Friday, April 19, 2013

A letter from Chile...

Hello Stevenson students! My name is Cala O'Connor, and I graduated from Stevenson in 2008. I attended DePaul University, studied Early Childhood and Bilingual Education, and graduated last June. I am currently living in Chile and teaching English to 8th-11th graders here through a program called English Opens Doors. I emailed Mr. Salituro last week and asked if he would be interested in doing a pen pal sorta deal with his students, and he said yes! It takes 3 weeks for a letter to get down here, so we figured email might be faster. I had all 80 kids in my sophomore classes (segundo medio = second grade upper = sophomore) contribute to a letter to you, telling you about their life here and asking questions about what it is like to be a teen in the USA. I know you all probably have a million other assignments and sports practices and clubs and what not, being Stevenson students, but if you could find the time to maybe answer a few of the questions, or share what it is like to be a teen in Chicago, I would really appreciate it, and so would the students! You can either respond here on the blog, or email me at For anyone who is really interested in teaching abroad or what it is like, feel free to email me or check out my blog at Thank you so much!!
Dear students,

Hello! How are you? We are fine. We are students of Colegio Gabriela Mistral, we live in Coquimbo, Chile. We are 14-16 years old. We would like to learn about your life. We are learning English. Learning English is so-so, sometimes easy and sometimes hard. Is it difficult for you to learn Spanish? Or other language? Do you like to skateboard? What is your schedule like? We go to school every day at 8:00am and leave at 5:00pm. We have 15 minute breaks between our classes. They are 90 minutes long. We also have 45 minutes for lunch. What is your schedule like? Do you have breaks? Do you have uniforms? We hate our uniforms. Do you buy your clothes at Forever 21? Here in Coquimbo it is fall. It is usually very sunny, sometimes cloudy. The average degree is 17 Celsius. It does not rain at all only in the winter, and it never snows. Is it cold in Chicago? What is snow like? Do you like snow? What is Chicago like? Are the streets dangerous at night? What cities of the United States do the black and the hispanic people live? Is it true in New York they kill doves? Do you like soccer? We love soccer. We love the teams Colo-Colo, Coquimbo, Arsenal, Tottenham, Barcelona, Católica and Real Madrid. Do you like bananas? We also like basketball and Lebron James. What sports do you like to play? We like to listen to music. What music do you listen to? We like dubstep, pop (we love One Direction and Justin Beiber) Reggaeton, Bachata, Taylor Swift, Skrillex, System of a Down, Slipknot, Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown, Usher, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dog, Maroon 5, Linkin Park, and more. Do you like My Chemical Romance? Do you watch WWF and John Cena? What do you like to do in your free time? We like to listen to music, play computer games, play xbox, play guitar, skateboard, play soccer, hang out with friends, chat on the internet, read, sleep, and watch TV. Do you like Starcraft? Do you like hip hop? Would you like to come to Coquimbo? What do you want to know about us? Here in Chile when we say goodbye, we say chao. Chao! Los alumnos de Segundo Medio (The students of the sophomore class)

White Privilege and the Boston Bombing

One sociological way to look at the Boston investigation into the bombing is with the idea of "white privilege" in mind. Here is an essay from Tim Wise, a sociologist who writes often about racism and white privilege:
When I heard about the bombing at the Boston marathon, I did not say to myself, "Oh please don't let the bomber be a white person or our community will suffer a backlash just like after the Oklahoma City bombing." Say what? If there was ever a glaring example of white privilege, this is it. Because we well know, ever since 9/11, millions of Americans of Muslim or Arab descent (or those who might "look" like them) are de facto suspected terrorists. Such racism has been lethal for a number of citizens whose skin color or clothing sparked knee-jerk violence. Other survived the violent attacks while some Muslim mosques and schools did not. The Right, hours after Monday's bombing, was already casting the blame on Muslims. As Steven Rosenfeld notes in AlterNet [2], "Almost immediately predictable hysterical right-wing voices jumped into the debate — and surprisingly were featured on liberal — including the anti-Muslim media hound Pam Geller, who immediately blamed a Jihadi for the bombing." The Langar Hall website reported on Monday [3], "Some right wing pundits have been even more blatantly racist this afternoon in response to the explosions. Fox News commentator Erik Rush went so far as to tweet this afternoon that Muslims are evil, and 'Let’s kill them all' after immediately blaming the explosions on Muslim terrorists without any evidence." For sure there have been calls from progressive as well as mainstream media to not jump to conclusions and make assumptions. But the problem goes deeper because if the bomber does in fact turn out to be a person of Muslim descent, a whole community will face the wrath of many in white America. In his latest commentary, Terrorism and Privilege: Understanding the Power of Whiteness, [4] anti-racism writer and educator Tim Wise underscores how, even as we grieve the victims, the Boston Marathon bombing is a powerful lesson about race and white privilege. “As the nation weeps for the victims of the horrific bombing in Boston yesterday, one searches for lessons amid the carnage, and finds few. That violence is unacceptable stands out as one, sure. That hatred — for humanity, for life, or whatever else might have animated the bomber or bombers — is never the source of constructive human action seems like a reasonably close second. But I dare say there is more; a much less obvious and far more uncomfortable lesson, which many are loathe to learn, but which an event such as this makes readily apparent, and which we must acknowledge, no matter how painful. It is a lesson about race, about whiteness, and specifically, about white privilege. I know you don’t want to hear it. But I don’t much care. So here goes. White privilege is knowing that even if the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be white, his or her identity will not result in persons like yourself being singled out for suspicion by law enforcement, or the TSA, or the FBI. White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for your group to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening, or threatened with deportation. White privilege is knowing that if the bomber turns out to be white, he or she will be viewed as an exception to an otherwise non-white rule, an aberration, an anomaly, and that he or she will be able to join the ranks of Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols [5] and Ted Kaczynski [6] and Eric Rudolph [7] and Joe Stack [8] and George Metesky [9] and Byron De La Beckwith [10] and Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton and Herman Frank Cash and Robert Chambliss [11] and James von Brunn [12] and Robert Mathews [13] and David_Lane [14] and Michael F. Griffin [15] and Paul Hill [16] and John Salvi [17] and James Kopp [18] and Luke Helder [19] and James David Adkisson [20] and Scott Roeder [21] and Shelley Shannon [22] and Wade Michael Page [23] and Byron Williams [24] and Kevin Harpham [25] and William Krar and Judith Bruey and Edward Feltus [26] and Raymond Kirk Dillard and Adam Lynn Cunningham and Bonnell Hughes and Randall Garrett Cole and James Ray McElroy [27] and Michael Gorbey [28] and Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman [29] and Frederick Thomas [30] and Paul Ross Evans [31] and Matt Goldsby and Jimmy Simmons and Kathy Simmons and Kaye Wiggins [32] and Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe [33] and David McMenemy [34] and Bobby Joe Rogers [35] and Francis Grady [36] and Demetrius Van Crocker [37] and Floyd Raymond Looker [38], among the pantheon of white people who engage in politically motivated violence meant to terrorize and kill, but whose actions result in the assumption of absolutely nothing about white people generally, or white Christians in particular. And white privilege is being able to know nothing about the crimes committed by most of the terrorists listed above — indeed, never to have so much as heard most of their names — let alone to make assumptions about the role that their racial or ethnic identity may have played in their crimes. White privilege is knowing that if the Boston bomber turns out to be white, you will not be asked to denounce him or her, so as to prove your own loyalties to the common national good. It is knowing that the next time a cop sees you standing on the sidewalk cheering on runners in a marathon, that cop will say exactly nothing to you as a result. White privilege is knowing that if you are a student from Nebraska — as opposed to, say, a student from Saudi Arabia — that no one, and I mean no one would think it important to detain and question you in the wake of a bombing such as the one at the Boston Marathon. And white privilege is knowing that if this bomber turns out to be white, the United States government will not bomb whatever corn field or mountain town or stale suburb from which said bomber came, just to ensure that others like him or her don’t get any ideas. And if he turns out to be a member of the Irish Republican Army we won’t bomb Dublin. And if he’s an Italian American Catholic we won’t bomb the Vatican. In short, white privilege is the thing that allows you — and me — to view tragic events like this as merely horrific, and from the perspective of pure and innocent victims, rather than having to wonder, and to look over one’s shoulder, and to ask even if only in hushed tones, whether those we pass on the street might think that somehow we were involved. It is the source of our unearned innocence and the cause of others’ unjustified oppression.” Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States. He has spoken in all 50 states, on over 800 college and high school campuses, and to community groups across the nation. Wise is the author of six books, including his latest, Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority (City Lights Books) and his highly acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son. Source URL: Links: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38]

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Here an example from

From Adweek, here is an example of gender discrimination worldwide:

Powerful Ads Use Real Google Searches to Show the Scope of Sexism Worldwide Simple visual for inequality

Here's a simple and powerful campaign idea from UN Women using real suggested search terms from Google's autocomplete feature. Campaign creator Christopher Hunt, head of art for Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, offers this summary: “This campaign uses the world's most popular search engine (Google) to show how gender inequality is a worldwide problem. The adverts show the results of genuine searches, highlighting popular opinions across the world wide web.” Each ad's fine print says "actual Google search on 09/03/13." While Google users in different countries are likely to get different results, a quick test shows that several of these suggested terms definitely come up in U.S. searches. Since its creation, autocomplete has become a popular device for social debate and even inspired a recent epic visual from xkcd, but these ads do a stellar job driving home the daunting fact that enough people around the world share these vile opinions that Google has come to expect them. Check out all the design versions after the jump. Via Design Taxi.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Some agents of socialization can teach unintended (latent) lessons.

Dweck's Mindset
Speaking of agents of socialization and family, we learned that sometimes we are influenced in unintended, hidden ways. That is called latent socialization. Another example of latent family messages is from a book by Carolyn Dweck called Mindset. Here is an excerpt. In the book, Dweck explains that unintentionally many of us sabotage our own learning because we have "fixed mindsets". That is we believe that either we know something or we don't and that's it. For example, either I am good at math or not. But Dweck explains that some people have a "growth mindset" meaning that they understand that whatever they learn, they have worked hard to learn and when something is difficult, they change how they learn it. These people are excited about the learning and are open to new ideas and they enjoy the challenge of learning. Often times, those with fixed mindsets learned to be that way because they were overly praised by parents and teachers. For example, "You are so smart," or "You are so good at math." Then when these students have difficulty, they think, "Well I guess I am not good at that," rather than "I have to try something different or try harder to learn that." Do you see how the fixed mindset can sabotage learning? Do you think that you have been socialized by parents or school to have one mindset or another? What are some other ways that you may have been latently socialized?