Sunday, September 27, 2015

Aria by Richard Rodriguez


While reading "Aria" by Richard Rodriguez, I realized how vital a language is to an individual.
A language is a way of communicating and learning. Aria's reading also reminded me of Kristof article when he mentioned how the parents' background can effect their children's future. Richard Rodriguez struggled as a young student because his first language was not English; immediately  came to my mind the same issue we had with my older son Omar

 My husband and I are originally from Egypt. Our mother language is Arabic. We spoke Arabic all the time with each other  and with Omar too. My mom, my dad and my brother lived close to us. They used to talk in  Arabic to Omar as well.

When Omar started his first year of school, we didn't realize that we are going to face a big problem till he came back from school the first day. Omar used to know only a few English words, which is not enough for him to feel confident in the classroom. When he came back from school the first day, he was crying very hard and kept saying only one sentence, "I'm not going to school never ever again no matter what" of course that was in Arabic. 

I went to the school and talked to his teacher. She said it is the language barrier that makes him crying and doesn't understand what the teacher or the kids were trying to say. She told me the same thing the teachers told Richard Rodriguez's parents that we had to start speaking  English with him at home. She also told me that the school had a wonderful  class called "ESL" which was for kids whose English is a second language for them.

We started speaking English at home. We watched American TV instead of just Arabic channels. We read English stories, but  I didn't let Omar feel confused like what happened to Richard. I told him how important for all of our family members to learn more English even grandma and grandpa. So he didn't feel that he was the only one. We also kept speaking Arabic, because I believed it was very important to speak two languages, two cultures and to be proud of them.

Omar now is ten years old. He speaks fluent English and Arabic. He is teaching his little sister how to use both languages in his own fun way. I'm so proud of him.
After Reading "Aria
I think family is the most important thing in a person's life. Due to his lack of knowledge of the English language, Rodriguez lost  great deal of family ties.

This article will continue to be an eye opener for me as I'm becoming a teacher. I want to embrace the different cultures and encourage the use of both.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

"White Privilege Knapsack" by Peggy Mcintosh



Peggy Mcintosh, in her article "White Privilege Knapsack",  puts together a summary of my previous readings of Johnson, Delpit, and kristof. Macintosh makes it very clear by revealing a list of  all the  whites benefit  from.

Then B . Deutsch adds the male privilege checklist to open up our eyes to see that there are invisible systems that cause racism in addition to individual acts of meanness.

Nicholas Kristof discusses one of the important reasons for making the U.S.A the  land of limitations not the land of opportunities as many people think, which is social class racism. But in "White privilege Knapsack"  it's clear that there are two more reasons that make the U.S.A the Land Of Limitations Which is gender and race racism. 

Mcintosh mentions in one of her white privilege checklist that " If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race".

 This reminds me of  Johnson reading when he mentions the famous incident of Rodney King who  doesn't have the white privilege to protect him. King said his famous phrase to describe the long history of racism in the U.S.A .
 "Can't we all just get along?"

Johnson also mentions in his book how Mcintosh sorts privilege in two types "The first is based on what  she calls "unearned entitlements" which are things that all people should have, such as feeling safe in public spaces. But When an "unearned entitlement" is restricted to certain groups, however, it becomes  a form of privilege she calls "unearned advantage". The other form of privilege-what Mcintosh calls
 "conferred dominance".

Mcintosh says
"I have often noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged" which is one of Lisa's Delpit five aspects of power
"Those with power are frequently least aware of - or least willing to acknowledge - its existence. Those with less power are often most aware of its existence"

Now, after we all know that oppression caused by racism is not only in individual acts of meanness but it is  also in invisible systems .
Till when we are going to put a Band-Aid on the broken leg?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Kristof, U.S.A., Land of Limitations?

In his article, "U.S.A., Land of Limitations?, Nicholas Kristof argues that the U.S.A. is nowadays the "Land of Opportunities" but with "Limitations".

He believes there are factors that might hinder or strengthen the chances for opportunities in the United States. To make the readers agree with him, kristof mentions some researches and the

This reflects his friend, Rick Goff, as an example of how " talent is universal, but opportunity is
not". Goff was "Smart, talented and hard working, but he faced an uphill struggle from birth". Kristof explains how Goff was talented but he didn't has the opportunity to prove it, because he was in a situation that he raised himself along with his brother and two sisters.
he lived poor and died poor.

Kristof also argues that the "American Dream" is an environmental issue rather than a racial issue. The results is based on a Stanford University study that "the race gap in student test scores has diminished, but that the class gap has widened". However, fifty years ago, the race gap was significantly twice as it is now. He gives many examples, one of them is the author Neal Boortz who looks at the poor people as the same as the "toenail fungus" that everybody tries to avoid.

Parents  are very important in their kids future. In a society that classifies people by their class level. Also kids needs to feel the warmth of the family, simply, they need love and care for their future too.

His main point in this article is that success can not be achieved when someone works hard; although in some cases it is true. But it is mostly a reflection of how one's parents and grandparents did well in life.

So do we still have an "American Dream"?
Can anyone benefit in the "Land of opportunities" without conditions?

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Hi everyone.
I am Marwa.
I am 35 years old. I was born in  Egypt, in a beautiful city that's right on the Mediterranean sea called  Alexanderia . I have earned my first bachelor degree in architecture from there too.

The famous pyramids of Egypt 

My beautiful city "Alexanderia "

I have a wonderful husband , and two lovely kids, 10 years old boy "Omar"
and a little 6 years old princess "Dana". I live in West Warwick, RI.

My little family 

I'm attending RIC for my second degree in elementary education. It's very interesting for me to go back to school after 11 years since I graduated. I'm excited. My kids are excited too when they see me doing homework like them. When I'm not in school, I'm taking care of  my family. I love cooking, shopping , and traveling. We had a great summer by going many places. I can't wait for next summer.