Growing up in a regular English class setting, I was taught to regurgitate information based on a reading or an experience and put it out in the form of a paper no longer than 1.5 pages with and introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
I say the word “taught” very loosely because there was no choice in the matter, so it was more drilled into me throughout my academic experience. With this background, the environment that is my English 1102 class is completely different from what I am used to, and I find myself having to adapt frequently to the changes and what is actually required of me. I went from having to constantly write a paper without actually having to process or sit down with the information to having to be aware of every detail as it relates to my work as a whole.
The class is primarily set up of reading summaries, annotated bibliographies, and built environment descriptions per unit we cover so it is already distinct from traditional English classes. The setup is the same where I am given informati0n to do whatever is required of me to do, but it’s different because I have the option to do more. Key word being option. The work that is required of me in this course in not the only work I can do. Furthermore the work that is required of me in this course only grants me a passing grade of a C. This has caused me to rethink what it means to gone you’d what is simply required of me and I believe I have not disappointed myself.
The straightforward assignments are easy enough, with my audience being my peers and the showcase of my work being a blog rather than a notebook full of paper which allows me a different approach of how to convey my work. I spend the majority of my time on my Tumblr blog anyway so writing assignments on a blog post wasn’t as foreign to me as I thought it would. I actually prefer it over writing on a piece of paper. I also feel more comfortable writing to my peers than I did in high school and growing up being of the environment I’m allowed to write in.
Looking back on how much I’ve accomplished so far versus all that I had the opportunity to accomplish, I would say I haven’t let myself down, but I haven’t put myself in a position to be as comfortable as I wanted at this point in the semester. Outside of doing the regular reading summaries I enjoy writing an extra blog post about how I felt about the reading. I also take advantage of the quizzes as I have completed most of them. However, what’s difficult for me is what do I turn in and is what I turn in even important. It has taken me sometime to realize that everything matters simply because it truly does. No detail is too small and unimportant in the larger scheme of things and I need to continue with that knowledge. I also have to be more accepting of the fact that Im not in this alone. I have peers that are going through it right along with me and instead of working alone to accomplish our goals, we can work together. Peer-review, study groups, these are things I can take advantage of to better myself as a writer. Not to say that my writing is weak, but it has the possibility to go farther.
English 1102 has taught me that there is so much more that I as a student can accomplish when the choice is mine to make. I have done well enough with the choices that I have made throughout the semester but I know there is more I can do to get the A I so desperately want.
In her work Emily Bazelon sheds light on one of the most private and vulnerable places that we all share: the restroom. Many people, including myself, take for granted the simple luxury of walking into our respective toiletries and walking out, knowing which we belong to and being accepted whether it’s the mensroom or women’s room. However for those that are transgendered or gender fluid that is to the case. Bazelon points out the fact that in many places across the country and across the world, people that identify as something other than what is classified as standard do not have the same luxury as many people do. A transgendered woman is forced to enter a male bathroom in many places, and what isn’t talked about in the article is that for a lot of transgendered men and women this often dangerous and sometimes deadly. In places like Houston where people in masse voted against the accommodation of transgendered idividuals, some even stating that they don’t want men in a woman’s bathroom. Accommodation is a word that is under a microscope in this article and I believe it’s because many people are unaware of what it truly means. Some believe the word to mean “having to give away to make room for someone else’s needs” whereas the true definition is a lot closer to “an equal exchange for a more harmonic outcome.” Either definition you use, it is still no excuse as to why the morally compassionate individual cannot accommodate someone just trying to fit in in this world. Bazelon brings up the good point when stating that the women’s bathroom is more than just somewhere to go when your body asks of you, but it’s a place where girls can’t all and feel vulnerable and safe with one another, and a transgendered woman who wants to be apart of that world has the right to do so.
In the modern era of gender fluidity and a much broader concept of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman, and everything in between, we are coming against the issue of how to accommodate for this new world. In her piece “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society” Suzanne Tick argues for a more gender fluid internal design in workplaces across the globe, and who can blame her. The world is an ever evolving phenomenon and terms such as gender and what it means to be masculine or feminine are not nearly as concrete as they once were. Tick brings up the point in her piece that fashion styles and beauty trends have already well adjusted to the changes as apparel designers have accustomed to women’s wear being more masculine and with beauty suppliers attempting to appeal to the male buyer. However, because it is a much longer process to change architectural and internal designs, many have not caught up with the times. Although some workplaces have unisex restrooms that accomadate the gender fluid age, we still live in a very Modern age primarily shaped by men. Tick also takes into account the changes that this Post-Gender society has already affected much of the world, however there is still a dire need to accommodate for all that is happening and what is to happen for the respect of a persons individuality.
Schindler’s work on the theory and real life practices of architectural reflection left me bothered, not by her work but by the realization of the world around us. I am thankful for reading her work because it opened my eyes to the overwhelming discrimination and subjugation that many people were already facing. Coming into this reading I have the viewpoint of a 21-year-old black man I am already forced to see everything with my eyes painfully open. Having to be aware of certain hypocrisies and prejudices are second nature to many people of color, and I, as most of us have, had adapted a way of taking everything with a grain of salt. So after reading about architectural exclusion in the work provided by Sarah Schindler I feel even more overwhelmed and suffocated by the world around me. Being a person of color in this day and age is already an uphill battle but I was never aware that our environment was against us as well. When I was reading how government officials would erect barriers such as walls to enclose certain neighborhoods and how access to certain parts of a town were denied by not allowing public transit or inhibiting someones ability to walk safely on the road all disturbed me. Many of the aspects of the environment that were being controlled were aspects that almost directly impacted low-income persons and people of color. Whats worse is that these were not events of the past but many of which are still in place today. I personally live in a housing community which is sort of cut off from the outside world and after reading Schindler’s work I began to realize that a lot of the features of my neighborhood are used to keep people like me out. For one the closest bus stop is a 30 minute hike up a hill. Secondly, any and all highways are about 20 minutes driving distance and any entrance or exit is on the other side of highway facing away from the neighborhoods in our area. My family has always been a low-income family but my mother chose to live in our neighborhood to give us a better start than she had growing up and so to see how much the environment around us attempts to thwart the dreams of people like us is damaging. I do pray that one day as we progress as a people that can love one another that injustices like architectural exclusion are corrected.
Sarah Schindlers work “Architectural Exclusion” discusses the forms of regulation performed through architectural work to either discriminate, eliminate, or control one group or another. The reading is broken up into two major parts: Architectural Exclusion as a theory, and Architectural Exclusion as a practice. The theory of architectural exclusion revolves around defining the term architectural exclusion and how its practices are so abundant in the U.S. Architectural Exclusion is a means of regulation or control of one or groups, to either benefit or harm said groups. Many do not see this kind of blatant discrimination because we assume it is just a part of daily life. Due to this it has become very difficult to reprimand many practices of architectural exclusion as it is harder to pinpoint or not taken as serious as laws made to control or discriminate. Part 1 goes into detail about the vast how overwhelming the art of regulation is in the built environment around us, but how few have considered its role in our daily lives. Much of our built environment controls our way of transport and access to certain areas, which has made architectural exclusion more political than lawful. Take for example the abundance of neighborhoods with houses to own in a given city, rather than making apartment homes. Low-income citizens are more likely to rent an apartment than buy a home and are less likely to vote than middle to upper-class citizens, causing government officials to cater to homeowners than renters. This also ties to racial discrimination because more people of color find themselves in lower income situations. Practices like this are found all throughout the United States but are not easy to overcome because many see the built environment not as a means of control, but as just apart of daily life. Part 2 goes into great detail about the different types of architectural exclusion as a practice. It begins with an example of New York architect Robert Moses building bridges that hung very low in order to inhibit public transportation into his newly built park. He did this because at the time the majority of those riding public transit were people of color. One of the largest practices of architectural regulation is by the placement of public transit spots, as those who primarily use public transit are low-income individuals or people of color. It is not only architects that take part in this regulation but neighborhood and government officials as well. Many middle and upper class homeowners will vote against the placement of public transit sites near their residence as a way to deter crime. Government officials will do the same but also go a step above that with the building of highways and walls that create a physical barrier between two groups of people. In example highway exits may be placed leading away from upper-class homes and into more impoverished areas to deter traffic from entering richer neighborhoods. Again these are all blatant acts of discrimination against one or more groups of people, but as long as it is a form of regulation that can be wielded by people in power and brushed over as nothing more than landscape, then nothing will change.
7) “…there is no such thing as a neutral design” What this excerpt means is that any design is meant to be either beneficial or detrimental to one or more groups of people. The meaning behind is this is that every creation has a reason behind it. For example a building may be constructed to protect one or more persons from the outside world, hence benefitting them. Also, a gate can be constructed, to keep people out and protect people on the other side of the gate. Where one group is being benefitted and the other is being harmed.
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Great summary of the thing. Evidence, evidence.