Porqué Mi Retórica (cont.)

By js, 24 April, 2008, No Comment

(this is a response to a message about my previous post)

As a child, I was fair-skinned, freckled, and blonde. My appearance always afforded me privileges. To a large extent, I have always had the choice of “passing” as white.

Even now when I walk into a classroom, my students assume that I cannot speak Spanish. Most are surprised when they learn that I am fluent.

I think my retreat into books functioned on many levels. I was pretty introverted as a child so they gave me an excuse to not “come out and play.” I was also able to choose my own companions rather than face four very physical boys who could easily gang-up on me. As I grew older, though, my reasons for choosing “to always be in school” (as my mom would say)became more complex. Because as I got older, I became very aware of the differences in expectations and opportunities for women inside and outside my culture.

My mother and father also realized this and they allowed me (I can recognize that now)to take advantage of the choices that I had by supporting my focus on academic education. Even though my father expected my mother to fulfill the very traditional role of wife and mother (my mother never worked outside the home nor ever learned to drive), he did not expect that I would fulfill that traditional role someday. Even now that I am a wife and mother, he supports my professional and intellectual endeavors as equally worthy of my time and energy.

I don’t remember ever having to correct anyone’s stereotype. I did, though, spend most of my life in South Texas and the only travelling my family did was into Mexico to visit extended family. When I lived in the North East, though, I was very conscious of not erasing my ethnicity. For example, I refused to anglicize the pronunciation of Spanish words especially my last name.

I think you are right that no writing tool is inherently better. My interest is in learning how to use digital tools from different perspectives rather than only as an end-user. I believe that if I don’t take it upon myself to learn what other capabilities the tools may have, then I am always at the mercy of the designer and the choices that he (and I choose this consciously since this field is still mostly white and male-dominated) has already made for me.

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