1. One example of this phenomena can be found in the movement where football players and other athletes would kneel for the national anthem. Many found this offensive so completely disregarded the argument that these people were making. For them it was just a matter of, "you have to stand for the national anthem" as opposed to asking why these people were kneeling and working towards a solution. Their displeasure was their rationale for not engaging with the protestors in this movement.
2. There was an instance in which Obama was heavily criticized for becoming emotional during a speech offering his condolences to the victims of a mass shooting. This was cause for many to dismiss his argument that there should be common sense gun laws and other legislation.
3. The "Starbucks While Black" incident is one instance where I have seen difficult standards prevent people from engaging with an argument. Many have used the excuse that the police where just doing their jobs rather than engaging the fact that instance was a result of racism.
In the past week a fake photo of Emma Gonzalez went viral. It was tweeted by an NRA supporter claiming that she was "shredding The Constitution". The original photo depicts Emma tearing apart a target.
1.The photo looks professionally taken. Gonzalez is seen posing for the picture, meaning that it would have been taken with her consent. She is centered in the photo with a bright background, bringing attention to the Constitution that she is tearing apart. These all help make this fake photo look authentic because of the professional aspect of the photo.
2. If the texture had been grainy, or the photoshop of the Constitution had not been done well then this photo would not have been taken seriously. The editing of the original photo has been done so well that people were actually convinced that she was tearing up the constitution. The author of the tweet that first went viral took advantage of the cleanliness and professional aspect of the editing in order to make his fake news.
3. The element that is the most striking in the photo is the Constitution that she is ripping up. It takes up the most space in the photo and is placed in the foreground. Then, my eyes are drawn to Gonzalez who has been edited to look paler and with dark circles under her eyes. She looks almost malicious in the fake photo. This all pushes the agenda that this particular NRA supporter wants us to believe; that these kids are just against the NRA and want to get rid of the 2nd amendment.
I have no clue what I am doing with my life. I think we've all been there where we just can't pinpoint where our careers or our livelihoods will go.
My name is Angelika, I am nineteen years old, and I am from the small island of Puerto Rico.
My culture has been a huge focal point in my life. My parents, in 1998, moved to Maryland. They knew little to no English and had little money. Long story short, I got through school, fell in love with writing and dance, and now I'm here at UMBC wondering what the hell am I going to do with my degree.
Now for Puerto Rico's story. Puerto Rico is a small island in the Caribbean that was originally inhabited by the Taino people. Then good ol' Christopher Columbus came in and nearly took out the entire population with disease, slavery, and murder. This was just the beginning of the island's journey as a colony, soon after Columbus came so did slaves from Africa. So naturally all the races mixed and the United States acquired Puerto Rico as a colony from the Spanish. And now we're here....sort of.
See, the problem with Puerto Rico being a colony is that they do not have the same rights as regular states. They cannot vote in the Presidential election, the island cannot file for bankruptcy, and many other factors have led it to the state that it is in now. At a certain point, the economy was thriving, between tourism and the pharmaceutical industry and all the incentives that corporations would get from building their businesses there.
And then...hedge funds. This initiated Puerto Rico's spiraling debt which
Hollywood has been a sea of white since it has began. For people of color, it is very hard to find representation in movies that are not caricatures or stereotypes of our culture. The industry has heard this for many years, however, with the emergence of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag this issue is being brought into a new light. In recent months, movies starring and directed by people of color have been blockbusters and award winners. Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Coco, Get Out, Black Panther, and A Wrinkle in Time. Times are changing, and Hollywood seems to finally be understanding that people of color deserve to be in the spotlight and on the red carpet.
In Bootstraps, written by Victor Villanueva, he presents the idea of the fluidity of language through different accounts of Black English and Spanglish. He claims that those forms of language are still valid, and are not to be deemed completely illogical. Villanueva states, “Since the question is always ‘what’s wrong with them,’ the answer gets repeated too: bad language equals insufficient cognitive development. Academic ignorance.”(12). He argues that many of the academics cannot see the shape shifting nature of English and how the voice of anyone, no matter how grammatically incorrect, still holds truth and intelligence.
Chapter ten of What Writing Does and How It Does it addresses the art of rhetoric. The act of contextual analysis addresses the differences in communities and embraces communication as anything but tame. The text states, “Contextualists understand each communication as a response to other communications (and to other social practices), they appreciate how communications (and social practices more generally) reflect the attitudes and values of the communities that sustain them…”(292). Contextualists acknowledge that not all language will be the same. The text goes on to explain a metaphor, presented by Kenneth Burke. The metaphor explains how if one enters a room in which people are entangled in a heated argument, and no one is able to explain to you what is going on, eventually you’ll pick up what the people are arguing about through engaging in listening. This, as the book explains, can be applied to different communities in order to analyze the rhetoric that they use.
Do You Speak American? written by Robert MacNeil argues that American English is ever changing and growing in power. MacNeil states, “...if our language stopped changing it would mean that American society had ceased to be dynamic, innovative, pulsing with life…”(1). MacNeil goes on to explain the origin of American English and the struggle that lies within our society of what is the “proper” way of speaking. There are also many different dialects that MacNeil begins to dissect in the chapter “Changing Dialects: Dingbatters Versus Hoi-Toiders”. These dialects are unique to different regions in the United States. He specifically talks about the dialects of the east coast that have more variety than the west. These variations on the English show how fluid the language can be, and how dynamic the American conversation is.
Rhetorical Listening: Identification, Gender, Whiteness by Krista Ratcliffe explains how all of the factors that make us who we are, contribute to our communication. In her text she states, the “...tropological function of language is both representative and generative. It is representative in that language represents that which already exists; it is generative in that language generates that which does not exist or is not yet named.”(8). In different communities language takes on different forms. It is representative of the people that speak it, and takes on its own form. Tropes like gender and race help to influence the language that people speak, even if it is just variations of English.
Documents, like language, are constantly changing as new generations emerge in America. This is shown in the first chapter of Scrolling Forward. David Levy states, “Each document genre, too, has a uniform that signals something about the role it’s meant to play.”(28). This idea can be applicable to spoken language as well. Documents like receipts, or the slave contract that was read earlier in the course tell different stories and use different language. There are infinite ways to express oneself in the English language, and this can be seen through the numerous amounts of documents that we have created. The book explains the many different forms of documents such as film, videotapes, and spreadsheets.
The #MeToo movement has also taken on a language of its own. In the article by Brittany Bronson, she describes the struggles of women of the lower class following the #MeToo movement. Since they do not have the same status or celebrity of others using the movement, it is hard for them to come out and accuse powerful figures of sexual harassment. The article states, “Socioeconomic status plays a significant role in their ability to say, ‘Me too.’”. In this, we find a fundamental flaw with the movement: it does not work for everyone. With this, these lower wage workers must find a different language in order to stake their claim against “powerful men” like Steve Wynn (1).
How does the language used in our community shape us? As citizens, as human beings, as participants in American culture?
Is there a superior English? If so, then what is it? Why do we as a society place so much importance on grammatical correctness if that is not a factor in intelligence?
Does the English you speak determine where you end up?
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These sources all help to illuminate the growing problems in Puerto Rico. From community, to the debt crisis, to the devastation after Maria. I also conducted phone interviews with family members to ask what are their hopes for the future of Puerto Rico, and what I can do to help. These answers varied but all expressed their love and devotion to the island they call home.
This I Believe Proposal
Let's talk about Puerto Rico. It deserves more than what it has been through in the past couple of months and even years. The beautiful island is home to my entire family and I could not be more proud to be 100% Puerto Rican. I believe I have something to give back to the island, even though I am not sure what that is yet. I hope to explore the different problems that Puerto Ricans face and how the new generation of Boriquas can help to turn the fate of this island around.