Archive for ‘rhetoric’

Latinos “Making the Next Generation”

By js, 20 January, 2010, No Comment

Sarita E. Brown “Making the Next Generation Our Greatest Resource” pgs 83-100

I first came across Brown’s name when I saw an Excellencia presentation and realized that some of the programs which have been implemented at this campus could qualify for the recognition which Excellencia gives annually.

I also remember watching a recording of a panel presentation in which she participated. The activities which she is involved in demonstrate the conviction of the words in this essay.

Her focus is on education. She says

“Decisive action, guided by clear goals, and sustained commitment, is required to capture the promise of tomorrow offered America by the sheer size and thriving raw talent of the Latino community” (Brown, 84).

Brown cites Steve Murdoch, Texas demographer, to provide evidence of what she terms the “sheer size”

Texas will become less than one-half Ango in the next few eyars and is likely to have a Hispanic majority . . . .This pattern suggests that the State’s future will be increasingly tied to its non-Anglo populations and that the way non-Anglo populations grow and change will largely determine the future of Texas (87)

Evgeny Morozov on Slacktivism

By js, 20 January, 2010, No Comment

Evgeny Morozov studies online activism and its effect.

These notes are taken from his TED talk which I found at

He cites a study which showed that people join facebook groups without verifying information and usually do so as a way to define their own identity.

Blending of narcissism and activism= slactivism, blending of feel good activities which make us feel important  but have little practical impact and social significance

This may keep us from participating in more effective ways.

Critique of Lanier

By js, 20 January, 2010, No Comment

Michael Agger writes a critique of Lanier.

His argues that though Lanier remains cautious, this caution is a result of “snobbery” and a romantic memory of when an elite controlled the web.

See full critique

The Geek Freaks: Why Jaron Lanier rants against what the Web has become.

Critiquing the critique of the web

By js, 20 January, 2010, No Comment

Can real time web bring real world change?

In this post, Saxberg analyzes social media as a way to provide a benefit to the individual who in turn helps to improve the collective (back to Lanier).

She mentions the needs which individuals have and how those are supported by social media.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can also reflect the evolvement of the Internet, from focus on basic infrastructure and security to the services we use today that support our need for social belonging and esteem. This thesis indicates, that the future of web will move towards supporting our need for self-actualization.

Latinos and the Nation’s Future

By js, 17 January, 2010, No Comment

I can’t decide yet what to think about this book.

In some sections, I thought I was the audience of the book, while in others I thought I was NOT the intended audience.

The arguments weave back and forth using the term “American” and “Latino.”

I think it would be fascinating to do a study to see how different readers react to this book. Who considers herself “American” and who considers herself “Latino” and what happens when a reader identifies with both labels.

That schizophrenia was exactly my dilemma as I read it. At what point was I being addressed and urged to “shift” my efforts and when was I urged to “understand.”

Collectivism vs. Individualism Online

By js, 16 January, 2010, No Comment

Response to:

DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism [5.30.06]
By Jaron Lanier

I have been struggling with the benefits and the dangers/constraints of the internet.

I know several people whom I respect immensely who are very weary of the internet. They put forth the same arguments which I have heard before regarding safety, worth and authenticity of ideas, and surveillance. These concerns are legitimate and many scholars are debating these issues.

What concerns me is that we may not be taking advantage of its strengths because we are so guarded by its dangers. There has to be balance between the two. Lanier takes up the discussion of this balance between the power and danger of the collective and the individual. He argues for both collectivism and individualism.

Lanier argues that the strength of the internet is the people behind it. The danger, he argues, comes in elevating the technology above the human, that is, elevating the internet and giving it power which it ultimately does not have and behind which individuals (especially those doing despicable things) can hide.

Remedial Writing Courses at a Community College

By js, 13 January, 2010, No Comment


“Write Like College”: How Remedial Writing Courses at a Community College and a Research University Position “At-Risk” Students in the Field of Higher Education

by M. Kate Callahan & Donalda Chumney — 2009

Background/Context: Twenty percent of first-year students in public 4-year institutions and 42% of first-year students in public 2-year institutions in the United States enroll in remedial courses. Yet despite widespread remediation across U.S. colleges and universities, there remains a great deal of uncertainty about how remedial courses develop the academic skills and habits of mind required for students to succeed in college-level courses. Remediation at the college level is a widely debated practice, yet there is a dearth of research that assesses the efficacy of postsecondary remediation. In addition, there is evidence that student outcomes differ depending on whether students participated in remedial coursework at a community college or a 4-year institution. A theoretical analysis of first-year students’ experiences of remediation in both contexts may help to reveal the institutional structures that act to maintain or reduce this disparity in outcomes.

On Becoming Legitimized as a Citizen

By js, 23 January, 2009, No Comment

I applied for a passport about 12 years ago. I was denied. I never pursued it since the opportunity to go overseas disappeared and I no longer needed it. I was convinced that the reason why I was not issued the passport was because I filled out the application incorrectly.  I have a middle name in my birth certificate and since I never used it in my documents, I decided to exclude it.

I’m reading Ralph Cintron’s *Angel’s Town* and am struck by what he argues about the control of official documentation. My attempt to apply for the passport using my name as I have chosen to represent myself is not something that is officially sanctioned. I did not use the middle name because when my birth certificate was officially submitted someone filled it out with my mother’s maiden name as my middle name. The Mexican custom is that children retain the mother’s name after the paternal last name. In the US, this custom is lost unless parents decide to hyphenate the last name. I’m not sure if the decision to give me my maternal last name as the middle name was my parent’s decision or someone else’s. I have to find more about that. I have always assumed that it was some ignorant US government worker who decided to put the name like that. In my view, the use of the name like that is just plain wrong. It preserves the mother’s name but not in a way that reflects the Mexican culture.

What I came to find out when I reapplied for the passport now that it is being required to go to Mexico (which is only about 6 miles from where I currently live) is that the name was NOT the problem. The problem was the birth certificate itself. Even though it is a government issued document, there were people who were consciously resisting the system by “selling” birth certificates. I have heard someone say that going to a midwife to deliver the child cost $50 while buying the midwife’s signature on a “fake” birth certificate cost $150.

Apparently there were several midwives who live near the border who were convicted in the 1970s of forging documents. This caused more strict regulation of midwife licenses but the veil of suspicion for anyone who was born with a midwife in a border town would still cause problems more than 50 years later.

I had to produce many more documents to receive my passport than anyone else. The fact that a midwife delivered me called into question the validity of the birth certificate. This is the case for many individuals who were born in South Texas. The fact that I excelled in school, that I went to one of the best colleges in the nation (with the government’s help), that I have been working as a teacher and giving back to my local community did not matter at all.  What legitimizes one as a “citizen” who participates in the improvement of society has nothing to do with how one is legitimized as a “citizen” by the state. If one has a forged document, it doesn’t matter what else you have done you will be deported. The only way to become a citizen would be by applying and giving the state the power to determine your “worth” as a potential citizen. If “they” deem you worthy, then you may succeed.

Of course I don’t know what happened when I submitted the documents the state department asked for. Did it matter where I lived, what my current job is? What were the criteria they used to determine that my birth certificate was in fact “legitimate”? There are individuals who have worked and retired from the Social Security Administration Office, from the military, from school districts who have also been denied a passport. Of course, the language of the letters of from the State Dept. do not say that we have been denied but that they need further documentation and if we cannot provide any then they will “close” our application. This puts the burden back on the citizen/applicant to prove their citizenship and the proof has to be in the form of documentation. The state department requests do not make it clear what these documents are supposed to prove. I assume they want documents which show that the mother was physically in the United States during the time of the birth. Isn’t the birth of child on US soil proof enough? Apparently not.