Rae Hamilton's blog

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Class Matters, But It doesn't have to.

The Elephant in the Room

There are times on Bryn Mawr Campus where nothing seems to be taboo. Conversations can range from the mundane and boring to the deep and thoughtful even to the offensive and abnormal. Yet, the topic of class seems to be the most taboo of all. When class is mentioned, conversations are stalled and an awkward tension mounts. And when someone is asked about his or her class (which is a rarity in itself) a sudden wall is erected around them-- causing a barrier to form between the questioner and questioned. According to a survey done during the 2010-2011 school year , class is the most taboo subject at Bryn Mawr-- everyone is aware of it, can feel it, yet seldom wish to openly talk about it. And through this lack of conversation- this silence- frustrations mount and suddenly what could have been a simple conversation becomes confrontation. This silence was distilled during the Class Matters workshop, where class was the only topic to talk about. And with every word uttered during that workshop, the people who attended grew one step closer to figuring out, understanding, and accepting class. And even more so, I, who was supposed to be a hostess, a leader of the workshop learned quite a lot.

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"I Judge You When You Use Bad Grammar"

I recently read in an article in GQ about how regardless of race or class, everyone is kind of pretentious in college. And in everything we do, we show this-- including our writing. I try to sound smart in my writing-- I think everyone does. And because of this, we all come off pretentious. That being said,  in terms of true expression, I think pictures/images are the way to go-- they speak for themselves and say a thousand words. You dont need a college degree to look at a picture and judge it, critique, explain it, discuss, or disagree with it. It has nothing to with the bourgeiosie or the prolertariat. Anyone can talk about a picture, but not everyone could read this sentence. Not everyone would know that a comma shouldnt be used here or that a period means the end of a setnce. Pictures transcend all of that. It transcends time, language, class, and race. 

 

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From a fight, to an interview, to a discussion:Paper 10

Talking about class is wierd. Paper 10, was equally as odd. My paper focused less on the interviews I had and more on the workshop and the resulting conversation I had with one of my dorm mates afterwards. The whole was kind of awkward, but the more you talk about something, the less awkward it becomes. Which leads me to believe that maybe, sometimes, it is the awkward things that need to be talked about more than anything else. 

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From a fight, to an interview, to a discussion:Paper 10

Talking about class is wierd. Paper 10, was equally as odd. My paper focused less on the interviews I had and more on the workshop and the resulting conversation I had with one of my dorm mates afterwards. The whole was kind of awkward, but the more you talk about something, the less awkward it becomes. Which leads me to believe that maybe, sometimes, it is the awkward things that need to be talked about more than anything else. 

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Little Bee

Hey, I was just wondering if anyone else finished Little Bee. Looking at the syllabus, I seriously doubt we will be able to dedicate all the time needed to the novel. So I thought here was a good space to start. I both hated and loved Little Bee. I loved it for the simple fact that it was a great book, with compelling characters, and a subtle but important political message. Yet, I hated the book for the same reasons, it was so sad, so deep and profound, I feel like a weight has been added to my mind. I finished the book wondering if I was suppose to feel hopeful or desolate. Even though I finished it some days ago, I am still not sure if Little Bee, is a gritty story that offers hope or a hopeful story that has its gritty moments. Also, the time in which we read the book impacted me greatly. Thanksgiving, to me has always been a holiday where America is at its least petty. We have so much to be grateful for, and Little Bee has reminded me of that fact. I wish I could keep all the feelings I have for this book and apply to my daily life, in the hopes that I could remember to be thankful. 

On another note, how does everyone feel on Little Bee becoming a movie, with Nicole Kidman playing Sarah?!?

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The Workshop

The workshop was kind of awkward for me, yet very beneficial. I invited people that I had constant disagreements/fights because of class. My original idea was for them to go to the workshop and maybe see might point of view better, yet I actually was one who learned a lot. A lot of comments hit very close to home and I definitely took them to heart. Overall, the workshop I feel was a success yet, there definetly should have been more time to futhur discussion and it also felt very isolated. Like the only people who could possibly benefit were the ones present. If we could some how get more people involved and thinking about this more critically, than I am sure than we can have some serious change on Bryn Mawr College.Yet, for the most part, I believe the workshop was a total success that needs to be repeated to more of the college's population. 

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Reflection

To summarize my reflection, our ESEM has taught me a lot about how to mature into a good writer so that I am more confident in my writing and more comfortable in doing so. It also taught me to not only to be actively aware of how education affects people, but the struggles that education currently faces. I feel that my classmates and I both believe this is the main purpose for our ESEM, and that for the most part, the class has been successful in pushing our thoughts and perceptions about education. Moreover, we use the class as a place to test our ideas which we then open for discussion. On the other hand, I also pointed out some things that could be added to the class, such as looking at education from a more global stand point, and trying to make the class more concrete by trying to come up with viable solutions to the problems we have discussed. By doing this I feel like the class would be even richer in content.

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Going Back to High School

As a lover of field trips, I must admit I am excited for the trip to the high school. I am even more excited about finally discusing what we did in class and connecting it to what we have been talking about, as I said in a earlier post, how will our perspective change? I am looking so forward to meeting with the kids that go there and really trying to immerse myself into their environment. On the other hand, I also think about the advantages of visint an under priviledged environment. In some ways I believe that it would have been more fruitful if we visited a school that didn't have a lot of resources. Not to genrealize, but I feel a majority of us are use to nice schools, I would have rather seen a struggle in order to understand how class effects someone than what we are going to now. If class matters, shouldn't we go to a place where class actually is felt? In my AP Government class I learned that the poor is the most self-aware of all classes they know they are disadvantaged, I would have liked to explore the relationship between this awareness and education.

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Our future trip to the high school

We have talked a lot in class about education , access, and so on. I wonder how going to the high school will change our thinking. So far in class all of our experiences so far have been based on either our own individual experiences or those we have found in the reading. Going to the high school is essentially the first educational experience that we are sharing together. I wonder if this communal experience will give us new or contrasting views and insights into education. I am really looking forward to the experince and having the chance to confer with everyone about the things we noticed and how they deeper (or in some cases confuse) what we know or should I say what we think we know about standard American education.

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Education Is What You make It.

Education is what you make it. Maybe it levels the playing field, maybe its a waste of time. In class we see the different experiences that people have from whatever education they have recieved. All of our experiences are different and in all of them we have taken things and left things behind. Therefore, my opinion is split down the middle, is education a leveling playing field- sure, for some. Is education a waste of time, it probably is for some people. Personally, I feel that we cannot put a blanket label on education.-- its a living, breathing entity that constantly changes. Yet, I feel due to peoples assumptions about education (as in people think education is a great equalizer and when its not, education is the one that is wrong, not the presumptious person) it fails in being a leveler because it didnt work for everyone. In other words, because it didnt work for everyone, its a failure to everyone. If it cant help one, then it probably cant help any of us. Of course this is a misconception that feel arises when people talk about the role of education in our society.

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