Tag Archives: Writing

Spring Symposium Tomorrow! (Well Today)

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Just a little humor before I get started! The Spring Symposium is tomorrow! I am excited, nervous, shakin’ in my boots, all of that. Mostly excited though. I left last week’s class feeling more confident about presenting my work to an audience (including my family) for the first time. I finished my presentation and I also successfully made my surprise handouts for everyone. Here is what everyone will receive:

Thesis Handout

This is going to be a “Quilt Card” that everyone will be able to take home. By now, everyone knows the format of my thesis will eventually be this multimodal quilt that consists of all types of media and text. My topic is not just sensitive, but it’s very important. It’s not only for people who have careers in the academic setting, but it’s important to know in general. I wanted to make sure that the people who heard my presentation learned something new and remember what I said. Of course, there was so much more I wanted to put on this quilt, but I picked what I think people would remember the most.

After finishing the Quilt Card, I worked on my presentation. I must say, after editing it for hours, it turned out nice! Here are some screenshots:

To wrap things up, I am excited to present the work I have done so far. I apologize for the short post! It’s 1 am, and I am T I R E D want to be prepared for tomorrow. (Really today). Anyway…

Thank you and goodnight!

Almost That Time!

 

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A Different World

 

Let’s Get Started!

Hello everyone! Well, I have been quite busy this week. Before I get started, just a huge “Congratulations” to my fellow classmate, scholar, and colleague Kelli for the amazing showcase of her Thesis during Kean University’s Research Days 2019. I was able to express, create, and learn. I applaud you. I also had the honor of participating in Kean’s Research Days along with my Writing and Theory Practice class from last semester. Integrating various ideas, articles, research, images, blog posts, ideas, and videos, we collectively created a website that touched upon various important topics concerning the up-and-coming issues in the classroom. We called it “Small Bites of Knowledge,” so I’ll be sure to add the link to the site after this blog!

Anyway! So besides all of that fun, I had to get down to business. I took a break from writing the next section of my thesis to focus on the Spring Symposium next week! (Can’t believe it’s here already.) I had a hard time creating a formal proposal and a short idea of what I am going to present next week. Of course, it’s in the first draft phase, and tomorrow I will do some cleanup. I wanted to make sure I get my point across and emphasize the problem I am focusing on. And then, of course, I talked about my chapters. I’m not sure if what I have so much is specific enough, but I am hoping it’s a good start to completing my presentation. I do want to show the idea that I had for possibly making a website that looks like this:

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Then I would also like to show the two sections that I have completed so much. It’s too much information to go through every “puzzle piece” of the document, but I would just scroll through it just to show everyone the work that is going into this thesis. What I don’t want to happen is it becomes a “boring” presentation and not something that will get their attention. Nevertheless, I tried my best. (Did not mean for that to rhyme). 

Before I sign off, I want to discuss something one of my classmates sent to me. Here is the image. Two sections are circled. There was a job posting for a teaching job at a university. The job posted the “Essential Duties and Responsibilities” that are required. The very first bullet point says, “Teach students writing in standard academic English through one-on-one, asynchronous online paper review appointments…”. Now, on the third bullet point, it says, “Commit to treating students, staff, and faculty in our community with empathy and respect, recognizing and valuing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.” So then my classmate and I started talking, and she pointed out the fact that this job posting is contradictory. The school wants to make sure the students learn “standard academic English” but then also needs to recognize diversity. It’s challenging to tackle both responsibilities without canceling one of them out.

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I realized that in the academic space, it’s acceptable to have diversity in the classroom as long as the students are taught to speak and write [like this] to pass the class and be considered a “good student” or sound professional. Part of my thesis touched upon when it comes to a different dialect of English, in this case, AAVE is only accepted when people want it to be. I was thinking about including this example as part of the Power section of my thesis. Some people have “the upper hand” in society who creates the rules of what is acceptable and what is deemed unacceptable. It happens too often. People in power, such as higher-ups in the university setting, appreciate or merely accept only certain parts of a culture. You can’t love Spanish food but then dismiss their language. You can’t love 90’s R&B but dismiss AAVE. It’s almost as if this job application is saying, “Culture and diversity are good. It’s needed! It’s important! Just not when it comes to academic writing and language in its setting.” Instead, the job posting should have said, “Teach students writing in their best academic sense through one-on-one, asynchronous, online paper review appointments.” By phrasing it like this, the pressure of having to speak [like this] for the student to succeed decreases.

With that being said, I am looking forward to presenting my work for the first time next week. Until next time!

Here is the link to my Spring Symposium Formal Proposal: 

Also, the link to “Small Bites of Knowledge.” 

 

 

 

Trust the Process

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Google Search: POET KWYN TOWNSEND RILEY

Well, I must say that this past week did go the way I expected. (But hey, that’s life!) The process for coming up with the different parts for the next chapter, Education, was harder than the History section. I had a difficult time condensing my notes into just a few sections. There is so much to address when it comes to Mainstream/Standard English versus AAVE in a classroom setting. I was able to add videos and images, which were helpful to the creative side of this thesis. Here are some screenshots from the document:

I didn’t think about the format of this section or where each box should go yet, I just wrote and put down whatever I thought would fit in the Education section. I do see more of my voice and opinion is shown in this section than the previous section. Also, there is more research present. Education and AAVE is such a big and controversial topic that I wanted to make sure I hit every corner. I wanted to make sure my point was being supported enough. Hopefully, I did that successfully without seeming like my thoughts were all over the place.

I wanted to finish two chapters this past week, but I was not able to. I also did not want to force it. So, for next week, I will be tackling the chapter of Community, which will consist of representation, oppression, embrace, culture, beyond words-gestures, hand motions. (The gestures and hand motions are a small part to this chapter). Once again, one of the significant challenges is not sounding redundant and putting information in the “wrong” chapter. For example, I have to make sure what goes in the Community chapter does not go in other sections.

Although there are challenges, I am enjoying the highs and lows of the still early process of my thesis. “Gotta trust the process,” as my father would say.

Until next time! Below is the document link to the chapter Education.

L: Education

Switchin’ It Up!

Well hello there! We are doing this week a little different this week, so I am going to get right to it. Last week I was giving the challenging but exciting task of starting to actual form pieces of my thesis. Last week, I introduced my idea of having a collage of videos, images, text, research, poems, audio, etc. The picture below is how I want it to look. After my thesis meeting, we figured we would start with the first letter B and create a document to put all my information. Since there are five letters, I matched it up with five chapters.

  1. History: What is AAVE? Where did it come from? The importance of it and learning it’s origins?
  2. Education: Mainstream/Standard English. Oakland CA School Board, Ann Arbor, and the use of AAVE in the classroom.
  3. Community: Representation, oppression, embrace, culture, beyond words-gestures, hand motions. (The gestures and hand motions are a small part to this chapter).
  4. Power: Oppression, empowerment, society, racism (covert, institutional, overt, systematic), discrimination, “the upper hand.”
  5. Identity: Family, voice, self, reclaiming, and anecdotes.

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It took a lot of music, hanging upside down, and Starbucks to get me to focus and produce the best work I could. Also, to be naturally creative. So this is what I came up with so far for the first letter B: History.

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It was difficult to find various pieces of creative work, adding my voice, and a decent amount of research to have a balance. Creating charts was a good way to keep me organized and not overdo it too much. I found artwork, memes, a YouTube video, and I even wrote a poem about Black Language and how it’s captive in the mouths and minds of black Americans. I was also able to add important information from the research notes I had about the history of African American Vernacular English. At the same time, I did not cut my voice short in these charts. My personal opinions and feelings about this topic are within the charts.

This is a very rough and first draft of it, and I am hoping to tighten up the charts and add more content, but I jumped in cold water by doing this, and I am proud of myself. Anyway! We have a bit of a “break” so stay tuned for my next blog!

See ya later!

P.S. I just found this to be so funny! “Don’t use slang. Womp womp womp.” It made me laugh so I figured I would share that with you before I sign off.

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Previous Blog!

Black is Beautiful

Black is Beautiful

“People have the impression that African American Vernacular English is nothing more than a collection of errors because that’s how they’ve been socialized. If it’s not Standard English, it’s wrong. So we have this framework that all of us have been indoctrinating to. There’s a right and a wrong in language. Language is always right because there’s always a systematicity. There’s a pattern to it.” -Walt Wolfman

 

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Living Single

 

My thoughts exactly Wolfman.

Moving on to the exciting and difficult part of my thesis this week was a process, but a good one. Last week’s class Dr. Zamora was helping me with some ideas as to how I am going to structure my thesis. Short stories? Documentation? Visuals? Images or videos? Audio? Also, what relationship does research have with this thesis? Creative and analytical? This was a lot to tackle over a week, but then I had an idea when Dr. Zamora said the word “collage”. I sketched this image when she said it (and yes I spelled collage wrong but I was rushing so no judging! Please and thank you).

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That picture turned into this:

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Here’s my rough idea: Growing up, I knew black was beautiful, but the rest of the world didn’t think so. “You’re not black enough to be a black queen.” “You talk funny.” With this image, I want to show that black is beyond beautiful. It’s rich. It’s royalty. And in each letter of the word “BLACK,” you will see these individual boxes. Within those boxes I want a person to be able to click on them and be able to unravel all of these pieces of research I have been collected. Images, videos, audio, text, etc. I want it to be a multimodal collection that formulates my thesis.

Research would have to play a big part in this thesis because a lot of my thoughts, opinions, and feelings about this topic came from what I read and studied. Since this is a heavy and controversial topic, I will need as much academic and credible support as possible. The last task I had to do was come up with a few chapter ideas:

  1. History: What is AAVE? Where did it come from? The importance of it and learning it’s origins?
  2. Education: Mainstream/Standard English. Oakland CA School Board, Ann Arbor, and the use of AAVE in the classroom.
  3. Community: Representation, oppression, embrace, culture, beyond words-gestures, hand motions. (The gestures and hand motions are a small part to this chapter).
  4. Power: Oppression, empowerment, society, racism (covert, institutional, overt, systematic), discrimination, “the upper hand.”
  5. Identity: Family, voice, self, reclaiming, and anecdotes.
  6. Conclusion (This is a maybe): Where do we go from here? What to do next?

That’s all for now!😊

Here is the link to my Early Proposal Draft (3). The parts that I changed and added some text are highlighted in yellow.

 

“Keep Ya Head Up”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Once again, we are back for Thesis! Storytime: last week I was feeling extremely insecure about my early proposal (#2) that I submitted. I stayed up until 4:30 in the morning just to make sure what I had was good enough, even though I had no idea what I was doing. Needless to say, I don’t think I did that great of a job, but I am still pushing through! As per my previous blogs, I have become very passionate about language, identity, power and the combination of these things when it comes to African Americans and their dialects.

I will be honest, I don’t have much to say in my blog post for this week. However, I will let the notes I have been taking speak for itself. Here were some of the key points and quotes that stood out to me:

  • Tracing the history of BEV, Dillard (1972) notes that early slave traders purposely mixed slaves speaking different languages “so that the slaves could be more easily controlled.” To communicate with each other, the slaves relied on pidgin versions of Portuguese, French, and English that they “had learned in the slave ‘factories’” of West Africa: Slaves sent to French- or to Portuguese-speaking areas found it much easier to communicate in Pidgin French or in Pidgin Portuguese than to find an African language in common; they restricted contact of most of them with their masters precluded their learning the standard language. (p. 22) (pg 123) Elanor Wilson Orr: Twice as Less: Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science (1987) Chapter 6: Prepositions in Black English Vernacular
  • Speaking of the difficulty BEV speakers have in learning standard English, Stewart (1969) makes the point: And even though the overall structural difference between Negro  dialect of the most nonstandard kind and standard English of the most formal kind is obviously not as great as between any kind of English and a foreign language like Spanish, this does not necessarily make it easier for the Negro-dialect speaker to acquire an acceptable standard variety of English than for the speaker of Spanish to do so. On the contrary, the subtlety of the structural differences between the two forms of English, masked as they are by the many similarities, may make it almost impossible for the speaker of Negro dialect to tell which patterns are characteristic of nonstandard dialect, and which ones are not. Indeed, this may explain why it is that many immigrant populations have been able to make a more rapid and successful transition from their original foreign language to standard English than migrant Negroes have from their own nonstandard dialect to standard English. (pp. 168-69) (pg 126) Elanor Wilson Orr: Twice as Less: Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science (1987) Chapter 6: Prepositions in Black English Vernacular
  • Language acquisition is a subconscious process; while it is happening, we are not aware that we possess any new knowledge; the knowledge is stored in our brains subconsciously. Both children and adults can subconsciously acquire language. Also, both oral and written language can be acquired. (pg 1)Stephen D. Krashen: Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use (2003)

In conclusion, my lack of words on this blog post does not mean I am not working hard. (As per the picture below). I went a little overboard at the library, but I couldn’t help myself! Next week, I will have a more concrete post for you! Until then, check out the notes that I’ve gathered over the past week! (These are just the notes that are typed.)

‘Til Next Week!

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Thesis Notes Links: 

Stephen D. Krashen: Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use (2003)

Key Words and Other Notes

Elanor Wilson Orr: Twice as Less: Black English and the Performance of Black Students in Mathematics and Science (1987) Chapter 6: Prepositions in Black English Vernacular

Previous Blog Posts! (From Most Recent to Older):

I Ain’t Changin’ Nottin’ Fa Nobody!

Things are Heating Up

Wish I Thought of a Reading List Sooner!

Back From A Short Break~

Hello from the other side of Spring break ^.^

For those wondering, I had a very relaxing break for the most part. I got to spend some quality time with my family. We went to some museums in the city and out to eat most nights. Because of work and class, I haven’t really had the time to relax and just be with my family and enjoy their company. I think being able to spend this time with my family and with my friends, too, was necessary in order for me to keep moving forward. I don’t think I realized just how stressed I have been until I was spending time away from all the places/things that stress me out.

This break allowed me to reflect on more than just my work thus far and my progress; I reflected on myself as well and on my own goals. I’ve had a lot of setbacks in my personal life that have had a huge impact on my work and how I view myself. It really wasn’t until this break where I didn’t work or go to class that I was able to feel the real gravity of everything I’ve gone through. Honestly, I’ve had a shitty year and a half and the last few months have just been the cherry on top.

Anyway, I reflected on my circumstances over break and came to the conclusion that, regardless of all that nonsense and not despite but because of all the people who didn’t want me in their lives, I’m going to complete my work and live the best life I can. I can’t change anything that’s happened. More, I have so many great opportunities at my fingertips right now. I can miss what I’ve lost but I shouldn’t linger on it. Doing that keeps me from writing, keeps me from what I love and from what loves me.

So, now that the mooshy stuff is out-of-the-way, let’s recap what work I accomplished over break. First and foremost, I completed my section on memes, shitposts, and gifs. Most of the sources I covered in this section are from my independent study I had last semester wherein I researched memes and complexity theory. The bulk of this section focuses on the trajectory of memes and on how they’ve been viewed research vs. how they act in online spaces. I cover some of the more “researchy” angles on memes in the start of this section before delving into more contemporary thought on the medium. Most of this contemporary thought comes from the articles I sourced last semester (in our first thesis course) which identify memes as art objects and connect their creation and propagation to a kind of resurgence of Dadaism in contemporary culture. Essentially, I wanted to first ground memes in theoretical research before exploring some of their, in my opinion, more profound connotations.

Additionally, I touch upon shitposting as well. To be honest, there is not as much research on shitposting as there is on memes. Much of the research focuses on the negatives of shitposting as well, particularly how it has contributed to furthering far right agendas (because it’s a popular kind of posting on sites like 4chan and Reddit). Not really what my work is about. Also, I find the definition of shitposting on Know Your Meme to be a little inaccurate. Outdated, perhaps. More than anything, I found myself kind of making a case for expanding our understanding of shitposting to include more absurdist humor sentiments. Right now, it seems to be understood as more of a nuisance than a statement. That narrow mindset keeps us from exploring possibilities. Also, it frames this new form of expression as inane and meaningless cause it’s “stupid” from the start without proper consideration of other possibilities. The definition becomes a cage. At least, that’s what I believe and what I kind of make a case for in this section of my paper before seguing into the Degenerate Art 2.0 section of my thesis.

So, here’s the part where I tell you I got horribly, disgustingly sick towards the end of spring break which, unfortunately, impeded me from completing the last section of my paper. I did start it (and I am planning to have it completed by this weekend) and I do feel like I have a good direction for it. So far, I’ve started this section off by reiterating how often new forms of digital content creation like memes, digital art, and Eliterature are cast aside, dismissed, or somehow identified as less than traditional mediums. I want to emphasize this lack of recognition and acceptance from authorities before clarifying that I don’t believe there are any specific oppressors other than the state of contemporary culture. I don’t want to compare anyone to or put anyone in the place of the Nazis, who created the term “Degenerate Art” when they first vilified Dada works. Rather, I want to focus on the Dadaist “spirit” of these works themselves and on how, in many ways, these kinds of works are acting as a way for this generation to reclaim a sense of identity–both personal and collective.

These works are our resistance to the powers that be that wish we’d shut up and stand in line. That wish we’d continue to subscribe to ways of thinking and to dreams that are no longer realistic. These often nonsensical, nihilistic, and “absurd” emergent forms of content creation are how we respond to the nonsense, uncertainty, and absurdity of current affairs. “We’re all mad here”, you know? It’s like these new mediums are ways for us to reassert and well as reinforce who we are and where we stand in these times. These mediums are in-temporal, perhaps, but they’re meant to express this moment in time for us. They’re not meant to be these lasting artifacts. Hopefully, they aren’t. Hopefully the world changes. Hopefully we change. Hopefully everything isn’t always going to be so awful and absurd.

While I firmly believe these works are representative of self and of the world we must conceive of ourselves within, I do believe they are just representations. These new forms of representation represent this time now. They represent us how we need to be represented now. But, I don’t know if we’ll always be in these objects or if we always should be. In a recent studio visit with digital artist Alex Saum, she said, “Works of art are always representations. They aren’t me.” Since I heard these words, I’ve been struck. I think I forgot that my thesis is about self-representation. It’s not just about self. Actually, it’s about how we express and convey self in the digital age. It’s about how these new digital artifacts act as conduits for conveying who we are to the world and for ourselves. These works are heavily inspired by us and our experiences but they aren’t us. Dada was a response. What’s happening now is also just that: a response. We embody Dada. We embody resistance. We are what is reclaimed.

From this little spiel, I hope it’s clear that, though I didn’t complete everything I hoped to complete over break, I am certainly reinvigorated and impassioned from break. I didn’t waste my time not thinking about thesis. In fact, I feel like I have more purpose and direction than I’ve had these past few weeks. My thesis adviser is always asking me why is this work important. Well, this work is important because it’s about us and, more, about how we are experiencing this world right now. We are this moment. We are Dada. We are in every meme and shitpost we make but we are also so much more than that and isn’t that absurd?? Isn’t it so absurd and nonsensical to be who we are in this moment? Isn’t the world such a mad place to be a person in right now? What seems to make the most sense is that nothing makes sense. So, why not make a meme?

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~Till next time~

I Ain’t Changin’ Nottin’ Fa Nobody!

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Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

Well, well, welcome back everyone! Spring break was more of a high-speed week instead of a break. But you know what? I’m glad it was. A couple of weeks ago I wanted to give up what I was trying to do for my thesis and start a new topic. I was face to face with an issue that I did not know anything about, the scholars behind it, or the history of it. I was being asked questions from family members that I couldn’t answer and were given answers and opinions from them that I didn’t even ask for. My professor told me to keep going with it. Reluctantly, I did. I doubted myself. Was I smart enough to handle a topic like this? What did I get myself into? Well, this post is to happily tell you that I have hit the jackpot. I opened the door to not only a topic but another world that I can never return back to earth. (Sorry for the mushy-gushy stuff.)

I have gathered so much information and notes from the readings I have been doing that I could not fit it into this post. I would have to make five posts. For time’s sake, I’ll put the links to the different documents of notes I have created for each reading at the end of this blog under the section “Documents: Thesis Notes.” I also have notes on YouTube videos and a documentary as well! I am also proud of myself because it’s been a long time since my mind has been able to think in this way. Creating new ideas and connecting points to readings and my own experiences. After doing some more reading and research, these were the ideas that came to my head, which, I think, is formulating my Burning Question.

  • Why choose between African American Vernacular English and Standard English? Why pick Standard English over African American Vernacular English? What are the benefits (if any)? What’s the consequence?: Losing your identity. (Thought about while reading The Language of Identity by Sonja L. Lanehart)

 

  • White society standard-proper or “Standard English.” Reality: You’ll never reach the white society standard no matter how proper you speak, you’ll always be black. Instead of trying to tear away something that is going to be part of you anyway, just embrace it and learn that there is a deep and enriched history behind it. It’s not just a bunch of words put together that makes no sense. You take away that, you take away a part of not only you but your ancestors and the black community. (Thought about while watching Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin: A Conversation (1971): YouTube Video)

 

  • Sometimes I hear other people speaking “improperly” who are not African American and for the most part, they are not as criticized or ridiculed for it. And if they are, it’s kind of a slap on the wrist, but for black people, it’s a slap in the face.

 

  • Sometimes black English has no words. It’s more than just sounding improper. The way I speak will not be the sole reason or the main reason why I won’t land a job or be successful in the professional world. Hair, skin color, names, money, class, status, all of these other things have more weight to whether or not I am accepted in a particular profession, school, academic setting, etc. than the way I speak. You can’t just say, “Speaking black will not land you a job.” That makes absolutely no sense. I don’t have to open my mouth for a white person to look at me or my name and judge me and not give me whatever they want to give me merely because I am black. People will judge you and automatically think you know less than you do just because of your skin color. So if that is the case, I say accept the way you speak and stop putting down people who do.

 

  • Question: What are the consequences when you remove your language as a black person? My answer: You lose your identity, you lose a part of your history, you lose that sense of community and culture…you lose your blackness. Mind you, my answer is not to say that every single black person in America speaks the same way. However, I am hurt when I hear people say that when black people talk “ghetto” or “improper” then they “make us all look bad,” etc. Even a black person who speaks Standard English will still sing R&B the way it is, which is cutting off the ings at the end of words. That’s not improper, it’s artistic. When you discredit the black language, you are disproving your grandparents, their parents, music, history, art, international connections, movies, television, poetry, literature, and much more! You are cutting the cord to something that belongs to you, and instead of embracing it, you are trying to not only get rid of it, but you’re throwing it in the garbage to be turned into such a negative aspect of the American culture.

Now, I know that Dr. Zamora is going to have my fine tune these ideas more, but I believe I am more grounded with this topic than I was two months ago. After the break, I also had to start thinking about how I am going to put my thesis into a form, which is my methods section. Back in November, when I first started becoming interested in this topic, I was in North Carolina for a funeral. My brother, father, Nana, and Papa stayed with my Aunt Jesse (who is my Papa’s sister). We were sitting around the kitchen table, and I was fascinated with something. I started to pay attention to the way they were speaking. Specifically my grandparents and Aunt Jesse. People who speak Standard English will believe they are not talking correctly. However, putting aside the fact that they all have Southern accents, they were, in fact, speaking African American Vernacular English or Black English.

This is what I heard my entire life. This is how I picked up my own accent and way of speaking. Even the laughs, hand gestures, body movements, all of that is Black English! I want to document or record myself and my family sitting around the table and talking. After church on Sunday at dinner or when we’re all hanging out. There is a very beautiful rhythm when we are speaking together that I want to capture the rawness of that. On the other end of that spectrum, I also want to record myself in a setting outside of the comfort of my home. Such as work, school, or in front of my professors and classmates. I want to capture how wonderful and actually better it is when a person knows how to codeswitch and speak more than one dialect. (Just an idea!)

Last night I was talking to one of my classmates after class, and I asked her how she was doing since we haven’t spoken all semester. The conversation went like this:

Me: “Hey girl, what’s up? How are you doing? We haven’t really talked in a while.

Her: “Girl, I be stressin’!” 

Simple conversation right? We laughed after she said that because I understood her! Now, in Standard or “proper” English, this is what she said, “I am under a lot of stress.” Even while typing her sentence in the blog, a red line came under “I.” The system wanted me to say, “I am stressing” or “I will be stressing.” This was me speaking my dialect to someone else who speaks that dialect. I felt comfortable. I didn’t have to try too hard to think about what I’m going to say next. I also did not have to be concerned about whether or not she understood me or if I understood her. Now, in the classroom setting, we both speak Standard English. (She does more than I do actually.) But the class was over, and we knew that we had the green light to code switch into our natural dialect.

Also, I attempted to write another proposal, which I already sent out. I can’t wait to receive feedback on it because this one is definitely more developed than the first one.

I am still studying and researching, but I am ready for some methods and writing! (I think) Here are the documents of notes and also if you want to listen to the videos from my family in NC, I put a private YouTube link below so you can listen and enjoy!

See you all tomorrow!

Documents: Thesis Notes

Sonja Lanehart: The Language of Identity

Lisa Delpit: Other People’s Children

Nikki Giovanni & James Baldwin: A Conversation

Key Words and Phrases

Talking Black in America Documentary Notes

Video Links

Nikki Giovanni and James Baldwin Video

NC Family Conversations 1

NC Family Conversations 2

NC Family Conversations 3

NC Family Conversations 4

NC Family Conversations 5

Things are Heating Up

General Question: How’s everyone’s thesis process going?  😊

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Google Images 

The more I dive into my deep reading, the more excited I become about my thesis and the whole process of studying a topic that has become close to my heart, almost like a child. (Mind you, I have no children, but I do have a lot of nieces and nephews.) I am very protective of this topic of AAVE (African American Vernacular English); but beyond that, I am curious about it. I want to know it’s “favorite color” or “what makes it itch,” I want to know every single detail and as much as possible. Studying and taking notes more this past week made me realize that I forgot I was in a class for this and eventually will receive a grade for this. I am working hard to produce something pretty awesome for my own pleasure and ambitions. With that being said, let’s dive in!

So last week I was relieved to know that I am on the right track! (Phew). The reading list that I had in my previous blog was a good start to building a Literature Review. Obviously, between working full time and going to school full time, I can’t read 20 pieces of literature in seven days. So for now, I started with four new readings and one continuation.

  1. Bell Hooks: Black Looks, Race and Representation: This book had so many interesting points when it came to talking about black people and the way their representation effects not only their lives but how it’s metaphorically embedded in their DNA when it comes to their clothes or music. However, that representation is considered cool or current, but when it comes down to history or what a black person deals with daily, it’s considered everything under the sun except being cool. Within the first chapter, I saw a lot of great points that she made that could be used in my thesis (possibly), but I don’t see this being a book that is the main part of it. Here are the points that could be used for my thesis:
  • “We have to change our own mind…we’ve got to change our own minds about each other. We have to see each other with new eyes. We have to come together with warmth…” -Malcolm X
  • Every aware black person who has been the “only” in an all-white setting knows that in such a position we are often called upon to lend an ear to racist narratives, to laugh at corny race jokes, to undergo various forms of racist harassment. (pg 16)
  • And that self-segregation seems to be particularly intense among those black college students who were often raised in material privilege in predominately white settings where they were socialized to believe racism did not exist, that we were all “just human beings,” and then suddenly leave home and enter institutions and experience racist attacks. (pg 16)
  • While it has become “cool” for white folks to hang out with black people and express pleasure in black culture, most white people do not feel that this pleasure should be linked to unlearning racism…(pg 17)
  • As long as black folks are taught that the only way we can gain any degree of economic self-sufficiency or be materially privileged is by first rejecting blackness, our history, and culture, then there will always be a crisis in black identity. (pg 18)
  • Internalized racism will continue to erode collective struggle for self-determination. (pg 18)

2. Paulo Freire: Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Freire is a brilliant scholar and based off of this book I truly admire what he writes about. However, like Hooks, I feel as if this is not what my thesis is going to be surrounded by. He spoke about oppressors and oppressed and how these groups work in the world of class, power, race, and identity. I can see this being apart of my thesis literature review, but for a Doctorate Degree. His points and topic would broaden my specific topic of AAVE too much instead of helping focus on one thing. These points I found interesting:

  • The “fear of freedom” which afflicts the oppressed, a fear which may equally well lead them to desire the role of the oppressor or bind them to the role of oppressed, should be examined. (pg 46)
  • The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. (pg 47)
  • Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility, (pg 47)
  • Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man, nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion. (pg 47)
  • However, the oppressed, who have adapted to the structure of domination in which they are immersed, and have become resigned to it, are inhibited from waging the struggle for freedom so long as they feel incapable for running the risks it requires. Moreover, their struggle for freedom threatens not only the oppressor but also their own oppressed comrades who are fearful of still greater repression. (pg 47).
  • The oppressors do not perceive their monopoly on having more as a privilege which dehumanizes others and themselves. They can not see that, in the egoistic pursuit of having as a possessing class, they suffocate in their own possessions and no longer are; they merely have. For them, having more is an inalienable right, a right they acquired through their own “effort” with their “courage to take risks.” If others do not have more, it is because they are incompetent and lazy, and worst of all is their unjustifiable ingratitude towards the “generous gestures” of the dominant class. Precisely because they are “ungrateful” and “envious” the oppressed are regarded as potential enemies who must be watched. (pg 59)

3. Lisa Delpit: Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom: This book has so many points and pieces of information that I have a separate Google Doc just for Delpit. (Click Here to see it). There were specific quotes that I would like to mention here because they made me think about my “Burning Question” and I feel like I am getting closer to finding out what it is.

  • The children in Trackton, in short, read to learn things, for real purposes. When these children arrived in school they faced another reality, They were required, instead, to “learn to read,” that is, they were told to focus on the process of reading with little apparent real purposes in mind other than to get through a basal page or complete a worksheet – and much of this they were to accomplish in isolation, Needless to say, they were not successful at the decontextualized, individualized school reading tasks. (pg 63)
  • Those who have acquired additional codes because their local language differs significantly from the language of the national culture may actually be in a better position to gain access to the global culture than “mainstream” Americans who, as Martha says, “only know one way to talk.” Rather than think of these diverse students as problems, we can view them instead as resources who can help all of us learn what it feels like to move between cultures and language varieties, and thus perhaps better learn how to become citizens of the global community. (pg 69)
  • Rather than teach decontextualized operations, she would typically first pose a “real-life” problem and challenge the students to find a solution. (pg 65)
  • To give some background information, Delpit gave examples and quoted other scholars and teachers; they were making the point that black students learn in a different way than white students would. There needs to be a purpose for learning and using it for real-life situations. Black students do not have a disadvantage because they speak AAVE, but rather it is the concept of learning differently. Here is the example I thought of:
  • My favorite TV is A Different World (About students at an HBCU (Historically Black College)). One of the characters, Lena James, comes from a rough neighborhood in Baltimore but comes to college to receive an education. She is having trouble with calculus until her professor, Dwayne Wayne, is able to relate calculus to something she is passionate about or something she could relate to. It is present that she speaks AAVE but is certainly not dumb or “less than” because of it. All the professor had to do was relate it to the student, and she succeeded. (The part I’m talking about stops at 31 seconds of the video. Also, I apologize for the bad quality!)

 

So far, I have two main points for my thesis. The first one comes from the quote I made in my previous blog about people or specifically students who can speak in more than one way, as an advantage. The stigma that African Americans speak “improper” is considered “less than” but in reality, they know how to speak in two ways (or more), which would be AAVE and “Standard English.” The second one is that AAVE is not acceptable in an academic setting but what about if the language could be accepted in the classroom, would there be a change in grades, behavior, and confidence in the students? Delpit and her fellow scholars say yes.

3. Felicia R. Lee: Lingering Conflict in the Schools: Black Dialect vs. Standard Speech: This article

4. Alice Lee: Why “Correcting” African American Language Speakers is Counterproductive: This article

For next week, I’m going to write about literacy and multiple literacies and why it’s important for my thesis. Also, a few scholars that I will be talking about will be Elaine Richardson, Sonja L. Lanehart, and more Lisa Delpit. I also will be talking about a documentary that I found about Black English! It’s the first documentary about AAVE, and I can’t wait to share my notes about it!

‘Til Next Time!

(Also: If you want to watch A Different World, it’s on Prime Video!)

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A Little Behind But Catching Up!

Hey~

So, in my last couple posts, I mentioned sticking to a rather strict schedule–one in which I complete a section a week of my thesis until I hit spring break (the second week of March). Then, I’m supposed to go hard into editing and revising mode so that I can have a final product to present for Research Days (which I got approved for!!!) at the end of April.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been fairly consistent with this schedule. More, I’ve been able to devote certain chunks of time to thesis work during the week. Unfortunately, in the past two weeks, this schedule has gotten a little “wonky”, to say the least. I was supposed to have the Metalworks section done last week; it was half done. I finished it this week, though. It’s definitely rough but I can finesse it in the revision stage. Right now, it’s functional enough.

Taking some extra time to work on this section allowed me to explore more artists who are incorporating CAD (Computer Assisted Design) technologies and combining some of these technologies with traditional craft techniques. I found artists like Caitlin Skelcey, Annika Pettersson, Joe Wood, and Joshua Demonte. All of these jewelry-making artists use CAD technologies in different ways to explore concepts like self and perception. Skelcey is of particular interest to me and my work. (You may remember I mentioned her in last week’s post as one of the artists who’s FIT symposium presentation I was interested in?) Skelcey’s work explores the intersection between self and advancing technology. Mainly, her works seems to focus on how a sense of healing and a restoration of self can be achieved through digital intervention. Her work is very compelling and I recommend checking out her Fabricated Bodies series.

Collar_Process2.Skelcey.Thesis

ABS plastic, stainless steel machine screws
3d printing pen, implanted screws
8”x 7 ½” x 9”
2016

Honestly, I think viewing the digital as means through which to promotes self-healing is a fascinating topic and a totally different thesis. More, though, I like the idea that digital means can restore a sense of self by providing this “piece” that makes one feel more whole. I think it’s something to explore, even in the periphery, in my own work. It seems related to Page’s idea about the “partiality” of self and how the digital is a way through which to not only emphasize this fragmentation but also a way through which to work through it. Very interesting work.

Anyway, all this is to say that I spent most of the two weeks since we last saw each other working more on one section than on two. Tbh, I’m planning on working on another section of my thesis tomorrow afternoon before class. I’m hoping I’ll have the time between tutoring students to get some of my own work done. Regardless, the section I need to work on is on meme, gifs, and sh*tposting–a topic I have a sh*t-ton of thoughts on so I’m not anticipating too many issues conceptually with the section. I have an abundance of resources to draw on from my independent study last semester as well. I feel a lot more confident about approaching the remaining sections of my work. I feel like more of myself and my own percolating ideas are going to finally get the chance to make an appearance. You all know how much I love to talk about myself.

In addition to this written work, I’ve also begun working in the studio on the installation part of my thesis (progress pictured in the Featured Image for this post). I finally got all of my materials. Last week, I flattened some wire and began to play around with how I want to structure the piece. Also, I found a website that can translate a message into binary code. So, I think I’m going to chase some numbers into the wire I flattened last week that spell out a message. I’m thinking of the message, “TAKE ME SERIOUSLY” or “TAKE ME ME SERIOUSLY”. That’s playing off of the Dada slogan, “TAKE DADA SERIOUSLY” that was scrawled haphazardly on the walls of the Degenerate Art Exhibition as a form of mockery. I’m thinking about reclaiming it. (It really bothers me the more and more I think about how it was mocked.)

Anyway, that’s where I’m at with my thesis this week. Whatever time isn’t spent at work or filling out scholarship/job applications  or working on #netnarr stuff is spent working on my thesis. I wish I had more time to devote to just my thesis but life hasn’t worked out that way. I think I’m making it work the best I can. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

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~Till next time~