SEO Scholars at Vassar

As high school students in the SEO Scholars Program spend a week at Vassar College intensely engaging the American civil rights movement, they post short critical reading and writing exercises to this site—it is a repository for their ideas, a chance for them to comment on each other’s work, and a way to share and continue that work with teachers and peers at home. Enjoy.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Reflection: One Week of Knowledge ...

Never do I want to be stomped with the mark of inferiority. Never do I want to wake up to the smell of smoke because my house is being terrorized by people who don't like me merely because of the color of my skin. Never do I want to live on the edge, anxious about loosing my life. I, more or less, never want to live that fear because hundreds of years ago this was the typical life for many African Americans. Now, we don't need to live under such fear because certain individuals like Charles Houston, Thurgood Marshall, Emmett Till, Dr. Martin Luther King and many other unnamed souls gave up their life for the struggle to attain freedom and equality amongst the races.

For the past week, I received an insurmountable knowledge from two extraordinary professors that team teach the Civil Rights Movement class at Vassar. Between Professor Collins and Professor Laymon I am able to see two different dimensions of the movement. However, it is up to me to deduce my own conclusions. For instance, the great question that lingers about in all of our minds is “What was the catalyst of the Civil Rights movement?" Everyone gave their own distinctive answers and along the way our professors made us think in a logical approach towards the question. Through out the week, we basically had to follow such routine. For example with the case of Brown vs. Board of Education, Plessey vs. Ferguson, Martin Luther King's whole concept of his dream and the ruthless murder of Emmett Till we discovered that all of these events were not only pivotal to the civil rights movement but to our own lives swell.

Not only did we discover the many events that sparked the movement we also had some personal accounts of individuals who suffered the consequences of segregation and racism. We read "Coming of Age in Mississippi", "The Ethics of Jim Crow”, “The Sky is Gray" and amongst other classics that portrayed to us how in this time of struggle they were able to conquer the evils of the South or plunder into a torn asunder.

Overall, this experience was fantastic. Although we had a short amount of time, I would of never believed I would of learned so much.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Where there is a dream...there is reality!

“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding, and ennables the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals”. - Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King used non violence as a weapon to bring justice and equality to the segregated black society of America. He was one of the few people who stood up against society and tried to change whatever he viewed as an injustice. Martin Luther King is best known for the dream that he had. A dream that one day justice and equality would prevail in the presently segregated American society. He was the leading man in the civil rights movement and changed the racially segregated society of America through non-violent means.

After looking at Gandhi’s non-violent progress in India, King was inspired and looked forward to non-violence as the only method to end racism. Now the question arises quite constantly which is why King used non violence when there were many other methods which would have worked effectively? Non-violence would have been the last resort in a country where the blacks were abused, humiliated, and treated like animals. During the time, Blacks also started to protest against the system, the government and many of them used violent ways. Blacks would attack whites and the whites would retaliate. The condition of racial segregation had already reached its peak during that time. King already had plans for the future in his mind, he was thinking about the best way to bring justice and equality among all African Americans.

While violence would seem effective in that period of time, non –violence would seem peaceful and more effective later on. Another reason King chose non-violence was because he was a Baptist minister and had great religious influence on him. He had religious influence by his parents and was always taught to believe that violence had is terrible consequences.

If violence was used, America would turn into a battleground where black people would be fighting against white government. For all we could know, there could be a civil war two, where the whites are fighting against the blacks. Martin Luther King would have been assassinated long before if violence was adopted. Even if the conflict would end, the relationship between the whites and blacks would be dented for many generations to come. So basically, Martin Luther King remained collective despite the condition of racism at that time. He was ready to suffer the short term affects in order to achieve justice and equality in the future.

Final Words of the Vassar Trip

1. How has your understanding of the modern Civil Rights Movement evolved?

I know understand how the Civil Rights Movement came in different forms and in different ways. The only way you can consider this one full movement is the knowledge that all these different organizations (NAACP, MIA, etc.) had one goal in mind, better the conditions of colored living. Without that connections, it can just be considered many movements of the same cause that coincidentally happened at the same time. Without that final connection, the conditions wouldn't have approved and the underlined connection of colored people that still exsists today couldn't have been developed and expanded.

What has changed about your perspective?

I didn't let it change my perspective much because I didn't get both sides of the story. This may seem milicious but I don't want to make up my mind until I read something in favor of segregation from the white person's perspective to try to understand them. I know theyw ere wrong, but how wrong they are is determined by what they believed they were doing


2. How has your writing about the movement evolved over the course of the week?

It became more trying to understand the views of the people who influenced them rather than the beginning of the week where it was mainly about what the main characters did.


What conclusions have you come to?

The books behind the Civil Rights Movement never truley try to understand the views of other people, but instead concentrate on anaylizing their reactions.

What issues, quotes, themes or events remain unresolved for you?

If people within our group was white and hating blacks was the 'norm', then would they join in on the discrimination or would they rebell against everyone they know to resist?

What connections have you made?

For every person, the Civil Rights Movement began and ended at different times. For some the movement ended with intergration. For others, it isn't over yet.

Reflection

In school history is taught in such a way that i often find myself bored in class. I hate the class because i seem to have no interest in it at all. If i dont have any type of interest i can be often confused and lost in what is taking place. This time taking a history course was differnt. I got to see both sides of the story and i also learned a different way. I always thought of history as dates and peolple but i now see that those are not as important as the context, the events, those who are involved and what difference the events make. As i always studied that section in class, i only thought of it as black people trying to be equal. I have now understood that African Americans were not only physically affected but also psychological. There was a lot of menatl abuse that people suffered. Social discrimination lead black people to feel inferior and it lead to many problems were some wanted to rebel and others were embarrased to be black.
As i read, saw the films and cartoons my main focus was on education, freedom, laws, and the different points of view. I found myslef saying that freedom does not exists, and i found evidence in text to support my idea. I also argued that education makes up your opinions and points of views. We discussed the laws that had made segregation constitutional yet there was "equality". After all the movies, discussions and arguments we had in class i agree with ceratin people. I also think that depending on who you are and what affects you, is that event the one that will be seen as the begining of the civil war. At firsts i really had no answer for this but thanks to my classmates, i was able to understand that there is no real begining for everyone but separate ones, depending on who you are.
This course now i feel has taught me that history is not about dates but about how you interpret what is going on and on your personal views. I feel as thought culture plays a big role in the understanding of certain events. Now i see that history is a great class where i can listen to others and at the same time i learn about myself and them.

Reflection

My understanding of the modern Civil Rights Movement has evolved. I now have a more in-depth understanding of what really happened during the Civil Rights Movement. Through our conversations and watching the video clips I learned that there are different opinions about how the Civil Rights Movement began. There was the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Emmett Till's death and Brown v. Board of Education. I also learned that there was more than just one beginning to the Civil Rights Movement. I knew about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks before, but I didn't exactly know how they became who they are now. For example I learned that Martin Luther King was nominated to become the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I thought he decided to become a leader.

While reading my blogs, I've noticed that my writing about the Civil Rights Movement has changed throughout the week. Throughout the week we've compared readings to books and to movies. We've compared different characters’ opinions towards the Civil Rights Movement and how it affected them. I have realized that our conversation about the Civil Rights Movement as a group has helped each other learn more about the Civil Rights Movement. We then each concluded on our own how did the Civil Rights Movement started. I thought what began the Civil Rights Movement was the Montgomery Bus Boycott because it received national attention. Since everyone heard about it they took part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Final Reflection

When I first entered this class, my knowledge on the civil rights movement was scarce. The names that came to my mind when I first heard the words “civil rights” on Monday were Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks. After three days my knowledge on the civil rights has expand. I learned that segregation was a big deal in the 1960s, and there were progression of events that led to the civil rights movement. From Brown versus Board of Education to the boycott in Montgomery, Alabama they were all contributing factors. The murder of Emmett Till was inhumane, the doll study in Brown versus Board of Education, and Wrights’ “The Ethics of Living Jim Crow,” all had one thing in common; they all displayed African Americans’ position in America. The case of Emmett Till was severely beaten up to the point in which his face was mutilated, and it was hard to believe that another human could’ve done it to a 14-year-old child. The doll study had many aspects to it and there was a recurring pattern of the black child choosing the white doll over the black and brown doll. Wrights’ encounter with the “white folks” ended in him getting stitches and his mom saying he oughta be lucky that he didn’t get killed. All these events displayed the blacks inferiority during this time period. I was always interested in having a class that focused on a particular part in history, and this class fulfilled that. Usually when we have a normal history class we usually just quickly go over the events during the civil rights movement, but in this class we went in-depth into the events and examined it. Overall, this was a great class and I hope that it will continue during the spring time.

Final Reflection of the Week

Well first of all before I came to Vassar College for the week program, I wasn’t really interested in history or at least didn’t know a lot of what was involved with the different segregations between whites and blacks. I knew about the basic events for example Martin Luther King Jr. and his “I Have A Dream” speech and Rosa Parks and why she didn’t want to give up her seat for a white man from the bus because she was tired. I learned so much from the classes for example The Emmet Till story. I knew that there were a lot of murders and violence going on but just watching the documentary, how a 14-year-old boy got brutally murdered and thousands of people shared that pain. Something else that changed me was watching the other documentary we saw yesterday about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Boycott. It’s a lot better watching a film about the event instead of reading from a text. I learned and evolved from this week.

My writing about the movement evolved over the course of the week through the different methods we discussed about. For example, reading different articles and connecting different ideas together with quotes and especially getting feedback from my peers. I’ve always connected different ideas with my essays at school and usually get feedback from my teachers and peers. But, here I got a lot of feedback from my friends and that helped. Especially the notebooks in the Internet. It didn’t only helped me but it was something fun to do. Usually, I would use blogging for personal, high school, funny things like the websites such sconex or myspace. We as a class made different connections with the films or the quotations from different texts. One connection that I made that I put in my personal notebook, was about the documentation of the Emmet Till story and how a 14 year old boy was murdered and I compared that with the Boondocks film and how uncle ruckus thought that black people have to respect white people and if they don’t then they get beaten or even killed. That is exactly what happened to Emmet Till. He whistled to a white lady and only a few days later he was murdered. This is one example of the different similarities or differences we found with he different articles and films we discussed about.

My Changes in my life

My understanding of the modern Civil Rights Movement has vastly increased. I learned about things such as Emmett Till, Charles H. Houston and many other people involved. What I learned about Emmett Till was that his murder was very important to the movement to civil rights.
In my mind the murder was the spark that created the fire between the struggle of whites and blacks. The fire involves of the Brown vs. Board of education, Rosa Park on the bus and the boycott of buses. I knew about most of theses before, but while here we went really in-depth into each of the topics. Learning more about these topics, has really opened my mind to the cause and broaden my horizons about slavery and the hardships the blacks when through to get equality.

Final reflection

Before this course, I never realized how inhumane people could be to others. I was surprised and shocked about the extent of Jim Crow Laws. Whites in the 1960's were vicious in the way they treated Blacks. It seemed to them that Black people were animals who were not worth being in the same room or bretahing the same air as whites. I was especially shocked with the Black people in the south who accepted segregation and were toos craed to do anything about it. They even refused to speak about it amongst each other because they thought that the time would never come where there would be true freedom and equality. Really watching the Emmett Till video has made me understand the brutality of his murder. It made me angry when in the video, the members of the jury were shown to be whites from the hometown. Of course they supported the two men accused and did not take the case seriously. His life to Whites was worthless. Reading Coming of Age in Mississippi made me think about the fear people went through every day. It was hard enough getting through and surviving each day. I realize that just hearing about the civil rights movement isn't enough; you have to see all the events within it to believe it.

From 2006 to Spit In Your Face

I have learned that there were many more behind the scenes faces in the evolution of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of the stories and various court cases I have learned over the years have been enriched with the videos and texts that have filled our bags over the past weeks. My writing about the movement has only truly began. I have been happy to learn about the the things that progressed American lifestyle and culture and changed it forever. However, I would still like to learn about the side of the Caucasian-Americans who believed in equality. What was life like for them? How did these radical ideas develop in their minds? Nevertheless, I have come to the conclusion that life for both sides was a struggle. No one was ever truly happy during that time because of the fighting and disagreements. No one was ever truly able to get what they wanted until blacks began to fight back. The change that occured in America was a positive one that pushed us into a situation most weren't ready for.

reflection on class and lab writing

i guess that my perspective of the civil rights movement have developed into a more through mosaic. i believe that through the many texts we have read, i have gained a well rounded image of what it was like to be living in antebellum america with the segregation and lynchings. i believe that my perspective of the civil rights movement has been broadened.
my writing has become more formal and more direct. I stray off topic less and follow the template to create a thesis paragraph.
My conclusion is that during the time of reconstruction, disillusionment caused children to be unable to have a strong sense of identidty to their race. However, there must be more evidence to prove this point scientifically.

Reflection

Reflection:
1) How has your understanding of modern Civil Rights Movement evolved?
Honestly, before this week I didn't know much about civil right movements. I new the basic facts, the most famous people that we always hear about like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., nothing more. After this week, studying more indepth about the movements, has really changed my view on these movements. After reading coming of age in mississippi,which I really enjoyed, I realized that negroes had to go through alot to be free. Living in harsh conditions, being constantly threatened, disrespected , and getting low pay, life was no joke for them. We end to undermind situations until we really start learning about indepth. I appreciate and admire those who stood up against the racist whites despite all that they have to go through. Anne Moody while she was working for the movement, was contantly living under threats and hardly got any sleep. She becamse very ill and at one point left back to New Orleans but she realized she really missed it and went back. If it wasn't for people like her, we'd still be living in a segregated world.

2) How has your writing aout the movement evolved pver the course of the week?
Since I didn't know much about the movement beforehand, the writing connected to the moevment has become more indepth then before. I've realized that writing about the movement gives you a better understanding about it, because you have to analyze your thoughts as well as support them with evidence just as what you would have to do in a discussion type environment. Writing about the movement was like a lesson in it's own where we were given a question and had to go look in our readings to find the answer. We learned how to write an author's opinion in a certain format and that helped us help condense the information and make it more precise, straight to the point.

Emely's Reflection

My understanding of the modern Civil Rights Movement has evolved. I now have a more in-depth understanding of what really happened during the Civil Rights Movement. Through our conversations and watching the video clips I learned that there are different opinions about how the Civil Rights Movement began. There was the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Emmett Till's death and Brown v. Board of Education. I also learned that there was more than just one beginning to the Civil Rights Movement. I knew about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks before, but I didn't exactly know how they became who they are now. For example I learned that Martin Luther King was nominated to become the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. I thought he decided to become a leader.

While reading my blogs, I've noticed that my writing about the Civil Rights Movement has changed throughout the week. Throughout the week we've compared readings to books and to movies. We've compared different characters’ opinions towards the Civil Rights Movement and how it affected them. I have realized that our conversation about the Civil Rights Movement as a group has helped each other learn more about the Civil Rights Movement. We then each concluded on our own how did the Civil Rights Movement started. I thought what began the Civil Rights Movement was the Montgomery Bus Boycott because it received national attention. Since everyone heard about it they took part in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

my final thoughts

I could never imagine how much you can learn within a span of 5 days! When I first learned that we were taking a civil rights class, I wasn't excited and I was skeptical because I don't find History interesting anymore. But, I was wrong. The way I view things is different after this class because I have been exposed to many opinions over the last 5 days. Now, it is easier for me to sit down and look at different sides of the grass. Also, my knowledge of literature has expanded because we have touched on so many books and stories such as "The Sky is Gray", "Coming of Age Mississippi", "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow" and much more. The two movies I enjoyed the most were "The Murder of Emmett Till" and "Boycott" because both are so captivating. My writing about the movement has evolved because I have so much more ideas and opinions on it. Also, I can be more detailed in my writing. I'm elated that I have experienced this on the brink on senior year and I appreciate everyone that has helped me this week.

Reflection

I started this course with the concept that freedom is merely a way of thought. As the class progressed I realized that education is the foundation for all degrees of freedom. Jim Crow laws affected the level of education for African American children by making them feel inferior. Segregation regulated the freedom of African Americans physically as well as inflicting physiological damage. Thus as we examined text such as The Murder of Emmett Till, I began to realize that the self-perception of blacks evolved because they became more aware of the need for change
My writing this week started off more personal and eventually became more formal. I have realized that I have very insightful ideas, but I could work more on delving deeper into my issues.

2nd Assignment

In "The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader" suggests that negro children has this idea of their position in society when they are compared to whites. It states, "The fact that young Negro children would prefer to be white reflects their knowledge that society prefers white people." Thus, children have this idea that is embedded in their mind at a young age that white people would be more successful and that it is better to be white.

1st Assignment

When I hear of the word "free" I think of equality; being able to do whatever you want to do and not be held back because of your race and/or religion. In addition you will not be judged or stereotyped based on the color of your skin. In our book "The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader" there is a study that was distributed to the public called "Prejudice and Your Child" with dolls. In one study there were three types of dolls: black, brown, and white. They took kids from the ages of 7 to 8 and told them to do four things.
1) Best Doll
2) Nicest Doll
3) Doll that looks bad
4) Doll that has a nice color

In this experiment black kids prefered the white doll over their own and the brown doll. This shows how young black children would prefer to be white because of the recognition of whites in their society. Through this experiement it shows how this doll study how these kids are not free. These kids that took part of this study were in the age prior to the civil rights movement era and had this perception of themselves as inferior. This case doesn't comply with my defintion of being free but it does show that this isn't the idea of being free.

FINAL ASSIGNMENT!

Here is your final assignment for the week.

Using your collages from today's writing lab/study period as a visual aid, write a reflection post that answers the following questions. Note: The sub-questions are there to give you a more complete understanding of what to think about, but don't feel pressured to answer each and every single one of them.

1. How has your understanding of the modern Civil Rights Movement evolved?
  • What has changed about your perspective?
  • What moments from class discussions, reading materials, film/TV screenings and your blog posts have influenced your views?
2. How has your writing about the movement evolved over the course of the week?
  • What conclusions have you come to?
  • What issues, quotes, themes or events remain unresolved for you?
  • What connections have you made?
Remember that you will be presenting your collages and final thoughts during tomorrow's writing lab, so don't wait until the morning to finish everything up!

This week has gone by faster than I could have ever imagined. You all have said and done amazing things over the past four days; let's make the most of the last post and the last day!

Third Assignment

Quotation 1 from “The Ethics of Living Jim Crow”:
“She finished by telling me that I ought to be thankful to God as long as I lived that they didn’t kill me.”

Quotation 2 from “Sky is Gray”:
“If you was white, that’s something else; but we the wrong color.”

These two quotes show the mistreatment of African Americans prior to the civil rights movement. The first quote is from “The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” when Richard is in what he thought was a fun game. What started as a fun game with cinders ended with broken bottles versus cinders, and Richard receiving three stitches after a bottle hit him behind his ear by the “white folks” that he was in a war in. The quote shows how his mom wants him to understand his place in society, and that he is inferior to white folks. He should be grateful that he is still alive and that he should never get into a confrontation with white folks again.
The second quote is from the "Sky is Gray." This is from the scene when James and his mother are in a dentist office. They waited the whole day and it was about to close. This quote is from the nurse and it shows again the inferiority of blacks.

Quotes of the Day

Quotation from Text #1- In Ernest J. Gaines text The Sky is Gray, it quotes "Just a minute," the old lady says. Mama stops. "The boy'll have to work for it. It isn't free."
Quotation from Text #2- In Richard Wrights text The Ethics of Living Jim Crow, it quotes "When the bell-boys were busy, I was often called to assist them. As many of the rooms in the hotel were occupied by prostitutes, I was constantly asked to carry them liquor and cigarettes."
The connection between both is the laws of Jim crow existed in both text and quotes. Jim Crow laws were in effect to control the work ethics of a person. Although it was unwritten, it was a law that was being used to take advantage over a certain color of people.

Forth Blog

Essie Mae learns many lessons from Jim Crow. One such lesson is that the world is not equal, and can change in a second. Another lesson Essie Mae learned is that you have to work your way to the top and there is no other way. An example of this is during the movement when she had to gain equal right that sometimes don't exist today. I do believe that the lessons Essie Mae learned are different from those James in "The Sky is Gray" and Richard Wright learns in "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow." And these are different for girls because they are considered of a lower class than males, and usually have more hardships.

Same Lessons Different Stories

Anne Moody's lessons with Jim Crow were the simimarly and differently learned by Richard. Anne Moody learned her lessons from her mother's sour perspective on the white folks and through the additude of the people who employed her. Richard learned his lessons from people like store manager that dragged the woman to the back room and Mr.Peeves. Anne Moody learned from people like Mrs. Burke and Ms. Haynes. Their lessons were the same, but the lessons that applied to them were different. Both of them learned that a man has to be silent and can't say a word. That it's harder for a man to get a job than it is for a woman to. And Woman were used as tools for sexual desire. The only trus difference is that Richard had to play the roles of a man and Anne had to play the roles of a woman.

3rd Assignment: Quotations

Quotation 1: "Keep your eyes where they belong if you want to be healthy!" he said. (Wright, 233)
Quotation 2: "Mama tells me keep my eyes in front where they belong." (Gaines, 93)

Both speakers agree that a black male, whether man or boy, does not have the right to look in the faces of people, possibly to avoid any conflict. Though both hint at this thought, they also have disagreement. The quote from Gaines explains that James should keep his eyes in front "where they belong," meaning he should keep his head held high and look at only what's necessary. Wright's quotation, however, tells him to only "keep his eyes where they belong," and is told to him by a white speaker. James's mother wants him to keep his eyes in front because she is only telling him what's best for him in order for him to keep his dignity. Conversely, Wright's speaker is ordering him to keep away from any eye contact to keep his dignity and self-worth down. Though both quotations allow for agreement, I believe they are powerful quotations that allow for various interpretations because of the source of both statements- one coming from a white speaker and one coming from a black boy's mother.

staying in place

For those living in antebellum america, african americans were taught to keep their place/ status and learn never to exceed the white man. African americans were taught to "keep my eyes in front where they belong" (Gaines, 111) or to "never again attempt to exceed my bounderies" (Wright, 230). This conditioning forced many in the black population to underestimate themselves especially in the economic world then. By keeping the population ignorant, the whites were able to control blacks into losing what power they had gained politically and socially.

comparision

"That was the whole colored race which will no longer take your condescending pennies. That was your black double. She can wear the same hat as you and to be sure it looked better on her than it did on you. What all this means is that the old world is gone. The old manners are obselete and your graciousness is not worth a damn. (Everyhting That Rises Must Converge)

"I'm qestioning the world. I'm questioning it with logic sir. What do words like freddom, liberty, God, White, Colored mean." (The Sky Is Gray)

Both quotations agree that Black people are slowly becoming equals of whites and that the old times of subservant relationship is fading away. I think the second quotation is more passionate because the young Black college student represents the young generation who wants to take action, not just pray. Black people will never know what is freedom and liberty if they don't experience it. The first qotation is in the point of view of a white person in a time where segregation has ended in the south, but some whites still can't accept it. Julian explains to his mother that times are changing and she can't treat Blacks like before. Its over. She just has to accept it.

Two Roads can always lead into One path (3rd Assingment)

Literature can be composed of various themes. However, authors can some from different circumstances thus they can deliver a message throughout a distinctive language. For instance, in "The Sky is Grey" in page 111 it says "Mama tells me to keep my eyes in front where they belong." Certainly it portrays the results of the psychological forces related to Jim Crow. The mother is so accustomed to perpetuate the Jim Crow message to her son and implement her ideals into child’s mind through constant demands and numerous warnings. Although from a different spectrum she portrays the nightmare of every parenting guide, we forget to realize that she is only doing this for the good of her son. It is her duty to let her son recognize the evil that surrounds him at a very tender age. Although the innocence may be lost, it is a sacrifice the mother is willing to take. To propel the same message to the audience in "The Ethics of Jim Crow" we see in page 230 Richard Wright writes, "They told me that I must attempt to exceed my boundaries when you are working for white folks, they said you got to "stay in your place" if you want to keep working." Clearly, the black man was either on the "white" man's way or on the highway of death. The dark complexion of your skin fiercely constrained you in all circumstances. There wasn't any shortcuts or exceptions to the laws or the general mentality that existed in America. Despite the length or diction of either quote we realize that the message is clear and precise.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The relationship between Samuel and Emmett

Comming of age in Mississippi Pg 202
"His death brought back memories of all the other killings, beatings,and abuses inflicted upon negros by whites."

Civil Rights Reader Pg 40
"Yes the Till case cannot be closed until negroes are voting in Tallahatchie and Leflore counties and through out the south."

Samuel and Emmett's death still comes back into everyones mind. Even if they passed away and their case was close they were always talked about. Their deaths kept the people thinking that they can make a change and stand up for themselves.

Quotation from text 1 and 2

Text 1:
"The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not "equal" and cannot be made "equal" and that hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws.
Text 2:
"Her face seemed almost gray and there was a look of dull recognition in her eyes, as if suddenly she has sickened at some awful confrontation, Julian saw the women hold"

The idea of the first text is that both schools are equal in a way because they are learning the same materials. Although even if they are the same in that point of view they are not equal in sense of being together and uniting as one while learning the same. This message connects to the second quote because Julian’s mom thinks that white people are higher and cannot have certain things the same as black people. They just cant and that’s the way it is. Even though both mothers have the same hat they are both equal because of the hat. The white mother thinks that it’s not right because they both paid for it and that cant be possible. If she paid 7.50 for it than the Black mother shouldn’t have the money for it. Both the way the mother thinks and the systems of the schools connect because they both have the mentality of wanting to be separate even though there is something similar about both even if they are staring right at it. The schools are learning the same things even if it’s segregated so why not together. Both mothers are wearing the same hat so why not accept the fact that they are the same even if it’s just as small as a hat.

3rd assigment

In the book we are reading "The eyes on the prize civil rights reader", I found a quote which says "Social scientist are now convinced that children learn social, racial and religious prejudices in the course of observing and being influenced by the existance of patterns in the culture in which they live." which i found to be interesting to compare to the story "Everything That Rises Must Converge" by Flannery O'Connor. In the story Julian tells his mom that "culture is in the mind" and his mother responds by saying that "it's in the heart and in how you do things and how you do things is because of who you are". Even though Julian and his mom seem to disagree, i find it easy to see how not only Julian and his mom agree but also the book and the story agree. Who you are affects how you react to certain things but then again who you are depends on your surroundings. I can say that even though Julian thinks that him and his mom think differently they are in fact thinkning alike. His mom says that what ever the heart tells you, and who you are is what shapes your opinions. Then he states that is on youur mind and that is how culture develops. Julian can say this because he has received and education and he has knowledege and was taught certain things. The environment in which he grew up on, challanged him to think and he learned not to judge people. While her mother grew up seeing how blakc people were treated and she thought it was fine. The way her mother thinks is due to the eduacation she received. Julian like social scientist are more educated and have different views in ceratain situations. Their surrounding were completely different from those of Julian's mother and therefore they think alike. But i somehow see that all their ideas connect. I do agree upon the fact that you chose what you want but how you chose is due to what others influenced you and what your surroundings are. I found it silly because i see how both Julian and his moms ideas come together yet, they argue about it thinking they are contradicting each other.

comparison assignment

Question: What Jim Crow lessons does Essie Mae (Anne Moody) learn? Are the lessons different than those James learns in "The Sky is Gray" or the young Richard Wright learns in "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow"? Put another way, are the lessons different for girls?

Response: I think that young Richard Wright learns differently than Essie Mae because he is a male and she is a female. Richard experienced first hand as he worked many jobs what Jim Crow laws were. Also, I think every job he worked at, he learned a little more about it and smartened up. Wright explains that his leesons came when he "...was quite small..." (225). Wright thought he "...was learning fast, but not quit fast enough..." (231).

A Voice of Perspective

In Richard Wright's essay "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow" he outlines they way African Americans are suppose to behave in a society dominated by whites. Blacks have to put on an act for survival: " When you are working for white folks they said, you go to "stay in your place" if you want to keep working"(230). However, in Flannery O’Conner’s short story, “Everything Rises Must Converge” the mother has a very different opinion of the way blacks should be. She says, “ They should rise, yes, but on their own side of the fence” (408). Essentially, she does believe that blacks “should stay in the place” yet her statement varies because she implies that blacks are naturally inferior and that in order for her survival they must continue to be segregated. Wrights speaks of the ways a black must conduct themselves, whereas O’Conner illustrates the vulnerability of whites, if African Americans dare to cross the fence.

Adding to Our Blog

Freddy's presentation of "War Post" this afternoon seems to have sparked some great ideas about how to develop our SEO-Vassar blog. You all have been putting so much energy and creativity into your work here this week--not only in the postings but in the writing labs, in class discussions, and in activities such as the Chinese calligraphy workshop last night--and I'd love to see us document more of that on the blog. Would anyone be interested in scanning one of their lab worksheets to put up on the site, or their calligraphy project, or digital pictures from the week's events? Have you come across any other resources on the Civil Rights movement that you'd like us to link? If so, just tell me or Shana or Lee and we will make it happen...

A Pride Question

If black women were 'couragious' for having pride in their race in the time shortly before the movement, then were white women 'couragious' as well for the same thought?

3rd Writing Assignment

For your third writing assignment, continue to work on the comparisons and contrasts that you found in today's writing lab. Develop your observations into a full posting that includes any conclusions you come to after completing your diagram.

If you don't feel compelled by what you worked on in the lab today, here is another set of questions that gives possible new points of comparison:

What Jim Crow lessons does Essie Mae (Anne Moody) learn? Are the lessons different than those James learns in "The Sky is Gray" or the young Richard Wright learns in "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow"? Put another way, are the lessons different for girls?

If you'd like, you can use the same format as the handout in class today to explore this question or others. Afterwards, take what you have written in the middle column and see which of those conclusions can be the basis of your post--and include the quotes in your post as well, when you need to.

I want to add that I am reading all of your blog posts as soon as they come in, and the amount of serious thought and dedication you all are putting into this week's course materials is truly amazing me. Thank you so much for staying committed. See you tomorrow!

The Emmet Till Case

In the novel Civil rights reader, the author through his tale of Emmet Till suggests that white people had a superiority over the Negroes to such an extent, that one little mistake on the Negroes part can cost them their life. " He was brutally murdered there for purportedly whistling at - or speaking disrespectfully to- a white woman." This shows the fear that the whites wanted to instill in the African Americans yet it triggered an even bigger civil rights movement.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Is there a white god?

Through our modern culture, our media and everyday entetainment we are not introduced to the concept of "seperate but equal." In the comis strip of "The Boondocks" we saw that the main character named Ruckus who was on a mission to make everyone love white people and try to instill the idea that if you are "Black of skin, yo' full of sin." Although I can not lie, I did find it incrediblely funny, it gets to show me that overtime deragatory words such as N**** become nothing but a satire of our society. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. Let's assume that we are with a group of friends and someone starts to call you such a name, one won't take it into so much offense because you truly know that it was not in an intentional manner. However, let's say in the case of AFrican American's fifty years ago, a time where they were "trampled by the iron feet of opression", it would of been very offensive for a "white" person to regard a b;ack person with such word that embodies a pool of hate and pain.

The nexus of America...Mississippi (2nd Assignment)

By the late 1960s, the civil rights movement had seen enormous successes along with tragic losses. There was a vast amount of significant legal cases that has greatly defined the right to freedom for all African Americans in this society. However, in the perspective of the contemporary civil rights activists society has not changed enough. Despite the results of our imperfect society, there was a progressive revolution known as the civil rights movement that served as a basic foundation to change. In order to make significant change, Moody gets involved by publishing her autobiography, Coming of Age in Mississippi. It portrayed to all viewers what it was like to grow up as a poor southern African American young woman. Through her captivating words Moody was able to capture the attention of Americans around the country from all social classes and all backgrounds. We discover that Moody was involved in the civil rights movement in the first half of the 1960s, which created a vivid image of how violence and terror reigned in the black southern society.

Instead of focusing on her autobiography on her involvement in the Civil rights movement Moody chose to start at the beginning. We see her retrogresses to her younger years as the child of poor sharecroppers working for a white farmer. In telling the story of her life, Moody shows why the civil rights movement was such a necessity and the importance of why certain injustices had to be corrected. Overall, Moody's autobiography speaks out for the several unfortunate African Americans without a voice, for the ones who couldn't partake in the cause, for those who died for the cause, for those faced the animosity and never got recognized, and for those who strongly wanted equality.

To withstand the constraints African Americans had in their lives, they would resort to religion. It would be an escape from their reality and resort to a higher power for some guidance. " Baptism at Mount Pleasant was the biggest event of the year. Some people saved all year to buy a new outfit...." (Moody, 75) Despite they’re economic standing of the Moody family they had stow away the little they had for this joyous event. It was a significant day because " ...the white dress symbolized that I was entering the church pure and the blue meant that I would always be true and faithful to the church..." (Moody, 75) Although Moody maintained cool and collective about the baptism inside she really did not want to follow through with the ceremony. Instead, she truly was passionate to join another church called Centerville. Even though she did not fulfill her wishes as a child we see throughout the book that she is not going to let this define her as a person. No religion will hold her down from ambitions or become her limits in life.

I found a cure to my blindness...(In class "template" assignment)

In the epic tale of the "Sky is Gray" I immediately recognize two specific colors that stand out all throughout the story, the colors red and black. The colors can embellish the good or evils that may embellish the character of an individual or the aura of the In page 93 we realize if James was ever to attend a "Big old red school..." is nothing but a farfetched goal because as we learned in class that the Jim Crow Laws defined segregation in the South and all over the Unites States. As James passes along the school he notices how there are only "white" children in the facility and can merely stare at the benefits they enjoy.

Whether he like When his mother notices his actions, she quickly demands to "keep his eyes in front where they belong..." in page 93. It really seems that James can only view the world around him and say to himself that he is unable to attain anything that the white population has because certain limitations that are set upon him. For instance, in class we talked about the Jim Crow laws and how there four forces that maintain the segregation and constrained African American life and the how numerous cases such as Plessey vs. Ferguson and Brown vs. The Board of Education tried to achieve equal rights for their people. Comments or any feedback...

Emmett Till

In the documentary The Murder of Emmett Till, I was amazed at how the Emmett Till case was not taken seriously bu the White jury. A 14 year old boy was killed brutally and viciously in the most horrible way and his only crime was that he had whistled at a white woman. The two white men who were accused of his murder and who did kill him could have spared his life considering that he was from Chicago and did not know the ways of the south. I noticed that even White people were shocked by how Emmet Till was killed but ironically they supported the white men, because the individuals were of their race. Perhaps, the white community was in denial or if some did know that 2 white men had killed Emmett Till, they did not want to see them go to prison for it. Its horrific that this fourteen year old life was considered worthless among Whites and not considered avenging. It reminds me of the character Julian's mother in the short story Everything That Rises Must Converge. Julian's mother who lives in non-segregated south identifies with those that used to live in the segregated. She is disgusted by even the thought of sitting next to a Black person on a bus. In the scene where Julian's mother is sitting across from another white woman, she remarks "I see we have the bus to ourselves," because there are no Blacks aboard the bus. The other woman replies " For a change. I come on one the other day and they were thick as fleas - up front and all through." From her words, its like she thinks of Blacks as animals, not human beings just like themselves. I am glad to see that at least Julian does not think that like his mother and the other woman. Julian symbolizes hope that someday Whites will consider Blacks as their equals, not inferior.

2 Wrongs don't ever make a right....

In the movie “The Murder of Emmett Till” I realized how humanity could behave so cruelly just to teach a simple lesson to a fourteen-year-old boy. The two murders were ruthless people who had no sense of how it feels to be the victim. Emmett Till went to Mississippi with the intentions to accompany his great uncle to pick some cotton. Emmett’s life in Chicago was perfect, he had no reason to ever interact with the people from Mississippi, however because of one wrong move, one slight whistle at a poor “white” lady his innocence, his youth and future flashed right before his eyed in an instant. This is a freestyle piece of what I think towards Emmett Till and the Civil Rights movement in general…

From dusk till dawn, till daylight sleeps.
Not quite dead, yet still not living.
The wind changes direction, and so does life, wrong to right then back again.
What could have been, so close to touch yet unable to feel? Dreams, which have been, and are, fade with the return of reality.
Depression sets in, and anger consumes.
A wasted life, a tortured future.
With the end so close, life slips away, blood drips, rope hangs, gas fills conscious.
The window closes, just like your eyes, life, and so does the illusion, never to live again…

Reflection

In the book The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader, I found that there were several scenarios that were very interesting. In the book there quotes "Segregation in public education is now not only unlawful; it is un-American" (82). I found this to be very interesting because it makes me feel like it's superior to me. I remember in my pass where if this phrase was to come up, I would have felt like I wasn't even suppose to born or I wasn't even suppose to be there at the time. This line in the text was heart breaking in the way that it made America seem inferior in my views now.

Fear, Murder, Control

“The Murder of Emmett Till” illustrates the lives of many African American people in the South. African American life was controlled by fear. As in Richard Wright’s “The Ethics of Living Jim Crow”, Wright emphasizes the need for African Americans to act in a subservient manner in order to survive in the South. Thus, there is a fine line between just surviving in the South and surviving in the South with dignity. This is ever so clear in the case of Emmett Till. As grotesque, as this story is, it changed the way African Americans thought about themselves. It made men such as Moses Right fight against a social structure that focused on stripping African Americans of their humanity in order to propel the idea of white supremacy. I find it amazing that African Americans were still able to persevere in a society where the odds were against them. This case illustrates the courage of many African American. Moreover, it proves the fact that Whites no longer had the type of control they once had over the African American populations. Emmett Till’s murder symbolizes a shift in the control Whites had on the African Americans mind-set.

Strength

In her story, Miss Till's strength inspires the masses as she speaks of the death of her son. Her strength is something that isn' mastered by many. In the revolutionary episode of Boondocks, the main character Huey cries for the mere thought of the death of one of his good friends. Miss Till's strength is so great that it surpasses that of even the wises of people. DDispite his age, Huey was wiser that most people in his day. Both people greived for a man whom was unneededly abused. Whether it was of psycical or civil rights. But, Miss Till held her ground in a way that I admire and respect.

2nd Assignment: How could you?

In the retelling of Emmitt Till's murder, The Murder of Emmitt Till biography examines the case of the two white men accused of commiting the crime against the 14-year-old Chicago youth. As part of the trial, the defense attorney questions Till's mother on the validity of her judgement. One question the defense asks clearly states, "The body found in the river was not that of your son. In fact, your son is in Detroit, Michigan right now with his grandfather, isn't he?" This statement in itself shows the unsympathetic ways of the cruel South and its Caucasian population. Depite being shocked by the crime, the white community rallied together in support of the two men accused of the crime. This further shows the disregard for the lives of blacks in the South in a segregated America.

Boondocks

In the T.V episode "Boondocks”, uncle ruckus actually believed that God was a white man and that there is a white heaven. People that had dark skin had to hate themselves and love white people if they wanted to go to white heaven. Uncle Ruckus would go around to preach and convince people that "God didn’t like Black people" and that black people are sinners, bad and hate each other. So you must hate yourself if you are black and if you wanted to go up to white heaven. I thought it was ridiculous and an exaggeration the way people would actually believe it and start giving names of black people they already hated. If we examined the way the audience, meaning the people who listen to Uncle Ruckus, we would notice that even if it is an exaggeration of the story but in fact back in the days this is the way people would react to this situation. Black people did not have to choice to go against white people because if not they would be threatened. Which also reminds me of the story of "Emmit Till" and he was a 14-year-old black boy and he was brutally beaten to death because he simply whistled at a white lady while walking out o a store. Then when it came to a court case. There were only two black witnesses that came forward. It was hard for them to speak, but it was because white people would literally kill them if they go against them.

My thrid blog

In Kenneth B. Clark, essay " How children learn about race", argues that colored kids minds are affected in a negative way by thinking that white kids are better than they are. As he writes: "The majority of these Negro children at each age indicated an mistakable preference for the white doll and a rejection of the brown doll." Thus, making the white race more powerful than other race.

Am I worthy being black?

In The Eyes of The Prize Civil Rights Reader the author explains that black children will choose in fact the white doll to play with. When the children were ask a questioned to pick which doll looks prettier, which doll is the nice doll, the black children will point out to the white doll. In other words the black children viewed that the white doll was the successful and were most desirer able doll than the black doll. I want to connect this to reading to the film we watch today called Boondocks. A character named uncle Ruckus was convinced that the only way a person was aloud into heaven was if the person was white or loves the white race. If you were black you had to hate your race and self and love the white man next to you to get an acceptance into heaven. Uncle Ruckus was a black man himself and preached how much he hated himself and the black race and that he wished he were a white man. Most of the people went along with it and some couldn’t believe what he was saying. Overall I’m trying to prove that in the pass black people where being convinced that they were unacceptable. What ever a black man did in life was just a waste of time. Black adults thought they were incapable to reach their dreams because they didn’t have any access to high education. Black male adolescents felt unworthy enough to look at a white women direction because they weren’t good enough. Even at a young age black children prefer to play with white dolls because the society prefer the white people.

Emmett Till

Today’s video on the story on Emmett Louis Till is what I found compelling. I think the pictures I saw of him after his death were the most horrific ever. It’s extremely hard to believe that human beings did that to another human being. 14 year-old Emmett Till died because he whistled at a white woman. I can understand why Mamie Till had an open casket funeral for her son. She wanted everyone to witness the brutality those men did to her son. She wanted people to feel exactly how she felt. Also, I think she wanted justice for her son’s death. The verdict for Roy Bryant and J.W Milam was not guilty. Mamie Till descried the scene after the trial as a “celebration like the Fourth of July”. Although, Byrant and Milam did not go to jail for their crime, I believe in karma and both of them died. Because Emmett Till’s death was so widely publicized, it sparked something within the South. Some people say this is what started the Civil Rights Movement. I believe people wanted to do something about the way they were being treated. The death of Emmett Louis Till was the eye opener for the South. I am forever grateful for those who stood up for what they believed in and put themselves on the line. Without their help, I wouldn’t be sitting here at this moment.

2nd Writing Assignment

For tonight's writing assignment, use the template handed out in class to write a more formal response to anything from yesterday or tonight's reading that you found compellling--whether it's a couple of quotes, trends you noticed in language or arguments, something you found confusing that you are trying to understand, or a combination of the above.

Not only should you use textual evidence in your posts, but make sure that you are pulling as much as you can from the text that you do decide to use! Be sure to take advantage of the template as a starting point for this level of analysis. You can change the language later to better reflect your personal writing voice if you so choose, but make your first priority wrestling with the text and attempting to draw meaningful conclusions as best you can.

P.S. GREAT JOB in the writing lab today!!

Moods and colors Part II

In Ernest Gaynes book called The Sky is Blue, the college student in the dentist argued that the grass is black and the wind is pink. He explained that the truth people believed in are the truth that they were told. In a way he was arguing that there isn’t any accurate evidence that told us that the grass is actual green or black. I believe he wanted to make his own truth and have people see where he was coming from. Now, choosing the color goes upon what mood he was feeling at that exact moment. I think he chose the grass to be the color black because perhaps he was frighten to visit the dentist or that no one at the dentist office agreed with him, which lead him in choosing the color black.

Class Work

In her essay “Fighting Back”, Darlene Clark discusses the effects of segregation on African American school children. For instance, she writes: "African American children early exhibited self-rejection and self-denial. If black children were to develop positive identities, then segregated education had to end” (62). Thus, education was a foundation for how African American children defined themselves. If we examine the concept of freedom, we notice that education sets the standards for a free society.

Repost Activity

In Wright’s autobiography The Ethics of Living Jim Crow, Wright often finds himself forgetting he is in a world that sees him as a surbordinate. Wright writes: “Nigger, yuh sho better be damn glad it wuz us yuh talked t’ tha’ way. Yuh’re a lucky bastard, ‘cause if yuh’d said tha’ t’ somebody else, yuh might’ve been a dead nigger now” (232). This passage shows that Wright's simple mistakes are actions that could cause him much unwanted pain.

revision

In class I really meant it when I commented about how freedom in reality does not exist. I think it's a psychological thing rather than something that can be obtained . A bird, most f us will familiarize with freedom, because it can fly, meaning it can do whatever it wants to do. In his story "The Sky is Gray", Ernest Gaines describes a scene in which James the main character, is forced to kill a bird. As he describes the scene I thought about how the bird was limited to its freedom. In class I was trying to say that freedom does not exist because others set your boundaries. In this case a human stopped and limited nature. The bird was no longer able to fly because not only it was trapped but then it was killed. This sort of explains how our society works. Someone is always at the top to prevent you and stop you from being completely "free". Then again our society is forced to do that, we have to stop each other and set limits in order to keep us organized and with a structure which keeps us together and "civilized". This thought of civilization now goes into the minds of white people before slavery was abolished. I think that they saw black people as uncivilized humans which then made them connect the words "civilized" to "freedom". Since black people were thought of as not civilized, white people might have thought that they did not deserve freedom. So like i said before those who are on top decide and limit your choices and this time it was white people that decided that freedom was not for everyone yet i don’t think they realized they were not all that free themselves but also they were restricted by the government. The government restricted the white people and in order to feel powerful, the white people felt a need and they then restricted the black people.

Revision

In his essay "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow", Richard Wright explains in the beginning that he had been surrounded by Black people everyday since his childhood. As he writes: “In fact, everything was so solidly black, that I did not even think of white folks, save in remote and vague terms.” Thus, Richard truly did not know how to act around a White person.

One way ticket to China and Inner Peace

A few days a couple of us were given the opportunity to learn certain things about Chinese calligraphy. It was truly incredible to witness how over the past thousands of years Chinese writing was able to project such beauty and elegance. Finally, after all my years encountering many Asian people I was able to have my name written in MADARIN. It seems truly amazing how they were able to integrate so many things in a matter of 2 hours. Then last night, we did some yoga. After a few days of the college life, we were pretty much very stressed both physically and mentally thus it was greatly beneficial to relax every single part of our body. Overall, the activities, schedule and classes planned out by the Vassar College staff and SEO is beyond what I expected. Hats off to you…

Citing Blog

In my blog post my post, I discussed that my definition of freedom was kind of a fit in the discussion we had in class. As I wrote, "being able to do anything you wish at anytime." Thus, this quote didn't work into the classroom discussion at first, but toward the end was similarly related to conversion of freedom.

writing exercise

In his book, The Sky is Gray, Gaines stresses the point of questioning and using logic with the young man in the dentist office. As Gaines writes, "Question everything. Every stripe, every star, every word spoken" (95). The young man in the dentist office believes this way because things people say aren't always correct. You have to question it for yourself, for your betterment.

Freedom Writing

In the first class with professors Collins and Laymon, the class was asked to freewrite what they thought Freedom meant. As I wrote out my thoughts I came to this conclusion: To be free is to be like an insect would be. There is no one who can argue with them about what they should do. For example, a mosquito is never told who they should go and bite and therefore, being free would be similar to that of an insect. In their book The Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader, they discuss several of the issues of desegregation. As they write "The problem of the development and awareness of religious ideas and identification in children involves more subtle and complex distinctions which understandably require a longer period of time before they are clearly understood" (77). Therefore the arguments of desegregation shown in the novel and my thoughts of freedom are not connected because the development of the children takes a long time and they are not able to express their thoughts yet. The Children were not free because they were not able to understand who they are.

The color question II

In "The Sky is Gray" by Ernest Gaynes, the college student sitting at the dentist office argues that why should people follow what the other person says just because they say it. As he writes he insists that he thinks, "the color of the grass is black" and "the color of the wind is pink". He continues with the idea of I want to come up with my own words and though and he can't because people already came up with it. So I think he wants to make his own ways and say that the grass is black or even think why is the grass even called grass. Everyone sitting in the room thinks that its nonsense including a priest that was sitting there. The college student connects the religion and questions why should he believe in god. Thus, He’s never seen him before and he only heard it from people. So because someone tells you that he is real he should believe it. The priests argues with him and insists that what your thinking is wrong, God believes with the heart. If we examine the thoughts of this young man, we notice that he does have a point and different opinions. He wants to think something different and question the world, although it conflicts with other people.

The color question II

In "The Sky is Gray" by Ernest Gaynes, the college student sitting at the dentist office argues that why should people follow what the other person says just because they say it. As he writes he insists that he thinks "the color of the grass is black" and "the color of the wind is pink". He continues with the idea of I want to come up with my own words and though and he can't because people allready came up with it. So I think he wants to make his own ways and say that the grasss is black or even think why is the grass even called grass. Everyone sitting in the room thinks that its nonscence including a priest that was sitting there. The college student connnects theat to religion and questions why should he believe in god. Thus, Hes never seen him before and he onl oit heard it from people. So because someone tell you that he is real he should believe it. The priests argues with him and insists that what your thinking is wrong, God is beliving with the heart. If we examine the thoughts of this young man, we notice that he does have a point and diferent opinions. he wants to think something different and question the world, although it conflicts with other people.

barbie's remix

In the report, "How children learn about Race", Clark claims that through his experiments with children the age of 3 to 5, he discovered that children can easily identify the "white" doll that they preferred; subconciously knowing that in their society, whites are more preferable. Also, it is interesting to note that no negro child identified themselves by religion. Clark writes on page 77,"this fact probably indicates that for the negro child at these ages the dominant factor in self- identification is skin color. The minority status as determined by skin color is so great that it precludes more abstract bases for self identification." to show how visual differences stay whereas when the child matures, they have "increased their contact with the larger culture [thus] result[ing] in a decreased interests" of said religions (pg 78) and can chose what they affiliate/ label themselves as. Children pick up on how their "label" has an impact on their social status and have accordingly modified their "label" so as to seem in a greater position in society. Clark's experiment thus show how even children at a young age are able to recognize which were "better" dolls and which dolls should be "rejected."

critical comic

I'm sure you're wondering why is Shedia posting again? But I'm must say that this mornings class was exceptionally GREAT.... It took me on a direct journey on my culture and my society. I reconsidered my ethics and my morals. I thought about my image and my identity and eventually it caused me to think about how I became who I am! Pat on the back to our professors

Writing Lab II: Expressive and Communicative Writing

From Michael Harvey’s website: The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing (http://nutsandbolts.washcoll.edu/thinking.htm)

One common way to categorize writing is to distinguish between expressive and communicative writing. Expressive writing is personal and informal,written to encourage comprehension and reflection on the part of the writer. Open-ended and creative, expressive writing is a good way to start learning about a topic. By contrast, communicative writing is analytic, formal and more or less impersonal. It presupposes that the writer already has considerable knowledge and understanding of the topic, and is writing to inform a reader. It demands adherence to established conventions of tone, voice, diction, evidence, and citation; these conventions will vary according to discipline and type (e.g., lab report, history paper, business plan, legal brief).

Writing as learning begins with expressive writing. Consider what it's like when you're first learning about a topic. Everything is unfamiliar. It's like being in a strange land where not only the terrain but even the signs and maps are unfamiliar, and the words themselves are foreign. That's the situation students find themselves in when they begin studying a field like history or anthropology or biology or business. Expressive writing gives students an opportunity to start to make sense of the world they find themselves in, to bring the myriad facts, definitions, rules, theories, and perspectives to life and impose some order on them.

With communicative writing, appearances count a great deal. Communicative writing includes essays, final papers, lab reports, handouts accompanying student presentations, senior theses, and the like. Outside the classroom, communicative writing includes reports, plans, official documents of all sorts, letters of application, and so on. What all these kinds of writing have in common is the great weight they place on appearances. A misspelling in a private journal or response paper is trivial, while a misspelling in an essay undermines trust in the author's effort—and just one typo in a cover letter is usually enough to sink a job application.

School assignments like essays or lab reports give students practice in writing for others according to a strict format and fixed conventions. Especially in the sciences, communicative writing assignments train students to turn personal observations into impersonal prose, avoid value judgments unwelcome in the sciences, and write with economy and precision.

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A final thought on communicative writing: such formal writing has a downside. Especially for students struggling to learn the right models and lacking confidence in their own style and voice, writing to precise standards may dampen creativity and encourage vacuous, inflated verbiage.

Am I color blind? (1st Writting Assignment)

A specific color can have a symbolic meaning that can represent anything in the eyes of the beholder. Immediately once I reflect upon the story "The Sky is Gray" by Ernest J. Gaines the the red and black colors can embellish either the good within the character or the evil aura that sorrounds their everyday lives. In page 93 we realize if James was ever to attend a "Big old red school.." is nothing but a farfectched goal because as we learned in class that the Jim Crow Laws defined segregation in the South adn all ove rthe Unites States. As James passes along the school he notices how there are only "white" children in the facility and can merely stare at the benefits they enjoy. When his mother notices his actions, she quickly demands to "..keep his eyes in front where they belong..." in page 93. It really seems that James can only view the world around him and say to himself that he is unable to to attain anything that the white population has becasue certain limitations that are set upon him. For instance, in class we talked about the Jim Crow laws and how there four forces that maintain the segragation and constrained African American life and the how numerous cases such as Plessy vs. Ferguson and Brown vs. The Board of Education tried to achieve equal rights for their people. comments or any feedback...

Moods and colors

I believe the little boy at the dentist had a reason why he said the grass is black and the wind is pink. I figured that he wanted his own definition of what the colors stand for and which color stands for what object. FOr example, he says the grass is black, in a way that he was feeling awful at the moment. Perhaps his mood gave him the decision to think that the wind is pink. The color that comes to mind is the color that shows what they are feeling at that exact moment. If the little boy felt insecure about going to the dentist he choice to speack about the color black.

Freedom...a different view in diff. people's eyes

How does your definition of freedom from your in-class free write today fit into (or not fit into) the arguments against segregation documented in pages 61-96?

Freedom...a different view in diff. people's eyes

When we were thinking of what freedom means to us in class I thought that to be free was to have all the rights to make one a successful person. There should be no limitations on the goals one can have and the resources one need to achieve those goals. In the short story, The Sky is Gray the boy wished that he could go to the white school probably because the white school had better resources, which he could learn from. In the book on civil rights it says in order to have positive personalities, segregated education would have to stop. They would be more successful if they went to a white school, desegregation would be a sign of freedom. In fact according to the book, in some states education for Negroes was banned. Most of the race was practically illiterate. It also says that education is the fundamental principle in a child while they are growing up, to prepare him for the life later on. Education was the foundation in the ladder to success, and to be denied education or have limitations on it, meant you weren't free. Freedom isn’t simply being kept captive physically. It comes in many shapes and sizes. In this case you’re being kept captive from the knowledge that will one day help you to prosper.

Blacks are Unworthy.

James’ and Richard’s experiences when concerning racial identification at an early age correctly verify the Kenneth B. Clarks’ conclusions. In the report entitled “How Children Learn about Race?” Clark speaks on how children tend to know their race and social standing at an age as young as three or four. The study also expanded to the pre-teen and teen ages. James and Richard both knew at the young ages when the stories took place what their race was and what they did and did not have or what they could or could not do. The results state that children tend to stay out of their own kind by picking the doll that has the same race as them.

James, in “The Sky is Gray’”, identifies a vast difference in the way which the black community and the white community. When he rides the bus to the dentist; the way in which he describes the white people and the joy that they are eliminating makes it seem that he feels that he is unworthy of that satisfaction. This lesson is something that is taught in society, and is a justification of segregation. Simply that Black is unworthy. I have concluded that if he had the choice to pick between dolls of different colors, he would admire the white doll, but pick the unsatisfying black doll because he is ‘unworthy’. I believe that Richard from “The Ethics of Jim Crow” would also choose the black doll in order to avoid any controversy that may be caused by his choice. Richard’s so set on avoiding fights, which he shows with “Mr.” Peeves. So based on the fictional Autobiography and the true Autobiography, Kenneth b. Clark’s data would be greatly supported.

i found evidence....

In class I really meant it when I commented about how freedom in reality does not exist. I think it's a psychological thing rather than something that can be obtained . A bird, most f us will familiarize with freedom, because it can fly, meaning it can do whatever it wants to do. In the story "The Sky is Gray", the bird that James is forced to kill was limited to its freedom. In class I was trying to say that freedom does not exist because others set your boundaries. In this case a human stopped and limited nature. The bird was no longer able to fly because not only it was trapped but then it was killed. This sort of explains how our society works. Someone is always at the top to prevent you and stop you from being completely "free". Then again our society is forced to do that, we have to stop each other and set limits in order to keep us organized and with a structure which keeps us together and "civilized". This thought of civilization now goes into the minds of white people before slavery was abolished. I think that they saw black people as uncivilized humans which then made them connect the words "civilized" to "freedom". Since black people were thought of as not civilized, white people might have thought that they did not deserve freedom. So like i said before those who are on top decide and limit your choices and this time it was white people that decided that freedom was not for everyone yet i dont think they realized they were not all that free themselves but also they were restrcited by the government. The government restricted the white people and i n order to feel powerful, the white people feel a need and they then restricted the black people.

Why the slip-ups?

Why is it that Wright continues to forget that he is in a world where he is seen as a subordinate? In Story I of The Ethics of Living Jim Crow Wright asks his superiors to help him learn the trade of optics. Unknowingly, this infuriates the men who were nice to him. Though the reader only sees that Wright calls Pease “Mr. Pease,” we are lead to believe that he “slips-up” and calls his superior “Pease.” This breaks out into Morrie and Pease beating Wright to keep him “in his place.”
In Story III, Wright faces another encounter with white men who are “superior” to him because they are white. When his bike becomes unusable, Wright finds himself “lucky” to catch a ride with a group of white men. Wright slips up when he forgets to answer a question with the title “sir.” This leads to the men throwing an empty glass bottle into his face causing him to fall into the road from the vehicle he was only latched to. Yet again, Richard finds himself “lucky” enough again to avoid death from the hand of his “superiors” when assured with, “Nigger, yuh sho better be damn glad it wuz us yuh talked t’ tha’ way. Yuh’re a lucky bastard, ‘cause if yuh’d said tha’ t’ somebody else, yuh might’ve been a dead nigger now.”

Though Wright is learning how to grow up in a world where he is hated because of his skin color, he learns very slowly. Maybe all of the slip-ups are part of the fact that he did not understand why it was that the world was such a way. Or maybe it is because he was too young to realize the reality of what happens when the white man feels threatened. Either way, I believe that Wright was only just a young man who was only learning about the world around him and did not mean to cause himself any harm. Even so, his world was one that wasn’t understanding of his “mistakes.”

Freedom

I define freedom as control over one self’s actions and thoughts. Essentially freedom is a way of thought. I debated in my writings whether or not freedom truly exists. Arguments against segregated public schools are focused on physiological patterns. Such as the way black school children thought of themselves: “ African American children early exhibited self-rejection and self denial. If black children were to develop positive identities, then segregated education had to end” (62). African Americans were immobilized in a way of thought that they were inferior to whites starting from an early age. If one is immediately trained to think a certain way (particularly a negative way), then one does not have freedom. The idea that people learn to identify themselves based on their features versus their character scares me a little. This passage has propelled me to think about where my definition of self comes from.

Monday, July 31, 2006

white barbie or black bratz...

OMG. when i read that story from the civil rights reader, i couldn't believe that i was just like that when i was younger. I always did choose barbie over any other dolls. (that is up untill i started with GI Joe) and i guess it was subconcious to just choose the "white doll" over any doll. I guess however, that being chinese does change things since i grew up in chinatown and there was always gossip as to who married the rich white guy and the bride's father didn't even pay a dowry where as if the girl ran away with a black guy, the bride's father is "disrespected." I mean, i knew there was such a thing as segregation but the fact that it was evident in three year olds is bewildering. My belief of why these kids chose the white doll is because of media. Now that we have cartoons like Dora, Pokemon, Boondocks, etc we are more multicultural and open to more races. Before it was always white characters but now, children are becoming more diversified... which in my mind is good.

FREEDOM...or FREE is dum ?????????

So today in class we had an in-depth conversation about what we felt freedom and what we thought it was. We more or less came to the conclusion that there are different degrees to freedom. Freedom has it's limits such that at a certain stage on our journey to freedom we surpass true freedom and yearn life captive in luxury lifestyles(aka "freedom"). So the question becomes is the idea of being FREE- DUM or can we attain FREEDOM ????

So if my fellow scholars ever find time just jot down a thing or two about what you thought freedom was or is!

My post

I thing my free write for class was nowhere close to what we talked about in class about the state of mind. Which was nowhere close to my definition of "being able to do anything you wish at any time." I wrote this definition down because I thought we had to in the physical sense of freedom and not the mental sense of freedom, which was abstract. Toward the end of the discussion I believe my definition start to some importance by the black people having no freedom by following the Jim Crow laws.

question respond

The Sky is Gray becomes a symbolic short story that analytically portrays the struggle as an African American (colored) individual in the south. A reoccurring statement I picked up on was
"I can't". In the scene with James, his mother, and "the bird" (aka dinner) James clearly utters, "I can't" This trend caused me to wonder why was it so easy for James to say, " I can't"? Is it because most things in his life he was told he couldn't? As an African American "I can't" was a major component of their vocabulary "I can't”, "you can't" they can". It seem as if limiting himself only came natural. Law limited him and eventual began limiting his own potential.
So what was some of the things that James couldn't do? Well James couldn't attend those “big red schools" he past on his way to the dentist, he couldn't sit in front of the bus he paid equal fare to enter, he couldn't be served in a timely manner at a dentist he was sitting in for a very long time, James couldn't be honest with his mother because he knew it would just add to the burden his mother already had, and James couldn't even enjoy a meal without living with the guilt that his mother is just as hungry as he was. So yes indeed "you can't" was a something common to James. The restrictions on James' life only made it easier for him to murmur "I can't" because in actuality he felt he couldn’t. James knew most of the things he couldn't do, places he couldn't go, but one thing James never realize that he COULD DO was use his mind, think and change thing that he couldn't do.

homework #1 "the sky is gray"

In the story, The Sky is Gray by Ernest J. Gaines, there are many references to color. I noticed a trend in the appearance of certain colors. With the color red, it seems as if it occurs when it has affected James or it was something he has directly experienced, such as when his mother forced him to kill the red birds (Gaines 89), when he notices the little girl on the bus, she happens to have on a red coat, and when he passes by the "...big old red school..." (Gaines 93). For James, I think the color red shows emotion he has for things. From the examples, you can see how these three incidents impact him.Other colors apper often too such as black and gray. I think with the color gray, it is used to show things James cannot explain such as "the river is gray" and "the sky is gray" (Gaines 91). The color black is used as something that is common because James says "...I'm go'n get her a red one..." (Gaines 99) referring to buying his mother a new red coat.

The Color Question??

Hey its Katherine and I chose this question:

What did you notice about the use of color in "The Sky Is Gray"? For example, the sky is gray, "the wind is pink," "the grass is black," and many characters throughout the story are wearing either red or black. Do you notice any trends in the appearance of certain colors at specific moments in the story? What moments? Are the appearances of these colors symbolic of some larger meaning?
My response:
In the sky is gray I think the colors that the little boy in the dentist talked about on page 101, has a larger meaning. I think he is trying to say that the only reason why we call grass green or even call grass grass is because someone told us that and that is the way it has to be because that is how everyone follows it. But the boy insists that, for example (just making it up) why can’t we call the grass green. Why should we call it green? Just because you say does it mean that I have to. He also ties it into religion as well and demonstrates how people told us that there is a god. In fact a white man told us that there is a god, so he says. So should we believe that there is a god or if the grass is real green or if the sky is really blue. He challenges the priest and talks about if I think the color of the grass is pink why can’t I say there is no god. I honestly think that it’s a theory or just an opinion. I believe in religion. Yes someone told me to believe it but if you don’t believe in anything than life is nothing. Same as saying if you don’t have a goal in life or believe in faith or have hope for something than you are just living life boring and completely lost.

This is my thought of the day. Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment before leaving the page thank you

Daily life of a Black person

I am amazed at how cautious a Black person has to be everyday of their lives doing the most simplest things, each moment. In "The Ethics of Jim Crow", Richard explains in the beginning that he has been surrounded by Black people everyday, they are who he knew from his childhood. He also mentions that even though his mother warned him to act a certain way around White people, he never fully understand the "right" behavior for a Black person to have around White people. Thus, he cannot be blamed for the mistakes he makes. On his first job, he realizes that he isn't learning as he was told he would do. When he goes to complain, Pease retorts "Nigger, you think you're white, don't you?" and than goes on to say "This is White man's work around here and you better watch yourself!" I think this is his first real lesson on how he was to expect to be treated. He learns that a Black person was not supposed to show any eagerness to learn, because if they were encouraged, they would probably be successful in the future and become a threat to Whites. The White man wanted to keep control of the Black people by keeping them ignorant from what they could have in the world. Its depressing how careful he must have been -- for example when he cannot take off his hat in an elevator full of white men b/c of the packages in his hand, a kind white person takes it off his head, but Richard cannot say thank you b/c he would risk getting hurt.

Survival of the Fittest "College style"

Who will do their work?
Who will stay up?
Who will get annoying morning wake up call?

just so vassar...

this trip just gets better and better. the teachers are unpredictably young, unlike the other professors in other colleges.

life at vassar

this college is amazingly quiet...

Sightings at vassar...
shedia's cheetos stolen by a squirrel.
mystery roads that instead of forking break into six different paths.

i'll be back soon

1st Writing Assignment

For tonight's posting, write an informal response to EITHER the reading for Tuesday from the Civil Rights Reader, or to the two stories you read for Monday. Make sure that your reactions to the reading are supported by textual evidence, using quotes, paraphrasing and other devices to let your readers know where your statements and claims are coming from.

Here are some possibilities for what you might write about. You can either answer one of the questions below, or discuss something else you found compelling in Tuesday's reading.

  • How does your definition of freedom from your in-class freewrite today fit into (or not fit into) the arguments against segregation documented in pages 61-96?

  • In "The Sky Is Gray" and "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow," two young boys come to understand how to cope with the racist attitudes behind segregation. How do Richard's and James's experiences compare to Kenneth B. Clark's discoveries in "How Children Learn About Race"? In what ways are they similar or different?

  • What did you notice about the use of color in "The Sky Is Gray"? For example, the sky is gray, "the wind is pink," "the grass is black," and many characters throughout the story are wearing either red or black. Do you notice any trends in the appearance of certain colors at specific moments in the story? What moments? Are the appearance of these colors symbolic of some larger meaning?

  • In class today, we learned about the difference between de facto and de jure segregation. Where did you find de facto and/or de jure segregation being addressed in pgs. 61-96 of the Civil Rights Reader? How did the two forms of segregation overlap?
    • (Taking it even further): Did the examples you found adequately or inadequately address the problems of segregation, and why?
If none of these questions are particularly interesting to you, write your response on something else in the reading you found worth exploring! Just be sure to direct us to places in the text that provoked your response.
Don't forget to comment on at least one other person's post!

hello out there....

hello scholars! im extremely tired.... lol what does everyone think about so far about the classes?

(= Im in VASSAR n this is COOL =) ** WHAT DO U LIKE SO FAR ABOUT IT???

ATTENTION "FREE" money...

Well that got your attention rather quickly. Today was our first college class at Vassar and basically tried to define what is freedom. In my opinion freedom is an intangible right. You can search through the any crevice of this earth and I wouldn’t think that there would ever be any object out comparable to the feeling of freedom. Fifty years ago, if we spoke about freedom as we said in class we would want to ride our bike down the street without having the fear instilled in your mind that you are possibly going to be killed. It just really amazes me that if we did not have any freedom we would be just a figment of reality. No individual expression, no intellect minds to hold your thoughts. Overall we'll end up like the people so called "utopia" the government was trying to implement in the book 1984 by George Orwell. Also to freedom there are certain limitations because the government of course has implemented laws to maintain order. However, some people would go beyond "the call of duty" and risk to break the law and use "their freedom" as their loophole from their mischievous acts.... Well, if anyone wants to agree. Disagree; comments on anything just tap the button on the bottom.... SCHOLARS!!

hi

this is fun

hola Que Tal

hey it's me Shedia Christopher And i'm just stoppin by to shed some light on this dull blog....Shedia brightens every1's day ...lol

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Welcome!

Welcome to your blog, SEO Scholars at Vassar College! You each will be able to post short responses to materials from your course, the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, on this site.