My experiences with any mathematics class have been nothing more than triggering and negative in a sense that I was never good at it therefore I did not care about it. When receiving a lecture about it, I was completely turned off and refused to listen because of this experience. When I was in my early years of school, when they brought forth a new textbook called “Math Makes Sense” there were many cases in which I found the content discriminating because of its main focus. In every textbook there were chapters dedicated to that of Indigenous peoples, but as discussed in lecture, none of it was addressed in full for the simple reason that I do not understand. We would read out the chapter and title but never go into detail the aspects of why the chapter was written the way it was and the content that was discussed. As professional and smart that my math teacher was, he never went into full disclosure of the textbook content and would leave us to fend for ourselves with lessons and questions that were to be completed before the test. In a way I think this was discriminating towards myself and the other students but at the same time it wasn’t because people of my race and culture were excessively included and talked about within the materials. Nothing in my eye was ever cruel or oppressive in teaching or content but I also speak from a role in a dominant society where my culture and ethnicity is well represented in all classrooms and curriculum content including textbooks and other materials.
Three ways in which the Inuit community challenge Eurocentric ideas are as follows:
- They teach mathematics in their mother tongue for the first three years of child schooling to incorporate their own culture. They believe that their everyday life has nothing to do with the mathematics that they learn in school and believe that it isn’t something that can solve their problems. Separate from that, in a Eurocentric point of view, I was taught that mathematics would be something I would use every day for the rest of my life and there are very few things that I actually use from my mathematic experience of school.
- As said before, they learn mathematics in their mother tongue from Kindergarten to grade 2 and then from Grade 3 onwards, they learn it in either French or English. More recently they have made it official for them to also learn their mother tongue in Grade 3 as well for a further understanding and a continue further on.
- Teaching methods are also what set apart the Inuit from the Eurocentric because they use Elders to teach enigmas which are then used as problem solving within the mathematical context. They ask questions in which the children/students will know and understand rather than get them to figure out something they do not. This was something I struggled with in school. My teacher would assign questions followed by bonus questions. I would understand the questions but when it came to the bonus, my thought process and knowledge of what was being asked failed because I was not able to think outside of the box.
My upbringing within a small-town school has shaped my in a way that I am not proud to be and continually try to correct throughout my life. Growing up, I was exposed and taught in Odessa school which was a catholic school at the time. Not knowing anything of it, the views and ideas in which I learned were very one sided and followed that of the catholic church (across the street from the school). As I look back at this, I understand now the negative impact it left on me and the impact it could have possibly left on others. Odessa did not have a variety of nationality within the school, apart from the high percentage of Caucasian teachers and students, there were three Aboriginal kids, all in the same family. When I think of how attending a school who followed the ways of the catholic church, I begin to imagine how dreadful it must have been to learn one’s own cultural ways and then have it blindsided by that of Western European culture. When Odessa school closed in 2007, all students were to newly attend the school in the next town over which was Vibank. Vibank’s school system did not follow that of the church, but rather a “normal” Saskatchewan curriculum. Before expanding my knowledge on different cultures, I was introduced and lived by many biases in which I thought were very true. Being in university has changed this perspective drastically but at the time I was too naïve to know any better until taught otherwise. I held the idea that all Aboriginal peoples lived in tipis and hunting using spears and arrows and this continued until I was introduced to Aboriginal studies in my first years of Vibank. This was because I had not been exposed to any culture other than Western European descent. Unravelling these biases occurred when I was exposed to the truths and knowledge of culture other than my own which allowed me to understand and comprehend diversity in culture. Now, as a university student who attends a diversified school, I have been able to experience and become knowledgeable about a variety of cultures including Aboriginal, which has allowed me to unlearn the knowledge I thought I had before; stereotypical and bias.
Single stories that were present when I was in primary schooling were what I thought I knew about people like Chimamanda Adichie who had a roommate thinking that all of Africa lived something along the lines of a “wild” life. I too thought this until I was exposed to the age in which I was able to search subjects of culture on the internet. This was the most evident one that I can think of because it happened so many times during my elementary years. The perspective and image of countries and cultures that I thought I had, were all completely wrong until I had educated myself or teachers did so. As for the question “Whose truth matter?” I believe that it is the people in which want their truth told. In the case for Adichie, she was the one in which her truth mattered and in other cases it would be whoever’s culture/lifestyle is being stereotyped or biased about.
In the article “Curriculum Policy and the Politics of What Should Be Learned in Schools”, Levin explains school curricula and its development from culture, ideologies, and politics. Levin articulates the influence of these components and why they have become the inspiration for present curriculums. He advises what we should really be learning about in schools, drawn back from the ideas of dominant politics. Honestly, as a student in my second year, one would think that prior to this reading, I would have known how much politics and government control curriculums, but I hadn’t realized until now. An unsettling feeling arises because I know the state in which our government is in and the issues it has had with members. I want to be reassured that the education I am receiving the education the next generation is receiving is imperative to everyday lifestyle and can educate them on important issues like adulting (mortgages, bills, etc.). Levin mentions that arguments can become very heated, especially on a topic like sex education. He says, “Sex education is one obvious example…how much attention in these subjects should be given” (15). Something like this is a topic that should be extended on because it is potentially something that could affect a person’s life forever. STI’s and other issues like teen pregnancy are more common than before, because teens aren’t educated on the topic enough, I’m unaware, but this could be a leading factor. I find it very hard to believe that people we are to entrust are the foundation to the learning I, myself, and many millions of other people will receive and that such arguments on topics like sex education are even discussed as whether or not they lie as important piece of education; enough for students to know and understand.
Connections that can be made between the two articles fall in the line of what people think needs to be taught apart from what is actually taught. In the article it states whether or not certain subjects and areas should be included in the curriculum and this issue also arises on the topic of Treaty Education. I feel as though the idea of Treaty Education is bounced around in many schools but also implemented directly in others. The idea of involving TE in the Saskatchewan curriculum is a great way for students to understand the history of Canada, but what faculty and educational facilities must realize is to not overdo it or force it onto a child. Teachers have to find ways in which the topic is easy going but also understood. That children want to learn in and not just have to learn it. Government needs to recognize the diversities within school settings and develop initiatives in which all students will at one point in their life want to learn about Canadian history and Treat Education. Tensions were probably speculated around areas goals of the document and how they would be met amongst every single student who learned about Treaty Education as well as understand the topics. Purpose might also be a leading factor in building tension because one’s purpose for something might differ from the next. As a future educator, I want my students to realize the importance of every topic and lecture that they take part in and how it will affect their future; how it will play a role in their lives.
In response to the email you sent I think you make it understandable remarks in regards to the Indigenous education taught within schools such as your own, or lack thereof. As a student that was once in your shoes, I can assure you that every school system is different. For my own schooling experience, I had started to learn about Indigenous education way back in grade 2 and it followed until I graduated. I think that in regard to your situation, you make the point of acknowledging that we are all treaty people and that there land we live on was once not what we call Canada, but rather a land mass accompanied by Indigenous cultures and traditions. Treaty education and the learning of Indigenous peoples is not mandatory but should be something every student learns within their educational path, especially if they live in Canada. As part of a societal rebellion, someone like you, being as passionate as you are on the topic, should fight to educate your fellow students and help them understand true Canadian history. You might consider having some First Nations peoples’ attend your school to talk and discuss their history or invite a tribe or Council for traditional activities. I know that having any sort of Indigenous culture pronounced within my schooling benefited from my learning and having activities such as Powwows and building tipis drove me to want to learn more about Canadian history.
Based on personal opinion and research of Canadian treaties, educational institutions make an effort in teaching First Nations and Treaty ed to historically pronounce the issues that happened in our history. Explaining in a way that we understand everything that went on for many decades and want to change the views of individuals of all races rather than impact dominant ethnicity in a negative way. From personal experience, every time I was taught about First Nations and Canadian history, I felt as though I was being attacked by the content I was learning about as well as attacked by the person teaching it. I felt bad for being part of a race that would never fall under a dominant society and I felt bad as though I was the specific person who caused pain to thousands of people. The purpose behind teaching First Nations Canadian history is to allow generations to understand real and true Canadian history without making individuals feel ashamed of the country in which they live and the cultural backgrounds they have. It is important for individuals who live within Canada to attain information that is crucial in being a true Canadian citizen. We incorporate this knowledge as a way of finding peace in the cruel and inhuman actions that happened; letting people of Indigenous communities understand that we are not accountable for our ancestors’ actions, but we will fix it by teaching the next generations.
We should understand that “We are all treaty people” because we are. This term justifies the means of Canada and the history it holds. It represents that treaties do not just associate to Indigenous peoples, but rather to each individual living in Canada, stretching from 100 years ago to today. Treaties of the past still pertain to today’s Canadian society, including immigrants and refugees. Our treaties build the foundation to what each Canadian knows as their home and the knowledge of knowing that the harsh events that took part some decades ago, will not happen again because that would be the action of breaking treaties. Although once exploited before by early European settlers, our newfound understanding and public action amongst society have changed the ways in which we worship treaty law.
Throughout this paper, there is an overlying narrative drawn on the aspect of decolonization and reinhabitation. Recovering the old traditions and culture from prior acts as a main focus in the paper, initializing readers for the hard truth throughout history. The paper itself acts as a remedy as to how society is backing in its tracks in order to correct the corruption of our European newcomers. The paper mention that “reinhabitation and decolonization depend on each other” much like we depend on each other to better society. The committee involved with the project identified that they wanted something to bring their youth and elders together, something that would reinhabit community and growth of land. Youth were set to participate in activities that drew on their culture and the importance of a tight knit community, bound by inseparability. In connection this statement, Cree-youth were put into workshops where they were directed to make audio recordings in regard to an interview with community members. As this was happening more and more ideas came into view such as the river excursion. This was done in the attempt to bring light and understanding to unthread any colonization formed by the European settlers from decades prior and as an understanding of the knowledge found within the land.
I want all my students to know and recognize that the land we live on, the land we teach on, is sacred. That the people before us worshipped it before our European settlers came over and colonized. I want kids of all ages, no matter the grades I teach to understand that it wasn’t there faults for what European settlers did but that it has to be recognized until it is cleared or solved. I want my students to feel educated on the land that they live and have an understanding of the truth behind the matter; that people of First Nations culture lived on the land decades prior. I want to incorporate this idea through lessons that are easily changeable or adjustable for me to include Canadian history. I do not want it to be something mandatory for my students to learn but rather contribute themselves to be a part of a movement; my action of reinhabitation. By teaching, I want the students to want to learn about it and not think of it as a topic like “Oh. Do we really have to learn that?” and rather a “This is such an interesting topic! I want to know more about it!” Through my primary schooling experience, anything associated with First Nations and Metis culture I felt was shoved done my throat which made me gather feelings of disliking the subject every year that it came up. This is not at all what I want for my students. I want them to enjoy what they are learning and use ideas such as that of the river excursion to explain and give them the understanding and why it is happening.
Based on what Kumashiro explains as a “good” student, he refers to those who offer respect to themselves and the people around them. Children who are able to understand the diversity that the classroom carries and the diversity of themselves from others, attribute to being a “good” student. He mentions how “…M became a different kind of student during a less structured class time.” (Kumashiro, 20) This quote explains the range of students and the needs in which some of them require to be what is called “cooperative” in classrooms and achieve their own academic goals. Many people mistake a “good” student as one who listens when being taught, getting work done on time, never initiating problems or getting in the middle of things and/or being a role model to others around them. This is society’s definition and it is nothing less that the definition of a robot. Society has hand-picked and created an idea of how students across the board should act within a school setting that would classify them as “good”. Anyone one that stepped out of line or did not portray at least one of these ideas, was under the classification of “misbehaved” or “bad” student.
In my opinion, I think that the only students who found themselves privileged by the concept of a “good” student, if any, were white, middle class children because of their race and culture. Having both of these things would initially give this student the advantage over someone who would potentially Black, Asian, or Native American. Other students that were privileged by the idea of a “good” student, were actual good students. Students who followed the rules, obeyed everything teachers said, were never tarty during school hours, etc. “Good” students’ expectations were based off of examples of actual good, well-behaved students who wanted to attend classes, enjoyed their time at school and never questioned/argued amongst teachers and their lessons. In today’s age, no matter race, gender, culture etc. “good” students are all students because many teachers and educators understand that a variety of children have learning, physical, cognitive, behavioural and many other disabilities that make a learning environment much more complex than usual. Educators adapt to these children so that their learning experience is similar to that of someone without any disabilities. “Good” students are everyone from kindergarten to university. It’s anyone who works to the best of their own ability and has hard as they can.
With the idea of common-sense, it is harder to see one’s learning disability and track how they understand concepts apart from another student because society has categorized everyone under the same umbrella of education. Everyone should learn at the same pace and everyone should know how to do everything the same way. When we categorize everyone into this umbrella, we do not recognize those who learn differently and have trouble learning the same as those seen as “normal”. It is made impossible to change this idea once set in place for so long as well as believe that students with any disability will be anything more than their disability. Changing this notion, changes the environment of a school, which changes classroom settings, which changes student’s beliefs of themselves, which in the end changes the goals and achievements of students, no matter if they have a disability. It is a cycle that needs to be rerouted into what was previously said, to better every student within a classroom setting and change society’s idea of common-sense.
Through my research of Urban Education, I found articles that articulately outlined propositions and stories as to how Urban educated schools could adapt/change the ideas that fall in the normality of society and readjust to be unbiased of each student who attends. Each of the chosen articles outlines ideas of community and culture as key focal points that could and would benefit students greatly with identity; and expression of who they are and where they come from. Not knowing before how urban schools functioned, these articles gave me a clearer understanding of the differences and the immense amount of diversity urban schools have, apart from rural schools.
In the first article I found called Bringing the Neighborhood into the Classroom: Implications for Urban Education by Na’im Madyun briefly grazes the attention another author named Dr. H. R. Milner who has made the discussion on “…how to give voice to the unspoken experience.” (Madyun, 2010) With this, the discussion of unsaid experiences drew me in as a want to know more about urban school settings. Growing up in a rural school, my education differs from that of a child who would grow up in an urban school even though our curriculum may fall under the same regulations. This quote made me want to know more of urban school history and why diversity is so expressive as a way for me to comprehend potential areas of teaching that I may partake with in my path. It also says in the article that they are working to apply educational achievement to lower class students of the Black community. Cities with high crime rates and poverty levels affect that of a child’s education and ability to learn in schools because of violent and disrespectful behaviour. The article gets a little confusing though because it doesn’t state where they site each argument from, so with further research and analysis, I will understand the ideas and arguments presented. In a second article titled My Experiences in Urban Education by Rodney Walker, he outlines key words such as trauma and PTSD, as well as social and emotional learning. Walker illustrates his experience in an urban school in Chicago. As a Chicago native, Walker was presented with many issues in his life such as abandonment and varies ranges of trauma. He says “We have been disconnected from our roots, and asked to grow in a different kind of soil that does not fertilize you” which I assume means that he grew up in foster care feeling unwanted and alone and then when entering school, the feeling still taking over his thoughts.
From the other three articles, each one draws on the idea of urban education whether it be a negative or positive impact for students attending. Each article made me enjoy the thought of growing up in a small town and attending school there but also growing up near a city that practices urban education without as many negative impacts that it would if I grew up near a city like Chicago. In my next steps, I would like to research more on specific areas of urban education and compare them to one another to find the connections. I also want answers to questions I have such as why students come into contact with negative qualities in urban schools and education? Why diversity is immensely represented within urban schools? What is being taught behind closed doors within urban schools? And lastly, why have the negativities of urban education have not yet been transformed to fulfil every student’s needs to achieve academic goals and excellence?
Based on the concept of “common sense” illustrated by Kumashiro, the concept falls more by the normalities of the region in which you belong. For Kumashiro, growing up in the United States, the educational system had different ideas and impressions of teaching students. When Kumashiro travelled to Nepal, the educational system was based off of whatever the government had made up and placed in the textbook and was to be followed by strictly in order for the Nepali children to become educated, pass the government issued test at the end of the year, and move onto the next grade level. In Kumashiro’s eyes, he saw it as an inefficient way to teach children because it would never expand on any child’s learning ability and challenging what abilities they might have. Common sense within Nepal, in the words of Kumashiro, was that of mainstream learning or normality of educational purpose. He illustrates that “The lecture-practice-exam approach to teaching had become so ingrained in the practices of Nepal’s schools as to have become a part of “common sense.”’ (Kumashiro XXXI) He demonstrates his newfound understanding of the word common sense as a routine that takes part in student’s day-to-day lives in Nepal, whereas common sense refers to an upright sense in applied matters.
The importance of paying attention to the “common sense” also speaks for understanding the diversity in cultures. What might be “normal” or common within a familiar region might be unaccustomed to another, hence the importance of understanding “common sense”. Kumashiro also says “Common sense limits what is considered to be consistent with the purposes of schooling. Alternative perspectives, including perspectives that challenge common sense, are already dismissed as irrelevant, inconsequential, or inappropriate.” (Kumashiro XXXV) He writes that the normality submerged in a region can potentially limit or derive from challenging students involved in the school system. The importance about “common sense” is realizing that there are many different ways of expressing aspects in life and subjects in school and that we must respect each way that there is to teach what is known as “common sense”.
Within Smith’s article about Curriculum Theory and Practice, he outlines four different models of curriculum-based off of his research. They are as follows; transmitted or syllabus, product, process, and praxis. Each of these models outlines the foundation in which a curriculum should follow and how it draws the framework of a subject. Although beneficial, each one has its drawbacks as well as its strengths. In the case of the syllabus, its strengths are highlighted by “concise statement or table of the heads of a discourse” (Smith, 3). This means that it breaks down the components of the class and what students with learning throughout the given semester; much like a table of contents. Its faults, however, a syllabus will not evaluate the strength in which each assignment or task will affect one’s grade value or “…the order in which they will be studied.” (Smith, 3) Products of the curriculum are such things considered to be objectives that are set, drawn up, and applied with measured outcomes to help students understand the weight of each product. The negative aspect of this is that while things must be measured, they must also be broken down into several smaller phases which can become confusing and time consuming for both the educator(s) and their students. Next is processing, to which a teacher “… enter the classroom or any other formal educational setting with a more fully worked-through idea of what is about to happen.” (Smith, 6) The praxis of the curriculum is “… development of the process model.” (Smith, 9) Essentially being that the praxis ensures that students will partake in it and that the educator guarantees it will be taught and put forth in the curriculum. This is beneficial because it guarantees that students can prepare themselves for what is to come throughout the semester and maybe get ahead of the work or at least an idea of how to do it.
In my years of schooling experience, each model was present in my curriculum. Although not at all at once, each model made itself present, especially in my high school years of education. An example of this was in my English class. Because I grew up in a small town, my English teacher was the same for four years and it was easy for me to know the expectations of the teacher and what was going to happen in each semester that I had her. Every class we always had a syllabus indicating what we would be doing that semester as well as the products of it. She also included the process and praxis in some parts of the semester. Because she was educated in her specified course, she was able to make her own assignments and finals. It was very rare that her assignments and tasks were skipped during the semester and each one was completed to full. Today, being a second-year Ed. student, many of my classes supply a syllabus with the requirements as well as the measurement of how much is worth my grade. Having each of these methods presented in the classroom made it easy for me to manage my time and know what needed my full attention apart from me just having to do the work. Readings and assignments were/are specified to their expectations as well as its effect on the grade that I will have. It made it possible for me to know when things were due and how hard my effort had to be when completing them. It also ensured whether or not it would be completed individually or group and the specifications of how the assignment/task had to be laid out.
For myself to follow and adhere to the social norms of gender and sexism is immediately telling me to act much like everyone else in society just through my own body. To do so, because I’m a male, white I might add, means that I must play the role of masculinity through that of sports, careers choices, income, and hobbies. All things that may look easy but play a different part in each person’s life. Easy in a way that you would think any male or female could convincingly enough follow the “rules” of their gender, I mean how hard is it to play with a Tonka Truck, right? If you’re anything like me, you have no interest in playing with Tonka Trucks and would much rather grab your older sister’s Barbie or a set of Legos which would occupy you for the majority of the day. Now falling back on the comment about being a white male, I mentioned this because of videos where I’ve seen the treatment of communities with different colored skins such as African American’s. Much like the video of the father telling his daughter to say that she isn’t carrying a weapon on her that we viewed in class, black communities have different and to me more harsh realities and expectation when it comes to gender roles. For example, black males are supposed to be willing to fight for certain reasons or for no reason at all and to be willing to take a hit. Now the things I have just mentioned are closely related to that of stereotypical roles that movies and/or television series have portrayed them as, which is very true. But I have watched documentaries in other classes back in high school that shared stories of young boys acting in the ways that media has presented them. Viscous, constantly fighting or trying to fight, not giving a shit about anyone except their posy’s and maybe some of their family, all stemming from groups of people that they watched growing up. Now in saying all of this, I think that most young males between the ages of 4-15 are expected to act in a way that represents masculinity, no matter the color of their skin and it all ranges in cultural differences. From personal experience, I can inform you that boys are not supposed to play with barbies or makeup or dress up in dresses for that matter because it either states the facts of they’re growing up to become gay or that they’re slowly turning into a woman and have to be dealt with in a physical manner. In cases like mine, I was just told that I wasn’t allowed to play with such things that associated myself to being a girl such as babies and dollhouses because that would be an embarrassment on my parents part for not raising a “proper boy.” To this day I understand that I am different from most male figures around me and lots of people question that of my sexuality and I have been called and or asked to my face or through others if I am gay because of the way I act, dress and talk. This doesn’t bother until people start to question whether I am lying or not and then I can only justify with the number of women I have been with, but this is beside the point. Basically, what I am trying to say is that growing up with no male figures in my life seeing as how my dad was always on the road working, didn’t help my situation of becoming a proper man and to this day still doesn’t.
To associate similarities within my classmates’ stories was something I thought would be impossible until I read Noah’s story called Barbie Boy, which immediately caught my attention. As I read and interpreted what Noah was explaining throughout his blog, I could make the connection as another male dealt with the same problems of gender confusion that I had grown up playing with barbies. He states “No! Boys do not get toys like that. Those are toys for girls.”
The emotion that was triggered when Noah’s grandfather told him to pick a different toy was to me a flashback in which I was able to relive a piece of my childhood through someone else because we shared this similarity of being disheartened from not getting something we truly wanted. Now the difference between the two of us is that Noah got his toy barbie and I did not. My mother was very protective of me as a child and knew the consequences of bringing a girly toy home that belonged to me and not my older sister. My dad was also protective in a way with me and I knew how he acted so that if I had ever been given the chance to choose my own toy, I would grab a box of Lego which to me as I see it now was almost an escape from being discouraged about not getting a baby or horse or anything else girly. Lego was an escape in which I used and got used to as if I almost trained myself as a child to never go into the girl’s section and go straight for Lego and ask for Lego on any occasion where I was gifted something which sounds sad but doesn’t truly bother me anymore as an adult. I can easily relate to Noah’s story not because of what happened but how we were both raised to fit the normative narrative of our gender as males and how easy it was to step out of the box when asking for simple things like toys
In relation to Zoë’s blog on gender and sexism, I was able to understand where she began to understand and notice the reality of what most women lived by, being expected to do womanly chores. These included dishes, cleaning up after everyone, cleaning the house while the men went out and did yard work, and stayed at home as it was considered the male to be the only one that works outside of the house. Much like Zoë I only started to notice this around the age of 10-12 because I had started hanging out with more guys than girls and was being brought up conversations of discussion within my school system about topics associated to gender roles. In a way I can compare my life to Zoë’s as she probably didn’t want to have to clean up after people other than herself and that goes the same for me being that I didn’t want to have the expectation of being the only one working to provide for my family as I know that being a teacher, my salary wouldn’t be enough to provide me with my dreams of having a big home on an acreage, two kids, to travel often and much more. Zoë states “As I get older I realize how I fall into the rolls laid out to me my whole life…I follow the patterns that have been there before and will likely be there after.”
With all these dreams I would need more than just myself to provide for especially when that doesn’t account for bills, schooling, groceries, autobody’s, and/or other things like sports. For this, I also had to take into account if I was following my roles as a male. Was I dressing accordingly? Acting like a male? Talking with a deep tone in my voice whether I chose to or not? Or even was I looking for the same things in life that people thought all males wanted? Sex? Money? Cars or trucks? Some of these things, yes, but others no. Does that make me any less male than the next guy over? I didn’t think so but people around me and the society that I’ve grown to understand and be disgusted with thinks so. Is it because of these judgments that I feel like I’m walking on eggshells every day because my body doesn’t fit the criteria of masculine and that my voice isn’t deep enough, probably. And I know this is where I can connect with people like Zoë and Noah and probably 10,000 other people because of that something that is continually affecting people, all differently but surely having the same effect. I know that for a fact that Zoë probably doesn’t want to have to make herself presentable to male figures all the time and that there are problems in her life that associate to something society has told her she has to follow with the gender that she is, much like the roles I have to follow being a male. In closing, I could probably compare and find similarities with anyone I wanted, but I won’t based on the fact that it’s an uncomfortable topic and it can get dangerous if you bring it up with the wrong people.
For someone to go against normative narratives is asking someone to swim against the current in situations that might make others uncomfortable as well as themselves. At times it changes the way we act and how others see ourselves which can become uncooperative and daunting in a way that we misunderstand the value of being who we truly are. To be raised in a family that cherishes the value of life because of past events is calming in a way that everything happens for a reason and that life will play itself out without the help of anything. In saying this, when life plays with gender and sexism, it’s instantly taken out of proportion based on the facts that you are to play out the roles in which your gender is supposed to portray. Based on this, Samara mentions in her blog about gender, how that looking back on birthday parties she never considered the difference in gendered things for girls and never considered that some girls might not have the same interests as her. She says “As I look back and analyze my past birthday parties, it has made me more aware for my future as a parent. I now realize that I never had the other sex at my birthday parties and that I never had other options for girls that didn’t enjoy the same things as me.” She realizes that for everyone to enjoy themselves, you must consider every aspect of the female gender knowing that not each person is the same and holds differences within themselves. I think that Samara portrays the idea of challenging normative narratives because she understands from experiences as a child and wants to keep the realization in mind when it comes to her kids’ birthday parties and gatherings, to include both sexes and keep in mind what everyone may enjoy.
Working to unsettle the idea of normative narratives is at times challenging based on the opinion of other people taken into account by others. This is challenging in terms of not wanting to disrupt biases others hold and beliefs they may have. Certain stories such as Samara’s go head to head in a rivalry as to how people should act and illustrate themselves with the gender they are born with. I chose Samara’s as an example of contradictory towards gender norms because she was able to realize the difference between her parent’s views and her own view on the idea of gender through personal experiences such as her birthday parties. Samara’s story silences these narratives based on her understanding of her knowledge on the topic and attaining more throughout her growth into adulthood.
Lastly, within the textbook Is everyone really equal? it discusses why sometimes sexism is difficult to see and this is based on “dominant culture” (Sensoy and DiAngelo 106) over exhausting how each sex should perform as either male or female. The novel touches back on my life and relates back to my life as well as others because our parents don’t notice that they are pressuring us to perform our gender. I think that this is important to notice as a parent is that you want the best for your child, much like Samara wants as a parent. Although this might seem like the only way in which a parent can contribute to making sure that their child isn’t pressured by the gender they are born into, there is more idea such as spreading the word through schools and community gatherings. In closing, being able to express yourself and go against normative narratives shouldn’t make people anxious and fearful to speak about the issues of gender and sexism.
Sensoy, Ö, & DiAngelo, R. J. (2017). Is everyone really equal?: An introduction to key concepts in social justice education. New York: Teachers College Press.
Sargent, Zoey. “Writing the Self 3: Gender .” Writing the Self 3: Gender, 23 Oct. 2018, ecs110.ca.
Suchorab, Noah; “Barbie Boy” https://nsuchorab.wordpress.com October 23, 2018
Stenson, Samara. (2018) Life before I was born. https://samarastenson.wordpress.com/October 23, 2018