Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Islamic Feminism (Global Citizen Project)

So, I've been doing this project all year where basically I've had to research about Islamic Feminism. Think Feminism, but from a Muslim standpoint. Before you get all up in arms about the veil or whatever, I'm gonna just do a quick info dump on y'all right here.
*boop* (this ones negative so you can see how people are total ******** about all this)

In short; those articles are about how Muslim women need to stop being treated like crap by not only other Muslims, but by people around the world. We're all pretty much Muslim women's Regina George, in that they've been personally victimized by....everyone.

I had to do some research on some women in the movement too, and I'll add more later (probably) but it's 10:30 at night and I'm tired and I'll just give you the gist.

Malala Yousafzai- she's that girl that got shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking up for girls education in Muslim countries. She's pretty kick ass actually. She's only 17 and she's already won a Nobel prize, and raised a crap ton (somewhere in the millions) of money to build schools and encourage girls education.
This  is a pretty cool comic about her if y'all wanna check her out.

Shahla Sherket- She's even more kickass than Malala if you could believe it. She founded this magazine called Zanan that was pretty much the only thing calling out all the crap going on in the Muslim world. Of course, that pissed people off so they shut down the magazine (pst...she made another one that does the same thing but don't tell nobody). She's won a bunch of awards for journalism and standing up for women's rights, and she's got a masters in women's studies, and she's been arrested for her work (how metal is that?), and just she's super cool and inspiring and I love her?

So anyway, this is gonna require LOTS of editing eventually, but for now, I hope you learned something about Islamic Feminism. This has been a neato project, and I've learned a lot.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Distance Between Us Artifact #5

This article is about the situation with immigrants who are minors, and how the government is  dealing with the situation.

In the first 6 months of 2014, Louisiana courts have faced hundreds of juvenile immigrant cases. This is when a child enters the country without an adult. Last year, the Lousiana only had 540 cases through the whole year. Three years ago it was 71. Other parts of the country like California and Texas have even more cases like this, and the country overall has 375,503 pending cases of child immigration.

A big part of the problem isn't how many unaccompanied children there are, but how few lawyers there are to represent them. Louisiana is the focus of this article, because New Orleans draws the most unaccompanied children out of every city in the U.S. The problem is that there are only a handful of nonprofit lawyers who are willing to represent them. Because of this, children are forced to go into courts by themselves, without any legal representation. At the end of June, the New Orleans Immigration Court had 1,216 pending juvenile immigration cases, 81% of which the child didn't have a lawyer.

Juvenile immigration has become a big problem in recent years for the U.S, and we don't really know how to deal with it. Lawyers aren't willing to represent kids who don't have any money, and we can't just grant them citizenship because they're children. This creates a legal and moral dilemma. Should the kids get a break out of the goodness of our hearts? Or should we lay down the law?

What if Reyna, Mago, and Carlos had ended up going to the U.S by themselves? They would've had to deal with both the dangerous journey to the U.S, and try and understand the entire legal process of getting in (without knowing English). That's what these kids have to face. They just want to get away from the violence or poverty that plagues their country of origin and try to have a better life.

If I've learned anything from doing these reflections, it's that the U.S needs to change how we handle immigration. We need better regulation of who we let in and why. We need to get more lawyers to represent immigrants so they have a fair chance to getting into the country. Basically we need a whole immigration reform so that we can stick by our American principles of 'liberty and justice for all'.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Distance Between Us Artifact #4

This article is about a U.S citizen (an 11 year old boy) who was held in custody because there was confusion over his citizenship. This article reveals the attitude towards immigrants, and the overall carelessness of the situation.

In Artesia New Mexico, an 11 year old boy and his mother were held in a detention center for over a month. Both of the boy's parents are immigrants from Central America, but the boy's father is a U.S citizen. Even though the boy was born outside of the U.S, immigration law says that since his dad is a U.S citizen, the boy is too. Both the boy and his mother have been released. The article didn't say how they were arrested in the first place, but they were most likely coming from their country of origin to meet up with the father.

This case brings to light the entire issue with the immigration system we have in the U.S. With hundreds of thousands of immigrants coming into the U.S, it is nearly impossible to process all of these people to check if their legal or not. There are also weird laws that we have to pay attention to, like a person can come into the country if they have this sort of relation, but not this sort. It's impossible to show the amount of attention required for each case, which is how a U.S citizen ended up being detained for so long.

This is the sort of thing that immigrants like Reyna live in fear of. They don't want to be arrested for trying to get a better life. This is why coyotes exist, so immigrants can get into the country and have a chance of getting in. I think we need to change the system so that it's more efficient and we can be more careful about who we are letting in, and how they're getting in. We should also make getting into the country more accessible, so that people don't have to sneak in.

The Distance Between Us Artifact #3

This article is about the impact that immigration has on the economy. More specifically, the job market.

Basically, immigration has a very large affect on a state's economy. As the amount of Hispanic immigrants increases in states like Texas, Arizona, Florida, and Georgia, the economy grows. These states have more money, and more jobs available. Texas created 50,000 jobs in July 2014 alone.

This may be because immigrants are very mobile workers. This means that they are willing to move around to find low-skilled jobs, such as cleaning jobs.  Lower skilled American workers are less likely to move to a different state for a low paying job. Because these immigrants are willing to move around, they create a mobile labor market, which creates more jobs. Then, this creates faster economic growth.

Honestly, this sort of stuff isn't very interesting to me. Jobs and economics and math and all that junk. But this does explain why immigrant workers usually have the hands on, low paying jobs. There are other factors to it of course, like people not wanting to hire immigrants for higher paying jobs. Another factor is the education level of the immigrants. For example, Papi only had a third grade education, and didn't speak English. A handyman's job was probably the only thing that he (and others like him) could do to make a living

The fact that immigrants actually help the economy in some ways is an interesting perspective. Normally we focus on how they are stealing jobs from "good ol' Americans". I don't usually pay attention to this sort of stuff, but at least now I know the part of the good side of immigrants coming in. I'm sure there are many more benefits to immigrants besides this.

On an unrelated note, I did a google search of The Distance Between Us, and discovered that there is a song by the Norwegian band "Far Lippo Lippi" called The Distance Between Us. If this book ever gets made into a movie, I demand that this song is the theme.

The Distance Between Us Artifact #2

The Graduates- The Girls

This is a documentary by Bernardo Ruiz is about three Latina girls who are struggling to graduate from high school. Darlene is a teenage mother. She has a two year old son named Alex, and dropped out of high school in order to raise him. Stephanie lives in a neighborhood with gang violence, and goes to a high minority school that doesn't do its best for its students. Chastity's family is homeless, and she uses school as her refuge from home problems.

These girls are in very similar situations (or what could've been) to what Reyna faced when she was a teenager. In fact, Reyna did face the threat of gangs and her sister Betty became a teenage mom. There were other problems that Reyna (and many girls like Reyna) faced that come with being a Latina teenager. Problems like discrimination, bullying, differences in language/culture, and many more.

However, these girls did what many people, despite race, couldn't do. They graduated high school, or are very close to doing so, and are on their way to college and better opportunities. They each overcame their problems and focused on their education. Even though the odds were not in their favor, they did it.

This was really eye opening for me, because I never really thought about the sort of things that would get in the way of getting a high school diploma. I guess living in PC will do that to a person. But there are lots of outside influences that affect education like being sick, living in a dangerous place, economic problems, and more. It would be really hard to focus on math if you're responsible for an entire baby! Reyna also had lots of problems that affected school (mostly college) due to her father's abuse and economic problems.

 When people talk about how minorities are always dropping out of high school, they should keep these sort of problems in mind, and find a way to work around them to get the most kids to graduate high school.

The Distance Between Us Artifact #1

This article is about the general attitude that white Americans have towards immigrants (especially Mexicans).

Everyone has different feelings on immigration. Some people approve of lots of immigrants coming into the country, and others think it isn't okay. Some think that immigrants from certain countries are better than immigrants from other countries. Despite the problem, the group who usually does the judging and the deciding are white people. So what do white people think about immigration?

A study conducted by Ted Brader and Elizabeth Suhay, white Americans were given news stories about increasing immigration. Half of the articles were negative (immigration is bad), and half of them were positive (immigration is good!). Naturally, the people with the negative stories were less supportive of immigration.

However, that wasn't the only thing that the researchers were studying. The articles, along with being positive or negative, would focus on either a Mexican immigrant named Jose Sanchez, or Nikolai Vandinsky from Russia. The study showed that anyone with the article about Jose Sanchez, despite being positive or negative, were less supportive of immigration. They found the same results when they replaced Nikolai with a Dutch man.

What if Reyna had been Chinese rather than Mexican? Would she have been respected more in school? Would her life have been any easier? What if she had been South African, or German, or Egyptian? What about the people of other races that were in Reyna's life?, She had Asian friends, an Italian sitter, and a Greek teacher. They probably had very different experiences than Reyna because of their nationalities and races. Race and nationality play an important part in anyone's life, even though nobody wants it to.

Though I understand these people's thinking, I don't agree with it. I'm pretty sure that these people's attitudes are based on misinformation, stereotypes, and plain old bias. Where immigrants are from shouldn't make a difference of how we treat them. However, I understand that racism and this sort of prejudice won't be fixed so easily. The best thing we can do is accept people for who they are and treat them the same as anyone else.

Friday, May 16, 2014

An End of the Year Review

Well guys, this is the last graded assignment for this blog, which means that I probably won't post much after this (though I might get bored over the summer).
I've been saving this review for a while, cus I wanted to do this for my last one.
It's a review of this entire project.

Background of the project for the, like, two people who aren't in my English class:
We got this big project at the beginning of the year to make a blog about whatever you want, and post weekly. This blog was the result of that project. This is all very lucky for you, dear readers, because where would you be if you didn't have your weekly posts from yours truly.

Over the year, I've been wondering why Mr. P decided to make this project. It seemed like an inconvenience to make an assignment where you'd have to grade 100+ badly written posts every week.
I've come up with three reasons.

1. Better student/teacher communication:
If I was a teacher, I'd want students to feel open about talking to me about whatever the heck they wanted. I'm not sure if Mr. P shares this opinion, but for my argument's sake I'll assume he does. These blogs would be a great way to get to know your students, and see what they enjoy. Also, if the students are like me and get super awkward when they talk to a teacher ((which is a constant problem of mine, and I'm fairly sure that my percussion teacher thinks I have a disorder because I just can't answer his questions without completely panicking)), this project is helpful for getting opinions and ideas across.

2. Better student/student communication:
One thing that I've really liked about these blogs is that you can get insight on your fellow students. Like, it's cool to go on your friend's blogs and see what they post about and then joke with them about it later.
But it's also cool to see the blogs of people who you aren't great friends with, or want to be friends with. Like, maybe you talked to one guy in class and found out that he's in honors English, so he has a blog. You can go on it and find out stuff about him, and then you can talk to him about stuff he likes next time you see him.
Is that creepy?
I really hope not......but then again, this is the internet. The views from random people in Singapore should have reminded you that these blogs are public.

3. Writing practice:
Of course since this is an English assignment, it does make sense to have all this writing practice. A lot of kids have improved on their general spelling/conventions skills since the beginning of this project.
What stinks (for me at least) is that this isn't the type of writing I need to practice. I mainly write stories, so this casual blogging style isn't what I need to work on.

There is one benefit to this project that doesn't really relate to English, but I think most students will agree with.

1.Getting to show off:
Face it, we're all awkward teenagers that suck at communicating with each other. We're especially bad about coming out about our talents. This is a good way to show off our stuff without seeming too braggy.
People can show off their art skills, or writing skills, cooking, humor, music, or whatever the heck else they want to.
Blogging is a really nice platform for showing off what you can do, and I'm glad that a lot of students took advantage of that, because that was the most fun part about this project.

What I think about my own blog:
I'm actually pretty proud of myself with this blog. I know it isn't anything that I'll look at in 20 years and be like 'This is one damn good blog', but it could've been a LOT worse. I was thinking about doing a blog about my life, and trust me, you should be glad that I didn't post about my weekend LoTR marathon.
A review blog was a good match for me. I have a lot of opinions, but don't talk about them much because people get bored after a few minutes. This was a good way to get thoughts out without boring everyone to death.
Overall, this came out pretty well. It isn't popular, but it's a fun little blog that I can laugh about in the future.

This is definitely one of the best projects I've ever done. Though it was a pain in the butt to have to think of something to make a post on and get it in by Friday night, it was a load of fun. The entire experience of blogging and making this weird community was strange and awesome. Thanks for the opportunity Mr. P!