May 14 2012

Cover Letter

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When I first registered for this class I didn’t know what to expect. I liked the way the class was broken down into focusing on just Latino Literature. Honestly, before this class I was never familiar with Latino authors or literary works. I really enjoyed reading the poetry and short stories by these Latino Authors. Overall, I thought the class was well organized and that as a professor you were fair with grades and deadlines. I enjoyed the lectures and learned a great deal about how to write and do close readings and feel that because of this class my close reading and writing skills have improved. I think the idea of doing the 40 blog posts was a good idea because it helps a lot at the end when writing the final paper and is a good way to boost grades. I liked the technique of the PIE paragraphs, I think it was a good way to pull the text apart and interpret quotes. I have taken many English classes and never wrote a PIE paragraph and that is something that I will use in the future when writing papers. This class also made me aware of the use of “to be” verbs and how using less “to be” verbs makes writing flow and sound much clearer, I will definitely take that into consideration when writing other papers in the future as well. I also liked the way you would put the class notes on the blog and would make an outline for the responses and final paper, which was really helpful along with the sample essays you showed us in class to help us with our own work. I thought you were an excellent professor and I learned a great deal from your class, you helped me improve my writing and how to interpret texts which will help me in the future as an English Education major.  Hope you have a great summer!

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May 12 2012

Negativity Of Code Switching: Assimilating To The English Language

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Mexican American novelist Richard Rodriguez put the consequences of English monolingualism and subsequent dissonant acculturation in a more poignant personal vein: “I knew that I had turned to English only with angry reluctance…I felt that I shattered the intimate bond that once held the family close… I was not proud of my mother and father.. I was embarrassed by their lack of education… simply what mattered to me was that they were not like my teachers. (Portes/Rivas 232)

This quote has significant relation to the text “Aria” by Richard Rodriguez in the sense that it refers to the idea of code switching and assimilating to the English language. This quote supports the idea of how language has significance to people’s cultures and has meaning behind it that reflects a person’s identity. In the view of Richard Rodriguez he approaches the idea of assimilating to the English language with great negativity. For instance, “I knew I had turned to English only with angry reluctance…I felt I had shattered the intimate bond that once held the family close..” This quote from Rodriguez shows how he did not support the idea of assimilating to the English language leaving his native language behind. It shows the great significance of language and how a person should always hold on to their native language because that language connects to their identity. In this case Rodriguez doesn’t support the idea of code switching since he feels that switching over from his native language to only English as his primary language makes him feel empty and disconnected from his identity and native language.  I found the last line of this quote to hold significance when he states “simply what mattered to me was that they were not like my teachers”; I felt that this shows how the process of assimilation can be difficult for immigrant families and their children and how the children start to recognize how their parents are not able to help them like their teachers because their parents are unfamiliar with the English language whereas their teachers help them assimilate to the English language through their education.

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May 12 2012

Striving For Success: Being Bilingual Has Its Benefits

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Recent studies consistently report that students coming from bilingual and bicultural background have higher test scores, higher probability of high school graduation, and a higher probability of attending college. ( Portes/Rivas 232)

This relates to the film “Immersion” due to the idea of how it mentions bilingual education and the progress of the students assimilating to the US. The young boy Moises comes from a Spanish speaking family and attends school where the primary language spoken at home, English seems foreign to him. Even though Moises does not understand the English language and attends ESL classes he has higher performance skills than some of the other students in the class. This quote supports the idea that Moises, an immigrant learning to assimilate to the English language is viewed as achieving higher than other students in the school system that already have more familiarity with the English language. Moises set aside a lot of dedication to his school work and put a lot of time and effort into the classes he attended in school achieving higher than other students which shows how he will most likely succeed in the future since he takes his work so seriously even at such a young age.

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May 07 2012

Applying Stereotypical Labels: Prejudice And Discrimination Against Latinos In American Society

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For my final paper I would like to focus on the idea of Latinos assimilating to the US mainstream and the common stereotypes that they face in terms of language. I would like to discuss the idea of English as a Second Language (ESL) and how the children of Latino immigrant families face stereotypes in schools because they are unfamiliar with the English language bringing on hardships for these Latino children. I will apply the idea of the critical lens Structuralism incorporating how code-switching, the mixing of the two different languages, English and Spanish are integrated into the school system. I will focus on the aesthetic texts that show the idea of the hardships that Latinos face through the idea of assimilation along with focusing on texts that show stereotypes towards the Latino population as well, especially in the direction of ESL students. I would like to focus on the poem “Refugee Ship” by Lorna Dee Cervantes, “The Wrong Lunch Line” by Nicholas Mohr, “Aria” by Richard Rodriguez, and “What’s In A Spanish Name?” by Jose Antonio Burciaga. These texts show the idea of stereotypes and the importance of language and how language has changed due to the idea of assimilation taking over, it also shows the idea of the hybrid and how the cultures mix together creating a “new” type of language in some ways.

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May 07 2012

Documented/Undocumented

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I live smack in the fissure between two worlds, in the infected wound: half a block from the end of Western Civilization and four miles from the start of the Mexican-American border, the northernmost point of Latin America. ( Gomez-Pena 2081)

Guillermo Gomez-Pena does not agree with the idea of assimilation and becoming apart of the mainstream. In the essay “Documented/Undocumented” the idea of rejecting the mainstream, or dominant trend of American culture is portrayed throughout the text. The author describes living in a “fissure between two different worlds” which describes how the author is caught between the two different cultures and how they are caught in between the splitting point or crack of falling into the mainstream. The author refers to the idea of living between these two different worlds as being a part of an “infected wound”. This can refer to the idea of how mainstreaming takes over a persons culture through the process of assimilation and how the assimilation into the mainstream will eventually take over the Western civilization and reach the Mexican-American border as well as the northernmost point of Latin America spreading as if it is an “infected wound.”

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May 02 2012

“Refugee Ship”

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Mama raised me without language. I’m orphaned from my Spanish name. The words are foreign, stumbling on my tongue. I see in the mirror my reflection: bronzed skin, black hair. (Cervantes 2011)

Cervantes describes the idea of how she was raised in a household that spoke English as the first language. She explains how she was raised not knowing her native language and referred to this as being “orphaned from her Spanish name”, meaning how she had a Spanish name and yet she did not carry on the Spanish language because it had been unfamiliar to her growing up. She refers to the Spanish language as “the words are foreign, stumbling on my tongue” meaning how the language was not easy for her to understand and how she was not able to pronounce the words correctly. This quote fits the idea of assimilation because the Spanish family has come to America and they do not carry on their native language, the parents taught their children English and they speak English in their household showing how they have assimilated into the American culture. The quote also shows the idea of how she states, “I see in the mirror my reflection: bronzed skin, black hair” meaning she has the Spanish appearance, but doesn’t not speak or understand the Spanish language because her family has assimilated to the American culture speaking English. This idea of assimilation she refers to as being aboard the “refugee ship” because she has left behind her Spanish culture and language.

 

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Apr 30 2012

ESL: Integration of LEP Students into the Classroom

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Yet regular classroom teachers are unprepared in how to integrate the LEP student into the regular classroom. (Penfield 21)

There have been a large amount of immigrants coming to America, allowing for immigrant students to come into the school systems speaking a language that is not English as their primary language. This leaves the teachers in a classroom setting “unprepared” because these teachers are not familiar with how to handle a classroom with LEP students. There are many different ways to solve the “unpreparedness” of these teachers by having a plan in the classroom environment so that these students don’t feel isolated from their peers. The teacher should be familiar with the language that the student speaks and should try to make the classroom environment as equal as possible, for instance, the teacher should try to involve the students in group work so that the students are able to interact with one another, making it easier for the LEP students to not feel left out.

A majority of the respondents (61%) viewed the regular classroom setting as better suited for LEP students than a segregated setting. A smaller number (21%) preferred the bilingual education setting, and an even smaller number (18%) chose self-contained or ESL only setting.(Penfield 26)

This idea of having the LEP students in a regular classroom setting has been established that this is the proper approach for the learning environment of an LEP student. This idea will do away with a majority of the stereotypes that these students faced when they are segregated into a different environment. There was a low percentage that preferred having the ESL only class setting which shows that some do think that having the ESL students in a separate learning environment will help them learn better. Although having ESL classes where the students are separated from the regular classroom setting can be seen as a positive idea, it brings upon a lot of stereotypes and discrimination towards the students making them feel out of place in the classroom. This idea can also be presented by having the students in the regular classroom setting as well, but the teacher is able to take control of the classroom setting to try and make the LEP students feel involved in the regular classroom setting by having them interact with the other students and they can also gain help from being around these other students that are familiar with the language.

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Apr 26 2012

Sixteen: “Exploiting The Less Fortunate”

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This poem talks about the way in which the Mexican people face discrimination and prejudice. It discusses the hardships that illegal, undocumented immigrants face throughout their lives. These Mexican people are discriminated against in America being “used” and “tortured” treated unfairly due to their rank in society. These Mexican people strive to find work and are given the worst jobs and pay because they are looked at through stereotypes, being their low rank in society, they are viewed as cheap labor because people assume that they have no education and are willing to work these terrible jobs for low wages.

Lacking citizenship papers but with heart, soul, and mind full of dreams worked and not paid, greeted when needed but after their work is finished crowded into cattle cars, truck beds, vans, jail cells, livestock pens, shot electrocuted, beaten exiled, robbed, jeered at, blamed, because they believe in the American Dream we take for granted. (1848)

This basically explains the hardships and extremely cruel acts the Mexican immigrants have faced coming to assimilate to the United States. The Mexican immigrants come to the United States looking for work so that they can “fulfill their dreams” and yet they are taken advantage of and treated poorly. For instance, they are “greeted when needed” meaning they are only good enough and seen valuable to people when they can perform hard work for cheap labor and then they are taken away to be “tortured” in such a way that involves them being taken to “jail cells, being shot, electrocuted, beaten, robbed” all because they came to America to fulfill a dream that they want to strive for to be successful. The American Dream is something that people in the United States strive for and want other people to be able to achieve by immigrating to America to share this dream and yet these people have tried to achieve this dream and have only been treated with torture and unfair acts.

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Apr 18 2012

“Aria”: Assimilating to American Culture

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Richard Rodriguez’s Aria  describes the ideas of assimilation to the US and how many immigrants have a difficult time adjusting to the American lifestyles learning to live a whole new life. The argument here is assimilation a positive thing or a negative thing? In my opinion I believe assimilation has both its positives and negatives, but in the end I believe it to be more of a positive idea. I believe that learning English is important if immigrants are going to come to America, but I also find it ignorant if we don’t accept other peoples cultures and languages as well because the US is supposedly seen as a great place to come to and the US should accept the different cultures and be open to these different languages because if everyone spoke one language that would take away from the diversity of the world. The diversity of the US is what makes it unique, yes the people who come to the US should be open to our culture and know our language but we should not discriminate against them and force them to follow strictly only our culture. Assimilation in this case in the reading the young boy Ricardo experiences the differences in language in the US compared to Mexico. Ricardo for the first time heard his name in English “Richard” and he was embarrassed that his parents could not speak the English language correctly, I don’t think that immigrants should be ashamed of not being able to speak English perfectly because even some Americans don’t know how to speak English properly and these are people who were born in the US. I believe that immigrants that come to the US should just be open to learning our language at least and if they speak English with an accent it is nothing to be ashamed of because at least they are trying their best to assimilate the best they can to a culture that is unfamiliar to their own.

We lived among the gringos and only a block away from the biggest, whitest houses. It never occurred to my parents that they couldn’t live wherever they chose.(Rodriguez 1576)

This quote from the text shows how Ricardo knew him and his family were different and stood out in the neighborhood they lived in. It shows how they were confident and worked hard to achieve what they wanted in life . It also shows how they tried to assimilate into the white culture because they lived “among the gringos” even though they weren’t white they lived in the same neighborhood, which showed that they weren’t ashamed of who they were and wanted to be able to achieve what the white community had achieved by living among the “gringo” society. This shows how his family wanted to assimilate and fit in even though they were not considered American.

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Apr 17 2012

“Race in America”

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The video series brings out the conflict of stereotypes directed towards the different races in society. Racism is something that has come about and many groups face racism in America over time. In the video we see the idea of racism directed toward the white and black populations, in this case white is considered the “good” or “liked” race whereas black is the “bad” or “not liked” race. The children had associated white with being “smart” and “pretty” and black as being “dumb” and “ugly”. I found it interesting how only one or two of the children that were interviewed picked all the skin tones as being equal and didn’t think race mattered stating that it was about who the person was as a whole, not about the color of their skin that mattered. I thought the mother’s reaction was interesting to see because it shows how parents need to talk to their children more about the topic of race so that they are aware of the idea. The mother reacted by crying because she was surprised at her daughter’s response and this showed how the child only associated those pictures that appeared to look the same as she did. I also found it interesting how the African American young girl responded stating how “race doesn’t matter and that either skin tone looks good.” The most interesting part of the video I believed to be the interview with all the parents of the children. The parents are a huge influence on what their children believe along with the media. For instance, one parent brought up the idea of watching television shows that have criminals in them and usually the criminals are of darker skin tones directing the stereotype that darker is considered with being “bad”. The parents also stated how not only the media influences the children’s thoughts on race but also the type of neighborhood they live in and how open their families are to talk about race because the children need to be aware of race being it is something that will surround them in everyday life. Children need to be open to race and understand that not everyone they encounter in life will look the same as them and that there are “good” and “bad” in every race. These videos are related to the Latino race in some way, in the case of Haiti vs. Dominican Republic. These two groups are very close to each other and yet they are discriminated against with many stereotypes just because they vary from very light skin to very dark skin.

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