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No one likes being bored, this is the reason the entertainment industry makes so much money every year. Every week professional athletes put their bodies on the line to entertain the public. But the question is do sports fans value entertainment more than safety? Sports such as football, boxing, and bull riding are very physically demanding jobs, everyday people are seriously injured from doing these activities. People keep supporting the sports industry even though it is dangerous to the players just because it is entertaining.

In recent years, the NFL has been doing research to see the long term effect of football on its players. These studies are the result of former players now starting lawsuits against the NFL for hiding the long term consequences of the sport, even though they knew the risk. Neurologists have determined that football can lead to many brain diseases, a major one being CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Some people who suffer from this have been known to have very short memories and others have even taken their own lives to try to cope with the pain the disease comes with. CTE includes symptoms such as memory loss, impaired judgement, anxiety, depression, and suicidality just to name a few. CTE also leads to Alzheimer's disease or worse ALS. Fans are very well aware of the consequences of playing professionally. This still does not stop them from encouraging huge hits and dangerous contact. Some players receive blows to the helmet and fans cheer for the collision. These same fans then turn to say that they would not allow their children to play the sport. Hall of fame quarterback Brett Farve said in an interview that even though he loves the sport is and glad he played, he would not allow his son to play a sport that violent. This shows that the safety of others is not important to them as long as they are entertained in the process. When injuries happen people even mock the player who has been injured, This is horrible and inhumane in every way possible.

The NFL is now involved in many lawsuits from former players for negligence and fraud because of head traumas found after their playing careers. An example of this is former NFL cornerback Paul Oliver. His repetitive head traumas led him to become moody, have memory loss, and anger issues. As a result of this, he shot himself in the head in front of his wife and children.His family and neurologist claim the suicide was a "direct result of the injuries, depression and emotional suffering caused by repetitive head trauma and concussions suffered as a result of playing football, not properly appreciating football's risks with respect to head trauma"   They say the NFL knew the long term risk of the sport but hid them.

Unlike football, the intent in boxing is to physically beat an opponent. The whole concept of the sport is violent. Fighters come into the match expecting to knock their opponent unconscious. Some doctors will call the process a severe concussion because of the similar trauma experienced. Muhammad Ali now suffers from Parkinson's disease because of the many blows taken to the head in his career. This has essentially left him paralyzed for the rest of his life.  The list of boxing injuries goes on and on.  The sport is so violent that some have even been brutally beaten to death in the ring. Spectators care in absolutely no way. They instead come up with sayings like if you cant take the beating stay out of the ring. Boxing has generated a lot of its money through bets placed by fans. This is something they can do to entertain themselves while the fighters spend months training for a fight. People then throw parties to watch the fight. The whole time they cheer for a certain fighter to knock the other out.

Unlike football and boxing bull riding does not have as many fans, but still has a reputable amount of fans. These fans come to rodeos to see if their favorite cowboy can stay on a bull for 8 seconds. The fans in this sport don’t necessarily cheer for violence but do support it in one way or another. Some fans cheer hoping their cowboys make it the 8 seconds to qualify and others stand hoping they fall off. When a rider falls off the bull, he is in more danger than most people will ever be in. Unlike a head to head collision in football or a strong uppercut in boxing, when hit by a 2,000 pound angry animal most people may not get up. Fans never want to see this happen but do support the idea of the sport. They love the thrill and anticipation of every ride knowing inside what could happen if those 8 seconds are not reached. Fans are entertained by the idea of not knowing what could happen in the run.

Many of the activities that are adorned by sports fans are very dangerous. Some like the sports for the competitive nature, and others just like the violence. Entertaining nowadays is not cheap. It has cost some people their lives, something that can never be repaid.
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Hola, Me llamo Aissatou Bah. Tengo 15 años. Soy de New York pero vivo en Filadelphia.

Soy bajo pero soy mucho guapa. Soy sociable et divertida. Soy timid un poco.

Me gusta comer sin embargo, me gusta ayudar en casa, cocinar et pasar un rato con amigas. No me gusta nada hablar por  teléfono et ir a la escuela.

¿Como te llamo?  ¿Que te gusta hacer?

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Remember to Move Your Mouth

“I’m gonna go to choir after school,” I said to my mom as she cooked dinner.

“Going. -e-ing,” my mom extended the sound.

“An I need you to sign my permission slip.”


“An I…”

“Let me hear you say the d first.”

“I don’t have time, I need to do my homework.”

“Say an-duh and then do your homework.”


My parents were born in a neighborhood in New Jersey where the lawns are perfectly cut, and the dialect is almost clear standard english. Ever since I said my first full sentence, my mom has corrected every mumbled or dropped consonant. While in younger grades, I thought the corrections were no different than ones from my teachers.

When I recently took a survey from the New York Times, the results showed that it is most likely that I live in New Jersey near Philadelphia based on the words I use and how I pronounce them. This accent comes from learning to speak from Jersey relatives and visiting my grandparents across the river, while living in Philadelphia..

“I want to axe you something,” I announced as I walked into the kitchen on a different day.

“You’re doing it again,” my mom said.

“What? All I said was I want to axe you a question.”

“You are talking like a Philadelphian.”

The first few times I heard this, my heart sank.

“What do you mean?”

“The word is as-kah, not axe.”

“I said [pause] ask.”

“No, you said axe.”

This discussion repeated throughout the first years of my life. The words echoed in my head, even when my mom was not around. I began to repeat myself, pausing mid sentence. This time coincided with my acceptance into a mentally gifted elective.

“Can someone tell me what [science term] is,” my fifth grade teacher would ask.

“[short answer]. I once saw on Nova [extra details].”

“That is fascinating, Miriam, although I was only looking for [expected answer].”

My fifth grade teacher encouraged my input, working the outside knowledge I connected to the lesson into the discussion.

“Haven’t you seen that episode before,” my Dad asked.

“Of course. I even know the words by heart.” I was currently sitting on the couch, watching a tv show.

“Why watch it then?”

“To refresh my memory. Besides, there is nothing else on.”

I would watch cartoons daily when I was younger. I learned to multiply from Cyberchase and vocabulary words from Martha Speaks and Word Girl. The contests on Fetch caught my imagination, and I loved the storytelling on Arthur. While watching repeats, I would draw the characters and say their lines with them.

“Who can work through the first part of this problem,” a math teacher would ask.

I was the only one to raise my hand, even though I knew my whole table had completed the class work. The teacher scanned the room as if no one had their hand raised.

“Nick, can you tell me what I should do first,” the teacher looked straight at him.

“I don’t know.” Nick glanced at the work on his paper, and then stared at the teacher again.

“Come on, it’s easy.”

“Subtract x from both sides?”


I understood that my teachers wanted to encourage all the students to speak, but there were entire weeks where I was not called on in middle school. Teachers only gave me help upon request, knowing I got all As and Bs.

“Miriam, sing louder,” my music teacher said at choir practice.

“I don’t know if I can.”

“Don’t you yell in the recess yard?”

“Not really.”

I became quiet, yet not unsociable. My friends often spoke softer than me, afraid a teacher would not seat us together if we talked loudly, even though my friends and I only talked about work in class. Collaboration was not valued in my middle school. In some classes, I was quiet, and in others, people thought I was shy.

“Can anyone describe what global warming is,” my engineering teacher asked. He scanned the room for a raised hand. “Miriam.”

“Global warming is caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat from the sun when the heat bounces off Earth’s surface,” I answered.

During the first few days of my freshman engineering class, most of the students were quiet. Every time our teacher asked a question, only two or three people raised their hand, and I was one of them. For some reason, the teacher told me after class that I should not be shy because I know so much.

At that point in my life, I did not consider myself shy. My classmates and I were all quietly adjusting to a new school. If anything, I was talking more than I had in years. However, every once in a while, the high pitched soprano would appear in my voice, and I would pause to clear my throat. Some interpreted this as shyness. Every time someone said I should talk more, I promised myself I would. The more often this occured, the less confident I felt. This continued to occur in poetry club.

“It was bedar to wear a masq than let mounans of acne show.”

“Say it again slowly.”

“It was be-agh. It was better to wear a masq-agh.”

“We can’t have you saying agh on stage.”

“I know Mr. Kay. I am having trouble with mumbling.”

“Try tasting each syllable of your poem. Say the line again as slow as you can.”

“Maybe we should write it on the board. What was the line,” Chella, who was one of the coaches, asked.

“ wear...a mask...than let...mountains...of acne….show,” I said slowly.

“I heard mountains! Chella, did you hear mountains,” Mr. Kay asked.

“I thought it was mounds,” Chella answered.

“It is mountains,” I said.

“Try saying it again.”

“It was bedar to wear…”

“Bet-ter. Say the t.”

“It was better to wear a mask…”

“Remember to move your mouth. It was better to wear a mask than let mountains of acne show.”

“It was better to wear a mask than let mountains of acne show.”

“Great. Now, say the whole poem at that pace.”

James Baldwin once wrote “It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power.”  When I stumbled over my words, people hesitated to absorb my points. The correct pronunciation would echo in my mind while my tongue was weak. My mom always corrected me, thinking it was a Philadelphian accent. I would pause to correct myself, which led people to believe I was shy or lacked confidence. Confidence is a form of power. I did not stop mumbling until the time Mr. Kay helped me say my poem clearly. If I had mumbled through my poem, it would not have grabbed people’s attention.

I taught my tongue to say every consonant and vowel in that poem. I performed without a single stutter, allowing my team to receive a high enough score, and win the slam. Doubting my ability to speak properly made me believe I was shy. This was my weakness. When I was little, I would lose my breathe mid sentence. Singing in choir taught me to breathe. Reciting poetry trained my mouth to speak clearly.


Bella Mezzaroba's 2fer Revision

Even though an 18 year old is considered an adult,the national legal drinking age in the United States is 21,  Even with this age restriction in place, so many get caught under the influence at younger ages. Keeping in mind that the United States is the only developed country with a legal drinking age of 21, the rest being around 18, the U.S. is behind in the times. The United States should lower their drinking age to 18 and the U.S. needs to catch up with the rest of the world’s developed countries.

The United States is inarguably conservative with their Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA). Only 4% of the world’s countries set their legal age at 21 and, out of this 4%, the U.S. is the only fully developed country. 71% of countries have a legal drinking age of between 16-19, averaged at about 18. They’re MLDA, which was established in 1984, is outdated even though it was established long after countries like the U.K. established their drinking age. The United Kingdom passed the Intoxicating Liquor act in 1923, which restricted liquor sales to individuals over 18. This MLDA has worked well for them for 91 years so what’s to say it wouldn’t work for the United States.

The CDC states that 126,438 accidental deaths occurred in the U.S. during 2010 and of that about 88,000 were attributed to alcohol, coming out to about 69%. In the United Kingdom, 17,201 accidental deaths were recorded in 2010 with 8,367 of these deaths being from alcohol, a total of 48%. A country with a lower MLDA also has a lower alcohol related death rate. A lower drinking age does have an impact on the statistical, alcohol related deaths but it’s a positive one. People tend to want to do what they can’t so when an American 18 year old is offered beer at a party, they’ll drink as much as they can since this isn’t an opportunity that arises daily. If a British 18 year old was offered a beer, they’d most likely accept, but it wouldn’t be such a huge deal since they can go to the store and pick up a six pack whenever they please. If teens were educated properly and given the responsibility of drinking, then the U.S.’s alcohol related deaths would decrease.

Drinking is a matter of responsibility. One needs to be considered mature enough to handle the intoxication with class and not harm anyone in the process. However, it’s questionable about what age that maturity begins. The age to join the military has been set at 18 since 1942. There are soldiers who are considered mature enough for an AK-47 but not a beer. The logic in that is incredibly skewed. The United States trust these men and women with the lives of their comrades and civilians but can’t trust them with their own lives. If a citizen is old enough to enlist than they should be old enough to consume alcohol. Not only can a 21 year old enlist, they can apply for a credit card, serve on a jury, sign a binding contract, marry without parental consent, vote, and be charged as an adult in a court of law. A 18 year old is no longer a minor and is considered a full fledged adult in all aspects except one. Clearly, 18 year olds are considered mature enough for mostly everything so drawing the line at alcohol consumption is arbitrary.

Alcohol can be dangerous if not used responsibly, that much is clear. About 88,000 deaths are caused annually by alcohol. Only 5,000 of these were caused by underage drinking. According to Choose Responsibility, an organization in favor of lowering the MLDA,  the number of underage deaths has been going down since 1970, 14 years before the MLDA act was passed. Therefore, no correlation can be drawn between the two and the act is not responsible for decline in alcohol fatalities amongst underage people. Choose Responsibility says,"... twice as many 21-year-olds died in alcohol-related auto accidents as 18 year-olds. Such a staggering statistic speaks volumes: a policy that claims to be saving thousands each year may simply be re-distributing deaths over the life cycle to the point at which it becomes legal to drink alcohol..." If the MLDA in it’s current state is simply postponing drunk driving accidents until drinking becomes legal, then it seems the problem isn’t young people drinking, it’s how the youth is being educated on the dangers of alcohol. If educated properly, an 18 year old would be much more responsible than an uninformed 21 year old.

Although the legal drinking age may only seem important  to those between the ages of 18 and 21, it should in fact concern anyone who cares about cultivating a community of young people who act responsibly. When those who previously were not trusted with the privilege of drinking are entrusted with alcohol consumption, accidental deaths will decrease. Drunk driving accidents and things of that sort affect us all, as should the legal drinking age.Not only is a lower MLDA in direct correlation with lessening alcohol related deaths, it’s logical to trust those we deem adults with something like alcohol. The United States should lower their legal drinking age to 18 as it is medically,politically, and most importantly, rationally sound.

Am I choosing my ¨language¨ or is my environment doing that for me?

¨LJ we are leaving soon for the airport now.  Your plane leaves in two and a half hours.¨ My Mom yells.

I finish packing my bag and head downstairs.

¨I am going to miss you while you're gone.¨

¨Mom, you don’t have to worry ‘bout nothing.  I’m call you when I get on the plane and when I get off.

She smiles.

I am heading to Arizona.  I signed up for an advance hitting and fielding camp at Arizona State University.  Arizona State is one of the top baseball schools in the country.  If I could impress them in a two day camp, it could help me get recruited to play for them in college.  While I am there I am going to stay with my Aunt Jenn and her husband and 4 children.  They are on my Mom’s side of the family.  After the camp was over I would get on a plane to Boston, to spend time with my dad and his side of the family.  We leave for the airport 10 minutes later.  As we get to the airport me and my Mom say our final goodbyes.

¨Call me as soon as you can.  You hear me?¨

¨Yes Mom, as soon as I board the plane and land, call you.¨

¨See you in August.¨

My Mom hugs me.  I get to the gate.  It is my first time traveling by myself.  I get scared.  I realized that this will help me in the long run.  I quickly get over my fear.  Next thing I know I am on the plane taking off, heading west.

It is important for me to say that my Mom is adopted.  She was adopted into a white family in the early 1970’s.  This means all of her family is white.  When I am with them there is a different language I use.  This happens by accident.  I grew up in a liberal, urban scene, while my family is more conservative and lives either in a suburban area or out in the country.  When I am with my Mom and sister, the urban part of me talks. The ¨Black English¨ like James Baldwin once said.  When I am with my Grandma or Aunt, I start to talk more proper.  This happens by accident.  Since I am not of the same race, I try to make language as a way to be the same as them, since in my eyes we are not.  We speak the same language, but it is so different at the same time.

¨Welcome to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  We know you have a lot of options when flying, but US Airways would like to thank you for choosing us.  We hope we will see you soon.¨  The flight attendant said on the loudspeaker of the plane.  I call my Mom.

¨Yeah Mom, I’m ‘bout get off this plane.¨

¨How was the flight?¨

¨It was ard.¨

¨Ok, well call me when you find your Uncle Drew.  He got a new car, so make sure it is him before you get into the car.¨

¨Ok, I will call you when I see him.¨

I get my bags and walk out of the plane.  I put on my headphones.  Jay-Z is playing in my ears.  

¨I probably owe it to you all, proud to be locked by the force, Trying to hustle some things, that go with the Porsche.¨

I see my Uncle Drew in his new car.  He helps puts my bags in the trunk.  I get into the car and I hear a Christian gospel song.  

¨I’m so grateful for all you have done in my life.  I give my life to you.¨

I turn my music off really quick.  My uncle gets in the car and we have small talk.

¨It’s great to see you buddy, how was your flight over here?¨ He said with a smile on his face.

¨It was great, Uncle Drew.  There were no problems at all on the plane ride here.¨

¨You ready for the baseball camp on Saturday?¨

¨Yeah I really can’t wait, I have been waiting the whole summer for this moment and now it is here.

¨Well your cousins are up and waiting for you at the house.¨

We get to the house and all four of my cousins are happy to see me.  My youngest cousin, Quincy takes me to see all of her new Legos.

¨See this one.  It’s really pretty.  This is my favorite Lego because it’s pink.¨ Quincy said with a smile on her face.

¨Yeah you're right it is very pretty, my favorite part is that it is pink.¨ I said back to her.

We look and play with Legos for a couple of minutes, then it is time for her to go to bed.  I decide that I should go to bed too.  The camp doesn’t start tomorrow but I should get some rest anyway.   I text my mom and tell her that I got in safely and that I would talk to her in the morning.

On Sunday, the camp ended.  When I talked to the coaches after it ended, they said I did good and they hope to see me again.  I get in the car.  My friend texted me.

¨How did the camp go?¨

¨I fried at the man bro.  Coaches said I did good.  They hope to see me again.¨

¨Ayye I see you bro. You going to go to another camp?¨

¨Idk, maybe they have a camp in September, but that is even more money and school has started.

¨Ard I will ttyl.¨


My Uncle asked me the same question.

¨It was really good.  The coaches helped me a lot, especially when it came to hitting.  I’m glad that I came out here for the camp.¨

We head back home and I pack up.  I am heading to Boston for the rest of the summer.  I get my bags and I get back into the car.  My cousin Aiden and Holden tag along for the ride to the airport.  We talk about school and sports.  As we get to the airport we say our goodbyes.  I head to the gate.  I like spending time with my family, even if I think I have to change a little for them.

James Baldwin once said ¨A Frenchman living in Paris speaks a subtly and crucially different language from that of the man living in Marseilles; neither sounds very much like a man living in Quebec; and they would all have great difficulty in apprehending what the man from Guadeloupe, or Martinique, is saying, to say nothing of the man from Senegal.¨  What he is saying is that all of these people speak the same language but all of them speaks it a different way because of their background.  I agree with that.  My family and I speak the same language, but since we are from different parts of the country and from different backgrounds, it is a little different.  Even if the language we speak is a little different, we are family and at the end of the day that is all that matters.
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2fer revision

The Hunger Games trilogy focuses on a teenage girl named Katniss who, after losing her father in a mining accident, was left to support herself, mother and little sister. At a very young age she became the caretaker and provider for her family when her mother shut down after her fathers death. Similarly, many children and teenagers in America have a pre-selected fate because of the economic classes they are born into. The fictional Hunger Game series portrays how different economic classes in America cause specific classes to achieve less because of the low access they’re given for the same opportunities.

In the Hunger Games, everyone lives in a dystopian America now known as Panem. The country is separated into 12 districts and the Capital, but used to have a 13th before they were “killed” off. The Capital holds the richest of the rich, and as the districts increase in their number, the poorer those citizens are. Every year the country hosts the hunger games, where a boy and a girl from each district, ranging anywhere from 12-18, are chosen from a random draw to fight to the death in an arena, giving the winners district extra food. The poorer districts have a disadvantage, as one can offer to have their name enter more and more in exchange for more food for your family. Their names are then entered more and more, while the children from the richer districts have the minimum number of entries and have been trained to win the Games since childhood. Katniss is a resident of district 12, one of the poorest districts. Unable to move, she is stuck in a cycle fighting for daily survival, until she volunteers for the Hunger games to save her sister and the real games begin.

In America, people of higher economic classes are preselected to “win” at life by being born with advantages lower economic classes do not have. American families are continuing to struggle with their wages and stability, while the rich are getting richer. In a paper published on the Center for American Progress’s website, analysing what the new census data shows about the struggling middle class, research associates state; “Household incomes remained essentially flat in 2013—far below their pre-recession levels—and the share of the national economic pie that goes to the middle class continued to stagnate close to record lows. At the same time, those at the very top claimed the majority of the income growth seen since the recession’s end.” (Miller, Madland) Middle class families in America are experiencing some of the same struggles Katniss had to face in The Hunger Games. These children in middle class families are continuing to fall below the poverty line, affecting their opportunities in life. They are less likely to have access to materials that increase their chances in life, such as education, as those above the poverty line. Real children in America are already segregated by their economic class whether they realize it or not. People generally living in the Kensington area of North Philadelphia, Pennsylvania don’t have the same income as those who live in Gerald Estates of South Philadelphia. Lower income families are separated into neighborhoods with other people of their class, just like the districts in the Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games and America have many similarities, despite the “sci-fi” labeling. Katniss may not have been homeless, but if she did not step up and assume the responsibility as the head of the house, she would have ended up hungry and cold like the other children and elders she encountered on her streets. The effects of poverty are shown throughout the Hunger Games, but it can be seen all around America. According to the American Psychological Association, APA, the effects of poverty in America match many things seen in the poverty stricken districts.  “Deepening poverty is inextricably linked with rising levels of homelessness and food insecurity/hunger for many Americans and children are particularly affected by these conditions...Children and teens living in poorer communities are at increased risk for a wide range of physical health problems...Exposure to violence in their communities which can lead to trauma, injury, disability, and mortality”(APA) The mental illness and death that poverty leads to is seen in different regions of America, just as Katniss seen walking around District 12. The people of District 12 were mostly of the same economic class, just as many cities and neighborhoods in America are. The people of higher economic classes, mainly from district 1-4, were very judgemental towards the poor. They were disgusted with the unfortunate, and were very enthusiastic about the games. They knew the chances of anyone from district 5 or higher winning were slim, and the impoverished would dwindle.  

Many people view the Hunger Games trilogy as pure fiction. They don’t bother to see that side of America, but it is here. Real Americans are being judged by their economic struggles and its never ending cycle. Parents generally want better for their children, but how can they give them that when they have pre-selected disabilities based on their income? The hunger games helped bring real poverty into light, and how people of different economic classes truly react based on their preselected fates.

Works Cited:

"Effects of Poverty, Hunger, and Homelessness on Children and Youth."Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2014.

Miller, Keith, and David Madland. "What the New Census Data Show About the Continuing Struggles of the Middle Class." Name. Center for American Progress, 16 Sept. 2014. Web. 20 Sept. 2014.

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The Most Important Thing in the World

“Kara, say water.”

“Wooder,” I said.

“No, say it right. Like this. Wah-ter.”


“You say it weird.”

I hear that a lot. I am a Philadelphian. I don’t say water, I say wooder. I don’t say towel, I say tal. I don’t say aunt, I say ant. This has been something that stood out about my language. Ofcourse, not at home, not in this city, but everywhere else, I stand out because of the words I say and how I say them.

My family and I do a great deal of traveling, mostly in this country. We’ve been to Maine, Virginia, Nevada, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, and most of the local states, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Vermont, and Rhode Island. Nothing really stood out about us but the way we spoke.

Most people in all of those states didn’t notice. The state that really noticed our way of speaking the most was probably Tennessee. In a particular place in Tennessee, Dollywood, a waitress there liked to separate the Northern people from the Southern.

“I like the way ya’ll speak,” she said, “and ya tip good.”

I was young at the time, about six.  I didn’t know I was different. To me, she was the one that spoke different. I thought I spoke “normal.” But what really is the “normal” way of speaking?

Everyone in Philadelphia is different, we speak mostly the same way, but some have different words or ways of saying things. Instead of you guys, some say yous. I don’t use this, nor do I ever say jawn, a made up word only known here. But I admit I do say “yo” a lot.

I know that some words I pronounce different, even from people in Philly. For example, the name of my eighth grade teacher, Mr. Rossi.

“Mr. Raw-si. That’s how Kara says it,” I overheard my friend Diana say.

“So? Isn’t that the way everyone says it?” I asked, confused.

“No. You sound British! It’s supposed to be Mr. Rahsi!” she said, laughing.

That annoyed me. If it’s “Rahsi” then why is it spelled with an O?!

After that, I classified my way of speaking as different. People constantly pointed out how weird I said things. I didn’t really care much, it wasn’t a big deal, it was a little annoying, but in reality everyone has a different vocabulary and language and you can’t classify anyone’s as weird, because there is no standard language or way of speaking in my opinion. Now, I would like to go back and tell every person that judged the way I spoke just that.

“It is the most vivid and crucial key to identify: it reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity.” - James Baldwin

Language is what makes you. James Baldwin says it reveals your identity and is the most important part of it. You can tell who a person is by their language. It is what individualizes us in a society. It can connect you to a group or exclude you.

Here’s a scenario. You have a group of friends. You and the rest of a group of people speak Spanish, you fit right in. But there are many different Spanish dialects, and you happen to be the only different one. You feel weird or left out, but really you should feel unique and amazed at how amazing language is and how you stand out.

I, with my Philadelphian accent, don’t feel like I stand out. I feel slightly different, yes, but not excluded from society. I’ve never really gotten bullied, people just said things. My language does reveal who I am. When I can’t think of a word for a certain thing, I say thingy. This reveals my bad memory. I’ve gotten into the habit of saying “kk” instead of ok, this reveals my vulnerability to internet slang.  I added the word “ain’t” into my vocabulary in the second grade, which really ticked my family off, “it’s not in the dictionary!” I inherited the word from friends, which shows how easily my vocabulary can be expanded from others’ vocabulary.

“I’m done.” My friend Darius says a lot after seeing something funny.

“That’s crazy!” My friend Kat says in a high pitched voice after seeing something slightly shocking to her.

And now, when I see something funny I say “I’m done.” When I see something shocking, I say “that’s crazy!” It’s funny how my language and vocabulary can be easily influenced by friends, that I’m around them so much that I talk like them. This happens to mostly everyone. This is how people develop their language. By using others’, but making that into their own.

I don’t remember learning how to speak, gaining all the words I know now, and learning what most of them mean. It’s weird thinking about how big my vocabulary is, and how I got all these words and lessons along the way in my life. In third grade, I won a lot of spelling bees and my highest grade was always English. Grammar and spelling were always my strong areas. I felt happy and proud of myself for being good at it. I’m glad I still have this skill now, for writing.  

As you can see, language is something that I've used throughout my whole entire life, but never really thought upon till now, with this project. I realize the importance of it, how it connects us all as a society, how we get to know each other, and how we identify ourselves. Language is really the most important thing in the world.

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The question written on the board in Spanish class was, ¿Que hiciste en la semana pasada? (What did you do last week?)  

Confident in my ability to answer the question, I raised my hand.  I had the perfect answer to the question in my head: “Yo hice mi tarea y practiqué tenis (I did my homework and practiced tennis.)”  

Don Marcos called on a few others while I continuously recite my answer inside my head.  Fearing if I make a mistake, I will be vulnerable to Don Marcos’s harsh criticism.  Finally he calls on Jose, which is my Spanish name.  I start to say my answer, “Yo hice mi...”

Don Marcos promptly cuts me off.  “At least try to fake an accent Jose.”  The whole class erupts into laughter.  I try again, now shaken by his remark and the laughter, “Yo hice mi tarea (the class begins to guffaw again) y practiqué tenis.”  

Don Marcos proceeded to call me a “Gringo,” defined by Merriam Webster as, “A foreigner in Spain or Latin America especially when of English or American origin.”  Originally I did not know what this term meant but the person sitting next to me explained as she chuckled.  Then Don Marcos told me that my accent was something I will work on this year in his class. He then complimented me on my knowledge of written Spanish; this was possibly an attempt to lessen the blow to my confidence.  But the damage was already done.    

My Spanish accent was not always the subject of ridicule.  In fact Srta. Manuel told me that I had a natural accent early last year.  Maybe I rested on my laurels a little bit too much the rest of the year.  As the year progressed, Srta. Manuel made no effort to correct my pronunciation.  I assumed that I still had a good accent throughout the year.  I think pronunciation was most likely not as important to her as Don Marcos.

I just cannot seem to get the sound of the language down.  I believe there are many reasons I struggle.  The greatest reason I struggle to do this is my English dialect has a very clipped rhythmic structure; which is the complete opposite of Spanish’s smooth and consistent flow.  I have also have never successfully rolled an “R” in my life.  Many people have tried to explain to me how to do it; however, most of the the time, the sound just comes out like a fake growling sound as if I were trying to impersonate a bear.      

Since this experience I have lost some power to speak in Spanish class.  Even though I am a confident person when it comes to academics, I now am fearful and afraid of getting laughed at every time I speak Spanish.  My peers are ready for my poor accent, waiting to pounce on my first mistake, whether it would be holding a vowel sound for far too long or using the wrong emphasis in my accent. It has gotten ridiculous lately as even before I speak some people begin to chuckle in anticipation.  This hurts my feelings but I can understand why others laugh.  It is just a natural reaction when somebody is bad at something or dumbfounded. I must confess to laughing in similar situations and thus cannot fault them for it.  

Just last week I was sitting in geometry, my math teacher asked a girl in our class to identify the Y intercept on a graph.  After spending all of last year’s math working on it, I would assume that she would be able to do such a simple task.  However, all that came out of her mouth was “Uhs” and “Ums.”  I must admit to suppressing a few snickers at her confusion.

While people’s self esteem in a school is important, this pales in comparison with what struggles happen in the real world on a daily basis. For instance, in the personal memoir, Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez, Richard’s parents are immigrants from Mexico.  Richard Rodriguez explains his parents struggle when he wrote, “In public, my father and mother spoke a hesitant, accented, not always grammatical English.  And they would have to strain their bodies tense - to catch the sense of what was rapidly said by los gringos.”  

While my struggles in Spanish class are a problem, I can’t imagine what it would be like if my daily survival depended on being understood by people around me.  This experience in Spanish class has made me more sensitive to people who speak English with bad accents. Before, though I would not laugh out loud at poor English accents, I admit to holding back laughter or snickering on occasion.  Writing this memoir has made me reflect more deeply on what having a poor English accent would entail in one’s daily life.  I thought about the struggles that it would take to even order food with a poor accent because of people’s lack of understanding.  It would also be problematic to get a job because of people’s judgment of you.  These are issues that did not cross my mind before writing this memoir.  

           I also have reflected on what laughing in class at somebody’s academic struggle can do to one’s confidence.  As I said earlier, it is something that most people are guilty of at least once in their lives.  However, I had not been on the receiving end of this type of abuse on a consistent basis since second grade. Now after this experience, with my poor accent in Spanish, I’m going to make a more conscious effort not to laugh at someone’s struggle in class.


There is Power in Language

“God she such a oreo!”

“Why do she think she all that? Just ‘cuz she went to a white school? Girl please.”

“She need to act black and stop tryna be white.”

“‘Lil white girl wanna-be.”

As I was just ending a presentation on the dangers of childhood obesity and how rapidly it’s spreading, I overheard these words being said about me. I was in the fifth grade at the time. Who these people were saying these horrible things about me, I have no clue. But, since I was so used to it, I just ignored it and continued to my seat. Because I just moved to Philadelphia from the suburbs, I wasn’t used to the slang and terminologies they used and they weren’t used to how I spoke either. Language is very powerful and affects people emotionally.

“Why don’t y’all just leave her alone she ain’t bothering y’all!” said my best friend defending me. We are still best friends to this day.

“Is you rocking with us or that fake cracker?”

Although I appeared strong and unbothered with these side remarks and name calling, inside my heart and dignity crumbled into a million pieces. I’ve always struggled being an African- American young lady who speaks properly living in an urban area. Other African- Americans in my neighborhoods and schools have always viewed me as “thinking I’m better than everyone else” because of this and how I spoke, but in all reality I’m no better than anyone else in the world. They may have not known it, but their words were more powerful than any gun or knife.

I knew why people did not view me as their “homegirl” or “sistah”, but I never understood, and have to understand, why the way I spoke affected them so much they felt the need to belittle it.

Have you ever said something that hurt someone’s feelings but not intentionally? I have. I know what you’re saying, “After all that you went through in fifth grade with those people using their language to hurt you, you do the same?” To be completely honest, yes. But, unlike them, it was not on purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just go around calling people names and hurting their feelings. But, occasionally I say certain things that come out the wrong way, which puts me in a sticky situation.

“Honestly I feel like you’re being too desperate over him. It sounds to me like he doesn’t even like you”

I have said this before to my best friend. She ended up not talking to me for a few weeks, but hey she eventually got over it. As I’m writing this essay, I fully realize how much a jerk I came off as and how much my language affected her. I didn’t mean to be horrible at comforting her about her boy problems, but from my perspective my language was perfectly normal and harmless. I was being selfish and oblivious to her feelings and how my language could have affected her. Many people do not recognize how much of an impact their language has on others who may have a different language from them, which is the mistake I made and had to learn from.

Sebastyne Young, a well known author, once said “A picture is worth a thousand words, but a few words can change the story.” If someone is called beautiful or pretty, they will feel flattered and confident about themselves. But, if someone is called ugly or unattractive, their self- esteem would most likely drop like a roller coaster. There’s a difference between “She’s pretty” and “She’s kind of pretty”. Those two words, kind and of, have changed the entire meaning of that comment. I believe Young is saying in the quote that the things people say and how they say them, even the smallest word or tone of voice, can either build someone up, or tear them down.

Another power that my language holds is the image I that set for myself is the image others view me as. I’ve been involved in so many rumors, gossips stories, etc. and majority of it was not true whatsoever. A story I can remember most is when I was in the 7th grade. I liked this boy and he liked me too, but it seemed someone always had something to say about everything. So, many people would commonly say…

“He’s too cute for her”

“She’s not cute at all’

“Why can’t he date me, I look better”

For a second, I began to believe what they were saying because their words were so  powerful and hurtful. Finally, I recognized that  in order for others to see the  beauty and confidence in me, I had to have confidence in myself. So, I began telling myself that I was beautiful and a princess, and I started to believe in myself. The issue I went through as a tween was struggling to fit it and I cared what others thought about me. But now, since I use my language to encourage myself, others view me what I view myself as.

The power of language has had a major influence in my life, positively and negatively. I learned that my language and the things I say can give a person, or myself, the confidence needed, or take it away if used in the wrong sense. Although I have gotten stronger in letting the words people say affect me, it still happens. I still get hurt, but I just don’t show it. Also, I have worked on my aggressive language towards others. In conclusion, the journey I have encountered with my language has been a long one, and it will continue to evolve for the better.


Language that Formed ME!

As I made a few steps in this unfamiliar space, they were all so small and slow. I made a big yawn to make my step dad think I was just tired, not nervous. I came yesterday.

“Hurry up, we will be late!”

I started to walk faster. The park we walked by was big and pretty. I never saw anything like it. There was so many things that caught my eye and-

“Come on, you know that they told us to come 30 minutes early.”

His words sounded weirder than usual, since he was speaking English the whole morning, and now it took him a few seconds to process Serbian words he gave me.

“This is it. Ready?”

Nodding my head, I stept in the building; it felt uncomfortable. I walked into a crowd of people speaking another language. English. Soon I will have to learn it too, and just like them I will understand.

The halls were decorated with all kinds of papers, posters and pictures. As I passed by everything got stranger. We walked in the office, and we saw a tall brunette waiting there.

“Oh, you must be Katarina. Hi, I am Miss S.”

When she spoke I was surprised. I never heard a person speak Serbian with such a big English accent, but then again she was born in the US and English was her first language, while Serbian was the only language I spoke.

“Hello  Miss S. Um, I have a question. What grade will I be attending?”  

She smiled and put the papers she was holding down into a small section of the cabinet. The she looked at me again.

“Right. When were you born? ”

“July 1st, 1999.”

“Okay, that means you will be joining the sixth graders today. We only have one class per grade in this school, so that is where you will go.”

“Thank you. What room is it in?”

“311 but today they first have gym, it is in the basement. If you really need help understanding, just come to me.”

“Thank you, and {I pointed at my stepdad} you can go. As you can see I will be just fine.”

“Okay, okay, I will leave as soon as I fill out some papers. Have a good first day.”

I left the office and looked around for the steps. The school was like a maze. Steps to go up but none to go down. I went back and forth, until I saw a railing in hallway behind the steps. I walked up to it and slowly went downstairs. The room was bigger than a classroom, but smaller than a regular size of a gym.

That was my beginning journey to learning English in the US. I started to go to ESL (English as a Second Language) classes and started to slowly understand. The people in my class were so nice that they were trying to be my friends even if I was not understanding what they said. They even half mimed while talking, to help me.

Few months passed and I learned enough English to communicate. Still it was rough.

“Yes, and then I… ummm… how do you say that again? ”

“Say what, Katarina?”

“Umm, for example when you put water into a cup.”

“Oh, you mean pour?!?”

“Yea! Poor!”

“No, you are saying people with no money! Not poor, pour! I pour water into a cup.”

“Ohh!!! Sorry!”

“You don’t have to apologize! You are still learning! It’s okay.”

And then we both started to laugh. I guess that I needed my best friend to remind me of those things. Now when I think about it, I have no clue how I really did it. The classes? My talks with friends? Now in school I am learning Spanish, and it feels like the hardest thing ever.  

  A year passed and we had a new student and she did not speak English. We became very good friends and we helped each other learn.

By the end of middle school I was a person who officially learned English. I no longer processed it in the “translation” in my head.

I started to think in English, and I tried to fix the accent I had over the years.

This summer I went back to Serbia, to visit family and friends, and there was something that disturbed me. I would go into a store and buy something.

“Dobar dan”

“Vas rachun je 1,832 dinara.”


“Prijatan dan.”

“Thank you.”

I would walk out the store and realize that I thanked them in English only a few moments later, when I already walked away.

Learning a new language made me see the world in a totally different light, and I want to explore the world more. Learning it made me think I can learn things easier. It boosted my self confidence.

Just as James Baldwin said in “If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”  “What joins all languages, and all men, is the necessity to confront life, in order, not inconceivably, to outwit death: The price for this is the acceptance, and achievement, of one's temporal identity.” He is saying that we do not need language only for the sake of understanding, but also to show us the identity we have now, but it will change over time. Language has many meanings to different people, and each person gives language a different value. For example, someone that knows 3 or more languages, probably thinks that languages are easy to learn and understand. But someone who knows only one, can not comprehend being able to think on another language.  

Most people had at least one point in their life, where they hate the way they speak or the accent they have. It makes me feel better, that I know someone went through the similar thing as me. And that is what makes us, human beings, same, but different.  

My language learning experiences change my life every day. I hope to learn new languages in the future. I feel that if I could learn one different language, why not try more. I know that’s my goals are a bit challenging. But I want to feel that amazing feeling of happiness that I caught along the way. My challenge begins right NOW!   


Serge Mass 2fer Revision

Sergei Mass



The United States has just embarked on one of the biggest anti-terrorist campaigns in the country's history against a group by the name of ISIS. Obama has a plan to send in troop’s accompanied by drones after his . The loss of troops in war would be devastating to the United States. Sending in unmanned aircrafts and drone strikes to fight ISIS would be a cheaper and more ethical substitute instead of sending in many troops.

After the US launched their first strike against ISIS in late August of 2014, the leaders of ISIS kidnapped a reporter from the US, who was reporting in Syria at the time. James Foley was an important asset to the US so he can give his first hand opinions and experiences from the group. “Foley was killed on camera by a self-professed member of the terror group. “ (ABC News)  After the live execution, the US was in shock and terror. At that point Obama was outraged. With the use of earlier drone strikes, we could have eliminated ISIS before it spread like a cancerous cell to the Saudi Arabian peninsula. There were two more executions broadcasted after the beheading of James Foley. These inhumane acts could have been avoided with initiative from the US government and stopped this terroristic threat before they got the fame they wanted.Time is something the US cannot get back, it is just a matter of time that one more of these beheadings occurs or if Syria's schools are bomber again. It will lead to a much greater uproar than what is already presented.

ISIS is a very advanced terroristic group and knows a lot more about modern warfare and techniques. They understand the the US has had their hands tied dealing with AL-Qaeda for a long time. They are planning to become our next threat, currently having over 30,000 members nationwide. "Armed drones may provide the administration with a cosmetic military solution for the ongoing crisis, affording the U.S. the opportunity to look tough and engage ISIS without endangering US. troops or creating the impression that we we’re re-fighting a war that we declared over in 2011. " (Defense One) Since the drone strikes would be stealth, ISIS would not expect it. With no time to prepare or move away there will be no safe haven for anyone that threatens the US. The U.S. will have the element of surprise and avoid US casualties with this method.  They will be sitting underground and controlling the drone 5000 miles away in a safe and secure base. The drone strikes will give the U.S. the upper hand, slowly proving to ISIS the U.S. is not a pushover country.

Some may want to argue the statement that “drones would be more efficient and much more safe” with the statement that they would kill our own troops and civilians in the area of the attack, but an online political paper did some deeper research into the subject. Some anti-drone party members brought up a killing of 16 civilian in Afghanistan in 2012, but that was due by a bomb and not an unmanned drone. “Drones kill fewer civilians, as a percentage of total fatalities, than any other military weapon.” (Slate Magazine) With this being said, the drone strikes will lessen the total amount of U.S. casualties in war and also civilian casualties. It may be hard to say the term “safe war”, but the last thing the U.S. needs is more controversy around killings of innocent people. The ones that say that “we are not ready for this type of war” are the same ones that are not ready to move on to a much more advanced time in counterterrorism battles. The more advanced the battle is, the more likely the US will come out victorious in the fight against ISIS.

When asked, The United States Administration of Defense might say that the drone strikes would make the US lose the fight on terror, but on closer inspection, they would cut back on US casualties and cost of war. With the newest anti terrorism campaign against ISIS becoming increasingly serious, the U.S. needs to start getting with the program and into action. Obama declared war and his plan to send troops into the Saudi Arabian Peninsula would be devastating to the U.S. People need to realize that the U.S. is evolving as a county and so are the strategies on how they fight wars. The alternate plan to send in Drones to fight the battle and try to eliminate casualties is a much smarter attempt on this potential deadly war.

Work Cited:

Ferran, Lee. "ISIS Trail of Terror." ABC News. ABC News Network, 10 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

Tucker, Patrick. "The Pros and Cons of U.S. Drone Strikes in Iraq." Defense One. Defense One, 13 June 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.

Saletan, William. "Drones Are the Worst Form of War, Except for All the Others." Slate Magazine. Slate Magazine, 19 Feb. 2013. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.


Jamie Turner's Revisions

Ever since hockey was first played fighting was always a part of it.  It’s a whole element of the game that some think it would change the game if it wasn’t allowed.  Lots of people would agree it should be banned for many reasons but the Professional leagues for the most part say keep it in.  Fighting is only allowed in professional Hockey because of the entertainment aspect and the money it brings in.

When teams whose hometown’s are relatively close to each other’s play each other that usually means it’s a rivalry game.  It’s not common to see a lot of hitting and fighting during rivalry games.  Recently NBC Sports has started broadcasting these games nationwide no matter what city the game takes place in.  This is so new comers see all the physical contact and are immediately hooked.

If the fights didn’t bring in new fans they wouldn’t be allowed.  A lot of fans go to the games or watch the games just to see a fight or two.  If there was no fighting these fans would lose interest therefore making the pro leagues losing lots of money.

Along with fighting comes many injures.  At least 2 NHL “enforcers” have committed suicide in the past 10 years due to depression that is linked to their role on the ice.  The sole purpose on an enforcer or goon is to fight for their team.  Most of the time these players get little to no points a season and are only brought in for big games where they’re expecting a lot of fights.  Without fighting these players may not have lost their lives.  A counter argument to that is that they would’ve never gotten where they were if Hockey wasn’t allowed but a life outweighs a job in any situation.

Fighting is considered part of Hockey.  It’s been allowed in Professional leagues since it all started.  It’s never been allowed in non-pro leagues.  How can something be part of the game if only a select few are actually allowed to fight?.  Rec leagues and school leagues do not allow fighting.  Basically once money gets involved fighting is allowed.  Is that a coincidence? No.  It’s allow about the money and keeping fans entertained.

Many leagues in the East have banned fighting.  There’s a much bigger penalty than just 5 minutes in the penalty box in those leagues.  There hasn’t been any suicides linked to players in those leagues because there is no enforcers in a game of non-fighting.  Ironically these are the leagues that aren’t as popular.  The NHL is without a doubt the biggest league in the world.  They do allow fighting and They do make the most money of any professional hockey players.  

In the long run the only reason there’s still fighting in Hockey. The revenue it brings in is too large to get rid of it.  If it didn’t bring in a lot of money it would’ve been gone years ago.  Progress has been made but as long as players are getting hurt enough progress hasn’t been made. Soon enough it’ll come to an end.  Yes, it’ll change the nature of the game but it’ll be changed for the better.


Lillipop, Lillipop, Oh Lilli-Lilli Pop

A long road stretch out ahead like a never ending run on a treadmill. Nothing is better than a road trip from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, all the way to North Platte, Nebraska, to see my aunt and her family again after 10 years. On top of that was getting to meet my cousin Jenny for the very first time. My sister Mey and I had talked to my aunt’s family countless of times over the phone and had never noticed the differences between our speech, until we had finally met.

The difference is subtle, subtle yet sharp like the sound of a pin drop. It all started from the conversation between Mey and Jenny.

“Mey, do you want a lillipop?”

“Huh, what’s a lillipop Jenny?¨

“You never had a lillipop?”

Out of all the confusion, we finally realized a lillipop is actually what we call a lollipop. Jenny grew up in North Platte, but had moved back and forth from Lincoln, she had said that most people call that type of candy a lillipop and does not hear much of the term lollipop. I come to realize that it’s not much of the full sentence that has an accent you’ll notice, but it’s the way specific words are said that makes it different.

One day my aunt called out to the little ones and I,

“Kiddos, come down it’s dessert time!” We came down to make ourselves an ice-cream sundae, and I had asked my aunt,

“Auntie can you pass me the caramel?”

Aunt and Jenny laughed, because they don’t hear it often the way I say caramel as “car-ra-mel, while they said it like “carmal.” My aunt told me this part of North Platte she’s in everyone knows everybody or knows how everyone talk, and they would know that I am not from around there right when I open my mouth. I felt as if I was a foreigner who was pronouncing things wrong. I started to feel uncomfortable with meeting my aunt’s friends or to talk to people in the neighborhood. I was a afraid to sound like a walking alien. The hardest part was being approached by nebraskan in that area, since everyone seems to love starting conversations with anyone.

Words are pronounced in many different ways throughout the U.S and some places do share similarities, yet certain places can automatically tell you’re not from that are. People of certain areas are so used to hearing what they normally hear or considers the normal. Just like in Philly with food, if you don’t use hoagie and use sub, they can identify you right there and then that you are not a Philadelphian.

Sometimes it’s the accent that can let people point out what region or place you’re from, it can just be simple by the use of a word that’s uncommon in a certain area. One day I walked into my aunt’s donut shop for breakfast. We told our aunt and uncle that Jenny and us are on a trip to Snake River Fall.

My aunt asked, “Ling, you sure you wanna go like that, where’s your tennis kiddo?

“Huh? I never brought any tennis equipment to Nebraska. auntie.”

“You don’t know what a tennis is kiddo?”

I was very confused until I finally realized she was talking about sneakers. Then on the way to Snake River Fall, we got lost, getting stuck in the middle of no where, which was surrounded by tall fields of grass. Finally saw a ranch when to ask  for which route as in “root” to take, end up realizing they call it a “rut” instead.

It’s the few words that my family and I would say to sound so foreign in that area. I started to notice how different my family and I were. As soon as we ask for directions or when I had spoke, they can tell and guess what part of the U.S we were most likely from. I knew just by the look of their faces, some even started a conversation which ended up asking or guessing what state we were from. I did not mind it at first, but the longer I stayed, the less I wanted to talk, because I got tired of hearing the differences that made me felt like the way I speak was the wrong way my whole life.  When to me, it sounds like they were the funny one. Also how they move their mouth in order to pronounce certain words, I tried myself and it felt very strange, trying to get the word out like how they did.

My mom probably had a harder time than my sister and I did  when it come to speaking without people going,

“Huh, repeat that again?”

She has an accent from her motherland combine with how english is in Philly sounded. We never thought how few words said can make you stand out so much.

A quote from the article “The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingstan was, “It was when I found out I had to talk that school became a misery, that the silence became a misery.” It somewhat relate to how I was feeling. Even though it’s a different situation, I found myself double checking what I was going to say to make sure it was one of those words that’s pronounced differently. It’s not bad that they know we’re from somewhere else, it’s the fact that we constantly have to repeat ourselves because of a few words, or how we tend to drop the ending of the words.  

I personally like the experience in the beginning, finding it interesting how only a few states away, a word can be pronounce so different and dominant in an area. As days went on, it got less funny and interesting, but more of an annoyance like a non stop bee buzz.

I really enjoyed my time in Nebraska, saw more cows than I had ever did back in Philly, and they sure do pronounce things in such weird ways. I do like the people we met though, just not the language pronunciation part, I enjoyed seeing their facial expression more than actually talking to them. The way we talk probably sounded really hilarious to them too, even steven I have to say. I can’t wait to visit North Platte, Nebraska again!

Allison Kelly's Revisions

Lots of adults believe that rock and roll is the leading cause for teenage rebellion. To say this implies that teenagers did not act a certain way until a song promoted it. Considering that a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds made up majority of the first rock and roll bands that changed music and that they only had their own life experiences to write about proves that teenagers already acted this way. This behavior now just began to be the topic of songs. The rebellious stage of teenagers' lives has been the underlying enabler to rock music being one of the most successful genres in music.

During the early ‘60s, The British Invasion was the term used for these very successful British rock bands expanding their music to America. These bands, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Kinks, came in with a bang and changed American music forever. George Harrison of the Beatles proves young teens themselves started rock and roll, being that “Two weeks before his 15th birthday, George officially became a member of the band.” It is true to say that not everyone was acting the, “rock and roll” image before the music got popular, but rock didn’t influence teens to act this way, teenagers influenced other teenagers to act this way. Teens and some of their rebellious habits, such as drinking, drugs, sex, and reckless behavior, have been the root of the rock and roll genre and style, and by this music relating to so many and becoming so popular caused for it only to be influential to those who may not have acted this way before they heard the music.

The Who was another band who made their break and carried over their music to America. One of their most famous songs, “My generation,” contains the lyrics “I hope I die before I get old.” This made a huge statement for the teenagers of that generation because of new topics for their music. Rock and roll was hated by parents and the adult generation because it was said that the vulgar and passionate lyrics promoted sex, drugs, and reckless behavior. Some songs, even some classic ones by The Beatles and The Stones, were banned because of certain lyrics. The Beatles’ very famous song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ was banned because the initials were thought to have stood for LSD. The younger generation now was not only acting out even more as the songs caught on, but they now held a strong grudge against the parents of that generation considering they were being kept from their beloved music. By stating ‘I hope I die before I get old,” was just more teenagers writing about life experiences. “Getting old” to them meant going against all they loved, rock and roll and the lifestyle it brings.

A teenage rebellion article on TeachRock speaks to the idea that “Rock wasn’t just changing the lives of teenagers, but of everyone in some sort of way. Rock and Roll was an expression of that teen rebellion and of the growing gap between generations.” Parents felt their children drifting away, kids acted out towards adults, and adults and teens began to live in two totally separate worlds that despised the other. The media began to speak on behalf of all adults of that generation being as they were banning these songs. Little did they know is that the more they showed the hatred of the music by the older generation by publicly displaying it the more children got on the bandwagon of it. This only gave the teens something to rebel against. Those who couldn’t relate to this music before were now given a reason to listen to it.

The rebellious stage of teenagers' lives has been the underlying enabler to rock music being one of the most influential genres. If the older generation stopped to think about it, they would realize that the promotion of rebellious behavior does not just involve the rock music that was being blamed, but the media that was actually trying to demote the music as well. Teens started it, parents hated it, and the media ended up helping the side they were directly trying to go against. All in all, the promotion of rebellious behavior gave rock music its success.

Work Cited:

"The Beatles Biography." - the Beginning, the Rise, and the Aftermath of the Greatest Band on Earth. N.p., n.d. W

"My Generation by The Who Songfacts." My Generation by The Who Songfacts. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2014.eb. 21 Sept. 2014.

"OVERVIEW." Teenage Rebellion. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2014.

The Native American Genocide


In this paper, I changed my thesis. My original thesis was about how the American government has done nothing to help the poverty of the Native Americans. Now I have written about how Native Americans have gone through the longest genocide with the most deaths. One thing that I improved on was my organization. I did so by connecting the end of each paragraph back to my thesis. This was something that I struggled with in my original essay. I also improvement on making the 2fer more of an argument instead of a history lesson. I didn't just state a ton of facts, but I explained each fact that was include in my paper. 


2fer Revision:

The indigenous people of America, commonly known as the Native Americans, first came to America at least 30,000 years ago, thousands of years before the European settlers. They made America their home, with a population of 10 million and hundreds of tribes. The Native Americans thrived off of the land, using it for survival. But when the Europeans settled in America, they were enslaved, dispossessed, and annihilated. The Native Americans experienced a genocide that took tons of lives. History has seen some very gruesome genocide or methods of mass destruction, but none of them can be compared to the ongoing holocaust that the Native Americans have endured.

The word genocide is derives from Greek and Latin. The prefix “geno-” is Greek for a group of people, a race, or tribe. The suffix “-cide” is latin for killing or killer. Thus genocide means the killing of a group of people, a race, or tribe. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines genocide as the deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political, or cultural group. Native Americans have under went a genocide because they were eliminated first by Christopher Columbus and other Europeans and then by the American government. When Christopher Columbus thought he was the first person to discover America, he used violence and slavery to retrieve gold from the Native Americans. He also forced them to convert to Christianity and introduced many diseases that the Native Americans were not immune to. The American government had its part in this genocide because it passed many laws that allowed it and the American people to remove or kill Natives if they stood in the way of American colonization. All of these things contributed to the Native American genocide because it wiped out a mass population of tribes. The Native American genocide was so great compared to other genocides because so many have died. For instance in the Jewish Holocaust, 11 million people died in the span of 12 years. However, in only three years of Columbus being in America, five million Taino people were dead. Fifty years later, it was recorded that only 200 Tainos were living. It only took 3 years for Columbus to kill 40% of what the Jewish Holocaust did in 11 years.

The Indian Removal Act was another form of genocide. It was a law passed on May 28, 1830 that authorized President Andrew Jackson to give the Native American tribes in the southern states, the unsettled lands of west Mississippi in exchange for their land. Only a few tribes went in peace, but a myriad number violently resisted. During the winter and fall of 1838 to 1839, the Cherokees were forcibly relocated west. Approximately 4,000 died on the march, which was more than a fifth of the Cherokee population. This became known as the “Trail of Tears.” The American government moved the Native Americans out of their land, placing them on reservations with promises of peace, cash payments, and supplies. However they never received any of it. This was a form of genocide because many of the Native Americans died because of the cold weather, starvation, lack of water, and diseases like measles and smallpox. The government’s purpose of the Indian Removal Act was not only to move the Native Americans west so that the settlers could have their land, but to kill them on their way there. They succeed in that, considering the they wiped out ⅕ of a tribe.

There was also a cultural genocide that took place among the Native Americans. A culture involves language, music, art, religion, agriculture, food, and the social life. To destroy a culture is to destroy people’s dreams and spirit. In perspective, destroying a culture is more complex than killing people alone. The American government tried to destroy the Native American culture by capturing and brainwashing the children. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Bureau of Indian Affairs founded American Indian boarding schools. The schools would literally kidnap the children from their families. They were physically, sexually, and mentally abused in order to “kill the Indian and save the man.” The children could not to talk in their native languages, they could not wear their tribal clothing but they had to wear uniforms, and they were harshly disciplined. When these children returned home from boarding schools they were confused and they lost their cultural identity. That lead to suicide, drinking and violence. Robbing Native American children of their culture was a form of genocide because once they were done with school, they either no longer wanted to be a Native because they were taught that Natives are savages or they wanted to be a Native American again, but couldn’t because they didn’t fit in. This form of cultural genocide engendered many deaths and poverty.

Today Native Americans struggle with alcoholism, health problems, and poverty because of the genocide that they experienced. From the day the first European that sailed upon the rich coasts of America, to the present time as many Native Americans struggle with alcoholism, violence, diseases, and impoverishment they have been massacred. Thus the genocides throughout history are not as immense compared to the holocaust that has been enacted upon Native America. The Native American holocaust has lasted for more than 500 years and at least 95,000,000 have been exterminated, more than any genocide combined.


Works Cited:

  1. Staff. "Native American Cultures." A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 1 Oct. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


  1. "Primary Documents in American History." Indian Removal Act: (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress). The Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


  1. Alexie, Sherman, and Ellen Forney. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. New York: Little, Brown, 2007. Print.


  1. "Native American Living Conditions on Reservations - Native American Aid." Native American Living Conditions on Reservations - Native American Aid. N.p., n.d. Web. 29Sept. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


  1. "Racism Against Native Americans." Do Something. Do Something, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


  1. Giago, Tim. "Racism Against Native Americans Must Be Addressed." The Huffington Post., 04 Oct. 2009. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>


  1. "Racism against American Indian - Native Americans." Racism against American Indian - Native Americans. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


  1. "Native American Cultures." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.

  2. Blais-Billie, Braudie. "Ten Things You Don't Know About American Indians." Native American Heritage Programs. Native American Heritage Programs, 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.

  3. "Native American Genocide." The Espresso Stalinist. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.

  4. "Nick Dispatch." Nick Dispatch. The Odyssey - United States Trek, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


Bella Beato's Revision

Today America is constantly improving, but not always improving for the better. With the increase in technology and need for resources Americans are moving in a negative direction. The resources needed for all the technology really moves in a backwards direction. Damage to the environment is inevitable because of the constant change of the world and the standard of the way Americans live. 
With the constant growth of the human race they tear down forest and other natural habitats to make room for high rise buildings with condos and other things are created. Deforestation is extremely harmful to the planet. “The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Seventy percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.” This supports the thesis because it shows how when the world changes and more and more humans are born more and more species die  to make room for us. Humans need trees to breathe and by destroying all of our trees how will humans breathe. Humans need to stop destroying our natural resources and keep our earth healthy.
With the forever growing world of technology more and more people will need to use electricity to charge or power these devices. Humans don’t use the best methods of getting electricity however. “Most of the electricity in the United States is generated from fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas, and oil.” This supports the thesis because to get these resources its extremely harmful for the earth and humans will eventually run out of these resources. Humans don't use our other natural resources enough. We as humans, don't use solar power as nearly enough as we need to. When we run out no one will know what to do.
In addition to all of this development, factory framing is growing in the world. Animals are treated poorly and food is becoming genetically mutated. With these growing factories it is killing the environment. “The waste lagoons on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) not only pollute our groundwater, but deplete it as well. Many of the farms use the groundwater for cleaning, cooling, and drinking.” This helps the thesis because its shows by making these factories and not doing everything the natural way it ruins the environment. Americans consume these harmful mutated products and destroy our bodies. But humans don't only destroy their bodies they harm the animals that they mutate.
Although Americans might not think that damage to the earth matters much, their influence goes beyond damaging it the earth to actually killing it. Americans don't consider their impact on the environment when they do pretty much anything. When in fact the earth is affected by everything that we do. 
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Revised 2fer

Pilar Carroll

Air Stream

American Apparel, a basic clothing company, has become a more well known business from their advertising strategy. They advertise sex through clothing , that makes their company talked about. Though their profits went down for a short period of time due to the economy, they still got a lot of publicity from the way that they advertised their clothing. If American Apparel stopped to think about it, they would realize that advertising sex is not just about having sex, but about celebrating sex through clothes.

According to a press report from the Chicago Flame, American Apparel’s main strategy for selling their products is advertising sex. The article states that American Apparel advertisements  often have models or even store clerks that are wearing one article of clothing, usually a tee shirt or a pair of socks. The age group American Apparel is approaching are young adults. American Apparel as a business’ main concern is to sell clothes. If advertising sex sells, why not help a business while drifting on that topic? There is nothing that states they treat their workers and models unfairly. They are payed well living wages for the services that they do, and they are not forced to work, unlike other major clothing brand factories. Since no one at the factory is forced to work, they freely make the clothes, and the models freely shoot the scandalous advertisments.

One memorable statement American Apparel made that is advertising sex, is when the company made their mannequins have pubic hair, and nipples. The New York Daily News shared that the store posted a picture of the mannequins on instagram, a social media site with the caption,” Au natural is best but our lingerie is a close second. Stop by and get some V-day inspiration! #lingerie #AAlace #vday.”  American Apparel says they are a company that celebrates natural beauty. They created their window off the idea of changing how people think of sexy. And how women should be called sexy by their natural selves. American Apparels post on instagram got 1,180 likes. This scandal made American Apparel the talk of the town. Though not all the comments about the mannequins were good, when someone would say or write American Apparel, they were promoting the company. By posting comments on social media, one follower more knows about American Apparel. So in the long run, there is more publicity on the company, and it will be more known around the world.

By a click of a button an article can be posted out to the world. American Apparel makes sure their article eye catching. They are scandalous, because of what they make themselves known for selling. Is it bad that they advertise sex? Not for them.  Through advertising sex, they gain publicity. And rather than showing sex in a negative light, American Apparel makes it a beautiful thing. If American Apparel stopped to think about it, they would realize that advertising sex is not just about having sex, but about celebrating sex through clothes.


Source #1

Fosses, Michaelia. "Questionable American Apparel CEO Pits Crude Background against Positive Business Ethics - Chicago Flame - American Apparel." Questionable American Apparel CEO Pits Crude Background against Positive Business Ethics - Chicago Flame - American Apparel. N.p., 9 Jan. 2006. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.

Source #2

Miller, Tracy. "A Hair Too Far? American Apparel Debuts Pubic Hair on Mannequins ." NY Daily News. N.p., 17 Jan. 2014. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.


To revise this paper, I mostly worked on, my spelling, remembering words (not forgetting words), And add more thoughts. I had multiple spelling errors, and punctuation. I also forgot to write in words in sentences such as, the, a, and. Lastly, I didn't go in debt with my thoughts, so I had to write more. I now feel my 2fer is complete. 


2fer Revision

Reality television shows are frowned upon by many people in society. This is because they display behaviors that society should be trying to avoid, and glamorizes them into appearing desirable. However, if these shows are watched deeply enough, viewers can find their many positive attributes. Many actually influence society in a positive way by displaying real people who have made bad decisions or come from rough pasts, inspiring viewers to not make the same mistakes, or to work towards fixing them.

MTV’s popular television show “16 and Pregnant” puts teenage girls on display during their pregnancies, and transitions into motherhood. While many people find this show to be an extremely bad example for society to follow, there is evidence that shows it actually deterred teen viewers from following this example. A study was conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research to see what the cause was for a severe drop in teen birth rates, “The results of our analysis indicate that exposure to '16 and Pregnant' was high and that it had an influence on teens' thinking regarding birth control and abortion.” Even though “16 and Pregnant” may be thought of as a bad example for by making teenagers think it is okay to have a child at such a young age, it actually does the opposite. This show displays a lot of dramatic scenes, especially fighting scenes between the two teen parents, which can often be looked at as inappropriate, but really this graphic content is what makes young adults want to stay away from these negative kinds of behavior.  Many young adults find shows like “16 and Pregnant” to be entertaining, but whether they know it or not, they’re also being educated on what life is like when bad decisions are made, like the people in these shows. The fighting scenes, specifically, are often traumatizing for viewers. No one likes to see a couple fighting, especially violently, in front of their child. After seeing this, viewers can assume it is almost inevitable to have the same problems as those shown on tv- making viewers not want to make the same mistakes. Reality television educates society on what these negative decisions entail, and how to go about avoiding doing the same. “16 and Pregnant” is a great example of a reality television show that may carry a bad name, but actually teaches a valuable lesson to society- which positively influences them to not make bad decisions like those portrayed in the show.

The Biggest Loser is a reality competition show that gives an inside look on what it is like to be overweight, where the contestants have to work to lose as much weight as they can. This show exposes those who are overweight, which is something society should be trying to avoid- Yet this show delivers a positive, inspirational message to society. Season 3 winner, Erik Chopin, came onto the show at 407 pounds, and won at the weight of 193, losing 52% of his body weight. Erik is an inspiration for all people who struggle with their weight, as he was much heavier than other contestants, and ended up winning in the end. Jodi Davis, a Michigan local who used to struggle with obesity, found the hit reality show to be extremely inspirational. “It helps you face the fact that you can change and makes you believe that you can lose the weight.” America, especially, struggles with increasing obesity rates. Even though The Biggest Loser displays something society should be trying to avoid, it sends an extremely encouraging message as the contestants are everyday people who just want work to live a healthier lifestyle. For many, obesity is something that seems impossible to overcome. The Biggest Loser provides proof that it is indeed possible, and inspires others to make good choices just like those on the show.

American Idol makes dreams come true for many talented individuals who want to make their way in the music industry. This reality show is a competition for everyday people who have amazing voices and want to make a name for themselves. A lot o
f these people come from rough backgrounds, and watching their story inspires others to chase their dreams as well. Lazaro Arbos was a contestant on the show in 2013, but he was different from the rest. Not only did he have an amazing voice, he had gone through many hardships due to his stutter. Alain Lopez, a speech-language pathologist and owner of Bilingual Speech Language Pathology Center Inc. in Fort Myers says, “I think he's a good role model for other individuals who might be in similar situations, who might be hesitant to follow their dreams.” Lazaro Arbos is a great example of someone whose life was changed due to American Idol. For many, especially those who also have something that is holding them back from accomplishing their goals, Lazaro is an inspiration to never give up. American Idol gives people the opportunity to not only follow their dreams, but allows society to become inspired to do the same. American Idol gives the chance of success to all kinds of people, no matter what background they come from. This provides a wide range of contestants, making it almost impossible for a viewer to not be connected to at least one. Watching an everyday person be heard all over the world for their true capabilities gives society a bright outlook on life, and encourages them to not give into bad lifestyles just because you don’t have a perfect past. American Idol positively influences society by encouraging them to follow their dreams.

Reality television shows are often thought as to glamorize negative choices that society should be staying away from, when in actuality, these shows send a positive message to society by showing them other people who make bad decisions or have rough pasts but work to have a brighter future. Even shows like “16 and Pregnant” where the bad mistakes aren’t always fixed, it shows viewers why to stay away from these mistakes. Although reality television shows tend to have a negative connotation attached to them, many actually influence society in a positive way by displaying real people who have made bad decisions or come from rough pasts, inspiring viewers to not make the same mistakes, or to work towards fixing them.

Works Cited:

Wilson, Jacque, and Stephanie Smith. "Study: MTV's '16 and Pregnant' Led to Fewer Teen Births." CNN. Cable News Network, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.

BATLLE, MARYANN. "Lazaro Arbos' American Idol Run Inspires Others Who Stutter." NPDN. N.p., 12 Apr. 2013. Web. 07 Oct. 2014.

Davis, Jodi. "TV’s ‘The Biggest Loser’ a Great Motivator For Positive Change." A Healthier Michigan. N.p., 26 Sept. 2011. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.

Harrington, Amy. "The Biggest Losers: Where Are They Now?" Fox News. FOX News Network, 18 Sept. 2009. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.


Avery Monroe 2fer Revision

Death is inevitable, but it can happen in many different ways. Those who cause death, are often sentenced to death as a punishment. When convicted of murder, there is always a consequence. When someone is given the death penalty it is because they have been found guilty of a certain crime, there is a small list of crimes that would make the death penalty a possibility. There are currently 32 states that still practice the death penalty. Not only is the death penalty a cruel and unusual punishment but also, it can be extremely expensive and devastating to the prison and state system. Experts say, sentencing a prisoner to death on average costs about three times as much compared to sentencing them to life in prison. The Death Penalty should be banned in every state, because it is a financial burden that will eventually cause major problems to the prison and state system.

If the person is not given the death penalty the alternative is usually life in prison. Although the price that the prison system has to pay varies from state to state, it is pretty similar. According to Amnesty USA, “Death penalty case costs were counted through to execution (median cost $1.26 million). Non-death penalty case costs were counted through to the end of incarceration (median cost $740,000).” Criminals have committed a crime that is not only constitutional in our governments eyes, but also have committed such an inhumane act of foul behavior. It is difficult to believe that states spend millions of dollars to allow the death penalty to continue. Instead of creating a cycle of death, the state should abolish the death penalty and replace it with a more suitable consequence. It costs so much more to kill somebody than to just give them time in prison. Since there are sometimes large numbers of people on Death Row, this will cause a default in the money that the government has.

To be on Death Row, there must be a deplorable crime that has been committed. It is up to the judge of the court to decide if the crime was horrendous enough to give the criminal the death penalty. Mario M. Cuomo, the previous Governor of New York, stated that “That law is a stain on our conscience... The 46 executions in the United States in 2008 were, I believe, an abomination. People have a right to demand a civilized level of law and peace.” Not only was Mario Cuomo a respected governor, he raises a fair point on the matter. As stated before, the cost of having criminals on death row creates a staggering cost due after the senseless “consequence” they completed. According to information gathered previously and the information from Mario M. Cuomo, those 46 executions in 2008 would have been a grand total of over 58 million dollars. While on the other hand they could have spent a more manageable portion of money. Yet still expensive, the cost for the 46 inmates sentenced to life without parole would have been closer to $35 million. Spending this much more money, over time, will mean the states have to take money from other resources and will eventually will end up causing bankruptcy to the state. It is much more of a financial burden to the states to continue the death penalty.

When a state spends so much money executing inmates, they do not have to money to do other things that are very necessary, such as reducing available resources. Again, Amnestyusa states, ” Reducing the resources available for crime prevention, mental health treatment, education and rehabilitation, meaningful victims' services, and drug treatment programs.” When spending money to put people on Death Row, the state prison system is not only at risk of going into bankruptcy, but also at risk of reducing, or eliminating other state needs. One of the resources that will be diminished is “crime prevention”. Using this money for crime prevention will reduce Capital and violent crimes that they are being put on death row for. What sense does it make for the states to take the money to kill people when they could be taking the money to stop crime in the first place? So many of these resources are vastly important and useful to everybody.

The Death Penalty should be banned in every state, because it is a financial burden that will eventually cause major problems to the prison and state system. If the state stopped to think about it, they would realize that The Death Penalty is does not just affect the money in the state, but the children as well. There is a lot of money that gets spent on the prison system every year. A lof of this money could, instead, go to children in the school districts. It is effecting the children, and could start a cycle of people who do not go to school ending up in prison. It costs a lot more for the prisons and states to continue with the death penalty law, rather than to imprison the criminals. Keeping the death penalty drains the financial needs for other major resources. It would be much more efficient to discontinue the law of sentencing people to death.

Works Cited:

  1. Slobodzian, Joseph A. "Rarely Used, Pennsylvania's Death Penalty Remains a Headache on Both Sides of the Debate." N.p., 15 May 2011. Web. 03 Oct. 2014.

  2. "Death Penalty Cost." Amnesty International USA. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2014.

  3. "Death Penalty Fast Facts." CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.

  4. Cuomo, Mario M. "Death Penalty Is Dead Wrong: It's Time to Outlaw Capital Punishment in America - Completely." NY Daily News. N.p., 2 Oct. 2011. Web. 05 Oct. 2014.


Russian Ban on American Adoptions

Carolyn Borock

Air Stream

The issue of international adoptions took a major turn in early 2013, when Russia, which had been a very popular country for American adoptions, passed a law which barred Americans from adopting Russian orphans. Russia’s giant plan was to “poke” the American population by using Russian children as pawns in an international game. The Russian government wanted to retaliate against the US for passing the Magnitsky Act, a US law that was created in response to the investigation into corruption, tax fraud and human rights abuses by Russian officials.

The circumstances which led to the ban on American-Russian adoptions began in 2008 with claims of corruption and tax fraud filed against an American-Russian investment firm. Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer who worked for the investment firm, and in defending against the corruption claim uncovered the wrong-doing against  Russian officials. Instead of charges being filed against the officials, Magnitsky’s investigation and testimony resulted in his own arrest for tax evasion and eventually, his death in prison while waiting for trial. Although officially a “heart attack”, it was clear that Magnitsky was subject to what amounted to torture for his refusal to back down from the corruption allegations and died as a result of being denied medical care in prison. In response to pressure from the American citizens whose firm Magnitsky worked for, the US in 2012 passed the Magnitsky Act. The Act allowed the US to freeze the assets of and hold responsible the individual officials involved in the corruption scandal and human rights abuses, rather than institute sanctions against Russia itself. (Washington Post article)

Several months later, the Anti-American Adoption bill became Russian law. Why did the Russians choose to ban Americans from adopting Russian children. why not something else?

The “Anti-American Adoption Bill” is a heartless way to get the attention of many Americans by hitting them emotionally. The action could affect hundreds of U.S. families seeking to adopt, not to mention the Russian orphans, who now must languish in orphanages rather than be adopted into a loving home. Americans adopted close to 1,000 Russian children in 2012, according to U.S. State Department figures, The most innocent and vulnerable of Russian citizens – its orphaned children – are being punished to protect corrupt Russian officials so they can line their pockets, while depriving Americans of the opportunity to provide a loving home for a child or children. How can Russia get away with that?

According to the, the uncomfortable truth is that underneath the posturing, Vladimir Putin has a point. “The international adoption trade is a shady business – about 25,000 babies are adopted across borders every year; with half of them going to the US. However loving the prospective parents, in many nations there exists, according to the children's rights charity Terre des Hommes, "an industry around adoption in which profit, rather than the best interests of the child, takes centre stage".

Unfortunately, there have been several well-publicized incidents where orphans adopted from Russia by Americans did not end well. In 2008 Dima Yakovlev, a Russian toddler adopted by Americans, died after being left in a sweltering car for hours. His adoptive parents were found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter.“  The Russian Anti-Adoption bill is named for him.

Unfortunately, however, the Yakovlev case was not the only famous case that gave the Russian government an excuse to ban Americans from adopting. In 2010, a seven-year old boy adopted from a Russian orphanage by a Tennessee woman was returned to Russia by himself on an airplane, with a note that he was being returned because he was violent and had psychological problems. At that time, the Russian government threatened to suspend the American adoption program. It was also noted that there had been several failed adoptions, including three in which the children died. (

All of this provided a “valid basis” for Putin and Russia to create a bill which “protects” Russian orphans from Americans, the same way that the intent of the Magitsky law is to punish human rights violations.  However, the Yakovlev bill was not passed by the Russian government until four years after Dima Yakovlev passed away, and two years after the boy was returned on the plane, and pushed through very quickly after the Magnitsky bill was passed. It seems obvious that the Anti-adoption bill was created in retaliation, using the orphans for an excuse.

The US knew that the Russian government wanted to retaliate against the US. Why did the Russian government  choose to retaliate by banning Americans from adopting Russian children, why not something else, like trade? Russia makes a lot of money from the adoption process and they treat the children like an item. These are children not items.

In conclusion, Russia is using the children of their own country to hurt the Americans that fell in love with them, and hurts the Russian children who need loving homes; this is a situation in which neither side wins.

Works Cited :

(Washington Post article):

"Russia's Ban on American Adoptions Won't Go into Effect until next Year." Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.,:

Penny, Laurie. "Russia's Ban on US Adoption Isn't about Children's Rights." N.p., n.d. Web.

"Boy Sent Back to Russia; Adoption Ban Urged." N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

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Sounding Like Home

“Hi. My name is Michaela. I’m thirteen years old, and I’m from Philly,” I said to the group of girls around me. It was a standard summer camp icebreaker. We came from all over the country to spend a week here in Newport, singing. Since we were spending the week together, we were all introducing ourselves, telling each other our names and homes.

“Have you always lived in Philly?” one of the girls asked.

“Yeah. Born ‘n raised,” I responded with a shrug.

“Huh. You don’t sound like you’re from Philly,” she said in an off-hand manner.

I just gave her a tight smile and shrugged, not letting her see how annoyed I was.

“You don’t sound like you’re from Philly.” I can’t tell you the number of times people have told me that. And whenever I ask them where I think I am from, their response is almost always: “I don’t know, just not Philly.” Has anyone told you that don’t sound like you’re from the place you call home? It hurts. The worst part is when they want you to prove it. The number of times I’ve taken the ‘water test’, as I’ve dubbed it, is horrible. Someone will ask me to say the word ‘water’. They expect me to say something along the lines of “wooda”, since they think that’s what everyone from Philly says. They’re almost disappointed when I say “wadar”. Often I’ll just smile, and explain that the “Philly” accent that they are expecting is a South Philly accent. And, yes, there are people who say “wooda”, but the majority of the people I know don’t say it like that.

A lot of people would say that I should be happy that I don’t sound like I’m from Philly. That way, it’ll be easier for me to get a job down the road. The thing is, I do sound like I’m from Philly. I slur my words and elongate the ‘s’, sometimes even adding an ‘h’, like almost everyone else from Philly. People just associate a “Philly” accent with the voice of Sylvester Stallone. And I’m not the only one who has to deal with this issue. This is a problem people all over the world face. We assume all people from a certain area speak like the people in movies. We think everybody from Boston says “Pak the ca,” (Park the car) or the that everybody down south speaks slowly and almost slurs a little. And nobody is immune to it.

A great example of this would be the time I met one of my closest friends, who lives right outside of Boston. Alyssa acts like your typical Bostonian (she loves the Red Sox, can’t wake up without a cup of coffee from Dunkin’, and can be a bit abrasive at times), but she doesn’t sound like one. Or, at least, she doesn’t have the accent most people associate with people from Boston. The first time we met, we both immediately started judging each other’s accents. She had said I didn’t sound like I was from Philly, and I snarkily replied, “Yeah, well, you don’t exactly have a Boston accent, either.” And before you judge, I am completely aware of the hypocrite I was being in that moment. But that’s just something humans do. We judge people on what they sound like, and try to figure out their story from the moment they open their mouths. Another great example of this lies in The Hunger Games series. In every book, Katniss talks about how strangely people from the Capitol speak. She even goes so far as to mock them, even after she has met several people from there, and knows they aren’t all that bad. Their accent is vastly different from hers, so her instinct is to distance herself from it and make fun of it. We do the same. I still have the impression that all people from Boston say “Pak the ca”, even though I know people from that area who don’t.

And, like I said before, those thoughts hurt. The place you call home is a key part of your identity. It’s one of the first things you tell people when you meet them. So, when people tell you that you don’t sound like you are from the place you call home, it’s almost like they are ripping away a piece of your identity. However, what’s worse, is when people tell you that you’re accent is undesirable. When people make fun of your accent, they make fun of the place you call home. They aren’t taking away a piece of your identity, they are telling you that an important piece of you is undesirable, that you should hide it. At least when people take away a piece of your identity, other’s can replace it. But some wounds aren’t so easily fixed, especially when they are supported by popular culture.

Gloria Anzaldua addresses this issue in her essay How To Tame a Wild Tongue. She says, “Because we internalize how our own language has been used against us by the dominant culture, we use our language differences against each other.” She was talking about actual languages, but this quote can be related to accents as well. An example of this would be what Alyssa and I did. She told me I didn’t sound like I was from Philly, so, I retaliated. Neither of us has the “standard” accent of our homes. So, we used those differences against each other, which starts a chain reaction. Once we feel inferior, we want to make others feel inferior, at least on a subconscious level. We deem any and all accents that differ from our own inferior, creating the urge to reach “the voice from nowhere”. Sometimes, we even denounce people with our own accent, because we think that it is shameful. Yet, if we do eventually get to “the voice from nowhere” , aren’t we just putting ourselves back at square one? If we have “the voice from nowhere”, people will still tell us that we don’t sound like we are from our homes.

The idea of “the voice from nowhere” or a “superior” accent is ridiculous. Everyone has an accent, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Not only do these accents relay where we are from, they are a part of our identity, which is why making fun of them, or denying their existence, hurts. I know that we can’t just stop thinking the way we do, or change our misconceptions over night, but we can start to making changes. We can stop laughing whenever we hear a “funny” accent. We can stop voicing our thoughts about where we think people are from, or not from. And we can definitely stop trying to make others feel inferior because their accents differ from our own. No matter what we do, we will still make assumptions about people based on their accents. But maybe someday, those assumptions will come to include the less popular accents from a certain area. After all, don’t you want to sound like home?
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Different People, Different Voices

I have no interest in this topic seeing as I have no accent, I’ve never been against other people’s accents, and never been affected by a family member/ friends accent. I’ve always heard strong accents, and maybe I have judged or poked fun, but they’ve never really affected me personally. But, this is not just about accents it’s really just about your speech in general, so I guess I will talk about what i’ve noticed with my voice, particularly how I talk to people depending on who they are. Even though I have a defining personality that stays with me everywhere sometimes I change a little depending on the person I’m with.

I walk to the cafeteria filled with loud noises, and rushing feet,. I come to the table closest to the lunch line where I find my friend Amanda eating what the school district calls “food”. I set my backpack down on the table, rush to put my frozen chicken masala in the microwave and find a seat next to her.


“Hi” Amanda says.

“How has your day been going”?” I say somewhat sarcastically.  

She takes a deep breath and starts shaking her head.

“Oh god, I just can’t anymore with these teachers. They’re drawin’. I mean Mr. Abbott has a test and a benchmark due in the same week. And guess what! I have to do this asshole’s homework too! We laugh. “I just can’t anymore.’

“Well I’ve got two fuckin’ benchmarks due in the same week. Mr. Chase has one due this Wednesday, and Mrs. Jeffreys is due this Friday. Thank god she changed the date or it would’ve been due on Thursday, I would’ve been fucked!” I say in one breath.

We laugh again, and attempt to eat our lunch in this chaotic cafeteria. Eric walks over to our table and stares and Amanda’s lunch.

“Hey” We say.

“That shit looks like cat food. That’s disgusting.” He says pointing at it, laughter.

“More like cat vomit. “ I say. More laughter.

“No it looks like sweat. Like fucking sweat!” He says. Even more laughter.

“I don’t even know if I want to eat it anymore.” Amanda says.

“ I wouldn’t.” I say. Eric nods his head in agreement. Amanda throws out her food looking hungry and tired.

“Can I have some of your’s?” She says eyeing my food. I give into her puppy eyes and let her have some of my chicken masala.

When i’m with my friends I obviously talk how ever I want to. I curse, talk trash, and am overall incredibly vulgar. And so are my friends. It’s not a bad thing, everyone does it, but you only do it in front of the appropriate people. If I were to talk this way in front of an adult, I probably wouldn’t get a positive response. And, in my case wouldn’t, which is why I talk much differently with adults, particularly my dad.

I sit down at the kitchen table, waiting for my food to be served. My dad scoops up some mac and cheese into my bowl. After giving himself a serving he sits down. We start eating, at first in silence with jazz in the background, and then  my dad starts to talk.

“How was your day at school today?” He asks. He asks this a lot. I guess all parents do.

“Good.” I say.

“Well what did you do?” He asks.

“Nothing much.” I answer. “Just went to classes, talked to friends and stuff.”

“Oh. Well what do you have for homework?” He says.

“I have this history project…” I say.

“About what?” He says.

“Um, well it’s like this project where you have like a fake wikipedia page, and the topic is religion, and everyone does something different on religion. I'm doing art and religion.” I say.

“That sounds cool.” He says.

“Yeah the religion’s I’m doing are Islam and buddhism so I have to do some research on that…” And that’s when a billion other questions come in, and his knowledge on art, religion, buddhism, islam, and pretty much everything else that has ever existed. He also asks me if he can see some photos of this religious art that I have found. I of course have none, so I have to look up some google images.Then after realizing I already finished my meal I clear my plate and ask to be excused.

“Thanks for the dinner dad. It was really good.” I say.

“Your welcome. Make sure to show me those pictures!” He says.

“I will.” I say.

My voice changes when I talk to certain people. I am louder, more vulgar, and more revealing with my friends, while I don’t really know what to say with my dad or most adults in general. I don’t feel like I have to act a certain way in front them, or I have to say certain things to please them. There is no pressure, no worry with them, and I can say mostly what I want. I don’t know if this how your life works, maybe you feel the opposite way, or at least have more freedom to speak towards your parents/ adults. But, I think one thing we can all agree on is we don’t talk or act exactly the same with everyone.


My art was made with a very broad meaning, being straightforward yet beautiful. The reason that I created these pieces were because they had a very close mean to me. The art that I enjoyed making the most was in weeks five through six. I re-created a piece of art that was included on Kanye West album graduation. His music holds a very strong and close meeting to my hear and I think molded me into the person I am today. Music in my opinion a form of art, and just like the drawing it can be colorful and vibrant. 
The messages that I am trying to give as a person is that the things that shape you mold you into the person that you are, and that is depicted in the art. Although I would not consider myself an artist, I can convey a strong message through project. That is what I attempted to do here. I used Various colors that were very bright and both weeks two through three and five through six. The reason I picked these drawings are because of being a cartoon is affiliated with being a kid. The message is that being yourself is alright , and in my case I feel like I will always be young kid, with the young mine. The bright colors brought out a very active and I'll be feeling to the painting.
Week 2:sketches for ceiling tile collaboration
Week 3-4:collaborate with a with a “middle” to create a ceiling tile
IMG_0011 (1)
Week 5-6: Choose your own drawling
Week 7-8:make three bats (the animal) out of construction paper
Week 9-10:self portrait any medium on copy paper
IMG_0346 (1)
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Second Languages are Another Set of Eyes, Ears and Mouth

“A, B, C, D, E…” “Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro, Cinco…” Is basically how I started speaking Spanish back in kindergarten. When I was 5, I was enrolled in Independence Charter School, where you can start taking many classes at a young age in English or Spanish. See Both my parents were born in Nicaragua, my mother’s parents are from Pennsylvania so when she was a baby they returned to New York State. My father on the other hand, lived in Nicaragua until he was a grown man. My dad since he grew up in a more open cultured place, he learned many languages like English, Spanish and a few other native languages. My mother only knows English. So my parents wanted Luke and I to have a bilingual way of learning. We continued through kindergarten with the baby steps. “A,B,C,D,E...” “Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro, Cinco…”

Luke and I started learning a second language at the young age of 5, my older brother was not put in the Spanish classes. My mother learned that it would be very hard for him, as learning a language comes easier as a child. I started really learning my Spanish because every class was taken in Spanish. I had “matemáticas” y “ciencias.” The teachers spoke to us in Spanish. “Aaron; nos vamos a la escuela, va a llover.” I understood them. Even when I never speak or practice Spanish outside of when I “need” to. We were told we could only speak Spanish in class as well. We were given “pases” for one time you can speak English every class. If you exceeded them the teacher would make you stay after to speak Spanish with them. “Me voy a verte durante su almuerzo.” “Si maestro.” Is what I would reply. They would push you early to ensure you learn and sustain skills in English and Spanish.

I learned Spanish but never got one of those “expected” accents. You hear the Spanish accents on TV. They like to make sure to show of their rolling R’s when unnecessary. People might say “Oh yeah, well you don’t sound like you’re Spanish.” Well then how do I know if you speak “English.” Stereotyping is a problem for Spanish speakers and many languages around the world suffer as they are supposed to fit the description of the languages “native speaker.” I am Latino and White but I look and you could say “sound” white. Many like me have had issues with stereotypes, with the American gringo look. I believe it’s because our physical look are viewed as people who can’t speak Spanish the “right” way. I am happy that I have this second language skill no matter what others think of what Spanish really is.

A struggle I have had was transitioning from learning from Spanish to English. Up until middle school every class I had was in Spanish, even music. We ended that in 6th grade. It was hard to learn the terms in math go from “pulgada to inch.” I would get things wrong on tests because of myself not knowing these words. I felt like Richard Rodriguez in math class, he said “ I remember to start with that day in Sacramento- a California now nearly thirty years past- when I entered a classroom able to understand some fifty stray words in English.” That might be a bit of an exaggeration as well as the second half only relating to myself. I felt I had to learn math twice all the time, the way I knew it and the way it was expected to be done. This was a burden on me but I overcame it. I overcame my transition from Spanish learning to English with practice, learning new things in classes in another way. I was happy that I learned my classes in Spanish as well, otherwise I could have lost my Spanish forever.

At SLA, I have gained a different way of learning Spanish, where working together rather than yourself is how we learn. I thought I should’ve started in a higher Spanish, but in Spanish 2 as a freshman with Don Marcos we often worked together to learn and show our projects to improve our Spanish. But at ICS it was more individualized and I’d say competitive. What I learned in Spanish 2, I learned in 5th grade at ICS. At ICS we had books to read constantly, long tests, projects and papers due often. ICS had a much larger commitment to Spanish, where I’d take the class seven times a week. The differences are astronomic between how I’ve been learning Spanish, and how I was originally taught. I can’t imagine not having taken Spanish classes in my life, they have been enriching to my speech in situations and how I look at cultures.

Mom: “Aaron Come help me out, I’m talking to one of my students and I can’t understand him, can you help?

Aaron: “Alright, cool.”

Student: “Que fue la tarea de la noche pasada?

Aaron: “Mom, what was the homework from the other night?

Mom: “The homework was to read the text then write a connection to yourself, and the world with the reading.”

Aaron: “La tarea fue a leer y después escribir conexiones de su mismo y el mundo del libro.”

Student: “Gracias, Ms. Sharer.”

Aaron: “Mom he said thanks.”

Mom: “Aaron yeah I know that one.”

(Mom types in de nada)

Mom: “Thanks.”

Learning Spanish hasn't just helped me but others around me. My mother does not speak much Spanish, she knows what would be called “un poquito.” She currently works at the school district building but previously worked at Furness High School. Furness housed many immigrant students from around the world. A chunk of them from Latin America. She would try to help them out of class by trying to talk in Spanish with them online. She had a hard time so when I was available, she’d ask for my help. I would be a translator for her so her students could learn and improve in class. Helping my mother goes a long way as it helps the student for the long run. My mother thanks me every time  help her out and using a skill of mine for the good of others is a great way a second language helps in the real world.

This essay makes me think about being thankful. Not for upbringing or material possessions but the gift of opportunities I’ve had to gain skills like Spanish. Things like skills are things to be more thankful of than those pair of shoes you bought last week. The language skill lasts longer and has a price tag that can’t be set. You can’t put a price tag on knowledge but you can on just about everything else. That’s why Spanish has relevance to me and it’s influence on myself and people close to me. Your language never goes away, so hold onto it and take advantage of it.

I Can't Understand You

“Say it again!”

“ Wanzie”, my mom said.

“I thought it was onesie.” I said laughing.

“That’s what I said, wanzie.”

Another round of laughter came from my sister and I. My mom was thinking of gifts for her friends baby shower and the idea of a “wanzie” came up. We had never heard my mom say that word before. We thought my mom talked without an accent. All my life I thought my mom sounded like any other American, but friends and strangers would ask where my mom was from.  The rest of her family had strong accents that even made it hard for me to understand sometimes. I could never understand how she sounded different. Until that day.

My mom is Guyanese. She was born and raised in Guyana with all of her family. At the age of sixteen, she and my grandmother came to America. In high school, people couldn’t understand what she said. They made mean jokes and stereotypes about where she was from. In college, my mom wanted to go  into Communications. She wanted to be “the next Oprah”, but she knew she had to lose the accent. She didn’t end up being the next Oprah but she did get a job at our church being the Events Coordinator. This job meant she would always be on the phone and communicating with people. Her new voice was beautiful. So beautiful that she became the voice on the answering machine. But why was it good enough there but not good enough in college?

When I was younger, I never noticed my mom had an accent. People say I have lived with her so long that I wouldn’t notice. I thought my mom was like every other American mom, except for the fact that she made curry and other Guyanese foods. Whenever people asked where she was from I thought it was her appearance. Maybe Guyanese people looked differently that other Americans? But then they would say to her “Oh your accent gave it away.” “What accent,” I would think, “ she didn’t have an accent.” Sometimes, after I would hear my grandma or someone with a strong Guyanese accent speak, I would ask my mom to talk with her accent. I would say she’s “americanized” and tell her she’s lost her Guyanese roots, all jokingly of course. All along not knowing she never lost it.

My mother’s side of the family has always been strict on speaking properly. My grandmother doesn’t accept slang or incorrect pronunciation of words. “Mac and cheese” is changed to “macaroni and cheese” and “You went over her house? Like flew over it?” is asked if  “went over her house” isn’t  changed to “went to her house”. Proper speaking is a must. New slang words are the types of things she gets mad at us for saying. Because I am black, people will automatically think I speak improperly. My mom installs in my sister and I that our language is everything. People will judge you by how you speak and she doesn’t want that to happen. “Open your mouth and pronunciate,” is a line I hear a lot,”you want people to understand you.” She learned that the hard way.

In class, we read a passage by James Baldwin. In the passage, a quote stuck out to me and I felt that it would fit perfectly into my essay. The quote says “It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power.” This quote relates to me because I think if my mom didn’t have an accent then she would have had a better chance at achieving her goal. I’m not saying that that is the only reason because their are many other factors, but I believe that it would have helped dramatically. If my mom didn’t have her accent, she would have had a better shot at having a job in the area she went to school for. A better job would result to a higher salary. Her accent determines what types of jobs she will get. Just like in the passage, “means” are a result of her language. She could be the smartest person in the world, but her language will counteract that. Society wants us to speak a certain way and if we don’t we are looked down upon and not given the same opportunities as everybody else.

I have had experiences where I have been told I talk “white”. This means that I speak like a “white person” would talk. I don’t think I talk like I’m “white”. I believe I talk properly when I’m around certain people. I speak differently when I’m around professionals because I know that the way I speak will determine how they view me. The way they view me determines if I get the job or the opportunity I want. My skin color already creates stereotypes so my language has to change that.  My mom tells me to always speak properly because she knows how important it is. She doesn’t want me to have limited opportunities because of the way I speak.

I don’t agree with the way the world treats people who speak differently than how they thinks they are supposed to speak. I believe that everyone should be treated equally, no matter how they speak. Not everyone can speak “white”. It’s unfair to withhold opportunities from people because they don’t fit the language criteria that society has. Sadly, we don’t live in a time like that. I now understand why my mom pushes for a great education for my sister and I and for us to speak clearly and properly. She does not want us to be cut out from opportunities that we can be given because of our language. My mom had to work hard to change her language to fit in with society. Now that we don’t have to work as hard, she doesn’t want us to take our language for granted and mess it up. She just wants the best for us.
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