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"Brecfix" for Champions

“ I’m so hungry “

“ Yea me too I didn’t have time the eat BRECFIX this morning because….”

“ You didn’t have time to eat what “?

“ Brecfix you know, morning time food”.

“ Oh you mean BREAKFAST”

“ Yea isn’t that what I said”.

“ Why do you say it like that “?

“ Say it like what?“

“ You sound so weird it’s breakfast like break-fast not brecfix you sound like you're from the south or something “

“ Brecfix ”

Everybody that was in a 5 feet radius of my conversation burst into laughter.

“ What is Brecfix “

“ She said Brec- Fix”

“ Like Brick and fix”

“ Hahahahahahaha”

                 I started laughing with them to hide my embarrassment. I didn’t understand why it was so funny. I had been saying breakfast the same way since I was a kid. This was in the 7th grade. I was 13 years old and until that day, I didn’t know I couldn’t say breakfast. The word had already been sprouted into the garden of my vocabulary and I didn’t know how to change it. When I got home that day I sat in the mirror for hours just trying to say breakfast. My mind knew that it was breakfast but my mouth kept saying brecfix. I felt so stupid and I was so frustrated with myself because I couldn't say a simple word. What really upset me is that no one ever told me I was saying it wrong. So how would you know when you're saying something wrong or strange? Especially when it sounds so normal to you.  When you’ve been saying something the same way for so long and someone corrects you, it feels like a slap in the face. Why do people think they have the right to correct you on the way you speak?  When a group of people say something the same way they become accustomed to it. It's their normal. But when someone comes and says it differently they look at them strangely. They laugh at and judge that person because they don’t speak like them.  I noticed that when people don’t understand something they try to put it down. These ideas of one language triumphing over another are ridiculous. Language is language, it's your interpretation of the definition of language that is different from everyone else’s. Everyone's definition is different. You're definition doesn't make you better than anyone or less than anyone it makes you who you are.


         Language is power. It's the power to judge someone. It's the power to understand someone. Our language is the most powerful thing we have. It's our language that lets us communicate with one another. People feel as though if they speak a certain language they have power over someone who doesn't speak that language. They make fun of that language because they don't know it. In the world that we live in being different is frowned upon. Anything that is not what people are used to is weird to them and they will laugh at it or joke about it. They don't understand that when they are laughing at the way someone speaks it is laughing at who they are. The way you speak is you is apart of you, it is you.


               I was laughed at because I couldn't say one word like everyone else. Imagine all the people who get laughed at who have accents or have a disability like a stutter and can't speak like everyone else. It hurts. You feel bad about who you are. You're language is your power. When someone puts down you're language they are taking away your power.  There is no perfect language to speak. Everyone goes somewhere outside of where they are from and doesn't understand the language or the slang. Where you are from influences you're language greatly. Once you step out of that zone you are lost, your language is lost.


            I tried to change who I was to get approval from others. That's what you do when you change your language you are talking away a part of yourself. I tried for months to say breakfast like everyone else. I practiced and practiced but I never got it right.

           One day I was sitting down eating at school. It wasn't breakfast, it was lunch time so nobody asked me to say brecfix or talked about how I said it. My friend Imani and I were making jokes and laughing like we always did at lunch and I started to talk to her about an assignment we had.

“ Did you finish your project for Mr. Jumpp’s class”?

“ No I didn't even start that yet”

“ You know it's due in like last week right?”

“ Yea but I don't know PACIFICALLY what I want my topic to yet”

PACIFICALLY, SHE SAID PACIFICALLY.

“ You don't what”?

“ I don't know what..”.

“ No you said you don't know pacifically what you want to do yet”.

“ Yeah I don't know pacifically what I want my topic to be”.

“ Specifically”.

“ Huh”.

“ The word is pronounced spe-cif-ically”.

“ Oh Sp..Pa..Psssifically is that right”?

          This was coming from the same friend who corrected me for saying brecfix. She couldn't say specifically. She said pacific, like the Pacific Ocean. It was in that moment that I realized something important. People mispronounce words all the time. It’s apart of life. Than I started to think about it, and maybe we aren't mispronouncing words. Maybe we are just saying the word in our own language. Putting our power into a word to make it our own. Each word that we speak is different. We each have our own way of speaking. So this is my definition of language. Language is not just what you say or how you communicate with one another. It's so much more than that. Language is the power that we put into what we say. We put power into everything that we say.  That's how language and power coincide. Power runs through the river of language and language flows out of all of us. We all individually make our language. Nobody in the world can say every word “correctly” or knows every language. Sometimes we can’t say things “correctly” and that's okay because it’s how we say it.  

         I  still can not say breakfast "correctly" but now I don’t even try to say it. Breakfast is not in my language. Of course people still laugh when they hear me say brecfix but I’m okay with it now because I know that it’s my special word, it’s apart of my language. I eat brecfix in the morning and I am perfectly fine with that.
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Islam on the Rise

Islam on the Rise

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. However, it is also still  hated and misunderstood by many, due to the radical or extremist perception the media portrays. Since 9/11, the media has been covering many stories about attacks, bombing, killing, etc that have Muslim involvement. The media shows a lot more negativity from one group, rather than the positivity. It is the general public’s interaction with the media, and not actual Muslims, that gives them their image or impression of what Islam is about and who Muslims are.

Islam is perceived by many to be a religion full of terrorists, due to the outbreak of attacks and killing done by ISIS, and other extremist groups. All the negativity shown in the media is what Americans see, and because of this false information, Americans develop a sense of fear or hatred towards Muslims. Bridge Georgetown is a community organization that writes Muslim-Christian understandings and settlements. One of their articles states, “According to data Media Tenor collected on “religious protagonists” in 2013 news stories, Christianity, Judaism and other religions receive considerably positive coverage in American news, while Islam receives virtually none. While mainstream religious leaders like Pope Francis were often the face of Catholicism in the media, fringe extremists like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the face of Islam.” Pope Francis is well known, respected, and is positively portrayed in most media. The Dalai Lama, a religious leader in Buddhism, is also well known, respected, and portrayed well in the media. Yet, when Islam is shown in the media it is often associated with something nonpositive. The face of Islam is now well known through extremist like Abu Bakr or Osama Bin Laden. Even if Islam is a growing religion, it will still have a good number of people who are very ignorant about it.

An news article published by The Daily Beast, talks about other religious terrorist groups, such as the Buddhist terrorists who had killed many Muslims in Burma and Sri Lanka, yet it is not heard a lot about. People are more likely to be killed for other reasons, such as accidental death or injuries caused by children, then by Muslim terrorists. The last several years, there have been many terrorist attacks in the West. To many, they automatically think that it was the Muslims that did it, the extremists. Yet they do not know that many of the terrorist attacks were not linked to Muslims. Muslims are perceived as terrorist without valid reasonings and actual understanding behind the religion. An FBI report shows that there was only a small percentage of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 that were perpetrated by Muslims. Forty-two percent of terrorist attacks are done by Latinos and only 6 percent by Muslims. Most terrorist attacks shown by the media are by Muslims, but not about other religious groups. Most people do not know this because of the media, most terrorist attacks that happen in the U.S are not even done by Muslims. This comes to show how Islam is misunderstood by the people, majority of those in the west.

Islam is a fast growing religion, the numbers of new converts contribute to it’s growing pace, but not entirely. The Pew research center discussed about the growth of the religion Islam and what it is projected to be by 2050. “The main reasons for Islam’s growth ultimately involve simple demographics. To begin with, Muslims have more children than members of the seven major religious groups analyzed in the study.” The children in Muslim households are increasing in numbers compared to other households of other religions. Because Islam is not a religion that typically seeks converts,  there will still be a misunderstanding or fear that links to Islam and Muslims. There will be more numbers of Muslim in the coming years, due to estimated population growth, and as of today, there are about 1.6 billion Muslims, which makes up about 23% of the world’s population.

Although hatred towards Islam may seem important to Muslims. It should be in fact concern anyone who cares about rights and the freedom of religion everyone that everyone deserves. It is not just about the religion and Muslims, it is how people treat Muslims because of their religion yet still believing in freedom of religion. It’s important for a better understanding of this religion and the people and not just the stereotypes in society.



Work Cited


"The Fastest Growing Religion in the World Is ... - CNN.com." CNN. Cable News Network. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/living/pew-study-religion/>.


"Why Muslims Are the World’s Fastest-growing Religious Group." Pew Research Center RSS. 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/23/why-muslims-are-the-worlds-fastest-growing-religious-group/>.


"Non-Muslims Carried Out More than 90% of All Terrorist Attacks in America." Global Research. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.globalresearch.ca/non-muslims-carried-out-more-than-90-of-all-terrorist-attacks-in-america/5333619>.


Obeidallah, Dean. The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/14/are-all-terrorists-muslims-it-s-not-even-close.html>.


Shadid, W., and P.S Van Koningsveld. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.interculturelecommunicatie.com/download/image.pdf>.


"Media Portrayals of Religion: Islam." Media Portrayals of Religion: Islam. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://mediasmarts.ca/diversity-media/religion/media-portrayals-religion-islam>.


"The Fastest Growing Religion In America Is Islam." End Of The American Dream. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-fastest-growing-religion-in-america-is-islam>.


"New Study Analyzes Media Coverage of Islam Over Time - The Bridge Initiative | A Research Project on Islamophobia." The Bridge Initiative. 24 Apr. 2015. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://bridge.georgetown.edu/new-study-analyzes-media-coverage-of-islam-over-time/>.





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The Different Tongues Within

“Yo hhablo es-pan-your."

"Español."

“Es-pan-jour.”

“Noo español."

“Es-pan-oool.”

“No!”

¨Whatever.¨


Let’s just say, pronunciation is the key to communication, and communication is dependent on language. So shouldn’t I be able to know a language and communicate perfectly to others? Maybe, but that’s usually never the case. Language is a group of words in a dialect where you either butcher every syllable or swiftly glide through it like a plane. There is no in between, no if’s, and's, or buts; you just do it.

"El car-row azul."

“Carro.”

“Car-row.”

“CARRO.”

¨Car-row.¨

¨Forget it.¨

“Am I not saying it right?!”

“Roll your r’s!”

“I can’t.”

“Then, just stop.”

Either you say it correctly or you're like me, neglected because my r’s don’t roll off my tongue as perfectly as they are suppose to. People rejecting to respond to my sentences because the sounds don’t feel right against their ears. People judging my accent as if I should've had gotten it right the first time, but it wasn't that easy.

I remember, it was after my first Spanish one test, or should I say prueba. I was so happy that I got a good grade on it so I wanted to speak Spanish to every single Hispanic person I ever knew. I thought by my grade being high meant that I could speak fluent Spanish and understand it perfectly, but I was wrong. Elani Gonzalez- Ortiz; the first Spanish oriented person to walk pass.

“Hola, ¿cómo estás?”

“Muy bien, ¿y tú?”

“Muy bien.”

“kgfwuelagru ghruaggfk fhaiunfmsug.”

What had been a new birth of a language quickly turned into unknown jibberish. I wanted to ask, but I needed to figure this out. I was better than this; I KNEW SPANISH! I had gotten a ninety-five for a reason; and I was going to figure out what she was saying. It took me days, weeks, until I just gave up. Yup, that's exactly what I did, I gave up. I soon realized that Spanish wasn't for me; I was just another child denied by the world of Spanish and their foreigners. I accepted that role as a person, but for some particular reason somewhere in my heart still felt the need to be better than that. I felt, I wasn't going to be the test dummy to a society of a new profound language. I was going to make myself be heard, in Spanish, so I studied.

A’s and B’s seemed to constantly occur every marking period as a statement that I have gotten somewhere in my Spanish journey. Spanish sentences flowed so perfectly against my eardrums and all just seemed to all become one inside my head. So, I tried again.

“Hola, ¿cómo estás?”

“Muy bien, ¿y tú?”

“Estoy bien.”

“Oh, , tjyvgj ynhfgub ygjbyyj”

It happened again… I am officially done with Spanish.

Communicating within languages that aren’t foreign to you can be the biggest struggle you encounter throughout your life. This not only affects me but the people I am trying to communicate with. I only have two options in this situation, to either, further my knowledge within Spanish and become very well spoken, or stop talking to them at all. Either way I will always have a constant struggle upon me.

Currently I have an A in Spanish; currently I am becoming better than I once was yet again. I gave up and came back multiple times throughout my past years just to end up here. Sometimes I do wonder, why do I keep trying or why do I even care so much.  But then I notice that if it wasn’t for my school’s constant requirement of taking Spanish classes and my love of Spanish music, then I wouldn’t be here right now. Spanish has been that language that seems to just grow with me. Whenever I feel like letting it go, it always seems to find it’s way back to me; and I am okay with that.

According to google’s very own definition resources, language is “the system of communication used by a particular community or country.” In this definition there are no limits or requirements of how much of that language you need to know. All that is needed is for you to be able to say a couple of those words to another person who also speaks it and then, you are considered a person who knows the language. Well, at least that is how I see it. This definition gives me is a reason for my hope, the reason for my devotion and dedication to Spanish; it gives me path that I will take.

I hung around too many Hispanic in my life, not to understand. Always feeling like the outcast was never a fun thing to me. I would purposely invite others who didn’t speak Spanish just to fill somewhat in place. But I always had that dream that if I could just learn to understand Spanish, I would be okay.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my foreign language of English, but sometimes you need to learn something new to feel better within yourself. English will always be my most dependent on language; it will always be my first resort of communicating. But being able to do both, English and Spanish will always be a reminder of where I started and how far I have came.

“Hola, ¿cómo estás?”

“Muy bien, ¿y tú?”

Asombroso.”

“Oh, ¿por qué te sientes así?”

“Porque yo hablo español.”

“Y usted está hablando a la perfección!”

“Lo se, gracias.”

“¿Para qué?”

“For not rejecting me in a world of foreigners.”

Pronunciation is the key to communication, and communication is dependent on language. Without language, none of this would ever even be possible, so I take pride in my language. Language gives me my very own personal portal to the outside world. It allows me to understand everything near and around me as a person. My language gives me a chance to explain myself; it gives me my very own identity. I consider my language everything; my language is me. No words, dialect, accent, or symbol can change me from expressing who I am exactly; language gives me a voice.
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Police Brutality

The world is slowly traveling back in time, a time when race is influencing how the world is run. To run the world there are laws and regulations to insure that safety of the people. Even with these laws, crimes are still happening all over the world. But it’s said that the police are always there to protect the people, and yet the people are still in trouble. One example is of a young woman pulled over for a not turning her signal, she was presumed dead in the next three days while she was in police custody. Slowly but surely, law enforcement is abusing their power and disregarding laws, thus taking matters into their own hand based on race. This is called police brutality. The power they have should be used to improve the lives of people, not to destroy the world one person at a time.

Many officer seem to be overstepping their boundaries on laws which is police brutality.  One example of police abusing their power happened recently in Stockton, California. A video is taking of a young african american teen jaywalking, for this he was hit multiple times and tackled by multiple officers. As stated in an article at FindLaw.com jaywalking pentalties depend on whether it was an infraction or a misdemanor. An infraction is a petty offense and isn’t “considered a criminal offense and thus not punishable by incarceration (Findlaw.com).”  A misdemeanor is “punishable by a fine.” Neither of these penalties call for physical violence, so why was this action taken? Maybe it was because this young man was African American and he was “resisting arrest” (stated in the video) from a Caucasian officer for a crime that everyone commits.

Police brutality is an alarming issue in the United States.A reporter named Aaron Morrison from the international Business Times took the issue of the police attitude to the people. Through social media Mr. Morrison asked if Americans were to grade the police, like teachers grade students, what would this grade be. The articles states “that nearly half of Americans give their police department a “D” grade or a failing grade.” People are seeing that law enforcement is decreasing in their efforts to protect the people. This decrease can cause distrust in the laws and the people enforcing said laws. One of the tweets mentioned in the article says the reason police are averaging a “D” grade is because “More Americans are killed by cops.”  If the police aren’t protecting the people then it is more likely they are causing damage to the people.

One death from police abusing their power is in the case of Sandra Bland. She was 28 years old when she pulled over by a Texas officer for failing to turn on her turning signal. This offense normally calls for a fine. But in Bland’s case the trooper said she was “argumentative and uncooperative” this lead to her being arrested for “assaulting a public servant.”(CNN) in the video the officer asked her what is wrong and Bland comments that she is irritated, but that frodoesn’t stop him from giving her a ticket. Afterward he continues to comment on her attitude, then proceeds to ask her to get out of the car. Bland then explains that he has no right to make her get out the car. Which is true, according to Martin Kron a traffic court judge says "It's perfectly legal for you to say in the vehicle.”  So there is no reason for the trooper to get aggressive and continually demand Bland to get out of the car or for him to arrest her. Later in the video it is also shown that Bland is shoved to the ground she then screams “you slammed my head into the ground.” This doesn’t always happen when someone is pulled over for a simple misuse of their signal.

After Bland’s arrest she was place into a cell for three days. Later on she was found dead in her cell. The police claimed that it was a suicide but all family members that knew Bland said that the thought of her committing suicide is “unfathomable”(CNN). Frosted Illustrated also made the point that she was left in her cell for three more hours after she was found dead. Why would someone be left in their cell three hours after they were found dead unless the police had something to do with it.

It is most likely that this situation escalated so quickly because of the color of her skin and because she wasn’t doing what she was told. In the world Black People are mostly seen as suspects, even when they aren’t doing anything. An article written by a law professor from huffingtonpost.com states that “The police stop blacks and Latinos at rates that are much higher than whites. In New York City...when whites were stopped, only 8% were frisked. When blacks are stopped 85% were frisked according to information provided by the NYPD.” Only 8% of White People were frisked in a place mainly populated by Black people. This shows that the police system is more trusting in the white population since their is such a big difference in the percentages.

When asked police may say that they are making the world a better place and trying to keep things safe. But on a close look they are the ones tearing down the world. For example Sandra and this young teen in California who were only supposed to receive a warning but when they had the right to resist they physically abused by the people supposedly there to keep them safe.


Work Cited:

  1. Morrison, Aaron. "Police Brutality Statistics: Law Enforcement Departments Receive Failing Grades In Twitter-Based Report Card."International Business Times. N.p., 27 Aug. 2015. Web. 21 Sept. 2015. http://www.ibtimes.com/police-brutality-statistics-law-enforcement-departments-receive-failing-grades-2071697

  2. "Jaywalking - FindLaw." Findlaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. http://traffic.findlaw.com/traffic-tickets/jaywalking.html

  3. "Cops Beat Black Teen For "Resisting" His Jaywalking Ticket." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZeMfNw_GMI


  1. Sterbenz, Christina. "If The Cops Pull You Over, These Are Your Rights."Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/what-rights-do-you-have-when-pulled-over-2013-11


  1. "FULL DASH-CAM VIDEO OF SANDRA BLAND ARREST RELEASED!!"YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuPvDMN73hQ


  1. "DA: Sandra Bland's Death to Be Investigated as Murder - CNN.com." CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/20/us/texas-sandra-bland-jail-death/


  1. "Sandra Bland: Suicide or Homicide? New Evidence Raises Questions."Frost Illustrated. N.p., 16 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 Sept. 2015. http://www.frostillustrated.com/2015/sandra-bland-suicide-or-homicide-new-evidence-raises-questions/

  2. "Police Brutality." Dictionary of American History. 2003. "Police Brutality."Encyclopedia.com. HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2003. Web. 18 Sept. 2015. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401803303.html

  3. Quigley, Bill. "Fourteen Examples of Racism in Criminal Justice System."The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-quigley/fourteen-examples-of-raci_b_658947.html
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My Language Belongs to Me

“Hey, do you want to come with us to Chinatown?” the people I knew in my stream would ask.


“I don’t know,” I said in an unsure manner.


That is what I usually sound like when I am in school, with people I feel uncomfortable around. I am not a very extroverted person and when it comes to being social, I’m not sure about what I should say, do or how I should act. When I’m around people that I hardly know, I feel like they won’t accept me for who I am. In times like these, I am unable to make decisions for myself because I feel out of place and I feel like I’m the center of attention. When I’m the center of attention, I feel uncomfortable, like I am being judged and that affects how I make decisions. Sometimes when I can’t make decisions on my own, I go further into the corner that is my shyness instead of breaking out of my shell and thinking for myself. When I put myself in these situations, I am always questioning myself like, “What should I do?” or “Should I just do this?”


My first year of high school was very tough because everything was new to me, especially the language people used. I heard people using slang words that I didn’t know the meanings of or what they were saying. After a while, I did get used to the slang and started to use those words when I spoke to people at school in order to fit in. The way I spoke was different whenever I got home from school because I respected my parents enough where I wouldn't use slang words.


In my sophomore year of high school, things have changed, especially the slang. I do feel like it’s my freshman year because of my new stream, new friends, new languages, even though everything still seems new, but different to me. This year is different only because of my new friends, languages and everything that goes along with it. I am still very shy and aware of what I say because I’m afraid that I will sound unintelligent to them. As James Baldwin said, “People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate.” This relates to me because he is saying that people change their language to fit in, not be judged and to be on the same level as everyone else, and my case, it would be the level of intelligence. He is also saying that it is easier to understand someone on your level, instead of being left “clueless” from someone on a different level of intelligence.


Sometimes when I am around people that I don’t know in other places, I think that I sound weird to the people. Also, if they ask a question that I either don’t understand or hear, I would be afraid to ask if they could repeat the statement. I am a very shy person, so that really doesn’t help with speaking up and asking people to repeat. When it comes to situations like that, I just don’t want to ask them to repeat because I always think that is rude. I am also a very kind person, which also plays a big role in being shy.


“So, who had an awesome day today?” I would ask my family when we were sitting down, eating dinner. When I am in my own environment, I feel “free” and able to do what I want and be what I want. I don’t have the pressure of being different or being weird because I was being myself. I think the way I speak determines how I feel or act around people. I think language plays a big role in determining someone’s identity because some people talk differently and act differently around certain people. I know that I do act differently around my immediate family, than I do around my cousins, aunts and uncles. With my cousins, it’s usually easier to talk to them, even though some of them fall into the category of people my age. I feel this way around them because I grew up with them and I have always felt close with them. With my aunts and uncles, they tend to try and make me the center of attention because they are used to their kids being more out-going than I am.


My parents, on the other hand are the complete opposite because they let me be who I am and don’t try to make me be something I’m not. They are fine with me being introverted because they can understand and have explain how they can relate to me. They let me use my own language, even though they try little by little to break me out of my shell. They tell me to talk to people if I am having problems, such as being my own advocate and tell me to try and speak up if I have a question. My language derives from the language they use, which I always used for as long as I can remember.


“Wow, your daughter has an extensive vocabulary? Where does she get it from?” people always ask my parents.


“She’s always been very mature and she has always very courteous. She sometimes surprises me.” My mom would respond.


The language you use says a lot about a person because language is multiple things. It is mainly your dialect, your accent and the words you use, which does say a lot about one person. It tells a story about who you are and where you are from. Language and identity go hand in hand because one determines what the other is like and they are both used as ways to express oneself. You will never know who a person truly is until you are able to meet with them, talk to them and really get to know them.


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Homophobia and Masculinity

Chloë Epstein

8/11/15

Air

Homophobia and Masculinity

In the United States, it is acceptable and common for a woman to be very intimate around her friends. She feels comfortable enough to hug, sit close, and talk about her feelings and emotions with them. But what about men? Do men feel the same way about their male friends, or even family members? Many experts say no, because of the combination of hyper masculinity and homophobia that men learn starting at a very young age. Men’s fear of homosexuality results in an obsession with masculinity and avoidance of any type of physical or emotional behavior with other men.  

Professor and sociologist Michael S. Kimmel stated, “The great secret American manhood is: We are afraid of other men.” What he means by this statement is that men tend to be afraid of being judged by other men, specifically when it comes to their masculinity. Men will do anything to avoid being seen as feminine whether they want to be or not. A significant way men distance themselves from femininity is through homophobia. Gay men are stereotypically seen as feminine, and therefore more submissive. Therefore, straight men need to prove they are not feminine by distancing themselves from their feelings/ emotions, and even making fun of men who are more emotional. For example, a man will call another man a “sissy” when he acts in feminine ways; they will also use the word “faggot” in the same way. Another example is the phrase “no homo,” which is used after one man says or does something emotional to another man. A man can’t even express his own emotions, or he might be labeled as gay. If a man expresses his emotions, he is seen as feminine, and if he is feminine then he must be gay.

On June 28, 2000, James Dale lost his fight in the Supreme Court against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), who had fired Dale from being a Boy Scout leader because they found out he was a homosexual. It took nearly 15 years for the Boy Scouts to change their policies on Gay Boy scout leaders. Within the Girl Scouts, a homosexual leader, or scout’s experience would be much different. The Girls Scout of the USA allow homosexual scouts, leaders, and now even transgender people can be a part of their organization. One reason that the Girl Scouts is more accepting of homosexuality is that Girl Scouts, Inc. owns the organization, while the Boy Scouts is funded by nonprofit organizations such as churches and Christian groups. Another reason why the BSA is less tolerant is that the organization is afraid its scouts will be exposed to homosexuality, which will is assumed to lower their masculinity. One reason why the Girl Scouts is much more progressive is that it’s more acceptable for girls to express themselves, including when it comes to their sexuality or others’ sexuality. According to the BSA, by having a gay leader or mentor boys are taught to be more feminine, which eventually leads to the scouts “turning” gay.

Male friends have always been known to be less intimate than females. Once a boy becomes a teenager, holding hands or hugging another man becomes taboo. Even at a young age, boys start to feel ashamed or uncomfortable for platonically touching another boy. Part of the reason for this shame is how boys are raised. Many boys are raised to be “tough” or to have little emotion. This approach leads to many boys feeling that they can’t express themselves. According to Mark Greene, editor of The Good Men Project, “By the time they are approaching puberty, many boys have learned to touch only in aggressive ways through rough housing or team sports.” For example, in sports such as football and wrestling, boys can show physical contact but only through violence instead of care. Parents teach their sons that they have to express themselves through violence or they aren’t real men. That is why being compared to a gay man is seen so negatively; gay men aren’t seen as real men.

Besides being afraid of each other, men also don’t trust each other. U.S. culture has taught men that they don’t know how to control themselves, specifically when it comes their sexual urges. Although it’s women who usually experience this behavior from men, what’s to say that a man couldn’t control his urges around another man too? A new study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who are homophobic tend to also have some attraction to the same sex. Men will act reserved and homophobic to prove to themselves and others that they aren’t homosexual themselves. "Sometimes people are threatened by gays and lesbians because they are fearing their own impulses," said professor Richard Ryan, author of this experiment. Men don’t trust themselves or other men to engage in physical and emotional contact because it could result in them being sexually attracted to other men. Masculinity is so fragile that men are scared of their own sexuality, whether they are gay, or not.

Growing up, boys are taught that masculinity is their most important attribute and they use this masculinity to prove that they are worthy of being called a man. Although women are expected to be somewhat feminine, their respect doesn’t rely on it. Homosexuality is a threat to a man’s masculinity, which it why so many men in the U.S. grow up homophobic.

Work cited:


  1. Kimmel, Michael. "Masculinity as Homophobia." Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <http://faculty.ucc.edu/psysoc-stokes/masculinity.pdf>.

  2. Bixby, Scott. "There's One Huge Lesson the Boy Scouts Need to Learn From the Girl Scouts." Mic. 23 July 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <http://mic.com/articles/122704/the-one-huge-lesson-the-girl-scouts-can-teach-the-boy-scoutsn>.

  3. Greene, Mark. "Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch -." The Good Men Project. 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/megasahd-touch-isolation-how-homophobia-has-robbed-men-of-touch/>.

  4. Greene, Mark. "The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men's Lives Is a Killer -." The Good Men Project. 4 Nov. 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/megasahd-the-lack-of-gentle-platonic-touch-in-mens-lives-is-a-killer/>.

Freeman, David. "Homophobes Gay? Study Ties Anti-Gay Outlook To Homosexuality, Authoritarian Parenting." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/homophobia-homosexuality-gay_n_1412846.html>.


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Q1 Senior Art

Welcome to Sydne’s Senior Art... This year I’m in the senior art class which means I have two more extra classes to work on my art.  My junior year I enjoyed art so much that I came back to improve my skills. After reading the section we read of Art history I wanted to push myself more to be a better artist. So that means putting more time into each of my art pieces, mixing colors and experimenting with different colors. Using texture and shapes and just going outside the lines. So for the first quarter I tried mixing new colors and painting with texture.


Since we are still getting back into the flow of school and senior year I wanted to be calm and relax, and just enjoy art so I did. For my ceiling tiles I did my all around the world tiles and added Philadelphia and Brazil. I wasn’t really ready for halloween so I didn’t carve a pumpkin like last year but I did dress up with some friends. It was my first time using chalk so it was a experience for me. I did a water lily because when sunlight hits it in certain angles they can make pretty shadows on the water and that was the focus with the chalk, to make shadows and use different shades of black. I had fun for my first time, it was a little messy and hard to get off my fingers but I’d like to try art with chalk again. My self portrait was simple, I picked one of my favorite pictures of myself and just rolled with it.


My favorite piece, and the piece I’m most proud of is the Pocahontas painting. This was a challenge for me because we didn’t have the shades of purple, and blues and greens so I winged it. I noticed that mixing watercolors made the different shades of purples and blues and it came out nicely. It’s been awhile since I’ve used water colors so there was a lot of trial and error. I went against using blues for the tree because it looked to dark with the background so I mixed blue and greens. After the long process of mixing, drying and dabbing the extra water I loved the way the painting came out better than I could imagine.  Overall quarter one work was chill. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and see what new techniques I’ll learn. The point of this class was to become a better artist and expand on what I already know. I hope you check the next 3 quarters to see how I progressed in art.


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The Militarization of the Police and How it’s Making Us Less Safe

Colin Pierce English 3 Ms. Pahomov
The Militarization of the Police and How it’s Making Us Less Safe In the past decade, incidents of violence between regular citizens and the police in America have become more frequent. With the increasing incidents of police violence, notably Michael Brown and the incident at a Phoenix pool party, it is obvious that there is a problem, and it shows no signs of improvement. This can be attributed in part to the militarization of our police forces, which is only getting worse with the influx of advanced gear left over from the Iraq war. These weapons and defensive items being introduced mask the human features of officers, and makes them seem more like objects than actual people. This dehumanizing effect makes them look more threatening, and creates a greater contrast between the police and the average person. It is believed by some scientists that, when people are exposed to weapons, they are more likely to exhibit violent behavior, as Bruce Bartholow, a psychologist from the University of Missouri, told NYMag. He said “Theory underlying the weapons effect or similar kinds of phenomena would suggest that the more you fill the environment with stimuli that are associated with violence, the more likely violence is to occur … I would expect a bigger effect if you see military weapons than if you see normal weapons,” Dr. Bartholow stated that people are more likely to act violently when they are around weapons. On a regular police officer’s uniform, their weapon is small and can fit on their side, which isn’t very noticeable. However, when an officer is carrying a larger rifle, they have no choice but to hold it in front of them, which is very visible and threatening. This goes both ways, as an officer would feel more open to violence the more they handle their weapon. As a result, both police and civilians would feel more inclined to start violent incidents, and as a result, the crime rate would increase. Fortunately, the opposite effect can also be arranged. It has been proven during field tests that, when police officers wear more casual clothing instead of their regular uniforms, their relationship with the community improves. Richard Johnson, who is a medical student, puts it best in his article on policeone.com, where he writes “In 1969, the police in Menlo Park, California dispensed with their traditional navy blue, paramilitary-style uniforms and adopted a nontraditional uniform in hopes of improving police community relations. The new, nontraditional uniform consisted of a forest green sport coat blazer worn over black slacks, a white shirt, and a black tie. The officer's badge was displayed on the blazer and the officer's weapons were concealed under the coat. ... After wearing the new uniforms for 18 months the Menlo Park police officers displayed fewer authoritarian characteristics on psychological tests when compared to officers in the surrounding jurisdictions.” Johnson examines a real life example of officers wearing more casual uniforms, and shows that it caused them to display fewer authoritarian characteristics, which improved their connection to their community, and ultimately reduced crime. Even police officials agree that too much gear can separate a police officer from the rest of society, as Chief Norm Stamper told NBC in an interview in 1999. He said “[W]hen riot shields are raised, the seemingly simple fact that civilians can't see the cops' faces flips a psychological switch for some citizens in the crowd — and that image acts to dehumanize the officers.” When officers have riot shields it will, depending on the type of shield, completely blocks the officers’ faces. This outright removes the human aspect, and makes rioters feel like they are attacking objects instead of people. In conclusion, the appearance of an officer has a large effect on people's view of them, and also the officer’s view of everyone else. A more militarized uniform causes the officer to think of people as opponents and potential troublemakers rather than the people they’re supposed to protect. These differences create a dehumanizing effect for people which only creates more violence. A common argument by police is that they need more armored uniforms because of the increased violence against them, but in reality the reason that there is so much violence against them is because people are scared by their uniforms. Police officers are supposed to make people feel safer, but with a ‘heavy-duty’ uniform it does the exact opposite. WORKS CITED: "How Militarizing Police Can Increase Violence." Science of Us. NYmag, 14 Aug. 2014. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/how-militarizing-police-can-increase-violence.html>. Johnson, Richard. "The Psychological Influence of the Police Uniform." The Psychological Influence of the Police Uniform. Police One, 4 Mar. 2005. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <http://www.policeone.com/police-products/apparel/undergear/articles/99417-The-psychological-influence-of-the-police-uniform/>. Briggs, Bill. "Are Ferguson Cops Fueling Mob Psychology By Donning Battle Gear? - NBC News." Are Ferguson Cops Fueling Mob Psychology By Donning Battle Gear? NBC News, 16 Aug. 2014. Web. 9 Oct. 2015.

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You Are What You Speak (Kind of)

“Why do you say it like that?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Aluminium. You say it funny.”

My friend James lives in Scotland. We met one day on an online game. At some point, we began talking over Skype. First just audio, then eventually video calls too. We played the game all the time, finding new servers to play on.

“You mean aluminum?”

“See? You say it weird! Like ‘uh-loom-in-uhm.’”

I’ve gotten to know him fairly well. At least as well as you can know a person without giving out too much personal information. I met him over the internet after all, and you have to be careful.

“Well yeah, that’s how it’s spelled. You’re saying it like ‘al-loo-min-ee-uhm.’ There’s only one ‘i’ in it.”

“Yeah but… Wait no. There’s two ‘i’s in aluminium!”

One night, we were playing the game that laid the foundation of our friendship. I asked him where all of our aluminum had gone, since he often doesn’t put items back where they’re supposed to go.

“No, there’s only one ‘i.’ That’s why I say it like that.”

“Well, we spell it with two ‘i’s in Europe.”

“Really? That’s weird.”

This somehow turned into a debate on how you pronounce the word. It was rather interesting to hear that things were so different over in Scotland. Apparently they don’t have any doorknobs, just door handles. But another thing was the language. I mean, we both were speaking English, but somehow the ocean between us caused some strange anomalies. Of course, there are more differences between our ways of speaking than accents and how we pronounce and spell aluminum. There are objects and ideas that we use entirely different words and phrases for. The language you use is unique in all of these ways, as well as several others.

But what’s interesting is how your language can correlate with the type of society

you grew up in, and even give some insight about your behavior. James for example has that sarcastic sense of humor often associated with European accents. It’s not stereotyping, it’s just the culture of that region. I have other friends who have interesting ways of talking. A number of my friends are very familiar with the beauty of swearing, especially the F-word. That itself indicates that a person is most likely from an urban setting. Once again, it’s just the culture of the region. And what’s even more fascinating is how the way you speak has ties to the way you think and act. I know that I have a tendency to speak with volume and confidence the same way I like to have volume and confidence in my actions. And if I were to say things like “Yo man” and “Turn up that jawn,” you would mentally put me in a group with all the other people you know who speak like that, and you would most likely assume that I act in the same way. Everyone knows people who talk like that; it’s considered cool, and associated with rebellious and independent behavior that this generation seems to admire so much.

Is it wrong for me to say this? Am I stereotyping people based on their language?

I hardly think so. I mean, it makes sense when you think about it. If you hang around a group of people, it doesn’t matter what type of group it is, you begin to pick up certain habits. Habits commonly passed around this way are your language, your attitude, your view of life, and the way you interact with others. Would it be wrong of me to say that homeless people smell funny? Of course not! It’s rude of me to say, sure, but the two go hand in hand. Homeless people generally don’t own showers, thus leading to an unpleasant odor.

But I digress, all of that goes to say that making inferences about people based on their language is not stereotyping. Of course, you should never judge a book by it’s cover. People are much larger than how they speak and what that says about them. If that weren’t true, nobody would be a true individual. Everyone would fit almost perfectly into one category or another. But what would be the point of life without individuality? Living wouldn’t be anywhere near as exciting if everyone could be given a label that perfectly and completely described them; that would mean that there were tons of other people like you. The reason we don’t have such precise ways to label people is because everyone is different. As Mark Twain once wrote, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).” Half of what gives your existence meaning is who you are, and how you’re different from everybody else. A world without originality would be simpler in some ways, but it would also be extremely repetitive and bland.

Overall, as an individual you are influenced by many things in your environment; the people you interact with is one of the bigger influences. But from the streets you walk to the way you talk, these things are also what define you. However, those aren’t the only things that decide what type of person you are. You have a surprising amount of control over who you are. I know personally that I used to be “one of those kids” in elementary school; you know the one. I was always off task and getting in trouble. I’ve been lectured countless times about being productive in class and not distracting myself or others. Sometimes another kid would make some annoying sound and the teacher would call me out by default. Needless to say, I wasn’t very satisfied with this cycle of misbehavior, and my teachers certainly weren’t either. And through a ton of time and effort, I’ve managed to stop getting in trouble for that type of thing. There’s still an occasional slip up, but I do my best.

In any event, what I’m trying to say is that personality isn’t static. People aren’t defined by any single attribute, and they even have the power to change if they want to. Take it from me, and don’t bother trying to judge someone without getting to know them. Just enjoy people for who they are.


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Manipulative Tongues

Language is a form of communication that people or animals use. Since everyone is different, that means that we have different ways of communicating. Mostly by age groups; but there are also other major differences in the way we communicate. .

One day when I was walking from school, I saw an old friend of mines. I didn’t even recognize her until she came up to me.

“Hey! I haven’t seen you in like forever!”

“I know right, how you been?”

“Good, how ‘bout you?”

“I’m great, everything is ok.”  

“That’s good, it’s nice to see you, I gotta go right now, I’ll call you later. Maybe we can go out for lunch or dinner next time.”

“Sure, that’ll be nice, see you!”

People have many different  ways to talk to one another. The Japanese said that you have three faces. The first face is the one you show to the world. The second one is the one that you show to your family and your close friends. The third one is the one that you never show anyone, and that’s the truest reflection of yourself. To my understanding, the faces you show also needs to be shown by communicating. They way you communicate to the people around you shows who you are as an individual.

Most of the time, people talk to their peers, their closest friends, using a slang words, or

short phrases that are usually common within their generation.  Maybe it might be different when you talk to people that’s not your age, because different generations have different ways of speaking. For example, if a teen uses slang talking to an adult, the adult could think that the teen isn’t properly schooled, or is dumb. It’s also the other way around, where the kids would say that the adults are too “old” to know what they are talking about.

Language can intersect with a person’s identity in many different ways.

“Hey man, how you doin?, I heard Tay threw you an oop with that girl the other day.”

“Wassup man, I’ve been good. Yea he did, that girl got them full moons, yamean”

When people hear things like that, they’re going to say that you’re a kid from the hood. But, if someone said,

“Hey, how are you? I haven’t see you in a long time”

“Hi, I’m doing very good, how about you? And yes, I think the last time I saw you was when you were on your way to school.”

Now, if people hear that conversation, they’ll quickly identify me as an educated kid, who’s smart, kind, etc. Since everyone has a language that they speak, people will criticize or assume who you are just by the things you say. If a little kid came up to me, or anyone that’s older than them, and they start cursing and saying things they shouldn’t be saying; we will all automatically say that the little kid was poorly raised.

Why? Because everyone has a fixed mindset on how someone should talk. I think that people would criticize me more just because of my race. Since, I’m Asian, people assume that our parents are strict and that if we curse or say something bad, people are going to say many different things about me. My parents aren’t that strict, they let me do many things and they trust me to do the right things. I know that if I talked to an adult or someone older than me the way that I talk to my friends, they’re going to say that I have no manners and that my parents didn’t raise me correctly.

I talk differently when I’m around different people. If I’m at school, I’ll talk a certain way to my friends and then another way to the adults or teachers. I usually talk using less slang and more proper English with the grown ups that I encounter. I also talk differently when I’m at home. Since my parents doesn’t speak English, I have to speak to them in Indonesian, and I can’t just talk to them as I normally do. It’s the same as if I was talking to an adult in english; I have to speak to them with proper manners because they are my parents and I have to show them respect. Just like the story I read class where the kid also spoke differently with different people.

Whenever I talk, I talk differently depending on who I’m with. Like when I’m with my friends from school, I would talk to them with slang or with more abbreviated words.

“Yo, where ya goin?”

“I got class in like 5 minutes, I gotta get upstairs. How ‘bout you?

“Same, but my next one is on this floor, so I gotta stay here.”

“Ard, see you later b”

“Ard, later”

As the younger or teenage student of this generation, we usually use more abbreviated words. I think that the language that I use can say a little about me. I know that when people hear me talk to my friends, they might be a little shocked, because of my race but since I grew up in South Philly, I talk like how others talked to me while I was growing up. When I talk to people my age, they’ll say that I’m kind of ghetto, or if you can ask any of my friends, the say that I’m not even Asian, I’m black; because of the way I talk to them. They believe that I am a mean person, but to me, when I talk most of the time, I try to tell my friends the truth and it might be mean to them, but I think that it’s better than to tell them a lie and sugar coating something that’s wrong.

If you ask an adult about me, they might say a different thing about me. If someone asks the teachers at school, they might say that I might be a little loud, or that I’m shy because I don’t participate in class. If someone asks the people that I grew up with which is my church community, they’ll say that I a nice kid, but also I can be a little wild. I might from time to time be a little crazy with the things I say, but I’m a funny person and caring most of the time and that I talk to them with respect and honor.

I think that there are many different ways language identifies a person and how I talk says a lot about myself. Since different people talk differently, they might have only one way of talking to everyone, but there are also people like me, who talks differently depending on my environment. There are a many ways a person can communicate in their daily lives, so it's okay if you differently or the same when you communicate.

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Cat Got Your Tongue?

“What did you say?”

“Thingy? Just put the thingy over there!” I felt my face heat up. Oh gosh, what was the word? What was it called?!

“Haha, that’s ridiculous, it’s called a wrench.”

“I knew that…kindof.” I bow my head. I should’ve known that… If I just had more time.

Everyone is different in the ways they convey themselves. Speech, writing, even little sayings, not one person uses words the same way. However, some people have trouble thinking of words all together, and one of those people is me.

Words in writing and advanced speech is a slippery slope and often take a while to fully grasp. Know that ‘it’s on the tip of my tongue feeling’? Imagine it happening twice as much and you’ll get more of an idea of people like me who find it difficult to convey what they truly think through words.

Over the years you learn and begin to grasp words more easily, they now appear instead of you having to heave them out of the murky water of your mind. Writing becomes more fun as you see all your work in one solid form. Those muddy thoughts can become clearer with just a little more concentration and more time. Writing is easier now, so much so, however, speaking the words you want to say doesn’t always work the way you want it to.

“Would anyone like to answer why plants grow?” My third grade teacher asked. I looked around the classroom and not a single soul moved. I looked back over to my teacher and she was staring right back at me.

“How about you Zoë!” Her eyes were begging me to say something as I fully understood the material based on my homework grade.

“Um. Well sunlight is, um, what’s the word? Soaked up through the leaves…” I was cut off by a boy sitting two rows in front of me.

“Like a sponge?!”

“Uh, no, well kinda, like the leaf takes it in and stuff happens and…”

“So like food! I never knew plants could eat light!”

“N… no. Plants don’t ‘eat’. They um...” I looked to my teacher with a look that clearly read “Help me!”

“I think what Zoë is trying to say is that plants have special cells that absorb light and turn it into energy.”

“Oooooo!” The whole class understood finally after I caused all the confusion. I was upset at myself for not thinking of the right word, absorb.

Over time I read more and more and vocabulary started to finally stick. I learned of the great book called the thesaurus and would use it whenever I was stuck. However I find myself reverting to my younger behaviors when I can not think of a specific word.

Thingy is my most popular choice. If something makes a noise, like a power tool, I mock the noise.

“Can I use the, um, ‘wer wer’ thingy please?”

Or simply when I am learning a whole new subject, it takes time for me to fully remember the vocabulary.

Now it’s not that I don’t understand what a word means and that’s why I get stuck, no. It’s this infuriating feeling when you know the word, you know the definition, but the word itself is not presenting itself to you.

This often happens a lot when talking about my feelings or emotions.

“How was your day today?”

“Fine.”

“Just fine…?”

“Well, yeah…”

When I am surrounded by people I respect and want to display my skills off, I try to push the mucky forgetfulness away. I use a type a language I consider the ‘proper way’. I try to use a higher vocabulary and try to say what I am thinking or want. If I get stuck I replace the word that I want to say with an easy replacement. And I push through the conversation and never use my childhood words of ‘thingy’ or ‘thingamabob’.

When I am surrounded by friends and family, that tense air drops and I am not as guarded. I make up words as substitutes and not always use the easy synonyms I know. When I get stuck I ask my friends for help, because I am comfortable and not trying to impress them.

Usually when I revert to this old habit I’m called childish or cute, which I have mixed feelings about. Sure my speech might sound childish and I used it since I was young, but I am trying to adapt and speak on things I am not an expert on; I am trying to have grown up conversations. I get really frustrated when someone won’t take me seriously because I am struggling with my sentence structures or word choice.

As James Baldwin states, “It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument means and proof of power.” When it’s hard for me to rediscover new words I’m seen as someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I’m innocent, a child in their eyes, which isn’t true at all. People who view my language habits as below them often think they are the highest, or very powerful individuals. They often use their knowledge of words and put together points and elaborate pieces that sometimes don’t have an interesting or overarching plot. Having a better memory and knowledge of words doesn’t just automatically make your content strong. Now I’m not arguing whether or not how your knowledge of words make you seem more advanced, but it’s how you use them in certain contexts.

Gloria Anzaldúa states “... so, if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language.” People assume and people judge, it’s part of human nature. Sometimes it’s really insulting and sometimes it is a small comment. However language seems to be a really prickly subject when it comes to these judgements. For example, I have a hard time conveying myself in words and seem distant or unfeeling sometimes. Just because I don’t know how to convey something doesn’t mean I don’t feel or know about it. How you convey something is really based on who you are. How you access a person also depends on your mood and how you’re feeling. All in all, language isn’t just an organized type of speech shared between groups of people, but it is also how you define and show yourself to other people.

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My werid but cool langauge

“Fatima are you ready we're about to leave right now.” Mom said .

“K mom I’ll be there in like 2 mins”

We’re going out to eat because my mom was tired from work so were going out to eat at the buffet.

‘’Mom I don't like buffet it's real corny’’.

“Food is food Mom said.”

“Ard mom.”

My mom and dad paid and the waiters took us to our seats

“Hi could I please get a drink ?”

“Sure.” The waiter said

I got up and went to go get my food with my cousins , we all was waiting for the dinner food to come out .

“Yo where the chicken broccoli at?”

“It's over here dummy”  mom said.

“Ard mom you think you cool now’’. I said.

“I am sweetheart now give me a kiss’’Mom said.

I chuckled and gave her a kiss. Whenever i’m out my mom always tell me to give her kiss because she just want to know that i’m going to be safe if she is not directly next to me.  

“You need anything else?”  The waiter said.

“Yes could I get a bowl of ice cream?”

“You talking so proper right now?” My sister said.

“Well I have to be proper I can't be acting like I don't have sense.”

“Here your bowl of ice cream sweetie.” waiter said.

“Thanks.”

“I really want more food yo i'm really fat.” I laughed’’.

“Go get some I ain't pay all this money for nuffin.” Mom said.

“Ard mom I heard you like a million times”

I went to go get some food with my sisters and cousins , we kept bringing stacks of food back to table we all just real hungry.

“This shrimp look real good yo.”

I took a couple of plates of food and went to the table. When I dropped my plates of food on the table I went to go get some fortune cookies because I was bored and wanted to read some fortunes.

“We’re going to leave in 20 mins.” Mom said.

“Ard!”  Everyone yell.

I get my last plates together before we leave.

“Yo my mom drawling she not tryna let me take these plates home like in real life hungry.”

“You just had 3 plates.”  My sister said.

“And ima get hungry after so.”

“You real life stupid forreal”’ My sister said’’.

“I'm not, but your  weird I was talking to my mom not you.” I said’’.

Me and my siblings always get into argument all the time but I still love her but I was seriously talking to my mom though.

We got in the car and my mom got a text message saying that we should stop by our family house and that’s what we did. We havent’ seen our family in a long time and we wanted to link up with each other and see how everything was going.

“Wassup cuzz bro I really miss you.’’ My cousin said.

“Yo bro i miss you too dawg.” I said

“Hi everyone how are you guys?” My aunt said

“Hi big girl you're getting bigger and prettier”  Aunt said.

“Aw thanks.” I said

“Yo I hate family gathering they always acting weird.” I said

“Right that's why i'm never around here they weird.”  Cousin said.

“Right here one of them coming now yall betta shut up.”I said

“Hey Auntie!”  Everyone yelled.

“Hey you beautiful people you guys really grew up.’’ Aunt said.

“Yeah we know lol we did.”  Everyone said.

Me and my cousins were all sitting down at the table eating and talking about school and what we wanted to do with our lives. All of us always wanted to be doctors when we were little but then things change after a while and now we all want to be something different well expect me.

‘’Broo I don’t  even wanna finish school but I got goals forreal I want my dad to know even if he can’t  be with me now he can see me in heaven. ‘’Cousin said’’.

‘’Bro we all miss him RIP to Uncle Mohammed but you gotta do this for you finish high school then go to college and get a job and work you really gonna see the hard work paying off. ‘’ I said’’.

‘’You right’’ Cousin said.

‘’I love every single of yall yall really my homies’’ Cousin said.

‘’We love you too’’ I said.

After we had our conservation I started thinking about my life goals of what I wanted to do. I want to be a doctor get my money and help my mom and dad out since they raised me and now it will be my turn. I know I need to bring my grades up graduate high school and college and then be successful. I know my cousin wants to make her dad proud of her all she can do right now is finish school her dad would be so proud of her. My cousin dad was killed from lung cancer on March 14 2015 11:54pm. After that day she was never the same.

‘’ We got food on the table if you guys are  hungry ?’’ My aunt said

‘’ No thank you we just came back from the buffet with my mom not to long ago’’ I said.

‘’ Okay the food will still be there if you become hungry again ‘’ My aunt said.

‘’ Ard thank you’’ I said.

My cousins tell me when i’m with my family I speak proper but when i’m not with them I speak like i’m  from the hood. I laughed because I know it’s true when i’m with my family i’m shy and don’t  speak as much but when i’m with my cousins or friends I talk a lot and i’m not proper i’m like hood talking. I think I talk the same anywhere I go.

‘’ Yo I think i’m boutta leave ‘’ I said

‘’ Yeah cuz she getting ready’’ Cousin said.

‘’ Just hit me up cs I be really missing you dawg’’ I said.

‘’ I gotchuu you know I will love you little cousin’’ Cousin said.

‘’ Love you to big cousin’’ I said as I shed a tear.

After that day my cousin was never the same. It was something going on with her I just couldn’t figure what was it. One day she texted me and said she wanted to be with her dad she just couldn’t take the pain anymore. I talked to her and talked to her and she finally realize that her dad would always be in her heart no matter how far they are from each other.

‘’ Come on baby it’s time to leave’’ Mom said.

‘’ Ard mom i’m outside already at the car’’ I said.

My mom tell her goodbyes  to her family and we get in the car to go back home.

‘’ Mommy I really love you I don’t wanna lose you mom I swear I don’t’’. I said.

‘’ Princess I can’t  say i’m going to be with you forever but I can tell you that you won’t lose now’’.’ She said.

From talking to my cousin it just made me realize a lot , I don’t want to lose my mom or dad at all it will be so hard for me but I know while they are still living now I could make them proud now. Language is different that’s what I learn while writing my story. I have an accent which is where i’m from southwest I don’t have a foreign accent I have a accent of what is talked around me. Many people have accents  but they always think of accents from foreign places.
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The Masterpiece Called Language

“Hey,wassup wit you?” I say eating my lunch.

“Nuthin much tryna finish up some of dis homework.” Kimberly says sitting across from me says. “True. aight. Imma let you do yah homework. Imma hop outta dis joint and catch you later.”

I say as I walk away from Kimberly.  When I talk to my friends I use a lot of slang and I don’t usually sound a lot of my words out but this is because I see no need to. I am comfortable in the way I speak to my friends because I know that no one will correct me and I also know that they also speak that way to me as I speak to them. Then again, I am much more comfortable and laid back with them. I don’t have to censor my words. I speak a language my parent’s don’t understand, it’s teen. Teen is more like a laid back tone with words that we've made up just to make school feel a little more at home.

  At home I usually sound a lot of words out and use complete sentences because my parents want me to speak proper so that I can learn to use both slang and correct english because both  can come in handy.I also speak more proper at home because my parents don’t understand most of the Philly terms I use, especially because they are both from New York. So I don’t really have a choice or they just wouldn’t understand a word that I say. In meetings and professional events I use correct english and try my best to use complete thoughts. I change my language or the way I speak based on location,gender,age,sometimes race,personality and the event.

The location I am in is  a very significant influence in the way I speak. If I am in a classroom setting I don’t use profanity and when speaking to a teacher I don’t use slang. The reason is because even though I am in a classroom with other teens, it’s out of respect for the adults that surround me and also because it's a learning space so a lot of my language is going to contain what I am learning about and is going to have a formal tone.

  Tone for me is a big part of language. Tone is a language of it’s own because it expresses the way I feel  toward you even if it’s just a mutual tone. Anger,sadness,happiness, and interest, changing it depending on the situation and the person I am dealing with . The tone of someone’s voice can let you know how they feel in that moment and where their mind might be. In language you say a lot but like mom says “ it not what you say it’s how you say it”

“Hey sweetie” my mom says, shuffling the papers on her lap.


“Hey mom” I say walking in the door placing my bookbag on the floor.

“How was your day?”

“ It was great actually. My friends and I were laughing and joking. Throwing shots and bidding on one another it was great.” I say sitting in the chair.

“ That’s great to hear but don’t sit in the chair, you have to clean your room.”

“I will.” I say upsetly

“ Get up out the chair and clean the room now. No if’s , no but’s. “ my mom says looking directly at. me”


“Okay... Can you give me one second? I just wanted you to tell you about my day. Nevermind. “ I walk out the room.

“Watch your tone with me , clean your room, matter of fact you can clean the basement too. Enjoy yourself.” my mom calls out.

 Even though it’s a conversation of  my mom and I bickering, it changes mood and tone. Language becomes more intense and my word usage changes. I don’t know why this happens, it just does. If I had to take a wild guess though it’s because of what I learned from my parents when I was young. If they crossed their arms, raised their voice. To me, I would say, I am just repeating the tones of my parents. The language that they have and made for their own selves. Than I just add my own touch onto their words to make them my own. Making your language fit to who you are is important. You change the way you say words and definitions of them based on knowledge and experience. Even though we repeat the tone and language from our parents and copy some from our peers, it’s  our language. We constantly change it to fit who we  are ,from saying “ that jawn” to “that thing” or to saying the name of the actual object are the choices we make to form bits and pieces of who we are.

Our language changes when we change. When there is a change ,we shift our words to  what feels more comfortable with our surrounding we try to fit in. In all of this shifting , there is a language we prefer the most. A language that makes us feel more like us, that compliments our identity. My language with my best friends feels more real to me because I am in my comfort zone. I don’t have to shift for anyone even though all the language I use is real. Something about being with my friends make it more so. Most likely because I would probably speak that way a lot if it was an option. Every language is real. There are many differences and changes in the way we speak but it’s how we survive and connect in the world. From tone, to syllables, to accent, its language. There is no right or wrong language because the diversity is what makes language so beautiful.


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Luke Risher 2fer revision

Luke Risher

9/17/15

D band


Today America is dealing with a very broken education system. Many schools are struggling for necessary resources, such as nurses, while other school maintain luxuries of wealth. Such a inequality calls citizens to look at the system and what is not working. Right now, a major determiner in how much funding schools get, how capable a student is, and how well a school in doing is standardized testing. However, many people from educators, to parents, to students themselves say this system doesn't work and they work towards alternative methods. Because standardized testing is unjust and inefficient alternative, more applicable, and constructive education methods are what society needs to draw on to better societal education.

Since 2002, when the No Child Left Behind act passed, resulting in nationwide standardized testing, the United States has dropped internationally in several subject categories including math, and science along with no change in reading. Those subjects are all on American Standardized tests. This is after 44% of school districts were forced to narrow down on social studies, and the arts to focus more on teaching to the test. Right now Finland uses no standardized testing and is ranked as the number one in education internationally. These facts prove the inefficiency and negative affect of a system set up around standardized testing. A Brookings Institution study found that 50%-80% of increases in scores were only based on yearly preparation. Standardized testing doesn’t make exceptions for non english fluent students. Standardized testing is so stress inducing that teacher booklets include teacher procedures if students vomit or pass out. Despite these issues, the U.S spends 1.7 billion on standardized testing a year. Because the inefficiency, cost, and injustice of standardized testing, the education system needs to find different models of education.

A great thinker on alternative methods is Paulo Freire. Paulo Freire was born in 1921 in Brazil. His family suffered poverty. This childhood experience gave him the critical lens on the way education worked. He lived most of his adult life as a thinker, writer, community organizer, and educator. Much of his writings were on education systems and how they did and didn’t work. An organization dedicated to Paulo Freire thinking has a quote summarizing his idea of dialogue “Each must trust the others; there must be mutual respect and love (care and commitment).  Each one must question what he or she knows and realize that through dialogue existing thoughts will change and new knowledge will be created.” These ideas and concepts make up the Freirean model. This juxtaposes the system where the primary concern is information transferred for regurgitation. The Freirean model is ultimately more memorable for all participants, and much more applicable to the real world. If people have a lasting relationship with each other, they can build on top of previous knowledge and educational experience. Because dialogue is within a relational system that standardized testing can never recreate it is more applicable to the real world, encourages engagement from all students not leaving any behind, and nurtures community through two way exchanges versus just top down. this model creates and better system of education and evaluation of students.

The Freirean model may sound difficult to pull off, but it can happen in a traditional setting. Science Leadership Academy (SLA) is a project based school that uses the scientific method of thinking across all subjects. In the “Mission and Vision” section of SLA’s website it states three questions that guide its work. “How do we learn?, What can we create?, What does it mean to lead?” These questions are key to an alternative model. “How do we learn?” Science leadership is a very diverse school (Asian-6%, African American-38%, Latino-10%, White-36%, Other-6%) this shows a more diverse group students benefits from the project based method then standardized testing. All questions in standardized test are either a one answer multiple choice question or a carefully formulated “open ended” question that also have a very basic answer with strict instructions that allow for no expression or creative thinking. In contrast, In a project there are instructions, but they also have extensive room for thinking and creating student's own thought and innovation and this allows instructors to see more clearly the thinking processes and knowledge of the students. Standardized testing is a top down system that allows for no qualities to be measured except how well students can complete a multiple choice test. If Americans want student leaders, if Americans want innovation, if Americans want a system that works for a more diverse group of students standardized testing is much worse than project based learning.

Standardized testing cost billions of dollars, takes up hours of valuable class time, and doesn’t accurately measure students ability. There are many other ways to measure and teach students beside standardized testing. Relational teaching and dialogue helps create and better learning environment and encourages higher participation of students. Project based learning uses more thinking and encourages innovation and creativity. If all affected by the education system thought about it, the system of standardized as an overall negative effect on education, therefore it should be replaced with more beneficial methods of education.










work cited



"Concepts Used by Paulo Freire." Freire Institute. Freire Institute. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.


Bentley, Leslie. "A Brief Biography of Paulo Freire." Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Inc. 29 May 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.


Popham, John. "Membership." Educational Leadership:Using Standards and Assessments:Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Quality. 4 Mar. 1999. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.


"Standardized Tests - ProCon.org." ProConorg Headlines. 3 Apr. 2015. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.


Jouriles, Greg. "Here's Why We Don't Need Standardized Tests." Education Week. Lesley University, 8 July 2014. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.


"Problem." - Standardized Education in America, and Why You Should Not Support It. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.






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The Changes of My Language

My language changes a lot when I’m at home and when I’m not at home. At home I can understand what my parents are saying, and I can communicate back to them in the same language.

Can you come here and help me?” my mom would say in fujianese.

“Okay” I would say back.

When I communicate with my parents I would respond back to them in either fujianese or english.

“Addison, come here and take out the trash.” my dad would say in fujianese.

“Okay.” I would say back in fujianese.

When I go to my grandparents place they would always speak in fujianese, they would never understand me if I spoke english. So when I want to say something I would try to explain it to my mom and then she’ll say it to them or sometime I can respond back to them.

“You have to learn how to speak fujianese because when you go to China you want to learn how to speak with other people there.” My grandparents would say in fujianese.

“ I know.” I would respond back in fujianese.

“Do you? Do you know?” They would ask me in fujianese.

“yes.” I would say back.

Speaking my own language is really difficult for me because I can’t say words that my parents would be able to say. For example, if they say something to me in fujianese, the only way I could respond is in english.

“Call dad and tell him to buy food vegetable for dinner cause we need it.” My mom would say in fujianese.

“Okay” I would respond back.


On the phone with my dad.


“Hello, dad? Mom said go buy some vegetable home.” I would say in fujianese, but in a weird way.

“What? Put mom on the phone.” My dad said in fujianese.

Speaking my language is hard for me because I never actually got a bunch of experience in speaking it because since I was born in Philadelphia, I was introduced toEnglish more than chinese (fujianese). My family would say to me that I’m not asian because I do things that asian people would do. For example, I can’t use chopsticks or speak their language. When any of my family members say to me ever I would feel


Now going to my school/ out of school language. My friends would say I sound black because my voice is low and I dress black. People would say I curse a lot. So I tend to curse more outside than at in my home.

“Bro, can you help me with this?” My friend would say.

“Nah, I’ll help you later because I have to do my s**t” I would say back.

Speaking in school really brings out my english language because at home I only speak english to my brother. So at school I feel more free in speaking english, instead of struggling at home trying to speak fujianese. I noticed that my language can change drastically, once I step outside of my household.

“Yo bro you down to chill today?” I would say to my friend.

“Yeah I’m down bro, just give me the time” My friend said back.

“I gotchu ya.” As I respond back.

When me and my friends were walking down at South Street, these group of teens called use racial names. But once me and my friends confronted them, they apologized because they thought we wouldn’t understand a thing they said, but they were wrong.

“Look at these chinks, go back to China.” As one of the tennager yelled, smiling at his friends after he said that.

“What the f**k did you say?! Just because we asian, means that we don’t understand a thing you say? You really think that you’re cool for saying that? If you think that is, maybe you should find something better to do with your life. Now say something f***ing stupid again and watch adjust your face!” As my friend snapped at the straighter.  

Trying to hold him back before things go bad.

“Okay dude, I’m sorry.” As they said

“Just f***ing leave, before he really f**** you up!” As I shouted

That day I noticed some people can be racist to you, no matter how you look because we was called out by random people just on how we look like.   


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Cyber-Bullying


Niah Lombo

Air stream

English 3


When people think of bullying, they often think of scenes like being pushed into the lockers and being called names which everyone points and laughs at you… However, Bullying has extended far beyond school and into the world wide web. Even though these acts of aggression take place outside of school boundaries, school officials should have the authority to discipline students who engage in cyber bullying because... Doing so will help improve the online behavior of students and decrease incidences of cyber bullying-related suicide attempts.


Ryan Patrick Halligan was a 13 year old student in Vermont, when he was bullied by his classmates in school and cyber bullied online for almost a year. A classmate told him that she had a crush on him online, like anyone he was happy and flustered to have someone like him. but what he didn’t know that the whole school saw the messages. He told his parents that he didn't want to go back to school after being humiliated to the point he left the classroom in tears. After being bullied in school and online, he began to research ways to kill himself. Early in the morning, when his family members were still sleeping, Ryan Halligan committed suicide by hanging himself. His body was found later by his older sister. It all had started on the internet and ended with the internet, if someone would have taken action and punished the kids for bullying Ryan then maybe they would have saved him and others.


Sarah Lynn Butler was a seventh grader from Hardy, Arkansas, committed suicide on September 26, 2009. Sarah, who had just been voted Queen for her upcoming Fall Festival, was teased at school, and later on received bullying messages on her MySpace page.  Her mother would often check her Facebook page to make sure nothing was out of the order and once she noticed the hateful comments she confronted Sarah. Sarah brushed it off and then blocked her mother so she can’t see her page. Sarah hated to go to school because her online bullies also went to school with her, she was afraid to go to school because of them. What makes it worse is that they don’t see the face of the people they are bullying, so the comments or inboxes become harsher and harsher.  On the morning of her suicide her mother login on Sarah’s Facebook to see “she was just a stupid little naive girl and nobody would miss her.” When her parents returned home they found that Sarah hanging in her closet. She left a suicide note that said she couldn't handle what others were saying about her.


These two stories are not unique. Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. As of 2010, 8% of public schools reported that cyber bullying had occurred among students daily or at least once a week at school or away from school. Out of the schools who reported having cyber bullying situations, 4% reported that the school environment was affected by cyber bullying. Just because it doesn't happen in school doesn't mean that it won't be brought back into school.  The phones, laptops and etc. may not be at school but the hatred of the person will always be there until someone stops it.

 At present, no federal law directly addresses bullying. In some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). But once it is outside of school property (School, Bus, Athletic Game, or on a school computer) there is nothing they can do unless it is physically affecting someone at school. School officials should still be able to discipline someone who is a cyber bully outside of school. Mental and physical health are both equally important, it’s easier to heal physically than mentally.

Everyone goes to school to get an education, and if fear is getting in the way of that than school officials should be able to get involved even if it is not occurring at school. That's like a teacher noticing bruises on a kid and they believe that the child is being abused, they are allowed to report it because a child's life is in danger. That is the same thing as cyber bullying, but the bruises are invisible. If making a school a good and safe environment is the goal, then cyber bullying should be addressed not only by the parents but the school officials also.






Sources:

  1. "Section 13A03.1 - Act of Mar. 10, 1949,P.L. 30, No. 14 Cl. 24 - PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949." Section 13A03.1 - Act of Mar. 10, 1949,P.L. 30, No. 14 Cl. 24 - PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949. U.S. Department of Education, 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

  2. "Pennsylvania Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies." Pennsylvania Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies. Pennsylvania Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies. GOV, 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.






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Vaughn Matthews 2fer Revision

Vaughn Matthews

Air Stream

The Importance of Sports

Whether it involves health, economics, or entertainment, sports have a very positive effect on the world around them. However, the most important reason that sports is popular is that sports are a form of of diversion from the burdens of life.

Sports keep the body in shape and keep it fit. People say it’s important to do physical activity for 60 minutes a day. Almost every sport uses all of a person’s body parts in order to the play it correctly. When played for a long time, it can result in a healthy body and good health. When playing for a team, there are practices, games and events. These practices in the sport involve exercise. Practices are held almost every day and are usually an hour or longer. During practices, the person is focused on playing at their best, not what’s going on in their life.

Sports have always been considered entertainment. The word “sport” comes from the Old French desport meaning “leisure”,  The oldest definition of sports dates back to the 1300s is “anything humans find amusing or entertaining,”. June 16 will make 70 years that the NBA has been broadcasting games for joy and the entertainment of fans. The FIFA World Cup is the world’s most widely viewed sporting event. “an estimated 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup held in Germany and the 2010 event in South Africa was broadcast to 204 countries on 245 different channels.according to fifa.com. This is important because when soccer fans watch the world cup, they’re caught in the moment. They’re worried about what’s happening in the game and not what’s happening in their life. It gets them hype for a little while.

Sports can also bring people together. Two years ago, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) had lost a teammate Nick Pasquale, in a car crash. His number was 36. Signs were hung everywhere with red and blue ribbons to show support for Pasquale. The number 36 was painted on banners and fans had put out a few hundred blue and gold balloons during the moment of silence for Pasquale. When the Nebraska Cornhuskers played UCLA they had the number 36 as a decal on the back of their helmets and after the game members of both teams joined in a prayer at the center of the field together. This is an example of how a sports game can bring people together, and lift their spirts even though a a tragic event had happened to them.

Sports are a way of departure from the heavy loads of life.  A sports game is like an unscripted drama. The result of each game is unknown by everyone. Some people say “it is only a game”, but is the Grand Canyon “only a hole?” Absolutely not. While watching or playing sports, the mind is not focused on what is happening in real life. It’s focused on what is happening in the game. The mind is focused on what is happening in the present and what is going to happen. When the mind is focused on what is happening in the sport, it’s not worried about the bad things that are going in someone’s life.

As previously stated, sports have been around for over a decade. People have very different views and outcomes of them. They result in good health and keep the body fit, they entertain people, they bring the community together, they bring wealth, and they keep the mind off of the worries of life. This is good for the whole world because keeping the mind off your burdens helps someone stay positive . Overall, they have a positive effect on the world.


I had a lot of work to do in the “Thesis” category.  Before the revision I didn’t do such a great job on the analysis relating to the thesis. I also had to make corrections with my style and how I arranged my 2fer.
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Who Am I Online Reflection, Seng


  1. In class, we watched a video about bullying. In this video there was a boy who suffers from bullying. His classmates abuse him both physically and mentally, not only at school but also online. Our classroom activity was to click an eye emoji which would help out the boy during moments where he could have been bullied. 
  2. This video brings up a topic that I have talked about at school which was about bystanders. Just like in the video, if we did not click on the eye emoji, we would basically be a bystander, either too scared to help, ignoring the person getting bullied because we are expecting someone else to help, or to simply see what happens next. Although, if we do click the eye emoji, we would be the person who actually helps, which not a lot of people do. 
  3. Online I appear as a hardworking person because I would see pictures and websites about the awards I won or the organizations that I volunteered for. 
  4. Based on my appearance online, people would probably think of me as a student who does their work and tries to help out.
  5. The goal of internet trolls is to lie and in all desperation, try to get a reaction from innocent people, either making them sad or angry. Internet trolls gain happiness from other people's pain.
  6. The positive results of online anonymity is that usually a person would be able to torment others or do whatever they want without getting caught. The negative results of online anonymity is that on the other hand, when someone is getting bullied online by a person with no identity, they would never find out who did it. This would be negative because they will not be able to figure out who the person that is causing them frustration is, which is even more frustrating.  
Screenshot 2015-11-10 at 3.13.42 PM
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Sauce

It’s about 6:00 PM. My siblings and I are busy with homework and my father is trying to figure out what he wants to make for dinner. After a little bit of time passes he asks me “Do you want macaroni if I make some?”

“Sure, but only if you make it with sauce,” I replied.

“You mean gravy.”

“No I think I meant sauce. Gravy’s the stuff that goes on mashed potatoes.”

“That’s brown gravy.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Makes sense to me. You’ll realize you’re wrong one day.”

This kind of argument happens at least once a week in our home at this point. Little things in our vocabulary differ for some reason. For example, my dad calls it “macaroni,” but I call it “pasta.” He calls them “jimmies,” but I call them “sprinkles.” There’s even little things that are different, like how we each say “water.” I say it like “wah-ter,” and he says it like “wood-er.” Of course, these aren’t serious disputes and we get a good laugh out of it in the end. However, I’ve just started noticing more than ever how different our language really is. Why is it like this? We both speak English and we were both born and raised in Philadelphia, so what’s the issue here?

Due to these chats with my father, I’ve been doing some thinking on the topic. In doing so, I realized that this kind of stuff happens on even larger scales as well. It almost blows my mind that I haven’t seen it like this before. Even though a lot of people may speak the same language, they’re not speaking it exactly the same. Most people, myself included, don’t think twice about what they say on a daily basis, thinking it to be the right way to speak. However, the language varies quite a bit depending on who you’re talking to and where you are. Differences can be as small as the pronunciation of “water” as I’ve mentioned before or they can be completely different words as a whole. Try going anywhere besides Philadelphia to order a “hoagie,” and no-one will understand what you are talking about. The word “jawn” doesn’t exist anywhere else either. I’m pretty sure we are also one of the only places that calls it “water ice,” as opposed to “Italian ice.” This kind of talk is exclusive to Philly. The language that you use can help someone determine where you’re from. Language helps in creating an identity to associate with where you’re from. Saying you speak English isn’t enough to determine your roots. You could speak like a Southerner, Northerner, Philadelphian, New Yorker, or a Texan, and the list goes on and on almost endlessly.

I’m sure that at some point in your life you listened to someone talk and thought they sounded funny or weird. Whether it was because of their unfamiliar accent, or just because they said a word that you don’t know, someone else has probably thought the same thing about you. Different does not necessarily mean bad or wrong, and it certainly does not in this case.

Another big thing I’ve started to pick up on is that making up your own language can be worked into the dialect you already have to make it more personal to you. In fact, my family uses words that isn’t necessarily in the vocabulary of a lot of other people.  If I said the words “jabroni,” or “vu,” I’m sure you’d be confused unless I explained further. Like I said before, language helps shape your identity as far as where you’re from, but making language your own pushes that idea even further by making you into who you are as an individual.

In the long run, debates relating to this subject are unneeded. Who cares if we sound funny to everyone else? Who cares if people say we’re wrong? Who’s to say the way we speak is wrong anyway? There is no one set way to speak, as I’ve said multiple times. Just because one thing is said more often doesn’t make it correct. Explaining or teaching someone about the way you talk isn’t gonna kill you. It doesn’t matter that we prefer to use different words or pronunciations. Novelist and social critic James Baldwin once wrote,  “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.” No-one speaks exactly the same. Any little thing can be different from the “norm.” Language differs from place to place, and that’s just how it has to be. Just like how some people speak French or Spanish, some people speak Philadelphian or Southern. It’s part of what makes people special. If calling it “gravy” is how my dad wants to speak then so be it. Hell, someone could call it “doodleshoof” for all I care, as long as they’re happy with it. I’ll think I’ll just stick with “sauce” for now though.

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The Trifecta: A Complicated Balancing Act

It was at summer camp, we were sitting on the Rainbow Treebench. I stopped staring at the other people near our cabins and looked over my shoulder. “You know, I got something to say to you.”

“Really? What’s that?”

“Well, you know me and I know you quite well,”

“Uh huh.”

“I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve never met someone like you and probably never will again. I cherish this friendship of ours and I’ve been looking for a best friend. I offer the title to you, do you accept?”

Those were the words I used at 11:43 pm one July night this past summer. I spoke with fear, uncertainty, and emotion. All three of which, are characteristics I rarely exhibit in public. Now I won’t tell you the end of the story, as I have a very private personality and don’t like to share those types of details. The main point, I should point out, is that most people know me to speak with confidence and with authority, as well as trying be non emotional as possible. I know that I speak very differently in different situations but why? I think it’s my past that holds the secrets.

You see we all speak a different language, whether it be Pig Latin, German, or one of the other 6000 plus languages spoken. There is however another thing that sets us apart, out tone and manner in which we speak, for each person they have their own very unique past. Although they may choose not to reveal it, it comes out in the words they speak. Some may speak in a very personal manner or others in a distant and monotone way as I prefer. You see, as Richard Rodriguez writes about his childhood, “Outside the house was public society, inside was private.” We all have our boundaries, whether it be our school, home, or friends. For each of those situations, we all speak differently, a different coding or programming for the different places and people in our lives. See our parents may try to rear us in a manner that is proper to them so they may request that their son or daughter speak politely and so as sons and daughters we do. When we are around friends however, they may not care or have the same values as our parents and that allows us to talk however we feel.

When you meet a new person, some may opt to say nothing and give a polite nod of the head as I do, others may choose to greet them with a nice hello and a handshake like the rest of my family. This is all is dependent on our background and upbringing, as well as where we come from geographically. As James Baldwin wrote, “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;” I speak English and even though at least 220 millions others do as well, each of us has a distinct "Speak". Our “Speaks” can set us apart from others by the words we use, tone, pronunciation and so on, giving ourselves our own method uniqueness.

At school and in most any place I speak as Richard Rodriguez describes about his school memories, I speak, “Directed towards a general audience, words meaningfully said and clearly spoken.” I tend to also be more general with my sentences, making sure to include as much details of my audience as possible. By doing so I can create an authoritative and inclusive setting. I also tend to bring in very big words to portray how knowledgeable I am. A great example was my daily conversations with my old history teacher.

“How are you doing today Chuckie?”

“I am doing alright, a bit exhausted and exasperated about members for a group project I am doing.”

I need not to go further as the key word is “exasperated.” I am pretty sure that most kids would use the word “annoyed” because that is the word they know for this type of situation. I, on the other hand happen to know the definition which I will refrain from stating as not to bore you. Before I continue, even now I write in a "Speak" that is completely different than my others. I have a writing "Speak", as well as my general and personal "Speak". My writing "Speak" is such that only when I write can I say what I want to and not trip myself up while thinking on the fly compared to speaking what I want and saying the possible way. However, my favorite and most reserved "Speak", is my personal tone, only revealed to my closest confidants. I never use it in a public situation, and if I do it is all by accident.

My personal “Speak” is filled with a oodles of emotion, dancing from happiness to query in a single sentence, then dodging fear and landing on uncertainty in the next. It decloaks my hidden side from those who are not worthy of reading the book about my past. See, some event happened in my past, and it showed me how susceptible I was to ridicule shutting me off from my old way of speaking. I made a complete turn with the way I began to speak to people in public whom I didn’t know well, and only when people have gained my trust do I feel comfortable speaking my personal “Speak.”

So now that I have given you a glance of what it is like to be Chuckie, I should sum up things. Trying to balance other people's opinions and feelings as well as my way of talking is tough. Sometimes when I try and switch between the three “Speaks” things get jumbled, said the wrong way, or lost in translation. I do change my “Speak” for the people I’m around because otherwise I would be a mess, a very confusing one no less. Being me however, represents us all and each person's distinct way of being and language to others.
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Speaking My Own Language

“Guys what do you want to do this weekend?

“We should like definitely go to the mall.” I exclaimed. “You talk so white,” my friends Naby and Bryan replied.

Whenever my friends tell me I talk white I think to myself, how can someone talk white? Is there a problem with the way I talk?  What am I saying that is different from what others are saying? Why should it matter if I talk white, black, pink or purple? What does it have to do with anything?  Personally, I don’t see how I talk white, I don’t have a problem with the way I talk so why should anyone else? I think I talk proper because that’s how I was brought up.

This talking white thing bothers me because I just want to know what people mean when they say I talk white. When I make new friends I tend to ask them if I talk white to see what they will say. Some say yes and others say no.  “Do I talk white?” I may ask. “Yeah you do” “Do I talk white?” they say, mocking me. They usually laugh and make jokes and continue to mock me. I never knew one’s voice or choice of words could sound so funny, I think to myself. I don’t understand where this talking white thing comes from. What’s the big deal?

I have to believe that perhaps my upbringing contributes to my language development.  I have been raised for the most part in the Greater Northeast section of Philadelphia and live in quite and ethnically diverse neighborhood. I have attended private schools that were predominately African American and transitioned to public schools whose make-up has been predominately White. I have made and maintained friends of all nationalities and religious backgrounds. Due in part to these things I have mentioned, I have to wonder if I’ve picked up a specific way of speaking from attempting to create my own language when interacting with the multitude of friends that I have. I imagine even speech can be influenced because of the people you’ve been around your whole life.

While I do consider upbringing as an influence on how I talk, I cannot believe that this is the only or major factor simply because many of my family members comment on this as well.  “There’s the accent,” they say or “you guys,” they tease.  Often times I find myself limiting conversations to one or two words just so I won’t have to hear whatever remarks they are waiting to give about how I talk.  Although I am no longer bothered when this happens, I recall times that it totally upset me, because I wasn’t speaking any differently than anyone else I knew. I never mentioned any of these feelings to my family; however, as I got older it seemed as if they slowly stopped criticizing me about the way I talk.

Despite the fact that my family has eased up on the speech comments, it is something that I continue to deal with in school among my peers and when I’m hanging out with certain groups of friends.  For instance when I am with my African American friends I may say, “hey guys do yous want to go to the park?” and immediately they reply with;  “Imani, why do you say yous, that’s how white people talk.” While I know I should probably be honest and tell them how I feel, I’ve always felt like they would judge me about taking it to heart.  As such, I decided that it’d be best when with them to speak in a way that they could best identify. Yet, code switching in this way reminds me of Maxine Hong Kingston’s assertion that; “ a ready tongue is evil.”   Trying to speak in a way that is not natural for sometimes results in me saying things that are inappropriate and uncomfortable.

My best friend Tiffany  is White and when I’m with her I tell her how I feel about the “ I talk white comments” and I tell her how I never felt so insecure about something so little before. It was to the point where I didn’t feel comfortable talking or speaking around certain people. She’s has the ability to calm me down and tell me that there’s no problem with the way I talk. She reassures me that I don’t have to change something so unique for people that have no idea what they are talking about. Tiffany always reminds me how proper I talk and how I shouldn’t be insecure about that because I have manners and am a very courteous person.

Having a friend who understands my perspective is really empowering.  It helps me cope with being mocked and criticized.  It also helps because she is a listening ear and that allows me a chance to get it off my chest. Tiffany has helped me realize that I need to take a stand.  Everyone does things differently and we are all individuals with our own unique styles.  Richard Rodriguez  in his text “Hunger of Memory” indicates; “people involve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances.” this quote reminds me that we all have a specific way in which we use language and to feel empowered we have to use language to navigate our destiny. No one should be judged or criticized by how they speak.

“It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power. It is the most vivid and crucial key to identify,” James Baldwin. I strongly agree with Mr. Baldwin because one's language identifies who they are. Regardless of how I speak, I have a voice which is my instrument and I should be able to speak however I want without my friends, family or whomever criticizing and teasing me. I feel comfortable with my language and how I speak, I shouldn’t be ashamed of something that is mine. How I speak is powerful and unique!  


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The Growth of Tongue


“Arielle you speak too fast.”

I panted lightly having laughed for about forty-five seconds at a joke between me and my sister. I held onto the seat belt, bracing myself for what I was about to hear.

“Slow down! I remember you used to speak very slowly and clearly, I miss that.”

I didn’t want to be mad because my grandmother was only telling me this because she loved me, but I couldn’t escape the fact that she soiled a perfectly good joke.

“I will,” I nodded.

Nyla looked at me. I looked at Nyla. Quite frankly, neither of us really cared about the critique given because our cheeks were too rosy to take our minds off of bursting out laughing. I was silent for the rest of the ride home, because an unmovable lump had grown in my throat. This was not a rare series of events though. My grandmother kept a close eye on us since we’re her only grandchildren and she had so many insecurities about how we grew up, I guess because we’re the first American children she ever had part in raising. Speech is one thing that she payed a lot of attention to because we were city bred, raised around people who had a constant relaxed dialect. It bothered her when she heard someone mashing words together or speaking quickly. Of course, through the eyes of a child I took it was an insult to my handle on the English language.

She wasn’t the only one who noticed the change way I spoke. The older people at my church would always remind me of the me they ‘remember’, the me they miss. I remember that me fondly, the one who went to school with white socks and came home with brown ones; the one whose pigtails were always loose at the ends and who smiled cheekily through missing front teeth. The one who wrote a letter and displayed it in front of the whole church.

The same people would always remind me how when I was younger I would pronounce my words very clearly, but I don’t anymore. I just laugh at their remarks. I always laugh.

I’ve only grown about two feet since I was in first grade, therefore it’s always completely understandable to be quickly reminded of my younger self and the way I once behaved. Little do they know I’ve changed so much. Little do they know that since the letter I moved out of the small two-bedroom apartment I and had started public school and morphed into an inner-city kid who knew a lot more slang since my Christian school days. I’m sure they don’t even realize that I won two spelling bees, gained a plethora of new words and phrases and opinions, and had even seen the seven hardest years of her life.

I was always being given a mirror to compare myself with the girl looking back at me, always told how a young me was a better and how ‘I grew up too fast’, even if it wasn’t always directly. My sarcasm baffles my aunts and uncles who last saw me in diapers and I surprise them when I talk about the media or politics. I outgrew the same hand-me-downs from my older sister the same way I outgrew my old tongue. I was once an optimistic brat who always had too much to say with words spilling over the brim but was also too smart for her own good. It was a short time ago that I realized that my language was a party trick, the one thing people noticed about me because it was always unpredictable. I think that’s what adults love about kids, seeing what kind of madness they’re going to crank out of their juvenile brains before they even realize what they’re doing. I walked head-first into a lot of those situations when I was young, clumsily stumbling into my own language that would finally reach its final stage of evolution. Unfortunately, it was a language that people could no longer recognize. I was older, mindful and had a lot to say. It was hard for people to identify the me I had become.

Ghandi once said: “Language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.” I consider speech as a significant sign of growth because it is one of how much it changes. Environment, experiences, and even people are large contributors to the elements of one’s language, and just as children grow, so does one’s tongue.


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Standardized Tests

Extreme anxiety, endless hours of preparation, and billions of dollars all go towards an inaccurate representation of students and their capabilities on information that will eventually be forgotten. According to TIME Magazine, standardized tests have been around for more than 50 years and for more than 50 years they have been a controversial subject within schools. Standardized tests should no longer be incorporated in schools due to the incapability to show all students’ skills, the unnecessary cost, and the intense stress and anxiety.

Standardized tests are just not an accurate measurement of every student’s performance because they only test a narrow range of skills and knowledge. Not every child wishes to pursue a career that uses English, mathematics, or writing. Some children want to pursue skills of theirs that are not being tested on standardized tests. The American Institute for Learning and Human Development put it this way: “Standardized tests don’t value creativity. A student who writes a more creative answer in the margins of such a test, doesn’t realize that a human being won’t even see this creative response; that machines grade these tests, and a creative response that doesn’t follow the format is a wrong response.” Standardized tests shouldn’t be given to students because it does not test on all skills. It is simply telling children that creative fields are not as good as the ones that require more logic. Not to mention, even the material that the tests asses on are things that will only be in the children’s minds temporarily. The Brookings Institution published a study in 2001 that found that 80% of what children learned by studying for the test was temporary and did not affect long term learning. (Procon.org) If standardized tests are not even helping kids learn new things and improve their learning, there is absolutely no point for them in school. It defeats the purpose of school, as it is a place to expand knowledge and grow in learning. The benefit is not worth the cost.

Standardized tests cause extreme anxiety and put huge amounts of stress on students. Students already have piles of responsibilities with school being first and foremost. Standardized tests cause unnecessary anxiety. Students are already getting graded on their learning. Procon.org, a website that assesses the pros and cons of controversial topics reads, " According to education researcher Gregory J. Cizek, anecdotes abound "illustrating how testing... produces gripping anxiety in even the brightest students, and makes young children vomit or cry, or both." [7] On Mar. 14, 2002, the Sacramento Bee reported that "test-related jitters, especially among young students, are so common that the Stanford-9 exam comes with instructions on what to do with a test booklet in case a student vomits on it.” The people who make the tests are already planning on students to vomit which means they know that these tests cause so much anxiety. Getting good grades is more than enough for kids to be worrying about.

       For all of this, standardized tests cost billions of dollars. An article on the Huffington Post explains, “Standardized Testing Costs States $1.7 Billion A Year, Study Finds. A new report by the Washington-based Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution calculates states spend a combined $1.7 billion annually on standardized testing.” This money should be going to schools in need and not to unnecessary tests. School districts around the world could greatly benefit from even a small portion of this money.

When asked, school district administrators might say standardized tests are a fair and accurate representation of students. But on closer inspection, skills are being left off the test that are important to many. Standardized tests are unnecessary. They cause more problems than they are solving. Although some may disagree because it supposedly weeds out people for colleges, this argument is invalid. It only weeds out the ones who don’t have extreme skills in the few topics that children are tested on. In order to make the students (the future leaders) succeed they must be eliminated from schools.


WORKS CITED


Fletcher, Dan. "Standardized Testing." Time. Time Inc., 11 Dec. 2009. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.


Armstrong, Thomas. "15 Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Worthless."|American Institute for Learning and Human Development. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.


"Standardized Tests - ProCon.org." ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.


Kuczynski-Brown, Alex. "Standardized Testing Costs States $1.7 Billion A Year, Study Finds." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.





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The Rise of Online Dating

Technology today has shaped the way humans date. What once used to be written and sent through mail, can now be typed and delivered in less than a minute. Social media gives people the ability to not only reconnect with people who they may have once known, but to meet new people as well. This allows for people to make connections faster and easier than ever before. With the rise of online dating came the rise of online relationships. When online dating sites first gained notoriety, people were hesitant. Throughout the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, opinions and stereotypes formed in belief that online dating was only for desperate people. As stigma formed, people who dated online were looked down upon by the public, and the media. Today, opinions on internet dating have changed. One can rarely watch a show on television without seeing the ads for different sites. An estimated 66% of people in the United States have gone on at least one date with someone they met online. This dramatic change in opinion happened over a very short period of time. The dramatic change in opinions about dating online has occurred because of the popularity of sites like Match.com, and the change in efficiency of our generation’s usage of the internet.

Using the internet to date has become not only easy, but efficient. Since the rise in personal computers in the early 1990’s, the internet has an outlet for all types of information. Today, children born in this time period would be in their twenties. It is no surprise then that the most common age group on both Match.com and Tinder, are twenty year olds. This demographic has been the most accustomed to computer usage since birth, and a part of the most technologically savvy generation yet. According to a study on internet usage today, over 84 percent of Americans are online, as opposed to the 54 percent that were online in 2000. The number of people online has increased dramatically, and more people are beginning to experience all the internet has to offer. This, paired with the popularity in the use of the internet among twenty year olds, is part of why so many young people have turned to online dating.

Match.com is able to attract people of all ages. Though the 25-34 year old age range is the most commonly found on Match.com, the second most common age group is people aged 35-44. This age group surpasses the average age of marriage in the United State (27), and therefore more people in this age range will be looking for a long term partner. Dating offline can be more difficult for someone in this age group. Singles this age may feel the need to skip the chase and settle down quickly, and it is not always easy to find like-minded people through normal methods of dating. Because of the personalization of a profile on sites like Match or Tinder, people are able to cut to the chase and tell people exactly what they want out of a relationship. To this age group, it is also reassuring that Match.com is responsible for more dates, relationships, and marriages than any other dating site.

Marriage is not the only goal for people dating online. Along with websites, apps are another easy and popular method of dating online. Apps like Tinder are known for their ease and simplicity, as well as a perfect mobile alternative to any site. With an app, anyone can carry a night out in their pocket. It has become an easy way for people to connect without strings attached. Though Tinder isn’t only a “hookup” app, it’s casual nature and chat feature makes it less daunting for those who aren't as good at socializing , and less time consuming for someone who wants to cut straight to the chase. In a Vanity Fair article, writer Nancy Jo Sales interviewed men and women in various New York bar scenes, all of which where the majority of adults there were on tinder or another dating app. “I’m on Tinder, Happn, Hinge, OkCupid,” Nick says. “It’s just a numbers game. Before, I could go out to a bar and talk to one girl, but now I can sit home on Tinder and talk to 15 girls—” Men (and women) like Nick are able to chat with many people at the same time, all in the comfort of their homes. Both apps and websites have changed the setting of today’s dates, by conducting conversations online.

It is clear that people have become more accepting of online dating. Though it is now something that many people are unashamed to admit, the results of its popularity have changed the dating field. In almost all urban areas in the United States, young people have access to the internet, a luxury their parents didn’t have. In most interconnected cities, the internet is now a pillar of dating. Whether or not more options lead to greater happiness will be harder to determine, but in the meantime, the popularity of dating online is only expected to rise.



Works CIted:


Smith, Aaron, and Monica Anderson. "5 Facts about Online Dating." Pew Research Center RSS. N.p., 20 Apr. 2015. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/20/5-facts-about-online-dating/>.


Match.com Fact Sheet 2013. Match.com, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <file:///home/chronos/u-65bf3a743848201f5796144590122dc56d5b425d/Downloads/Match.com+Fact+Sheet+2013.pdf>.


Median Age at First Marriage: 1890 to Present. Digital image. United States Census Bureau, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/files/graphics/MS-2.pdf>.


Sales, Nancy Jo. "Tinder and the Dawn of the Dating Apocalypse." Vanity Fair. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. <http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/08/tinder-hook-up-culture-end-of-dating>.


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Not In Stock

‘I am’ is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that I do is the longest sentence,” says author George Carlin.

This somewhat philosophical quote on first glance seems to pose a great meaning that only the greatest professors or distinguished learners would be able to understand. If I were to have seen it just a couple of weeks ago it would have made me really have to think hard, or probably just continue on as it would not have made sense. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve made a clarification on something that never was a problem or even a thought before. The voice. My voice. The simple yet powerful substance that I have lived with for fifteen years after one day in English class proved to develop into something so incredibly new.

Succeeding the reading of the James Baldwin text on African American language, we watched a short documentary on the differentiating accents in specific regions throughout the United States. The film did not surprise me much as the stereotypical country southern accent, the rough and tough new york accent, and that of that of the “normal” person who chronicled. All of which I’m familiar with. It was the question Ms.Pahomav asked after the ending of the film that sparked that my interest in the voice. “ Do you have an accent?” This once seemed straightforward question lead into an energetic debate between myself and friend Tk.

“ I don’t have an accent, but you do,” I said.

“What! I don’t have an accent!” Tk hastily replied.

“Yes you do Tk.”

“Well if I have a accent then you do to.”

“ No Tk you definitely have an accent, I sound like me.”

The defiance Tk had in telling me that I did have an accent just did not make sense as I did not have anything too special or unique coming through. For me an accent was something that was distinct in giving a listener your history as of where you come from. The typical british, australian, or even south african accent. Those that give the severe sense of personality, and are without a doubt what the average person would call an accent. Me on the other hand felt that my “accent” was nonexistent. I heard people from Philadelphia have a certain type of speech so if anything I believed that is what Tk was referring to, but was there more. That night I went home thinking of whether I sounded of something that I had yet to hear. Even going as far as recording myself a few times saying different things trying to detect an oddity. Even then it was still similar to what I have been hearing my entire life. I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to know if I my voice was more than I knew it was. A few days later me and friends Ajanae and Tk were discussing Tk’s valley girl voice, and how she sounds like a girl from Seattle. Being that Tk told me that I had an accent I decided to get a second opinion by asking Ajanae what she thought of my voice.

“ You have a philly accent I guess.”

“ That’s what I thought but Tk said I had an big accent.” I replied.

With this I understood that there was a Philly sense in my voice. One that I had never picked up on since most people I encounter on a regular basis sound pretty similar. Although I had an answer I still felt that there was still something more to be discovered. The question had grown from the simple do I have an accent to what about my voice makes me...me. What about my voice set me apart from the millions of other people in Philadelphia, how different is it from those all across the country, across the world. The question of what about my voice made made me the individual I am. For most of my life I had not cared to much because as people we usually think of something like our voice as just something. Not much. That thing that we always had and will always have. The thing that if you’re lucky can lead to a successful music career or even make you the state’s most watched news anchor, but nothing ever to serious. It was now that I became so interested in discovering the answer to this simple yet extremely complex question. First thing I did after spending hours pondering this question was ask other people not specifically about them, but what they actually felt about their own voices, and how it made them who they are. Starting with my mother who gave me the simple “I don’t know, it’s just my voice,” to my friend Fatimah who believes “ I sound like I sound because that’s way I sound.” These answers not offering me as much help as I originally sought out. Finally I went to my close friend Danielle who I have known for a long time in hopes that she could give me what I was looking for. It was her answer that finally did it for me. All she said was “ your voice is just you I guess. You’re the only one who has it.” It was at that moment that I finally realized that my accent and my voice is me. Jevon. I kept trying to compare myself to everyone else, when everyone else is not me. The problem I faced was attempting to group myself into a category of people instead of seeing that everyone is their own group and they are all their own person. My accent might not be the most common one but it is not meant or supposed to be. The accent I have is mine and it’s one that only I’m supposed to have, and that I’m supposed to make as me. Throughout this I have learned that everyone has their accent, their voice, their ways, and their personalities that set them apart, and it is when you look at yourself that you realize you are you and nobody can be that.

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