Finally Being Heard?

It’s the pain of our modern world

It’s the reality of our broken history

The truth made invisible,

what we go through, you know,

“finally being heard.”

We don’t become relevant until our pain becomes their platform…

The appropriation, the killings, the villains were never us.

They cannot stand to see their reflection in a mirror,

too ready to pull a trigger.

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A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara (A MUST READ children’s book)

As I was on a social media site, a close friend and academic colleague of mine, posted a page from this book. The picture book displayed the text “Indigenous and Immigrant,” these words caught my attention at first sight. It did not cross my mind that this picture book was for children under the age of 10, or 5! In fact, I could hardly believe it was a picture book at all. As a child of the mid/late 90’s and early 2000’s, I did not hear these words read to me nor read it outside of a history text book. My search began, to learn more about this picture book!

I immediately googled the title and author and found this site to hear the read aloud on a youtube video. http://www.aisforactivist.com/a-is-for-activist-english/

It is only a 7 minute video, and the depth of this book is amazing, it touches on everything from feminism to Malcolm X, and more! Each letter of the alphabet does not mention your repetitive apple, ball and zebra protocol, rather a radical text to create true critical thinkers for all.

To have the opportunity to share such important factors of our rapidly changing society at a young age, fills me with much happiness. As a child, I did not have this opportunity, but the progression we are making proves to me, that the fight for equality will eventually win.

Our stories must be told for everyone to hear, share this with a loved one, even your toddler to help create a better world for all.

Much love xoxo

The Impact of Schooling on Latinos

Abstract

This paper explores the purpose of schooling and the impact of schooling on Latinos. Through the use of various published scholarly articles it critically examines the schooling of Latinos through different lenses such as race, class, and political economy. The social forces outside of the educational system will also be examined to reflect upon if it influences the student achievement of Latinos. It will also propose a solution to bring change for Latinos in schools

The role of school can vary depending on many aspects. There is a battle in the world of education for a transformation that will lead all to gain an equal quality of schooling. “…As Marx had argued–struggle in the form of public contestation might also wring increased equity from the system or as we put it then–such struggle might produce ‘fundamental social transformation,’” (Anyon 2011, p. 3). Advocating for all members of society to have the right to a legitimate education that will allow all to pursue their aspired careers without prejudice and inequalities must continue to take place. The conflict will lead to a micro change that could eventually become a macro change. Equal education would allow many to become productive, transformative members of society. Therefore, all members of a “free” society as the U.S. claims to be, should have an opportunity to help uplift mankind and move it forward, rather than remain in the same space. Although, as Anyon (2011 p. 4), points out, race, social class, and gender do impact learning and schooling institutions are not socially neutral, but will maintain support in mainstream ideas that a particular group of people can benefit from. Particularly, the majority of L@tinos are strongly impacted due to the purpose of schooling and the social forces outside of the educational system.

The Purpose of Schooling

After over fifty years of the founding of the United States of America, there was a common school movement. This movement, “of the 1830s and 1840s was in part, an attempt to halt the drift toward a multicultural society,” (Spring, 2006, p. 102). It is vital to indicate that common schools were to protect the ideologies of the Protestant Anglo-American culture. The leaders of the common school wanted to promote more equalization and conformity of public policy school systems. Although, equality is an interesting word of choice when there was tremendous prejudice of the Irish and other cultures. The Protestant Anglo-Americans feared that the African, Irish and Native American cultures deemed detrimental to mainstream society, so they pushed for these schools to mold U.S. citizens into one culture through schooling. Essentially, these commons schools were the first public schools being called on by the government. Spring (2006, p.130), determines that even though common or public schools were created to; educate students for good citizenship, help end crime and poverty, and stimulate national economic growth, it did not stop from segregation and restrictive environments. The Protestant Anglo-Americans negative perception towards cultural pluralism remains until this century. It is reasonable to assert that the structure of the educational system remains to control the masses through a production of a particular knowledge and keep the status quo.

In the U.S are students of all cultures, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds presently offered an equal schooling opportunity? Arguably, the purpose of schooling can change across the board depending on many of these stated factors. Depending on these factors students will receive relatively different schooling opportunities. According to Anyon (1980), one cannot simply split the schools from capitalism. Anyon conducted research in five different elementary schools to compare the education differences of students with parents of a working class, middle class, affluent professional and executive elite status. She examined that in working class schools, the students were developing a potential conflict relationship with capital that denies creativity and preparation for future endeavors. In the middle class school, Anyon observed that the capital was bureaucratic. The school work these students were involved in would most likely lead them to white-collar working and middle class jobs. At the affluent professional school, students were developing a potential relationship to capital that would be influencing and expressive. Meanwhile, the executive elite school displayed that the students were gaining knowledge of how to manipulate the socially validated tools of society, (1980, p.88-89). These comparisons are an outstanding example of how students of different socioeconomic backgrounds were being prepared for different pathways. Her research also confirms that “schools are key sites for the reproduction of social and economic inequality,” (De Jesus 2005, p.345). Each different school setting in Anyon’s work prepared them differently and inside of the schools, the social setting varied tremendously. The school system is creating specific ideologies that also coincide with the student’s relationship to society based on their social status.

These specific ideologies are a, “consensus-oriented perspective [that] is taught through a ‘hidden curriculum’ in schools,” (Apple, 1971, p. 27) This implies that the children are being taught how to relate with authority in schools. The students are conditioned to be passive and withstand from conflict even if it could be beneficial to their learning. This hidden curriculum forces students to experience specific encounters with the rules set for or against them. In a working class school environment distinct rules are created to cause conflict with the students and authority figures. The students do not have an opportunity to realize social conflict can be progressive due to exploitation of their social class. The working class students are likely to view authority as always having the final say, while in higher class schools students and parents feel comfortable in addressing any agenda arranged. Lareau (2003), found that “working class children…were less likely to try to customize interactions to suit their own preferences, when [they did] they generally were unable to make the rules work in their favor nor did they obtain capital for adulthood,” (p. 403,404).   Minority children, especially Latin@s are placed in schools that teach dominant Anglo-American ideas. Commonly, Latin@ history is left out of the curriculum or portrayed incorrectly. This also causes many Latin@s to be unsuccessful in assimilating to the school’s forced culture. When assimilation is forced upon, it leads to an erosion of the student’s capital, (Valenzuela, 1999, p. 20,21). Students of color enter into school systems that are labeling them “at risk” because they do not value or understand the capital the students do come in with. This social decapitalization is detrimental to the community because the children will either assimilate and lose their identity or be unworthy in the eyes of Anglo-American society.

The Impact on Latin@s

Without doubt, the media depicts Latin@s using numerous derogatory racial stereotypes in Hollywood films. This negative implication of Latin@s in the films lead to a distorted view of the youth in school settings. According to Yosso and Garcia (2010) the movie formula leads to myths about all Latin@s. Even though some may argue that these movies are just films, they are not because they are made to control. They control by constantly putting forth the “six basic film stereotypes of Latin@s which are; the bandito, halfbreed Harlot, male buffoon, female clown, latin lover and dark lady,” (Yosso & Garcia p. 452). Instead of characterizing Latin@s  as studious, as business owners, lawyers, doctors of a middle class, they are constantly illustrated as if they are rejects of society or promiscuous. The youth can easily transcend to what Hollywood is portraying without even realizing it. The films also allows for all people to bestow the negative stereotypes upon them when they enter a classroom, walk down the street and enter any public space of Latin@ presence.

Unfortunately, most movies with Latin@s also have the syndrome of a white teacher rescuing the students who fulfill the role of the basic stereotypes. The white teacher is viewed as a heroin by saving them from their lives that are portrayed as insignificant.

The movies validate the notion that:

People of color ‘lack’ the social and cultural capital required for social mobility. As a result schools most often work from this assumption in structuring a way to help ‘disadvantaged’ students whose race and class background has left them lacking necessary knowledge, social skills, abilities and cultural capital…” (Yosso, 2006, p. 70).

When students see the films portraying this they learn from an outsider how to identify with who they are. These deficit theories allow for the young L@tino students to look at the movies as a mirror reflection. Even if they disagree with the status quo of the movie, the marginalization can create an invisibility and/or silence. Since many students in the school system are not taught to challenge authority, they may not bother to create critical dialogues of the underlying messages of the movie. In addition, if they do challenge it they may be countered with, “oh it’s just a movie,” and they should be less sensitive. Instead of the movies depicting the Latin@ students as barren and lost, the movies should imply that an education debt of students of color exists.

In U.S schools there is an achievement gap that the schools and government are aware of. To understand this gap, one must understand that there is an educational debt that is made up of historical, economic, sociopolitical and moral components (Ladson-Billings, 2006, p. 1). What the debt is made up plays a huge role in why many students of color are faced with an extreme challenge in a public institution that is against them at all odds. Especially, if the students do not have access to diverse schools with educators who are trained to engage their students regardless of their background. According to Ladson-Billings (2006) research, “America’s public schools are more than a decade into a process of resegregation. Almost three fourths of Black and Latina/o students attend schools that are predominantly non-white,” (p. 9). Even though desegregation cases such as Mendez v. Westminster in 1947, ruled Mexican and Mexican American students segregation from Whites in schools was unconstitutional. Many Latin@s are subject to attending schools isolated or with other subjugated groups. The segregation in school is unbeneficial because it does not allow people to get to know different people and stereotypes remain to exist. Unfortunately, many Latin@ children were even mistreated in the school systems and classified as inferior. “Educators used biased test scores results to classify Latino children, mostly Mexican and Puerto Rican, into one of at least four categories, educational mentally retarded (EMR), slow, regular or gifted…Latino children for the most part, were classified as EMR or slow,” (San Miguel Jr. et al. 2010 p. 31). This was in the early part of the twentieth century, but even today teachers still come in with bias views towards Latin@ children. In addition, teachers who do not have training in bilingual education, may not know how to correctly guide Latin@ children. Even if they do speak both languages they could use training because there are many theories that help support emerging bilinguals. Also, many of NYC foreign-born students from Latin America are more likely to be segregated in schools where they may be living near the poverty line, teachers are less experienced, less educated, and test scores are below average, (Ellen et al., 2002 p.) The political economy plays a key role in determining where the student will attend schools and if they will gain the education they deserve.

Latin@ students should have access to not only peers of the same socioeconomic status and vice versa because it would allow for an opportunity of growth they are less likely to attain segregated. Although, it is insinuated that this reproduction of classes is what is desired by the government. Even though there is no law for segregation, it still takes place due to one’s capital, which allows for the oppressors to, “weaken the oppressed…to isolate them, to create and deepen rifts among them,” (Freire, 2000, p. 141). The oppressors, also known as the government, continues to divide through schooling and the culture of Latin@s continues to be invaded or viewed abnormally as they are rejects of society. Even when a Latin@ does succeed in school, work or academia, many negative stereotypes still haunt them by mainstream society.

Conclusions and Future Study

Frequently, Latin@ students regardless of their socioeconomic situations are told by their teachers, by society in general that if they work really hard they will be able to achieve their goals. What is left out is that their school is preparing them for a certain autonomy. Too often, are teachers placed in a school setting that they have not gained experience to work in. Teachers should be taught how to teach culturally relevant pedagogy and not enter into the teaching field with any deficit theories of Latin@ children. At the university level, all teachers of any discipline should be required to take courses like the PRLS Department offers at Brooklyn College, CUNY. It is also problematic that Latin@ students are not taught their rich history that is part of the United States history, in all of the public education institutions. Even though the oppressors are working hard to have school programs dismantled, such as what took place in the removal of ethnic study programs in Arizona. There needs to continue to be a push factor towards fighting against the oppressor to continue conquering. Ladson-Billings strategy in addressing the achievement gap as an education gap is very effective as long as more of the public is aware of the educational debt. The cultural invasion of Latin@s can only be put to an end if more Latino@s have an awareness in what is taking place in their communities. “No governance reform alone will solve all the problems of the schools. A poorly constructed governance system, as New York City had…from 1969 to 2002, can interfere with the the provision of education,” (Ravitch, 2011, p. 91). The school system cannot just run merely off one hand, in fact it needs the community to be involved and the faculty and teachers in the schools to be involved in the surrounding community.

An advance for ethnic study programs in all public schools would help Latin@ students learn about their history and others. A call for unity would allow students of color to dismantle the negative stereotypes that the media illustrates in films. Further research should be done on the impact of one’s political economy in the the current day school system. In fact, there should be a way to bridge the work in academia to the public. Research enabling this awareness of how the school system is set up to reproduce class would be helpful in letting the people of the Latin@ community understand how they are being marginalized and what is necessary to form a revolution. The micro change is taking place by teachers who do teach to read the world, but there needs to be a stronger push to put an end to false accusations of Latin@s in the media. In addition, if children were not segregated by their socioeconomic status, more potential growth would be seen because they would begin to see their “different” classmates as humans, rather than by their mere appearance. Schools play a huge role, but it takes the entire community advocating for change, to help uplift the schools from not creating reproducing negative stereotypes in today’s society and allowing students to see conflict can help change society for the better.

References

Anyon, J. (2011) Marx and Education pp. 1-18

Anyon J. (1980) Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work

Apple, Michael W. (1971). The Hidden Curriculum and the Nature of Conflict. Interchange 2.4.   

  1. 28.

De Jesus, A. (2005) Theoretical Perspectives on the Underachievement of Latino/a Students in

U.S. Schools: Toward a Framework for Culturally Additive Schooling. In Latino Education: An Agenda for Community Action Research. pp. 343-371

Freire, Paulo. (2011) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum.

Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). 2006 Presidential Address-From the Achievement Gap to the

Education Debt: Understanding Achievement in U.S. Schools. Educational Researcher, 35(7), 3-12.

Lareau, A. (1987) Social Class Difference in Family-School Relationships: The Importance of

Cultural Capital Sociology of Education Vol. 60, No. 2 pp. 73-85

Ravitch, D. (2010). The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and

Choice are Undermining Education. New York: Basic Books.

San Miguel Jr., M & Donato, R (2010) Latino Education in Twentieth-Century American: A

Brief  History pp. 27-63

Spring, J. (2006). Excerpts; Ch. 1 & Ch. 5: In American Education (pp. 11-41)

Valenzuela, A. (1999). The Subtractive Elements of Caring and Cultural Assimilation. In

Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring (pp. 20-32).

Yosso, T.J. & D.G. García. (2010). “Who are These Kids, Rejects from Hell?: Analyzing

Hollywood Distortions of Latina/o High School Students.”  In E.G. Murillo, Jr., S.A. Villenas, R.Trinidad Galván, J. Sánchez Muñoz, C. Martínez, & M. Machado-Casas (eds.). Handbook of Latinos and Education: Theory, Research, and Practice (pp. 450-473).  New York: Rutledge.

Yosso, T.J. (2006). Whose Culture Has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion Of

Community Cultural Wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, 69-91.

“Los Sures” Southside, Williamsburg

Place Based Assignment- “Los Sures” Southside, Williamsburg

As a resident of Brooklyn for only a few years it is so fascinating to walk into different ethnic enclaves. When I walk through “Los Sures,” I see tattered Puerto Rican flags hanging from windows and hear thick Puerto Rican or Dominican accents fill the streets. When I enter the bodega I see a cat sitting on top of the loaves of bread taking his siesta. My body begins to move to the beat of bachata booming through the speakers. Just outside of the bodega, I hear two men shouting at one another about the lottery back in DR and I chuckle looking at the transnational lives of the people in Los Sures. I see abuelas looking out their windows, I notice one shouts at a young man to come up to eat. I see young kids running and jumping off their stoops while their parents chat on this Saturday afternoon. As I walk down Havemeyer St., South 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Avenues, I notice many Dominican beauty salons, but many small restaurants and bars filled with non-Hispanic families dining in. I can feel in the air and see with my eyes, the roots of this area being pulled and twisted.

The neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn has a rich history of immigrants. In the late 19th century it first homed many working class Irish and German families. By the turn of the turn of the twentieth century many Italians and European Jews had entered the space of Williamsburg. Then when World War II ended, Hasidic Jews made Williamsburg their home, Who came next? By the 1950s and 1960s there was an influx of Puerto Rican immigrants in the area (Curran, 1428). Many of these Puerto Ricans were living in South Williamsburg, but many Latinos of the area refer to it as, Los Sures meaning the Southside. Southside Latin@s live in close proximity to many Hasidic Jews up to S. 9th St.  Historically, Los Sures was one of the most poorest parts of the New York City. In Diego Echeverria’s documentary, “Los Sures” which takes place in 1984, he documents 5 Southside Latin@s lives. It was a time when the neighborhood was experiencing high unemployment rates, inadequate apartment buildings, few public resources, violence and drug use was extremely common. It is important to note in this documentary that residents of the neighborhood wanted to leave (Calderón-Douglass). I have yet to meet someone living in Williamsburg in 2015 that actually wants to really leave the neighborhood and not come back. This could be due to the fact that there is, “frequent conflict over the area’s now-limited supply of affordable housing as the neighbourhood’s population continues to grow,” (Curran, 1428). Since the late 80s artists have been moving in to find cheaper rent which catalyzed the growth of the population. Calderón-Douglass interviews Echeverria in 2014 asking him, “When did the neighborhood really start to change?” He replied, “The late 80s. I remember that by then there were several artists moving in. This is not something that happened from one moment to another.” This is extremely important to take into account, because this trend towards gentrification did not take place overnight.

According to the census, in 1990 the median income of Williamsburg ranged from $25,000-$55,000, with the Los Sures area having the lowest incomes (See pictures A-C). As the years continue to pass the median income is ever rising. Correspondingly the demographics of the Williamsburg area continues to change. “The 2000 census shows the neighbourhood to be 41 percent White, 43.6 percent Hispanic and 5.7 percent African American,” (Curran, 1428). By 2010 there has a been a -20-39.99% change of the Hispanic population just in the North and Southside of Williamsburg, (nyc.gov). There is a rapid increase of gentrification that is causing many Latino families in the neighborhood to become displaced. In Paul Moses’ article, “Gentrification. Who Wins, Who Loses?” he presents an extremely valid argument about how newcomers are approaching Los Sures. He writes, “Williamsburg’s impoverished Southside has been “discovered” by the same breed of “pioneers”—as many insist on putting it—who turned Williamsburg’s neighboring Northside into a hip artsy enclave…” (10). Even though the Southside consisted of many poor and working class families, it is not as if they are not human’s who have been living in these spaces. Southside, Williamsburg is far from vacant and newer residents need to keep this in mind. They should be aware that, “this gentrification comes at the price of displacing poorer people who have stuck it out through the high-crime years,” (Moses, 11). Even with crime and disheveled buildings, the lives of Los Sures residents may have seemed broken down, but there were still souls living in this neighborhood. These working class families should not be socially excluded because even with many economic changes there are many Puerto Ricans who are still living there, and other Hispanic groups such as Dominicans still surviving the streets of Los Sures. Although, many are being pushed out of the neighborhood, the history of Los Sures needs to be maintained.

I am very pleased to learn that UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art is producing an expansive documentary to pay homage to those who are being displaced or who have been in Los Sures for many years. They also have held screenings of Echeverria’s 1984 documentary throughout the neighborhood, to continue the legacy of Latin@s living in Los Sures. Equally important, I had the opportunity to converse with a Puerto Rican woman named Zulma* who moved to Los Sures in 1965. That’s 50 years! She explained to me how since 2007, a lot of her neighbors have moved to Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. She further discussed how they could not afford the rent because, “the Whites are constantly renovating and charging three times what they have used to pay.” She remembers when she first came here there were so many Boricuas and not that many Dominicans and now it is the reverse, plus the Whites. She began to chuckle as she related how even the bodegas are all owned by Dominicans or even Arabs now. Zulma’s facial expression began to sadden as she continued to share with me. She said, “These Americans are putting clubs everywhere and you know Havemeyer St.? I used to be able to buy everything I needed, shoes, clothes for children and now I have to travel even further.” It was interesting to see her view about the restaurants and how one young Latino man sitting on his stoop shared with me, “It’s getting better in this area because the White people are coming opening bars and clubs close to my home. They are making the neighborhood better and it’s okay because if you live here you’re entire life you get to see the change.” This saddened me that he was unaware or didn’t care that gentrification was displacing his own people. When you are young it is easy to travel and go out, but he should keep in mind the future of the area and not focus only only on the “good.” In comparison, I liked how Zulma compared Los Sures to the village, she said this place is like the neighborhood of the village, since the rent is too much in Manhattan. Which is true, many were first coming to Williamsburg for lower rents. Although, now it’s almost as if this rapid increase of non-working class people are invading Los Sures working class families.

Zulma did not keep her saddened face for long, she began to smile as she told me about a yearly get together many old residents of Los Sures have for a reunion. She even invited me to it, telling me it is in July and that it is the third year they have organized it. She said she is getting older now, but she likes to see all the Latin@ families throwing parties in the street with the kids running around. She misses how everyone used to watch out for one another, but the Domincan families keep to themselves often, so it’s not the same. This was interesting since non-Latin@s would look at us the same. Zulma told me how she cooks for the reunion, even though she stays upstairs for most of it. This is because she is on a third floor apartment without an elevator, she tried to get a lower floor apartment, but her rent would increase by thousands. Zulma continues to tell me she has many children and grandchildren so they often come and visit her, some live with her, so she is never really alone. She said most of the neighbors know me, except the newer ones they aren’t as friendly. Additionally, Zulma explained to me how Williamsburg may have had a lot of gang violence, but everyone knew each other and she feels that the streets today are just as dangerous. She says this because she feels even though gangs aren’t causing problems like back then, no one looks out for one another like they used to. She blames the White Americans, since they are only building the apartments for people with money.

Furthermore, she even mentioned the high school, El Puente Academy for Justice and Peace. She thought there should be more high schools like that, to keep Latin@s here. Getting their education here, going to college but returning to help us. What stood out the most to me was when she told me how Los Sures isn’t united, this country isn’t, it separates us. “All of my children were raised here, and the majority of them left, that’s what this country does to us…Even though I don’t pay as much rent as others in this building but I suffer because I see the division and I know eventually my kids won’t have my house to always come to…”  Zulma has lived in Los Sures so long and she cannot deny the change, her account made me realize how fortunate she is to not have to be displaced. Of course, there are others like the young man who told me he was happy that it was changing, but it is vital to “recognize the danger that apartments will be priced beyond their reach; that the local companies where they work will be forced out by higher rents,” (Moses, 10). Just as Zulma mentioned, many of the stores that she once used to shop at are gone due to restaurants and bars and mainly because, “their space has become attractive to developers who convert lofts into residences,” (Curran, 1428). More and more residences are being built, but not to accommodate the warriors who have been able to survive Los Sures for many years.

More people need to challenge that the poor are not being made visible enough in Los Sures. I look forward to seeing UnionDocs, “Living Los Sures 1984 and Today,” because that is an important factor in keeping the history alive, they call it a “people’s history.” The “renewal” of Los Sures should expand to both poor and working class families. Critical dialogue of this ethnic enclave is needed, because the Hispanic percentage is continuing to drop in this part of Brooklyn. In all, I look forward to attending a block party or two in Los Sures. I hope the Latino roots of Los Sures remain and never become detached.

*Name has been changed

“The maps below show how much Williamsburg has changed since 1990. Darker color corresponds with higher income.

The map below shows Williamsburg in 1990. Median incomes ranged from $25,000 to $55,000 in 2012 dollars.

[Picture A]

williamsburg-census-incomeA

Screenshot/U.S. Census

By 2000, median incomes near the waterfront and around the Bedford L stop had reached $47,000 to $70,000.

[Picture B]

williamsburg-census-income-1B

Screenshot/U.S. Census

And most recently, in 2012, incomes have reached $87,000 on the waterfront and $53,000 to $80,000 in other parts of north Williamsburg

williamsburg-census-income-2C

[Picture C]

Screenshot/U.S. Census

And here’s the key:

Screenshot/U.S. Census” (Engel).

 

Works Cited

 

Calderón-Douglass, Barbara. “‘Los Sures’ Gives Us a Glimpse of South Williamsburg’s Roots | VICE | United States.” VICE. N.p., 6 Oct. 2014. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.

Curran, Winifred. “‘From The Frying Pan To The Oven’: Gentrification And The Experience Of Industrial Displacement In Williamsburg, Brooklyn.” Urban Studies (Routledge) 44.8 (2007): 1427-1440. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.

Engel, Pamela. “The Gentrification Of Williamsburg, Brooklyn In 3 Maps.”Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.

“LIVING LOS SURES – Documentary Film, Radio, Photography | Presentation + Production | Williamsburg, Brooklyn.” Documentary Film Radio Photography Presentation + Production Williamsburg Brooklyn LIVING LOS SURES Comments. N.p., 09 Mar. 2012. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

Moses, Paul. “Gentrification.” Commonweal 133.11 (2006): 10-11. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.

“Welcome to NYC.gov | City of New York.” Welcome to NYC.gov | City of New York. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.

My taxi ride this morning 

On my way to work this morning, I rode in a taxi. The radio was playing a Spanish radio station of NYC. They were discussing the territory of Puerto Rico. Now mind you, I’m wearing my hair in a hijab not because I’m Muslim or so, cause I wear one when I don’t do my hair. So when I asked the driver to raise the volume, he was surprised and asked if I spoke Spanish…if I didn’t understand why would I ask to raise the volume? Even if I didn’t maybe I am learning and like the language…but then again people constantly stereotype. Anywho, he asks where I’m from, I begin to say I’m Puerto Rican and then he yells at me and tells me I’m American. Since I was not born in Puerto Rico, he also had the audacity to judge my Spanish. It is so sickening…languages do not define us completely. If SPAIN had not colonialized my ancestors I would not even speak Spanish or English. Language is imposed on us in this country and I really was quite upset because he was trying to label me an US American and subtract my Afro Latinidad. Yes, legally I am a citizen and born here, but I’m an outcast because of my skin and surname, because my ancestors were and are a “threat” to white supremacy. It is a shame how the colonial mindset plagues us every day 😦 even when it comes to describing your own identity. 

In all, I just hate how people just judge you and try to identify you by the way you look or even speak. I went to Anglo American schools all my life of course my English may be better than my Spanish, they don’t want us to have the skill that people pay thousands for to obtain. This country is far from free…it is oppressive and assimilates the oppressed to oppress themselves and those around them. 

“7 things I can do that my black son cannot” Must read, clink link!y s

The written article below is powerfully well written. It discusses how this white father cares dearly for his son and daughter and the struggles they will face. A must read, once I find the essay I will post a link to it. Happy reading, HAPPY SATURDAY!

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/7-things-i-can-do-that-my-black-son-cant-99408985077.html?soc_src=mags&soc_trk=copy