Tag Archives: the daily post

Censoring Enlightenment

Oftentimes when reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee in the classroom, students giggle when stumbling upon the first “inappropriate” word.

By ages 10 and 11 nowadays, students have heard and said all of those words at some point. In fact, a lot of those kids have heard their parents shouting those words while driving through morning and afternoon traffic.

Cropic Share File
Should we censor or just ban it?

Because I teach in Miami, many of the students volunteer during class discussions that their parents say very colorful words in a couple different languages.

Just a side note:  If you’ve ever had the pleasure of driving in Miami, you would probably say them too. 

So, when students giggle about those words, it’s because for one, they’re in school. And, for another they know it’s wrong to say them. Their parents (guardians) and teachers have told them this.

Enlighten Us

For the most part, when students’ eyes run across the “N-word,” they stop, stutter, and say “N-word” or skip to the next word. Some students say the word and just keep going.

It’s not too far into the book that we have a Socratic Circle on the topic of censorship.

It gives them a sense of enlightenment to be given the opportunity to take control of their education and decide what they think is right or wrong.

The students boldly talk about the importance of using those words in this book and to remember how terrible the word really is. These young students, who hear all types of inappropriate words on YouTube and when they’re playing video games, speak about censorship intelligently and almost sound like little parents.

Interfering

I, as their teacher, never interfere with their viewpoints. I only offer questions about it.

Why do you think people would want to censor “inappropriate” language from books?

Who decides what’s “appropriate” or “inappropriate” for whom?

Why do we feel the need to censor anything, in any type of media?

These questions are difficult to answer. We adults know that we go to great lengths to protect our children from any number of situations let alone what may or may not be “inappropriate” language in a book. What about the content of the book itself?

Banned Books Week ended already, but there are other issues involving the internet that leave us all stumped in one way or another, especially those with children or those who are teaching children.

How do we solve these issues? Do we look to our history of banning books and censoring art to guide us into the future?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/enlighten/”>Enlighten</a&gt;

 

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A Carousel of Spanish

One of the beauties of being married to a Hispanic man is that I’ve gotten to learn about his culture through his eyes.

I had grown up in Miami before I met him so Spanish was all around me. Many of my friends were Cuban, but they wanted to be “American” and most of them were already losing their handle on their language, creating what we know now as Spanglish.

He, on the other hand, came from Venezuela, which at the time was nothing like what you see on the news now, but there was enough violence that moving to the United States was a dream come true for his family who had seen victims of shootings on the street and who had been robbed of their gifts for Christmas.

His father is a journalist and was offered a job with a major news organization so they took the opportunity and ended up in New York.

I met him after he’d moved to Miami because his father was working at El Nuevo Herald by then.

And, after all of the years of living in Miami, studying Spanish and hearing Spanish, I couldn’t speak it.

But, he introduced me to the Telenovela: A wickedly colorful version of what we “Americans” call Soap Operas.

I had seen my friend’s grandparents watching them but the crying and screaming freaked me out.

Until he showed me “Carrusel de Ninos,” a telenovela about children who attend school and their relationships with each other. It was the children’s carousel.

It was simple enough that I could understand what was happening and hear the Spanish language delivered by children.

Within the confines of this little school, you would laugh and cry and the language would live and breathe inside of you.

There were the rich and the poor. There were the outcasts and the popular kids. There were the mean and the nice kids. Everything related to you and yet you learned about their culture also.

My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, showed me it because it was a good show, not because he wanted me to learn the language.

I watched it for the same reason.

So, when the thought occurred to me that I could actually learn how to speak Spanish from this, it didn’t feel like I had to work very hard at it.

The children expressed themselves with their bodies and expressions as much as through the language itself.

How Did It Change My Approach to Spanish?

When I ordered food, I would ask for the item in Spanish more often.

“Dos empanadas de carne por favor.”

When I listened to Spanish I understood more.

Sientete aqui really became Sit here but I didn’t need to stop and translate it into English like so many have to do.

Mostly, though, I just felt at ease with the language.

Por qué siempre hacemos aprendizaje tan difícil.

So, I ask you: Why do we make learning so difficult?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/carousel/”>Carousel</a&gt;

Mija’s Moxie Makes Okja Magic

Her eyes bit the screen as the camera zeroed in on her face. Her grandfather’s love split from her own when she realized she’d found herself slapped in the face with betrayal. It wasn’t the reaction of a spoiled child having a toy taken away. It was the reaction of pure love being ripped from your heart.

If we were unsure whether we wanted to watch this movie, we no longer were after that intense moment portrayed by Actress An Seo Hyun who plays Mija in the Netflix original film Okja directed by Bon Joon Ho.

Our stay-at-home summer has given us ample time to check out Netflix. When we started looking at different categories, we found Okja. We were skeptical as always because sometimes you stumble upon something you connect with and other times you enter a downward spiral and just keep watching because you already started and can’t look away.

You know the feeling. Then you spend the rest of the week watching movies you know are good just to get that movie out of your mind. That wasn’t the case with this movie.

An Seo Hyun (Mija) lulls you into her world set in the mountains of South Korea where she lives and breathes her life along with Okja, a “super pig” temporarily given to her grandfather who is a farmer.

You fall in love with Mija and Okja after the first fifteen minutes or so.

I have proof of this because I live with a house full of cynics:  an eleven year old who sounds like a lawyer, a fifteen year old who will be focusing on her film strand this coming year, and a journalist/online producer who won’t watch Alice In Wonderland directed by Tim Burton because it’s “not realistic.”

By falling in love with both of them, you feel the bite when Mija decides to find Okja who’s taken away from her by a large corporation that plans to use these super pigs for its own profit.

Mija runs, flies, punches, kicks, and takes a real beating on her quest to reach Okja. Her <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/moxie/”>Moxie</a&gt; makes her the perfect heroine for such a wildly fanciful film with a heavy message that delivers layers of frightful beliefs and behaviors we all embrace on a daily basis.

So, if you haven’t experienced this, set aside some time and watch what happens to your mind.

From Grit to Grace

Yesterday, that grit that has kept me trekking through some of my longest struggles abandoned me and left me panicking.
I’m the one with the fight. Everyone expects it.
But, sometimes, I just fail at what’s expected of me.
When I got the call, I just started breathing these long, deep breaths from the gut. Meditate. That’s it.
Then, it all just hit me in the gut.
The grit was gone.
A heavy pounding pumped my chest and I knew the only way to survive this one was to cry. We’ve been so worried about this happening that the moment it happened, it felt like I’d used up all my grit just holding on to nothing.Grace
My husband lost his job, not because he’s a terrible employee, but because the company was bought out by another company who wants to streamline things. You can fill in the blanks for the rest of that story.
But, don’t worry I’m still working. I don’t make much money because, well, I’m a teacher. Need I say more?
He, however, is in the news business, an online producer, social media specialist, you name it. He has an immaculate background that includes loyaltyand hard work, but sometimes I wonder if that’s what employers even want anymore. I mean, doesn’t it just come down to who will work for the least amount of money, at least in the online news business?
There’s punchline in here somewhere.
I guess I’m the punchline because he just went to the bedroom and shut the door. He started looking for work immediately. I, on the other hand, turned on Spotify and listened to Prince songs (“Let’s Go Crazy” was the first song to play), randomly freaked out my kids with wild screeching noises, watched a couple of old episodes of Modern Family, drank three espressos, went running in the middle of the hottest time of the day in Miami, then told him to get ready because we needed to go to Happy Hour somewhere.
If you rewind through that list of crazy, seemingly random activities, you’ll see how I got my grit back or even better my grit turned to grace.
A good cry gets rid of unwanted crap.
Prince has grit, in death and life.
Singing liberates you, even if you can’t carry a tune.
Laughing about problems grounds you.
Espressos fuel you.
Exercise refreshes you.
Sweating cleanses you.
And, Happy Hour reminds you that life’s supposed to be fun and crazy.
At Happy Hour we played with a link on Facebook that morphs you into an old Hollywood star. He became Clark Gable and I turned into Grace Kelly.
We remembered that we were once just kids and we’re somehow still in love despite some really scary moments in life. We’ve done a pretty good job at making a life for ourselves and our kids and, frankly my dear, there are worse problems than this.
Grit

Go ahead, pick the dragon’s nose kid.

Caper
Please stop making faces!
Beautiful hair, shiny, long, short, doesn’t matter–I mean the kind of hair that girls envy and say so out loud, right to his face.
But, I’ll be damned if he gives me one good smile for a picture. There’s always a face, a different one for each shot. The creepy guy face. The cool guy face. The demon face. The goofball face. The sad face. The smiling but really crossing my eyes face. Or, just smiling with crazy eyes.
He’s been like this since he pulled the Houdini act of climbing right out of his crib before he could walk.

IMG_6803When we go out, I need a few cups of coffee to keep me alert. There are days when I wish the coffee was something else, that’s how fast I need to be. I’m ready to jump, spin, grab, block, catch, you name it.
Somewhere inside every maniacal act of bouncing to his own beat, I laugh amidst the frustration of taking one good picture.
When we visited San Francisco, there were so many moments when the pictures were more than perfect, especially if he didn’t know I was taking them. Often, the theatrics made the pictures so much better, the exaggerated extension of his legs when climbing the uphill battle of getting back to the hotel made it oh so much more than just a good picture.
Walking through Chinatown and finding a brilliantly colorful dragon drawn on the side of a building, we stopped for a picture.
But, ten shots later, my perfect picture almost didn’t happen.

 

 

He insisted not only on theatrics but also on making sure he picked the dragon’s nose by sticking his hand in its giant nostril. With a smirk and a flick of the eyes, his sister pulled his hand down and we got something.
The dragon seemed fine with it.
In hindsight, I think the dragon was in on the whole joke.
Ironically, he hardly ever says I’m just joking.
He used to pontificate about pranks, which happen to be one of his favorite YouTube pastimes. Recently, it’s just weird drawings on the teacher’s whiteboards. Thank God they also have a sense of humor.
I could regress to his obsession with moles that appeared everywhere, so much so that I had to threaten that the moles had better not appear on photographs or human skin without permission.
However, I think you get the idea.
It seems that to him life is just way too serious.
And, if I weren’t such an adult, I’d be picking that dragon’s nose with him.