everyone came to know that this official was responsible for the conditions of migrant workers and China and he was forced to take responsibility.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Service Reflection #4

Wednesday at Open Doors was more or less a day where I was unable to tutor anyone. Most of the kids had a project to do and had to go to the library to do it; afterward there were maybe five or six kids left, most of which had completed their homework. My project group met with one of the adults who works there, Felicia, to talk to her about our digital media project. She suggested that we set up an instagram to tie it into the facebook page they already have.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy doing service. I enjoy tutoring. I have over 100 hours from high school in tutoring alone. However, I'm really not enjoying this project. For the most part, I either A) sit around doing nothing or B) sit awkwardly around the kids as they do homework that they don't need help with. I wish I were being utilized more. I try to interact with everyone and find a way to help but it never changes anything. I will continue to try to find a way to be utilized.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Service Reflection #3

Yesterday at service I was introduced to two new kids at Open Doors Academy: Kiana and Eric. Kiana needed help on two math assignments involving adding and subtracting negative numbers. I attempted to teach her ways to do this, but I found immediately that I couldn't do so because she could not do simple math without the use of a calculator. Even with problems such as 15-10, she had to pull up the calculator on her phone to discover the answer. Eric also needed help on his math homework, so I helped him set up an equation. He realized he knew it before we were halfway through and his eyes completely lid up with understanding. I love that look more than anything when it comes to tutoring. He then proceeded to work on a project concerning the Cherokee tribe.

I guess I have been taking education for granted lately. The idea that Kiana could not do simple math without the use of a calculator astounds and terrifies me. I can't even wrap my head around that notion.
On the other hand, Eric had a completely different personality from the other kids I've met at Open Doors. For instance, I try to respect these kids' space, because they don't know me and I am unfamiliar with them. I was sitting a seat away from Eric when he worked on his project and he said to me, "You can come over here, I don't bite." He is the first kid to be open to the idea of me helping with schoolwork. The others have tolerated it, but haven't been thrilled to have me here. Also, when he asked my name and gave me his, he shook my hand. I rarely see this behavior in people my age let alone a 14 year old boy. He was legitimately disappointed when I had to leave but I assured him I'd be back next week.