Wednesday, February 25, 2009

B. Hurt

After leaving class last night I couldn''t get the images and words from Byron's film out of my head. As I flipped through the radio the negative sounds of current hip hop washed over me. Ironically, one song stuck out as it seemed to brake the mold of most songs, Tupac's "Keep Ya Head Up." In this song Tupac provides his audience with a freshing take on the female persona. He sings
"And since we all came from a woman
Got our name from a woman and our game from a woman
I wonder why we take from our women
Why we rape our women, do we hate our women?
I think it's time to kill for our women
Time to heal our women, be real to our women
And if we don't we'll have a race of babies
That will hate the ladies, that make the babies
And since a man can't make one
He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one
So will the real men get up
I know you're fed up ladies, but keep your head up

Keep ya head up, oooo child things are gonna get easier
ooooo child things are gonna get brighter"
I find it encouraging that this song is still being played on the radio. But is it only because of the
'epic' that has become Tupac Shakur? I wonder.

In thinking of Byron's film I found what Chuck D had to say particularly interesting. He said that the issue with hip hop's 'demise' is the image of the black man in America. The standards to how he is supposed to act. The expectations of a black man are contradictory. They should be tough and hard, but also church going and compassionate. It is this contradication that I'm sure confuses a young black man as to how he should act and behave. I think that there should be more men committed to what Byron is doing. If no one stands up and tells young men how they should act how will they know? Especially when the media is throwing negative role models in their face all the time...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Tricia Rose. Author of The Hip Hop Wars

Hip hop now and then...
This portion of Rose's interview was thought provoking. Tricia states that hip hop used to be about fun, having a good time, as opposed to being economically based as it is now. The fact that Jay-Z claims he had to 'dumb down' his sound to sell records is a terrible sign of the music industry as a whole; being so selective that people cannot even express themselves in ways they want to. This relates to Rose's, as well as Nas' argument that 'hip hop is dead.' The alternative hip hop artists do not fit the conventional ideals of what radio stations play so therefore they do not get air time and do not sell records. As Rose said, "sexuality and sexual domination sell. Racial stereotypes sell.' Those artists who are speaking of more than this produced image or hip hop, do not get enough exposure because they are breaking the mold instead of conforming to it.

A lot of political content...
I don't know much about hip-hop, but take Grandmaster Flash...his epic song 'The Message' truly gave a voice to anyone who grew up in the projects and the trend that their life seemed to follow. This is a song that uses great visual imagery to convey THE MESSAGE. He's trying to get his point across. This song is so fantastic because it speaks to a wide variety of people, take me, a white girl from a town with one stop light (that's right, one), who has hardly experienced any of what Grandmaster Flash speaks of, but whose eyes were opened to the realities of urban life through a truly unique way of story telling. And without hardly any profanity! Here's just a portion of his lyrics:
"A child was born, with no state of mind
Blind to the ways of mankind
God is smiling on you but hes frowning too
Cause only God knows what you go through
You grow in the ghetto, living second rate
And your eyes will sing a song of deep hate
The places you play and where you stay
Looks like one great big alley way
Youll admire all the number book takers
Thugs, pimps, pushers and the big money makers
Driving big cars, spending twenties and tens
And you wanna grow up to be just like them
Smugglers, scrambles, burglars, gamblers
Pickpockets, peddlers and even pan-handlers
You say Im cool, Im no fool
But then you wind up dropping out of high school
Now youre unemployed, all null n void
Walking around like youre pretty boy floyd
Turned stickup kid, look what you done did
Got send up for a eight year bid
Now your man is took and youre a may tag
Spend the next two years as an undercover fag
Being used and abused, and served like hell
Till one day you was find hung dead in a cell
It was plain to see that your life was lost
You was cold and your body swung back and forth
But now your eyes sing the sad sad song
Of how you lived so fast and died so young"

Today's rappers and hip hop artists seem to use the f-word every five seconds; along with portraying women as merely things to objectify as Tricia brought up in her interview in TIME.

I found the 'hip hop causes violence' to be particularly interesting. I have to admit that I have fallen prey to believing that hip hop is a rather violent art form. But maybe that is because the small percentage of hip hop artists whose songs are played on the radio ten to be about violence and sex because that is what sells. So in reality the statement that 'hip hop causes violence' can't really be made, as the potentially violent hip hop songs, artists, or what have you, are not an accurate representation of the entire hip hop artistic community.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants

Marc Prensky.

Prensky's main point in this article is quite clearly that "Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach." It is this fact that challenges educators everywhere. The generation gap seems to be growing between those who grew up with computers and those who did not. Prensky challenges teachers to step outside of their comfort zone and really embrace all that technology has to offer. This means interacting with students in ways that they are accustomed to.

Not so understandable:
While technically I am a digital native, being only 22, sometimes I feel that I am of the Digital Immigrant persuasion. Why does everything have to be so technical. I like the feel of a book. I can't seem to just sit down and type at a computer, I need to hand write things out first. Does this make me old fashioned? Perhaps. Why all this angst towards people who are not computer savvy? I understand that the digital age is the time frame that we are living in, so naturally we need to adapt, but is a teacher necessarily bad because they do not include technology into their classes? I'm not sure. I think teachers just need to be engaging, whatever that entails.

Connection to class:
Clearly this class is lead by someone who is all about engaging her students in a computer friendly way! We use our blogs, power points, video clips, and other means of technology each class. Also, in reference to media literacy Prensky's article fits nicely. I feel that Prensky would advocate for media literacy everywhere as he stresses the importance of technology and being able to decipher and use it properly.

One random thought...what is going to happen to books? How long til we as a society use only technology?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager

Thomas Hine.

Hine frames his writing with the startling question are 'Are Teenagers Necessary?' This question made me think that I've never actually thought if one has a choice in being a teenager. I just assumed it was part of life. Hine brings up a good point in that the term teenager was only coined a few decades ago. That being said, there is a lot that has changed from the teenager of the 1940s and the teens of the new millennium (their interests, hobbies, etc.). One misconception which Hine makes clear is that "young people are often judged to be less able than they are. The concept of the teenager has been an impediment that has kept them from becoming the people they were ready to be" (7). It is this notion that explains the gap in most relationships that teens have with adults. Being constantly talked down to, or expected to do tasks that are not challenging or stimulating is extremely frustrating.

In chapter one, The Teenage Mystique I found it interesting how Hine depicts a 'typical' teenager. They truly are misunderstood beings. Hine makes note that teens, and the beliefs surrounding their existence is filled with contradictions. He states "They know more about the future than adults do. They know hardly anything at all. They ought to know the value if a dollar. They should be protected from the world of work. They are frail, vulnerable creatures. They are children. They are sex fiends. They are the death of culture. They are the hope of us all" (11).

Media Literacy

As this was my first task in this class (thanks to changing my schedule around a million times) I was very interested as to what media literacy was all about.

One definition I found for media literacy, that was particularly useful, states that it" is the ability to "read" television and mass media." Also, "media literacy education teaches people to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE, and PRODUCE media." I found this and more insight to the world of media literacy at

Another useful site was the Center for Media Literacy's.
This site provided a look at the media literacy education piece and the resources that go into developing programs to educate the youth about being able to accurately decode media messages.

I'm glad to know that there is so much information on the web about media literacy. I feel that it is an important tool in education that may not be utilized as often as it should. There should be more done with media literacy at an early age, say late elementary school as kids need to be equipped with the tools to understand the media.

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us


In Linda's article she challenges the reader, as well as her students to take a closer look at the fairy tales and childhood stories they grew up listening to. This notion was an intriguing one for me. Personally, I don't think that I have ever given a lot of thought to why childhood stories are set up the way that they are (why certain characters are portrayed in a certain light).

The main points of this article centered around developing the skills to "critique portrayals of hierarchy and inequality in children's movies and cartoons" (127). As well as being able to "imagine a better world, characterized byb relationships of respect and equality" (127).

One idea that tripped me up, and I'm not entirely sure that this was Christensen's intent, is that I don't want to feel bad that I liked the story of Cinderella or Snow White as a little girl. I understand and agree with Christensen that these stories portray unrealistic fantasies, but is it necessarily bad to have liked them as a child? I'm not sure.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

When I was thirteen...

This was a strange year in my life. I had just made a huge transition from the world that is private school into the great unknown of public school culture. I had to make this transition in the middle of the school as my family and I found out that the school/church we were attending was full of corruption (stealing our money and such!). Luckily for me I began to make friends at my new school with relative ease. Being new in school is not the easiest of tasks, especially when in middle school. The friendships that I formed in those first few months have lasted years and years, and for that I am grateful.

When I was 13 I still loved N*SYNC. At this point in my life that statement just makes me laugh, but I wouldn't trade those teeny-bopper days for anything. My friends were my life. I lived for week long sleepovers in summer coupled with all night talk sessions about boys and other silly things. Eighth grade was a fun year as we were the head of the school and thought were we sooo cool. Reality check, we weren't at all. And oh the life lessons that come after being such a young thirteen.