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Why Their Lives Matter: Using Social Protest to Meet the Challenges of Writing Osen F. Bowser Jr. English Instructor Community College of Baltimore County.

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Presentation on theme: "Why Their Lives Matter: Using Social Protest to Meet the Challenges of Writing Osen F. Bowser Jr. English Instructor Community College of Baltimore County."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why Their Lives Matter: Using Social Protest to Meet the Challenges of Writing Osen F. Bowser Jr. English Instructor Community College of Baltimore County

2 Why Social Protest Writing? "Though we can't call a strike or launch a social movement from a classroom, we can teach and learn the attitudes, relationships, and practices that are the preconditions for imagining oneself and others as participants in social policy making and agents of social change" (Welch 15).

3 Why Social Protest Writing? Provides students with a reason to write Provides a logical connection between the personal and the academic Helps students develop a sense of agency

4 Why Social Protest Writing? “Pedagogically, students learn that they are supposed to have something at stake in writing an argument, academic or otherwise. When we stick to impersonal topics, students have a hard time making this cognitive connection. Rhetorically, students who do write when something is at stake are participating in public discourse; they expect something to happen as a result of writing. This profound belief in the possibility of action is the best prospect we can offer as teachers” (Danielewicz 421).

5 How Do We Engage Students in Public Discourse?

6 Unit Introduction Unit I: Black Men, Latinos, and Pakistanis: They Don’t Like Who We Be!

7 Short Discussion: – What feelings, images, or ideas does the unit title and accompanying image evoke? – Does the unit title and/or accompanying image relate to your own personal experiences in any way? If so, how?

8 Unit I: Black Men, Latinos, and Pakistanis: They Don’t Like Who We Be! Are We Really “Free”? Analysis of "Stop and Frisk"

9 Unit I: Black Men, Latinos, and Pakistanis: They Don’t Like Who We Be!

10 Group Discussion: – Do law enforcement officials have the right to scrutinize members of certain ethnic, racial, or gender groups under the guise of protecting all of us? Consider Muslims and the scrutiny they’ve faced since 9/11. What are the risks and benefits of such policies? – Is this practice unique to New York City, or could this happen in Baltimore? What are the implications for you?

11 Introductory Analysis Assignment Read Tim Wise’s “Membership Has Its Privileges: Thoughts on Acknowledging and Challenging Whiteness,” and respond to the following question in paragraph form via the Discussion Board. 1-Using at least two of Wise's points, explain how his argument connects with the controversial "Stop and Frisk" practice. How might white privilege lead to something like “Stop and Frisk”? You must show that you have read Wise's work by incorporating quotes from his piece into your analysis.

12 Introductory Analysis Assignment Sample Response: – Tim Wise's argument that "being white means never having to think about it" has alot in common with the issues of the "Stop and Frisk" practice. He used a personal experience to support his argument, but it is also an example of the biased "Stop and Frisk" practice. He also states "that which keeps people of color off balance in a racist society is that which keeps whites in control". That statement is enforced by the "Stop and Frisk" practice.

13 Introductory Analysis Assignment The personal experience he uses where "he attended a party in a white suburb and one of the few black men there announced he had to leave early because he feared his trip home" ties into "Stop and Frisk". On a daily basis white people do not have to remind themselves that they are white, but black people have to think about where they are going and what they are doing because there is more of a chance that they will get stopped then whites will. Wise gives another example that basic "pretexts of driving" are used to give cops an excuse to pull over a black person, but will let a white person continue on their way.

14 Introductory Analysis Assignment Wise's statment "that which keeps people of color off balance in a racist society keeps whites in control" is enforced by the "Stop and Frisk" practice. Since black people are the majority of people getting stopped it can make them hesitate about where they are going or what they are doing and keeps them off balance. By keeping them off balance it allows white people to stay in control and create rules/laws that will help them stay in control. The "Stop and Frisk" practice is an example of one of those rules/laws.

15 Unit Literature “Membership Has Its Privileges: Thoughts on Acknowledging and Challenging Whiteness” “In Living Color: Race and American Culture” “Acting White” “Working Class Whites” “Of Cholos and Surfers” “Goin’ Gangsta, Choosin’ Cholita” “Being an Other”

16 Major Topics Prejudice Americanization – Identity White privilege Stereotypes – White Trash – Good Country Folk – Thug – Other racial and gender stereotypes Discrimination Invisibility “Acting White” Claiming Overt and inferential racism Difference or “otherness”

17 “Working Class Whites” and “Being an Other” Analysis Horizontally, divide a sheet of paper into three columns with the following categories: white trash, good country folk, and other stereotypes. While watching the clip of Honey Boo Boo, write examples of “white trash” and “good country folk” stereotypes you notice in the appropriate columns. For those stereotypes not categorized as white trash or good country folk, include those in the “other stereotypes” column.

18 “Working Class Whites” and “Being an Other” Analysis After completing your stereotype chart, respond to the following: Price asserts that “The hatred and condescension of the poor seems to be the last available method of prejudice in our society.” Do you agree or disagree? You must be able to support your position with examples—refer to your chart of stereotypes, Price’s essay, and to your own personal experiences and observations.

19 “Of Cholos and Surfers” Analysis Think about your childhood and how you developed a sense of who you are in terms of your identity. Write a multi-paragraph account of your childhood explaining how you developed a sense of your identity. Has any aspect of the media ever prompted a desire in you to claim another identity? If so, how so? If not, explain how the media could influence one’s identity. Consider Jack Lopez’s “Of Cholos and Surfers” as you craft your own piece. Be sure to identify specific, concrete, significant events that illustrate your developing a sense of your identity.

20 Unit Essay Prompts Is racial discrimination a societal and institutional phenomenon, a personal, individual mindset, or both? Should some of us sacrifice our personal freedoms for the safety and comfort of all of us? Discuss the implications of your position.

21 Your Turn How have you or might you incorporate social protest into your composition/literacy courses to engage students in writing? Volunteers to share!

22 Questions? Osen F. Bowser Jr.

23 Works Cited Danielewicz, Jane. “Personal Genres, Public Voices.” College Composition and Communication 59.3 (2008): Print. Welch, Nancy. Living Room: Teaching Public Writing in a Privatized World. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, Print.


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