Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Vote for Comment of the Week

Something different this week: all from one article...

Student #1 left a new comment on your post "Racist? Why Not Multicultural?":

I agree with the previous comments that the school is probably not serving various cultural dishes to the students, and I am all for introducing children to different cultures and flavors. However, discriminating against the sandwich is ridiculous. I'm going to say that the school believes sandwiches are what white kids eat. This is probably due to the fact that Anglo-Saxon England coined the term "sandwich" for the Earl of Sandwich. But I guess the school didn't know that the first sandwich was made by a Jewish man who placed meat inside two pieces of matzah. And I guess the school didn't know that flatbreads were used to wrap and scoop up food in Western Asia and Northern Africa, making the sandwich a multicultural dish. Not only is the sandwich tasty, but it is easy to eat with your hands on the go. I also don't understand what the definition of "racist" is in this school. Just by assuming that certain cultures like to eat certain foods is racist. I guess they can't serve pasta because that would only appeal to Italian children. And I guess they can't serve hamburgers and hot dogs because that would only appeal to the German children. Like Jess said, this country is a melting pot. We all came to this country as immigrants and slowly began to accept several cultures. If the school gets rid of sandwiches, wouldn't that be (by their terms) racist against white children? I believe that is called "reverse racism." I wonder what food the school will deem acceptable to eat. I'm going to say that they will try to find an American food that can be eaten by any culture. What is American food anyway? Everything was stolen from other countries! I guess we will have to give American children Deep Fried Oreos, Buffalo Wings, and Turduckens for lunch from now on. 
Student #2 left a new comment on your post "Racist? Why Not Multicultural?":
I thought long and hard about if I should even comment on this… but this little paragraph below told me I should:

"Me? Well, I am finally going to quit fighting the obvious. I spend a lot of time criticizing the policies of our President and his administration and am considered a racist because of it. Oprah says so. Al Sharpton says so. So many say so I'm tired of denying it"

I think that the author just wanted to write something and they did. I am happy that they now know that they are racist. Welcome to a large club. Now moving on with my thoughts!

As per usual people like to side track the public from the bigger racist issues facing the world and concentrate on the stupid, insignificant babble to make it appear as though everyone who uses the word "racist" is just throwing it around nowadays. I HAVE NO PATIENCE FOR NONSENSE LIKE THIS! Why talk about a sandwich?? Why, but if we must talk about food, so be it. I cannot comment on what schools in America serve, as I have only attended ONE which has a high population of international students, therefore they try their hardest to be very INCLUSIVE. When you cater to a large international population you have to. Does that happen in other schools? Probably not! If we want to discuss this food thing and non-inclusive and inclusive food, then let us do it. Let's change menus every week to include options for all types of kids; Muslim, Indian, Caribbean, Japanese, Chinese, African, American, Cuban, etc. Let's be INCLUSIVE. Which I think is the word that they were looking for. Don't worry it happens all the time, people like to misuse words to have better articles.

Why not focus on the REAL RACIST ISSUES.. Like the little girl who was asked to TAME her hair at a private school because it was seen as distracting. Why not talk about Trevon. Why not talk about schools selecting plays which do not cater to the black student population. Why not talk about the real issues instead of dancing around it with more insulting concoctions such as a sandwich! Really? Let's talk about how some students would drop racist comments in classes, but teachers would say nothing. Let's talk about how the KKK is allowed to hold meetings in 2013! Let's talk about how people think that it is OKAY to have black jokes or how black people actually allow it.

Let us get to the real issues.

I can't entertain this any further! God be with us all! 
Student #3 left a new comment on your post "Racist? Why Not Multicultural?":
***After reading the original article from The Examiner, I re-thought my stance on this argument and needed to amend my thoughts to come from an informed place.***

"This, according to the powers that be is indicative of our exercising our "white privilege". I didn't even know there was such a thing." For the record after I read this completely ignorant and obtuse statement this author completely lost me and I stopped caring about what the author had to say. But for the purpose of being able to make an informed and relevant argument (something this author clearly has no interest in doing) I muscled through.

This article and author completely missed the point. I don't necessarily agree that labeling PB and J's as racist is right. Not because I disagree with the rational behind the argument but because I think the term racist is incorrect and focuses the argument in the wrong direction. I think that the more appropriate term would be un-inclusive. PB and J sandwiches are not inclusive. The original point behind describing PB and J sandwiches’ as racist comes from the food being used as an example in class, and “what about Somali or Hispanic students who don’t eat sandwiches.” I'm not going to regale you with my awful experiences in public schools and feeling like an outsider because what I ate at home was different then what my peers ate. But that did shape the way that I engaged or rather did not engage with my fellow elementary school kids and didn’t feel comfortable asking certain questions to my teachers because I thought I was weird or different. Knowing about my past experiences with being culturally isolated and thinking about how using that as an example in class or in an exercises would make me feel as a child, alienating me from my peers is not the type of environment one should be creating in a classroom. And for my Mom who paid taxes, money that goes into my education, why should I have to feel that way?

And honestly for this author to say that the problem of a PB and J comes from the word “sandwich” and how it’s “indicative of white privilege”...That’s not the point. It’s not about the stupid sandwich. It’s about student’s not being able to relate or understand something and this is a block in their education. The sandwich is just an example. The larger issue is that that multiculturalism isn't supported or a priority in schools and that's wrong. Also a lot of this authors argument is really unsupported, she makes a lot of stupid comments about people blowing something up out of proportion, while not even addressing the original issue or posing solutions or compromise! 

She complains about how ridiculous it is that we are considering a silly food item as racist, but it really is about raising awareness about being inclusive and supporting all students!

And finally, a few of my peers mention the term melting pot, and that it's not our job to "cater to other cultures". Newsflash, America's composed of many other cultures, and if public education is meant to educate and serve the community, then it definitely should be considerate and proactive about making students feel safe and nurtured about having and learning about different cultures. You view "catering to somebody else's culture" as being a problem? Well I think cultural supremacy is a larger one. And it's not catering, it's making the world a more inclusive place. If you have a problem with that then you should really reassess why you think that way.
Student #4 left a new comment on your post "Racist? Why Not Multicultural?":
PB and J's are racist. I'm sorry can we all just take a second to look at that sentence. Okay good. Now someone please tell me why this is even a thing?

I understand that we can't solve the "race" problem in our country by not talking about it, but being as superficial and might I say stupid about the topic as to call PB and J's racist, or to say that we don't used enough multicultural names in our classrooms is just plain perposturous. Also, on the note of using multicultural names and cultural foods in lessons, I would like to point out that I am half black and first generation on my paternal side and yet my name is entirely american and I grew up eating, guess what PB and J. If anything, these silly assumptions of what racism is diminishes the reality of what it actually is racism.

I would like to take a moment now to urge you all to disregard the blog post we are all commenting on as it sorely misses the point of the article it was based on and ask you to read the real article by the examiner.

The point is that our terminology in the classroom ostracizes students. The reason that our minority students are not engaged in the classroom is because they feel no connection to word problems like " joe eats two PB and J sandwiches…". I'm sorry but does anyone feel a connection to those problems? I sure don't. If you want to engage students in the classroom, make you're lectures engaging. It's not an issue of color, and I find it astounding that people still think that the color of ones skin or their ethnicity is the reason they are failing in school.

There are a few different type of students. Their are those who will find interest in what ever you present to them because they are just naturally curious. Then there are those who don't want to learn and don't want to try but they have parents who push them to try harder, or in some cases parents who pay someone else to push their children to try harder in school and last there are those you don't have a desire to learn in the classroom and don't have anyone out side of the classroom to push them for a myriad of reasons. That might be due to socioeconomic status, that might just be apathy, but blaming it on race and cultural differences misses the point altogether.

This whole issue isn't a race one, its an educational one pushed towards race by misunderstanding. Then again if society it saying that PB and J's are racist, the problem with our education system is a little more obvious than we'd like to think. 
Student #5  left a new comment on your post "Racist? Why Not Multicultural?":
I was confused by this article, since it's very vague about why sandwiches are actually racist, so I to the actual source and read the article about the school (the link to which is hidden very far down in the article, which makes me suspicious that this author wasn't trying to make a point about this actual occurrence, but rather use it as a base for a rather tangential argument). The whole sandwiches-are-racist thing was something that the principal used as an example of "racism," although I think it's more an example of white culture being predominant in all of our educational system. The situation was that if a teacher asked a question mentionning a PB&J sandwich (for example, a math problem involving John eating a sandwich a day for 3 weeks), it might alienate kids who never eat PB&J sandwiches. It's the same concept as using multicultural names in word problems instead of just "white" ones- if you're teaching a class full of "black and brown boys" using examples of sandwiches when they've only ever eaten tortillas, it's going to alienate them and make them care less about the class.

It's a bizarre and irrelevant example of something that is an actual problem- that curriculum are often very focused on white culture. For example, how many dead white men did we learn about in history class? I know I only read one book by a black female author in high school. Institutionalized racism is an actual and serious problem that needs to be addressed, but when it is obsessed over to this level it begins looking silly, which defeats the purpose of the entire cause.

With that being said, this whole thing is a little bit silly- both the original statement of PB&J sandwiches being racist, as well as the fact that this was actually taken seriously enough to be reported as news, and then this guy's total overreaction to it.

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