Trouble Brewing

In 1984 the drinking age in the United States was raised from 18 to 21, in an attempt to decrease traffic accidents caused by drunk driving. This law is responsible for creating a dangerous culture of irresponsible and reckless behavior. Lowering the drinking age shouldn’t have been all that was done to decrease traffic accidents. Under the constant surveillance of the law the multiple people that are underage are drinking. They drink behind closed doors, and don’t necessarily drink healthy amounts of it. In a lot of cases they drink as much as they can, and as fast as they can.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a study they did in 2010 on drug use and health showed that “Drunk driving is the highest among 21 to 25 year olds.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “In the United States, the number of drunk driving has been cut in half since the 1980s.” Which is great , however, this law has not been successful in protecting minors from drinking alcohol and has instead presented a greater issue. Under age drinking happens regularly in places like college campuses and it can not be controlled. Increasing the legal drinking age has caused minors to drink to behind closed doors, where in many cases unsupervised and excessive binge drinking occurs.  

Other countries have lower drinking ages. Health Research Funding compares the United States to and drunk driving incidents to other countries. “In many countries around the world, the legal drinking age is already 18. These countries have seen a greater reduction of drunken driving accidents than the United States, where the legal age is 21.” The United States could have gone about the issue the wrong way, America could educate youth on the dangers of alcohol and repercussions of it. An education of how alcohol affects the body and the mind.

Morris E. Chafetz, MD, Founder of the National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) stated in a Huffington post article “We see a serious problem of reckless, goal-oriented, drinking to get drunk. Those at whom the law is directed disobey it routinely. Enforcement usually forces the behavior deeper underground, ….But so long as the age remains a one-size-fits-all, federally-mandated 21...hopes of reversing the dismal trend of binge-drinking that has become more serious in the years since the drinking age was raised... nothing is likely to change for the better." Many people like Morris Chafetz agree that if this issue isn't handled, it will begin to affect more people. The age being raised didn’t solve a problem, it just created another one. Other states and Universities have seen the effects of alcohol and how behavior has changed. Isn’t it time America do something about it?

The legal drinking age doesn’t completely address the root of the problem. Yes, the law does prevent people 18 and younger (to some extent) from getting behind the wheel in intoxication, but this law didn’t exactly stop the problem of drunk driving. It is not a coincidence that when the drinking age was 18 in the 1980 drunk driving incidents were with drivers 18 through 20. And now that the drinking age is at 21 the problem is with people around the ages 21 through 25. The problem isn’t only the age people start drinking, but it is the way people are taught to handle themselves before and afterwards.

People are limited in the education of alcoholic beverages and how it affects them. The focus should be on how people drink alcohol. not just what happens after they get behind the wheel.  Having a formal and mandatory education of alcohol in a school/college/university setting will help to learn exactly what can come with drinking alcohol and the risks that come with it so that people can learn how alcohol affects the body and the mind. Hopefully with the education and  knowing how it affects the body, people will take a more cautious manner to approaching alcohol.    

Works Cited:

"Impaired Driving: Get the Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 May 2015. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

"Pros and Cons of Lowering the Drinking Age - RFnd." HRFnd. 6 Dec. 2013. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

"Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered from 21 to a Younger Age? - Minimum Legal Drinking Age -" ProConorg Headlines. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Chafetz, Morris. "The 21-Year-Old Drinking Age: I Voted for It; It Doesn't Work." The Huffington Post. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Cultural Appropriation in the Media

Cultural appropriation is when people borrow practices and appearances that belong to a separate culture and use them as their own for the sake of fashion and trend. To many people this seems an innocent or superficial practice, like white women wearing Bindis at Coachella or cornrows at the beach. But, more specifically, it is when a dominant culture borrows from a systematically oppressed culture. America has turned a blind eye to the problem, going so far as to poke fun at certain outlets that describe the real, pressing issues behind it. Even those who do not support the practice are often confused by why it is shown in such a negative light by these outlets. Ultimately, the practice of cultural appropriation damages said appropriated culture in ways unseen by the larger American population.

For clarification, cultural appropriation is not the same as assimilation or cultural exchange, because the power imbalance is very different between these three examples. Assimilation is when people from the systematically oppressed culture adopt parts of the dominant culture in order to fit in within that dominant culture. Cultural exchange is when cultures on the same level mutually share their practices and appearances. Neither of these are the same as cultural appropriation because in assimilation, it is a survival tactic, and in cultural exchange, the cultural power balance is equal.

Cultural appropriation spreads misinformation about the culture that it is appropriating in the first place. Many people who support or defend cultural appropriation believe that it is supposed to help the dominant culture learn, but that is not the case. One example that expands on this from modern culture is the story of Pocahontas. In the American Disney movie, this woman is a strong, yet kind girl in a Native American tribe that is approached by an Englishman and eventually falls in love with him. Pocahontas’ real name was Motoaka, and her story is much more grim than many Americans would suspect. She was abducted as a teen on a ship to Jamestown, given to an Englishman, Christened Rebecca, and used as a racist propaganda tool before she died at 21. The culture that Moataka belonged to represented years of diverse culture and important history, but in a sense it seems apparent that the racist propaganda she was subjected to never quite ended. This is because most of the stories that we hear of Pocahontas depict the land as savages, passive, or nonexistent, not to mention an entirely sugarcoated depiction of the real event. Because the dominant culture never represents the real stories of subjugated cultures in popular media, the American population never recognizes that the stories are trivializing and rampant with appropriation to make the dominant culture more comfortable with the gruesome story.  

In the United States, The dominant culture when speaking about cultural appropriation is white people, and one of the largest problems with their appropriation is the fact that when these white people wear or do something that belongs to another culture, it is seen as trendy, hip, or even progressive and inclusive. But when people of color, especially those that belong to the particular culture, do the same thing, they are seen as ‘too ethnic’ and ‘stuck in the past’. This double standard pressures black women to conform especially. When Zendaya wore faux locs at the 2015 Oscars, Fashion Police host and E! red carpet host Giuliana Rancic commented that she “feels like she smells like patchouli oil or weed”. But when Kylie Jenner wore the same faux locs in an a cover story photo shoot in Teen Vogue, attempting a “desert rebel” look, she is praised and described as raw, groundbreaking, fresh, and edgy. Zendaya responded, saying: “There is already harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of others who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair. [I wanted to] showcase [locs] in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough.” Not to mention its repercussions outside of praise or insult. In March 2014, AR 670-1 was released by the U.S. Army, a list of policies for the appearance of the soldiers. This list banned braids, locks, and twists with a diameter of a quarter of an inch. It also slandered unauthorized hairstyles by calling them unkempt and matted. The message this sends to the appropriated black community is that black women who wear their hair naturally in styles such as locs are not deserving of praise, acceptance, or even respect in the eyes of white people. It enforces the harmful lie that black natural beauty is not appealing to the general white, American population, and is only attractive when worn by white women. This message is not only being sent to adults struggling to find jobs, but children struggling to find confidence.

Not only does this practice of accepting cultural appropriation miseducate the majority population, it trivializes violence and oppression. The NFL team, the Washington Redsk*ns, have been criticized for the name, but the terms have been largely defended by its fans and owners. The argument is made that the name “keeps to tradition”, and “honors Indians”. It has been taken even further by telling the Indigenous activist groups that have called them out on the name’s racial connotations that they are “being too sensitive”. But for Native people, redsk*n means a barbaric colonialist practice in which governments would brutally scalp and murder Native Americans and use their “redsk*ns”, or scalps as proof of their kill. When violence targets one specific section of people through genocide, the trauma will last throughout subsequent generations. Therefore, it makes said trauma seem ridiculous, funny, and even playful when using it carelessly in everyday life. Media reinforces this by upholding and encouraging these false stereotypes and misinforming the general public.

Cultural appropriation is one of the most widespread issues within white, American fashion today, and deserves ample recognition and rectification. Yet we, as a nation still dismiss it as trivial. Education is the first step to showing exactly how many problems this phenomenon causes for minorities in America. This is especially true for those whose ethnic features and traditions are thought beautiful, but their actual well-being not as much. Not only this, but people of color as constantly seen through the lense of these stereotypes that cultural appropriation perpetuates and popularizes. As a result, it creates barriers of disrespect and dismission within the real world.

Works Cited:

  1. United States. National Park Service. "Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend."National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, 04 Oct. 2015. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

  1. "Despite The Natural Hair Movement, Black Women Still Face Pressure To Conform." Despite The Natural Hair Movement, Black Women Still Face Pressure To Conform. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

  1. "Zendaya Rips E! Red Carpet Host Giuliana Rancic for 'Ignorant' Dreadlocks Comment." TheWrap. N.p., 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

  1. "Kylie Jenner Rocks Dreadlocks On Instagram." StyleBlazer. N.p., 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

Different Tones of The Loner

“Can you just stop acting white. You’re AFRICAN,”, said most of my fourth grade classmates, in some kind of variation.

I was born in December of 1999, in Sierra Leone. Before I learned any english at all  I was taught how to say things like “ah wan go to me mama”( I want to go to my mom) in Krio. At home, different languages swirled like the oily twists my mom used to whip my hair into.  My dad, could speak his native tribal language Madinka, and my mom could speak her native tribal language, Foola, The uniting source for us, and the language spoken by 94% of Sierra Leoneans, was Krio, broken English with added spice and cultural flavors any native speakers could recognize.  

I could be found bouncing off the walls at home and embracing Krio like my own sister in the tiny house we first lived in in Freetown. Communicating with my parents filled me with so much joy and love for the language because I could tell them that I loved them and share every simple thought as though it was some new, wild discovery. I could understand the lessons they taught me and shared the happiest moments. Even at a young age, I knew Krio was not just a string of words I would express to speak to my family members, but instead a hereditary stamp that showcased the blood running through my veins were that of my parents and no one else's.

In 2002, my parents and I first visited Philadelphia, to visit my mother’s family members who has recently migrated to the Promised Land. The words that freely ran out of my mouth were cemented at the back off my throat, as my vision became blurred with countless unrecognizable faces and places. They not only spoke words that were foreign melodies to me but their words left their mouths in strange ways. I searched for the loving melodies that were always hidden under my mother’s tongue, but instead was met with Ts that sounded too much like Ds and idiosyncratic underlying tunes to the words pronounced by the Americans I encountered. Although, the difference in speech between I and non-Sierra Leoneans seemed frustrating at most, it actually became a safety hazard.

 I can vividly remember the day I was lost in the mall, away from my mother, who I could connect with the most.  It was a warm summer morning and my aunt decided to take out the family for some shopping at the Franklin Mills Mall. It took about a half an hour to drive to the mall, and when we got to the mall I was dumbfounded. It was my the very first American mall we visited and it was larger than any building I saw back in Sierra Leone. Within twenty minutes time, I was disconnected from my mom, and my empty palm missed the warmth of her grip. As I peered around the huge mall frightened, I began to cry. The salty tears made paths down my puffy cheeks and I could see no way out of my situation. I began to look for  West African kente prints, but then remembered that my mom was dressed like everyone else that day, clothed in a t-shirt and  pair of jeans, immersed so quickly in American culture.  Thankfully, It was not too long before a kind, old white woman took a hold of my hand and started rubbing my back.

“Oh dear, are you lost? ,” she most likely asked.In the present moment, however,  her voice was tin foil rubbing against my ears and I could  not begin to understand what she was saying to me.  She also scared me at first. She was not even a black American, but a white American, as far removed as I was, I remember thinking. Nevertheless, I tried to communicate with her, but my thickly coated accent and tongue peppered with Krio jargon strengthened the obvious language barrier between us. Before I knew it, she was leading me to a counter, where a woman in a uniform spoke into a microphone that echoed loudly throughout the mall. I began to cry more. All I  could think of were the moments before I was disjointed from the woman I trusted the most. Fortunately, I was reunited with my mom shortly after, who explained to me, in familiar Krio, that the women helped her find me.

After spending a couple of months vacationing in Philadelphia, my brain’s youthful plasticity allowed me to adopt some english vocabulary. Despite the fact that I only picked up on a handful of phrases and words, it made the world of a difference when I returned to Freetown, after the visit culminated. My favorite aunt Nata acted as if I was a new person, often teasing me about how she could not even understand my words anymore. However, I knew she really could not. For instance, when I would ask for soda, she would tell me that I could not possibly drink soap detergent. I forgot that in Sierra Leone, we called soda “sove drink”. She would then dismiss me and it became a daily pattern of misunderstanding between the two of us. I was startled when I realized my own family could not understand me one hundred percent, like they used to.

In 2005, I finally moved to Seattle Washington, where I felt thrown in a majority white elementary school, Panther Lake Elementary. I had retained my accent again in Sierra Leone and forgot most of the english I had learned during my visit to Philadelphia. English as a Second Language program became a safe haven to me, where my kind teachers, who truly cared about my success in the kindergarten class, taught me English. They would show me bright pictures and enunciate the words that corresponded with them. I always felt a rush of excitement when I headed home and told my parents the new things I learned. The teachers and my friends at school taught me English, and in turn, I taught my parents. After a couple of years, I spoke flawlessly and like any of my native born friend in Seattle. Just when I believed that I sort of belonged, I was again uprooted and placed in a society that I would have to again addapt to.

The move from Seattle to Philadelphia, a city with far more African-Americans, seemed like a promising change.  I concluded that it would be impossible to be racially targeted since the school I would be transferring to was full of black students. Boy, was I wrong! I was called a white-girl, an Oreo, and was impersonated by my fellow black classmates who strung a line of “like’s at the end of every sentence to imitate my speech. “Why do you sound like a white person?” almost everyone in my 4th grade classroom asked me. I was made fun of for “not being black enough”, as if my skin color did not ensure my ethnicity alone, but the way I spoke and the music I listened to were the deciding factors.  It was frustrating as I began to resent the very same people of my own race, for not accepting me with arms wide open.  I still had melanin lacing my genetic framework, yet I still needed to listen to rap music, have a Philly slang, and qualify for all the other “I am balck” credentials in place. Because I acted differently from my friends, who haved lived in Philadelphia since they were born, I was strung down to the bottom of the social ladder, ignored and ostracized because of something I could not help. Those who held power and influence in 4th grade, are the ones who had ideal “‘black” accents, and were also the ones who were light-skin. Every time I tried to explain to my peers that I lived and went to school somewhere very different, but it never changed their opinions of me.

Most kids grow up with children just like them. For me, it was a completely different case. When I moved from West Africa to Seattle, Washington, I felt as if I got uprooted from everything I loved: The freedom of being completely unaware of differences (everyone I knew looked the same in Freetown) and the loyal friends I had shared many adventures with. I was then thrown into an environment where I felt like a single black drop of paint in a bucket full with rich, white paint, filled to the brim, and nearly overflowing.  Before I knew it, I was attending a school that was majority white, and finding a way to adapt. Naturally,  as my native krio tongue made room for English, I began sounding like my peers. In fact, my aunts and uncles calling from back home, Sierra Leone, would tease about not being able to even understand my krio at all now. That was loving teasing, not malignant teasing. The verbal abuse came when I moved to Philadelphia in 2009. I was a sort of riddle to my classmates; I looked “African” (darker than my other peers) but talked in a “white way”(high pitched, california-girl, type of accent). I tried to understand why something as superficial as accent made any difference in the way I connected to my peers, however it was beyond my 4th grade self.  

I then became very frustrated. I was discriminated against in Seattle for being black, which was
biologically borne, and my move to Philadelphia, inspired me to be discriminated for being African,. but sounding white, in a school full of black students! 

           "I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." Liesel states in the novel The Book thief. Enduring the pains of growing up during Hitler's dictatorship, Liesel becomes hopeless of the written word, seeing Hitler's propaganda and words as the root of her suffering. She turns to books to comfort her as she lived through the painful times, and realizes languages can be both a source both of misery and solace. I relate to Liesel in this sense because I realize that although I have struggled with adapting to different types of languages in different settings, I knew I could always turn to the beautiful language in books to comfort me during hard times.  Language is the most powerful tool the human species contains, however, most tools can be manipulated to inflict harm on others.  I used to be very self conscious of how I sounded, and what was escaping through my teeth, but now I realize that I can use my experiences with language for positivity, instead of using my bottled-up anger from being ostracized for negativity. Language has too much power to be fueled with hatred and malice.

​Medical Madness: Why is healthcare so expensive?

    Many are aware of how expensive healthcare is although,  most don't know the reason why it is expensive. According to National Nurses United, Since 1996, health care costs have been on the slow, but steady rise. Hospitals charge patients more than is necessary, for absolutely no reason other than the promised extra profit. This causes patients to pay a price, that takes a big chunk of money out of their pockets. Price gouging in the healthcare industry should be illegal, because of the constraints placed upon different social classes on what quality of health care they can purchase.

    Price gouging is not new. This is the act of raising the price of some product, making it far more expensive than is necessary to pay back the price of manufacturing. In the healthcare industry, that is happening because there are no laws to restrict the industry from charging above the national healthcare average. The top 100 most expensive hospitals charge more than the national “cost ratio” which is 331%.  “14 U.S. hospitals charge more than $1,000 for every $100 of their total costs (a charge to cost ratio of 1,000 percent) topped by Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus, NJ which has a charge to cost ratio of 1,192 percent.The 100 most expensive U.S. hospitals have a charge to cost ratio of 765 percent and higher – more than double the national average of 331 percent.” What that means is that the hospital sees the flat cost of the service they provided, then inflate it so they can up their profit. This hurts consumers because they are paying more than what they should hospital services. Hospitals are not the only ones in the healthcare industry to do this though.


    Alongside the healthcare industry is the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry is worth a whopping $300 billion a year. Most of that money comes from price gouging prescription medications. One drug that has been scrutinized time and time again, is the Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi. The pharmaceutical company Gilead priced one pill of Sovaldi at $1,000, making it $84,000 for a 12 week treatment course. The reason for this price hike was that the company wanted to make it as expensive as other competing Hepatitis C drugs. This version of price gouging is slightly different from the one that is happening to the drug Daraprim. Daraprim is a drug that is used to treat toxoplasmosis in HIV/AIDS patients. Toxoplasmosis is a disease that spirals from an infection from the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. This disease has flu-like symptoms, which may not harm a healthy person, but someone with a weakened immune system may develop severe symptoms.  Before this year, Daraprim used to cost $13.50 per pill, making it extremely affordable. Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, has recently raised the price from $13.50 per pill to $750.  That being said, Daraprim consumers now have to pay $750 dollars for a pill that should cost no more that $14.  

    With Obamacare enacted, it would seem as if people would have easier access to affordable healthcare. That is not the case. According to CNN Money, many insurance companies want to raise their rates of plans. “In Florida, for instance, United Healthcare (UNH (Links to an external site.)) wants to raise the rates of plans sold on the Obamacare exchange by an average of 18%. Individual policies available outside the exchange through United Healthcare or through a broker would go up by 31%, on average, with hikes as high as 60% for certain plans in certain locations.” If this plan actually goes through, consumers may have to pay more just to be insured. The reason for this is because when Obamacare went through, insurers had no idea how many people would actually use their services. They now have a clear idea on who is using their services, and now want to hike up their prices due to the high demand of basic health care.

     In the Affordable Care Act, it shows restrictions on “excessive pricing” in hospitals. It is only applicable in hospitals that are non-profit and only available for those who have poverty level incomes. Even with this in place, hospitals tend to ignore it because there is no one enforcing rules against price gouging. "For the most part, there is no regulation of hospital rates and there are no market forces that force hospitals to lower their rates. They charge these prices simply because they can” says Gerard F. Anderson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Without anyone enforcing laws against price gouging, hospitals and pharmaceutical industries can continue charging people however much they want. This will endlessly cause a financial strain on the lower and middle class, but hospitals simply do not care. They only seem to care about the profit they make from struggling payers.

    To conclude, price gouging is a serious issue that affects everyone around the nation, especially those in the lower and middle classes. In light of many years of being stuck with high prices, the media is starting to call more attention to medical price gouging. News outlets like the New York Times and CNN have written about the excessive prices that medical industries are charging. Many wealthy people may not pay attention to price gouging because it probably does not affect them as much as those of lower classes; they should pay attention though because they are being robbed of their money just like the lower classes. Once prices get too high, there will be many who won’t be able to afford healthcare services anymore, thus causing them to suffer if they needed medical assistance. If more people were to stop and think about it, they would realize that inflation in medical bills is just not about paying off hospital services, but about industry greed as well.

Works Cited: (Links to an external site.)


Crusade, The Health Care. STOP MEDICAL PRICE-GOUGING NOW! (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <>.


"Health Care Price-Gouging in the U.S." Health Care Price-Gouging in the U.S. Daily Kos, n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <>.


Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Some hospitals in United States marking up prices more than 1,000 percent." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2015. <>.


Luhby, Tamy. "Obamacare Sticker Shock: Big Rate Hikes Proposed for 2016." CNN Money. CNN, 2 June 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <>.


McDermid, Riley. "Gilead (GILD) Agrees to a Discounted Price of $46,000 for Sovaldi in Europe." Gilead Agrees to a Discounted Price of 46000 for Sovaldi in Europe. N.p., 13 Feb. 2015. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <>.


Nader, Ralph. "Medical Price Gouging and Waste Are Skyrocketing." The Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 09 Oct. 2015. <>.


"Press Releases." New Data – Some Hospitals Set Charges at 10 Times Their Costs. NNU, 6 Jan. 2015. Web. 09 Oct. 2015. <>.


Rosenbaum, Sarah. "Tax-Exempt Status For Nonprofit Hospitals Under The ACA: Where Are The Final Treasury/IRS Rules?" Health Affairs Blog. Project Hope, 23 Oct. 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2015. <>.



In this version I changed some of my spelling mistakes, but I also took away some of the bias I had within  the essay. I also changed the way I ended paragraphs with statistics, so I added more analysis at the end of my paragraphs. I also changed my conclusion, I didn't tie together my thesis in the last version, so I tried to in this version.

Asian Invasion

“Hey what’s your name?”



“No Sar, as in Sir, and ith as in eef.”

“Oohh, so Sairith!”

“Yeah, sure.”

Many have pronounced my name wrong from elementary school to middleschool. I’m usually called Alex at home around my neighborhood, but when I went to elementary, my dad had said my name was “Sarith.” I never knew about that. My dad never told me my first name, before and after, I just lived with it.

I have a lisp, and it affects the way I say my name. I sometimes pronounce my own name as “Shirith”, or “shireeth”, but I was able to take my time and fix it. I was sometimes afraid to talk since I had a lisp.

“Hey my name is Sarith”

“Hey shirift”


“Ohhh, sorry”

“It’s fine, happens all the time”

I was talking to a friend that I still am in contact today, although he doesn’t call me Sarith anymore, he calls me Chewy or Alex. I got the name Chewy from 5th grade. My math teacher was saying the names of the students, and when she got to mine, instead of saying Chuon which is pronounced Chu like “chu chu!” and on like turning something on, she said Chewy. After a week, everyone in my school called me Chewy. I was fine with that, as it made me more popular.I was even the favorite student in the school. My principal and Vice-Principal told me I was going to get an award for “Favorite Student”, but it shut down before I even graduated from 8th grade. Back to the story, I sometimes don’t care how I speak, but if I speak too fast, I don't even know what I'm saying. So I just take a deep breath and say it over again. I remember I used to get picked on for talking weird.

“Ahhhhhahahahaah, you speak with your tongue!”

“Aren’t you suppose to speak with your tongue?”

“You use your tongue on every word, you sound like you have a lot of saliva in your mouth.”

At that time, I was only in 6th grade, and I started to wonder how I spoke. I went on my computer and used a microphone I had and spoke, and listened to how I sounded. I noticed how weird I sounded. For some odd reason, when I speak regularly, I can hear myself speaking just as fine as everyone else. However, when I hear through a recording, I can definitely hear the lisp.

I always wanted an intimidating voice, like a deep voice or a voice that can tell someone not to mess with this guy. I’ve known people who have voices that can be easily identified. I mean, I can easily pick on the easy things about the person just through their voice. Sometimes they can be shy, with a rocky voice, or someone who tries to not be shy by trying to force their voice to be louder. I’ve noticed that our President, Barack Obama, has an interesting voice. His voice seems as though he’s intelligent, and knows what he’s doing. Some people can get jobs easily with voices. Let's say you have a really squeaky voice, and I mean a REALLY squeaky voice. There are jobs where they’ll just ask you questions, but know that they’ll decline you right after the interview (if there is one). Although, if you have a deep voice the chance will probably increase by a few percent maybe 2-5% because some jobs probably have “rude customers/clients” and if you have a deep voice, high chance they don’t want to mess with you. Therefore, wishing myself to have an intimidating voice.

Around now, I just don’t really know about how I speak. I also develop some new slangs such as “Mein, Mang (made those 2 up myself), Noodle, etc…” I never really use slangs much because I think they’re stupid, but I still tend to use them like “Jawn.” I sometimes use the word without knowing, probably from living in philly. From all the people who judged me from the way I speak, I just don’t care. I mean everyone talks differently but I honestly don’t care of the way I speak. It’s true that I want to try to speak so you won’t hear any lisp, but if I can’t, then that’s that. I can’t help it, it’s the way I speak.

I also remembered how I stutter sometimes when talking or ordering something. I don’t know why but I always feel pressured when ordering something. When I’m pressured, my voice is shaky, and I stutter a lot. When I speak, I sometimes try to listen to myself and see if i’m stuttering, check if my voice is shaky, or if I am speaking with a lisp. I always try to see if I’m talking in these ways but remember, I still try to not care about it. I always wondered if there was a way to clear a lisp, but I never decide to research about it or anything. I’ve heard that braces can help you speak more “normal” or speak without a lisp but I never asked my dentist about that. Maybe in the future I’ll ACTUALLY try to clear my lisp, and not be pressured trying to order something or have a shaky voice.

Why Should Vaccines Be Mandatory?(Revision 2nd 2Fer)

By: Guy Peart

A vaccine is given to people to develop anti-bodies to provide immunity from diseases. A reason to why someone would want to do this, is to prevent the spread of diseases, but should people have a choice about getting a vaccination? Many people believe that vaccines should be mandatory, arguing that the safety of the general population trumps any other concern. However, this mindset discounts the population who have deep investment in their religion and beliefs. These reasons are not excuses, they are valid. Vaccines should be optional because the religious and personal beliefs of citizens are more important than public safety.

There are many ways that people can avoid vaccinations, some reasons being more serious than others. One is religion. Religious Americans are often exempt from vaccines, which raise the public eye. Mississippi and West Virginia allow parents to skip vaccinations for non-medical reasons. Some states offer a “personal belief” exemption from vaccination and the option of a “religious exemption.” (Some states have both.)( are many religious beliefs that hold many people from receiving vaccinations.  So whether having the option, or religious belief, people have found ways to avoid vaccines, even if it is not medically endorsed. Americans should have the choice if they want to receive a vaccination or not, plus religion to many people is key. If religious people don’t want vaccinations due to their beliefs, than those people should not have to take vaccinations, even if it is a concern to the public. This is important because the United States of America was founded on the idea of freedom, religious freedom. If people cannot practice their religion uninterrupted, than that is violating what the United States was destined to be.

If the disease isn’t much of a threat and the vaccine could cause serious diseases that make not getting the vaccine even worth it in the first place. “Opponents say that children’s immune systems can deal with most infections naturally, and that injecting questionable vaccine ingredients into a child may cause side effects, including seizures, paralysis, and death.   Vaccines have been proven to save millions of lives and prevent quarantines, but they are not always necessary to use. Every time that a child receives a vaccine there is a chance with some children that could potentially,cause serious harm. If the vaccine is not professionally recommended, than it is not really worth the chance of a seizure, autism, or worse. According to Sarah from thehealthyhomeeconomist, there are many harmful chemicals in vaccines

Vaccines are created to save lives, prevent the spread of diseases, and even build permanent immunity from that set of diseases. According to the leading source of controversial issues,, “Proponents say that vaccination is safe and one of the greatest health developments of the 20th century. They point out that illnesses, including rubella, diphtheria, smallpox, polio, and whooping cough, are now prevented by vaccination and millions of children’s lives are saved.” After all, vaccinations have been around for centuries. According to the CDC, 732,000 American children were saved from death and 322 million cases of childhood illnesses were prevented between 1994 and 2014 due to vaccination. There have also been cases where an absence of vaccinations negatively affected the community. states that around Los Angeles, more than 60% of pre-schoolers are unvaccinated, giving the area a vaccination rate comparable to the South Sudan. California recorded more than 60 cases of measles last year, and has 79 just in the first month of this year. Vaccines have an important effect on the country, and have saved over a million children alone. Even though it should be the consumer's choice to get the vaccination, there are definite benefits to getting a vaccination, and it can save anyone's life. When a vaccination is recommended, using it could be a crucial decision, but people’s personal beliefs should be their priority.

Vaccines should be considered for all children that attend public institutions, but not required. Vaccines can save lives, but are not always necessary. People should have the choice to get vaccinations, because of religious and philosophical beliefs. In a few rare cases vaccines have lead to seizures, death, and believed to develop autism. If not completely recommended by a doctor, and a family does not want to participate, then they should also have the option to opt to exemption from vaccines because of the possible side-effects.


1.)"Should Any Vaccines Be Required for Children?", 10 June 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. <>.

2.)"Should Childhood Immunization Be Optional?", 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015. <>.

3.)Krule, Miriam. "Why Is There a Religious Exemption for Vaccines?" Slate. The Slate Group, 5 Feb. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2015. <>.

4.)"Six Reasons to Say NO to Vaccinations." The Healthy Home Economist. Austus Media, 2015. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. <>

Native Tongue

You pay a price growing up in the states. Word by word, it rolls off of your tongue and is replaced by unfamiliar English vocabulary. You don’t really care at first because your ignorant six year old brain is mesmerized by the foreign country, people, school, friends, and language. And then, people begin to ask, what makes you who you are. So you start asking yourself this very question. By now, you have begun to observe your surroundings and inquire what influences your identity. The first things that pop into your head are the most obvious: where you were born, the language your family speaks, the food you eat, and the traditions or rituals your family has. This all connects back to your roots and culture.

I was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I currently reside halfway across the world in Philadelphia. I immigrated to America when I was six years old. Coming here, I only knew how to speak Khmer, my native language. I enrolled into first grade at a school with a great English as a Second Language (ESL) program. There were many others like me who were still learning to speak English, so I don’t remember ever being called out for it. The teachers were wonderful and patient. It wasn’t long before my English improved drastically. Within roughly one year, I was already fluent in the language. I remember receiving the most medals in the second grade. You probably would think that I still carry a Southeast-Asian accent, but since I was taught English at such an early age, the distinct accent never stuck with me like it did to my parents. Even now, they are only able to speak broken English.

It was at this time that I started bringing the language home. I started using it more and more often with my two older siblings because it grew awkward to speak to each other in our own language. I think the reason for this was because many of the words are more polite and respectful in our language. For example, in English, I can address myself as I and I can address someone else as you. However, that would not be the same in Khmer because we would have to address someone based on their age to show respect to the elders and other factors like their relationship to you or if they have married. Before I knew it, I was communicating with my parents in English. Surely, they did not understand what I said most of the time.

“[Why are you home so late?]” my mom questioned as I shut the door behind me. “I volunteered to help with decorating for the Valentine’s Dance,” I replied completely in English. “[Where did you go?]” my mom inquired. I let out a brief sigh and mumbled, “Nevermind.” She clearly didn’t understand what I had just said. Obviously, I was at school decorating. Then, for the billionth time, I fled upstairs to my room.

I used to wish for my parents to know how to speak English like all the other parents. Having to repeat myself in Khmer, fill out paperwork, make phone calls, translate, spell out words, and read mail for them on a daily basis is such a pain. I would always scowl when being asked to complete one of those tasks. Noticing my facial expression, my dad would usually say, “[If I knew how to do it, I would do it myself, I wouldn’t be asking you to do it for me.]”

Inevitably, I grew up since then and have matured. My school takes pride in students’ cultures which explains their name: Folk Arts Cuktural Treasures Charter School. We had many electives and ensembles that teaches dance and music from all over the world which made me gradually realize how important my language and culture is to me.

“It is embarrassing that I don’t know how to speak English. Other people look down on that, but what can I do. It’s too late for me to go to school and I have to go to work to take care of you kids. I choose to speak Khmer at home, so that you kids won’t forget our language. All of these other kids come to this country and they forget where they come from. They don’t see until its too late that being able to speak another language or follow different traditions makes them special. “

What Does "White" Sound Like?

I had just gotten home and my mom's friends were over our house (for some reason). “Aww there she is! She's grown up so much, like a parking lot weed. How have you been sweetheart?” “I've been fine, thank you. How are you?”  “Oh my goodness! You sound like a white girl, so proper.”   “Thank you!” I automatically knew what it meant when adults told me that; It was a compliment. I had always spoken that way, but when I was around my friends, I would use more slang. My friends never told me that I spoke “white”.

Just like James Baldwin wrote “ A Frenchman living in Paris speaks [a] different language from that of a man living in Marseille; neither sounds very much like a man living in Quebec; and they would [struggle to understand] what the man from Guadeloupe,or Martinique, is saying... although the common language of all these areas is French...each has paid, and is paying, a different price for this common language…” We are all speaking English, but sometimes I will speak “Black English” to get across better with some people in my family. Just so things come off smoother and there don't have to be any break in conversation about how different I sound.

“Did you have fun at the party?” My grandma would ask. “ Yeah! The food was great and there was a lot of dancing. I heard she was having another party soon.” I would say. But if my brother asked me, I would say, “It was lit. There's another one in two weeks and squads gonna be there. But before we go I need to get a jawn, ok?”. Jawn could mean anything, but he’d know exactly what I was walking about.

Language differs from where you are. If you are in Philadelphia, people will know what you're saying if you say hoagie, but in other places you need to say grinder or sub. The right lingo or translation for different words and meanings can be an entirely different things in the areas you are in. When people come to Philadelphia with a different accent, they seem funny to us but really we’re the ones who sound weird to them.

When I'm with my family, I hear different parts of the city in their accents because my family is so spread out. They are not from different states or countries, but they do speak more “proper” than my parents and I do. Since I'm around them a lot I actually know when to switch my accent and or slang. I sometimes don't know how, but I just do it automatically now when speaking.

From an accent, you can identity where they are from, who you live with, your neighborhood, and your community. White Americans and Black Americans in the same neighborhood can have different words because of where their family came from. My family came from Georgia mostly, but an Irish-American family next door could speak and entirely different variation of English. Their traditions at home can also be totally different from mine. Language relates with culture so it's different for everyone.

Words and phrases can be  stolen or switched around to mean something different to a dissimilar person or group of people. The word “jawn” could mean any noun. “Jawn” is a versatile word. For example: It's used to replace words like “store”, “girl”, or even “food” (“I went to the jawn to meet that jawn because she said she'd buy that jawn for me”.) And in different areas, our “jawn” is an entirely different word. It can be longer or shorter and that's just how communities work and how things are brought down by word of mouth or in text. They can also be interpreted differently depending on the person or people.

Words can be related to power as well. In some places in Africa the last letter “z” is “zed” because when the British came over, colonized, and took slaves, that's how they said the alphabet. Their oppressors made the language but they had to keep it to communicate and, therefore, survive (not in all places in Africa, but in some). I speak English and I speak different slang of the same language to thoroughly communicate with people of different groups, areas, and backgrounds. It makes it easier even though we could all speak the same language, it would take time and a lot of effort from here since everything we have is so developed now.

When messaging virtually, things are even shorter like “ttyl”, “brb”, and “omg”. When typing them, I read the full phrase. An entire phrase can be shortened to just a few words even though the meaning is still fully there. New slangs and new words show up every day and they are used by a certain group. But no one group is solid because people interchange and go from side to side to communicate with others as well so it spreads very quickly.

Language is not a conflict in my home because my mother and father taught me English (apart from school). We use standard English, nothing different because we (our families) are from America. Even though different accents can be used for different words, we don't know where they came from. Simply speaking annunciating words better is a sign of respect. Cutting words off in a very laid back way of speaking would be used formally with peers or younger people.

When I talk to my grandmother sometimes, she says things that I don't know of because they're not from my time. Simple words that she used to communicate with her friends and family aren't really in style now and I wouldn't use. But then again, there are things that I would say that she hasn't heard of and she wouldn't think is relevant (or that they don't make sense). Time really does change things along the way because things are altered by word of mouth most of the time.  When I grow up, the children of this generation now will have their own language, but things are already pretty simple as they are. We'll have to wait and see what's next.

Pope paper revised

The Pope's recent visit to America was covered extensively by the press, and was largely received as positive. He spoke on a variety of topics and issues, including the role of women in the Church, climate change, single mothers, immigrants and the plight of the less fortunate.  While there were crowds in Philadelphia to enjoy these messages, there were not as many people to share the experience as there could have and should have been.  Far fewer people witnessed the Pope's visit than originally predicted by Philadelphia’s Government and the World Meeting of Families. The low attendance is proof that Philadelphia’s government is incapable of planning a large scale events without discouraging people from coming.   

The City of Philadelphia initially expected up to 1.5 million people to come to the highlight of the Pope's visit, the Papal Mass.  Keith Still, a professor of crowd science at Manchester Metropolitan University, estimated that anywhere between 80,000 and 142,000 people came to the Papal Mass on Sunday, September 27. Still, made his estimates by analyzing photographs and assuming four people were in every cubic meter of space.  He then looked at how far the crowd stretched down the Ben Franklin Parkway.  In response to pressure from media regarding how many people came, Mayor Nutter stated, "It's not like a football game. This is not a situation where you evaluate success based on the score."  It is obvious that Philadelphia’s government is embarrassed by low attendance at the Papal Mass, as they have dodged all questions about it.  The road closings and the confusion over what public transit stations would be open caused people to avoid this incredible event.  The core of Philadelphia’s mass transit system was functioning far differently than normal.  Many stations on the Broad Street Line, Market Frankford Line and the Regional Rail Lines were closed. In order to get on Regional Rail System one needed to enter a lottery to buy a special pass.  In addition, multiple bridges and highways were closed going in and out of the city; thus, driving also became a difficult option.  Fewer people came to the Papal Mass because they did not want jump through hoops to get into downtown Philadelphia.    

The elderly are a significant part of the religious population in the United States.  The Pew Research Center has done multiple studies on this and is a leader in researching religious and political topics.  According to one of their studies, 53 percent of people 65 and older attend religious services at least once week.  However, only 33 percent of people between 18 and 29 attend services once per week.  This means that a large percentage of the Papal audience could have been the elderly. However, elderly people are often more challenged to walk than young people.  In spite of this, Mayor Michael Nutter said, “Philadelphians and visitors to the city for the World Meeting of Families and visit by Pope Francis should be prepared to walk for miles when the events take place.”  Many elderly people are not capable of walking miles.  Mayor Nutter scared the elderly away because they were worried about not being able complete this walk without injuring themselves. This shows that city government values young people more than the elderly.

Although the Pope’s visit may only seem important  to Catholics who were discouraged by the government from coming, it should in fact concern anyone who cares about Philadelphia.  The handling of the Pope's visit has already done damage to our reputation as a city capable of holding national scale events. Poor travel systems, lack of attention to the elderly’s needs and the excessive media hype tarnished our reputation.  If Philadelphia also mangles the upcoming Democratic National Convention, it will decimate the city’s reputation for holding national functions.    For the recent 785 million dollar investment for the renovation of Philadelphia’s Convention Center to be worthwhile, the city must be known as a prestigious place for national events. Philadelphia is one of the most prominent cities in America’s history and it needs to present itself that way on the national stage.  


"Religion Among the Millennials." Pew Research Centers Religion and Public Life. Pew Research Center, 16 Feb. 2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

Rhoads, Kelton. "Everyday Influence." Everyday Influence. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

"Map: Road Closures During the Pope's Visit." Map: Road Closures During the Pope's Visit. Philadelphia Media Network. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

"Map: Road Closures During the Pope's Visit." Map: Road Closures During the Pope's Visit. Philadelphia Media Network. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

Avril, Tom. "800,000 at Papal Mass? Better Count Again." Philadelphia Media Network, 30 Sept. 2015. Web. 8 Oct. 2015.

Sisak, Michael. "Philadelphia In A State Of Panic As Pope Visit Nears." Huffington Post., 1 Aug. 2015. Web. 7 Oct. 2015.

"Brecfix" for Champions

“ I’m so hungry “

“ Yea me too I didn’t have time the eat BRECFIX this morning because….”

“ You didn’t have time to eat what “?

“ Brecfix you know, morning time food”.

“ Oh you mean BREAKFAST”

“ Yea isn’t that what I said”.

“ Why do you say it like that “?

“ Say it like what?“

“ You sound so weird it’s breakfast like break-fast not brecfix you sound like you're from the south or something “

“ Brecfix ”

Everybody that was in a 5 feet radius of my conversation burst into laughter.

“ What is Brecfix “

“ She said Brec- Fix”

“ Like Brick and fix”

“ Hahahahahahaha”

                 I started laughing with them to hide my embarrassment. I didn’t understand why it was so funny. I had been saying breakfast the same way since I was a kid. This was in the 7th grade. I was 13 years old and until that day, I didn’t know I couldn’t say breakfast. The word had already been sprouted into the garden of my vocabulary and I didn’t know how to change it. When I got home that day I sat in the mirror for hours just trying to say breakfast. My mind knew that it was breakfast but my mouth kept saying brecfix. I felt so stupid and I was so frustrated with myself because I couldn't say a simple word. What really upset me is that no one ever told me I was saying it wrong. So how would you know when you're saying something wrong or strange? Especially when it sounds so normal to you.  When you’ve been saying something the same way for so long and someone corrects you, it feels like a slap in the face. Why do people think they have the right to correct you on the way you speak?  When a group of people say something the same way they become accustomed to it. It's their normal. But when someone comes and says it differently they look at them strangely. They laugh at and judge that person because they don’t speak like them.  I noticed that when people don’t understand something they try to put it down. These ideas of one language triumphing over another are ridiculous. Language is language, it's your interpretation of the definition of language that is different from everyone else’s. Everyone's definition is different. You're definition doesn't make you better than anyone or less than anyone it makes you who you are.

         Language is power. It's the power to judge someone. It's the power to understand someone. Our language is the most powerful thing we have. It's our language that lets us communicate with one another. People feel as though if they speak a certain language they have power over someone who doesn't speak that language. They make fun of that language because they don't know it. In the world that we live in being different is frowned upon. Anything that is not what people are used to is weird to them and they will laugh at it or joke about it. They don't understand that when they are laughing at the way someone speaks it is laughing at who they are. The way you speak is you is apart of you, it is you.

               I was laughed at because I couldn't say one word like everyone else. Imagine all the people who get laughed at who have accents or have a disability like a stutter and can't speak like everyone else. It hurts. You feel bad about who you are. You're language is your power. When someone puts down you're language they are taking away your power.  There is no perfect language to speak. Everyone goes somewhere outside of where they are from and doesn't understand the language or the slang. Where you are from influences you're language greatly. Once you step out of that zone you are lost, your language is lost.

            I tried to change who I was to get approval from others. That's what you do when you change your language you are talking away a part of yourself. I tried for months to say breakfast like everyone else. I practiced and practiced but I never got it right.

           One day I was sitting down eating at school. It wasn't breakfast, it was lunch time so nobody asked me to say brecfix or talked about how I said it. My friend Imani and I were making jokes and laughing like we always did at lunch and I started to talk to her about an assignment we had.

“ Did you finish your project for Mr. Jumpp’s class”?

“ No I didn't even start that yet”

“ You know it's due in like last week right?”

“ Yea but I don't know PACIFICALLY what I want my topic to yet”


“ You don't what”?

“ I don't know what..”.

“ No you said you don't know pacifically what you want to do yet”.

“ Yeah I don't know pacifically what I want my topic to be”.

“ Specifically”.

“ Huh”.

“ The word is pronounced spe-cif-ically”.

“ Oh Sp..Pa..Psssifically is that right”?

          This was coming from the same friend who corrected me for saying brecfix. She couldn't say specifically. She said pacific, like the Pacific Ocean. It was in that moment that I realized something important. People mispronounce words all the time. It’s apart of life. Than I started to think about it, and maybe we aren't mispronouncing words. Maybe we are just saying the word in our own language. Putting our power into a word to make it our own. Each word that we speak is different. We each have our own way of speaking. So this is my definition of language. Language is not just what you say or how you communicate with one another. It's so much more than that. Language is the power that we put into what we say. We put power into everything that we say.  That's how language and power coincide. Power runs through the river of language and language flows out of all of us. We all individually make our language. Nobody in the world can say every word “correctly” or knows every language. Sometimes we can’t say things “correctly” and that's okay because it’s how we say it.  

         I  still can not say breakfast "correctly" but now I don’t even try to say it. Breakfast is not in my language. Of course people still laugh when they hear me say brecfix but I’m okay with it now because I know that it’s my special word, it’s apart of my language. I eat brecfix in the morning and I am perfectly fine with that.

Islam on the Rise

Islam on the Rise

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. However, it is also still  hated and misunderstood by many, due to the radical or extremist perception the media portrays. Since 9/11, the media has been covering many stories about attacks, bombing, killing, etc that have Muslim involvement. The media shows a lot more negativity from one group, rather than the positivity. It is the general public’s interaction with the media, and not actual Muslims, that gives them their image or impression of what Islam is about and who Muslims are.

Islam is perceived by many to be a religion full of terrorists, due to the outbreak of attacks and killing done by ISIS, and other extremist groups. All the negativity shown in the media is what Americans see, and because of this false information, Americans develop a sense of fear or hatred towards Muslims. Bridge Georgetown is a community organization that writes Muslim-Christian understandings and settlements. One of their articles states, “According to data Media Tenor collected on “religious protagonists” in 2013 news stories, Christianity, Judaism and other religions receive considerably positive coverage in American news, while Islam receives virtually none. While mainstream religious leaders like Pope Francis were often the face of Catholicism in the media, fringe extremists like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became the face of Islam.” Pope Francis is well known, respected, and is positively portrayed in most media. The Dalai Lama, a religious leader in Buddhism, is also well known, respected, and portrayed well in the media. Yet, when Islam is shown in the media it is often associated with something nonpositive. The face of Islam is now well known through extremist like Abu Bakr or Osama Bin Laden. Even if Islam is a growing religion, it will still have a good number of people who are very ignorant about it.

An news article published by The Daily Beast, talks about other religious terrorist groups, such as the Buddhist terrorists who had killed many Muslims in Burma and Sri Lanka, yet it is not heard a lot about. People are more likely to be killed for other reasons, such as accidental death or injuries caused by children, then by Muslim terrorists. The last several years, there have been many terrorist attacks in the West. To many, they automatically think that it was the Muslims that did it, the extremists. Yet they do not know that many of the terrorist attacks were not linked to Muslims. Muslims are perceived as terrorist without valid reasonings and actual understanding behind the religion. An FBI report shows that there was only a small percentage of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 that were perpetrated by Muslims. Forty-two percent of terrorist attacks are done by Latinos and only 6 percent by Muslims. Most terrorist attacks shown by the media are by Muslims, but not about other religious groups. Most people do not know this because of the media, most terrorist attacks that happen in the U.S are not even done by Muslims. This comes to show how Islam is misunderstood by the people, majority of those in the west.

Islam is a fast growing religion, the numbers of new converts contribute to it’s growing pace, but not entirely. The Pew research center discussed about the growth of the religion Islam and what it is projected to be by 2050. “The main reasons for Islam’s growth ultimately involve simple demographics. To begin with, Muslims have more children than members of the seven major religious groups analyzed in the study.” The children in Muslim households are increasing in numbers compared to other households of other religions. Because Islam is not a religion that typically seeks converts,  there will still be a misunderstanding or fear that links to Islam and Muslims. There will be more numbers of Muslim in the coming years, due to estimated population growth, and as of today, there are about 1.6 billion Muslims, which makes up about 23% of the world’s population.

Although hatred towards Islam may seem important to Muslims. It should be in fact concern anyone who cares about rights and the freedom of religion everyone that everyone deserves. It is not just about the religion and Muslims, it is how people treat Muslims because of their religion yet still believing in freedom of religion. It’s important for a better understanding of this religion and the people and not just the stereotypes in society.

Work Cited

"The Fastest Growing Religion in the World Is ... -" CNN. Cable News Network. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <>.

"Why Muslims Are the World’s Fastest-growing Religious Group." Pew Research Center RSS. 23 Apr. 2015. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <>.

"Non-Muslims Carried Out More than 90% of All Terrorist Attacks in America." Global Research. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <>.

Obeidallah, Dean. The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <>.

Shadid, W., and P.S Van Koningsveld. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <>.

"Media Portrayals of Religion: Islam." Media Portrayals of Religion: Islam. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <>.

"The Fastest Growing Religion In America Is Islam." End Of The American Dream. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <>.

"New Study Analyzes Media Coverage of Islam Over Time - The Bridge Initiative | A Research Project on Islamophobia." The Bridge Initiative. 24 Apr. 2015. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <>.

The Different Tongues Within

“Yo hhablo es-pan-your."



“Noo español."




Let’s just say, pronunciation is the key to communication, and communication is dependent on language. So shouldn’t I be able to know a language and communicate perfectly to others? Maybe, but that’s usually never the case. Language is a group of words in a dialect where you either butcher every syllable or swiftly glide through it like a plane. There is no in between, no if’s, and's, or buts; you just do it.

"El car-row azul."





¨Forget it.¨

“Am I not saying it right?!”

“Roll your r’s!”

“I can’t.”

“Then, just stop.”

Either you say it correctly or you're like me, neglected because my r’s don’t roll off my tongue as perfectly as they are suppose to. People rejecting to respond to my sentences because the sounds don’t feel right against their ears. People judging my accent as if I should've had gotten it right the first time, but it wasn't that easy.

I remember, it was after my first Spanish one test, or should I say prueba. I was so happy that I got a good grade on it so I wanted to speak Spanish to every single Hispanic person I ever knew. I thought by my grade being high meant that I could speak fluent Spanish and understand it perfectly, but I was wrong. Elani Gonzalez- Ortiz; the first Spanish oriented person to walk pass.

“Hola, ¿cómo estás?”

“Muy bien, ¿y tú?”

“Muy bien.”

“kgfwuelagru ghruaggfk fhaiunfmsug.”

What had been a new birth of a language quickly turned into unknown jibberish. I wanted to ask, but I needed to figure this out. I was better than this; I KNEW SPANISH! I had gotten a ninety-five for a reason; and I was going to figure out what she was saying. It took me days, weeks, until I just gave up. Yup, that's exactly what I did, I gave up. I soon realized that Spanish wasn't for me; I was just another child denied by the world of Spanish and their foreigners. I accepted that role as a person, but for some particular reason somewhere in my heart still felt the need to be better than that. I felt, I wasn't going to be the test dummy to a society of a new profound language. I was going to make myself be heard, in Spanish, so I studied.

A’s and B’s seemed to constantly occur every marking period as a statement that I have gotten somewhere in my Spanish journey. Spanish sentences flowed so perfectly against my eardrums and all just seemed to all become one inside my head. So, I tried again.

“Hola, ¿cómo estás?”

“Muy bien, ¿y tú?”

“Estoy bien.”

“Oh, , tjyvgj ynhfgub ygjbyyj”

It happened again… I am officially done with Spanish.

Communicating within languages that aren’t foreign to you can be the biggest struggle you encounter throughout your life. This not only affects me but the people I am trying to communicate with. I only have two options in this situation, to either, further my knowledge within Spanish and become very well spoken, or stop talking to them at all. Either way I will always have a constant struggle upon me.

Currently I have an A in Spanish; currently I am becoming better than I once was yet again. I gave up and came back multiple times throughout my past years just to end up here. Sometimes I do wonder, why do I keep trying or why do I even care so much.  But then I notice that if it wasn’t for my school’s constant requirement of taking Spanish classes and my love of Spanish music, then I wouldn’t be here right now. Spanish has been that language that seems to just grow with me. Whenever I feel like letting it go, it always seems to find it’s way back to me; and I am okay with that.

According to google’s very own definition resources, language is “the system of communication used by a particular community or country.” In this definition there are no limits or requirements of how much of that language you need to know. All that is needed is for you to be able to say a couple of those words to another person who also speaks it and then, you are considered a person who knows the language. Well, at least that is how I see it. This definition gives me is a reason for my hope, the reason for my devotion and dedication to Spanish; it gives me path that I will take.

I hung around too many Hispanic in my life, not to understand. Always feeling like the outcast was never a fun thing to me. I would purposely invite others who didn’t speak Spanish just to fill somewhat in place. But I always had that dream that if I could just learn to understand Spanish, I would be okay.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my foreign language of English, but sometimes you need to learn something new to feel better within yourself. English will always be my most dependent on language; it will always be my first resort of communicating. But being able to do both, English and Spanish will always be a reminder of where I started and how far I have came.

“Hola, ¿cómo estás?”

“Muy bien, ¿y tú?”


“Oh, ¿por qué te sientes así?”

“Porque yo hablo español.”

“Y usted está hablando a la perfección!”

“Lo se, gracias.”

“¿Para qué?”

“For not rejecting me in a world of foreigners.”

Pronunciation is the key to communication, and communication is dependent on language. Without language, none of this would ever even be possible, so I take pride in my language. Language gives me my very own personal portal to the outside world. It allows me to understand everything near and around me as a person. My language gives me a chance to explain myself; it gives me my very own identity. I consider my language everything; my language is me. No words, dialect, accent, or symbol can change me from expressing who I am exactly; language gives me a voice.

Police Brutality

The world is slowly traveling back in time, a time when race is influencing how the world is run. To run the world there are laws and regulations to insure that safety of the people. Even with these laws, crimes are still happening all over the world. But it’s said that the police are always there to protect the people, and yet the people are still in trouble. One example is of a young woman pulled over for a not turning her signal, she was presumed dead in the next three days while she was in police custody. Slowly but surely, law enforcement is abusing their power and disregarding laws, thus taking matters into their own hand based on race. This is called police brutality. The power they have should be used to improve the lives of people, not to destroy the world one person at a time.

Many officer seem to be overstepping their boundaries on laws which is police brutality.  One example of police abusing their power happened recently in Stockton, California. A video is taking of a young african american teen jaywalking, for this he was hit multiple times and tackled by multiple officers. As stated in an article at jaywalking pentalties depend on whether it was an infraction or a misdemanor. An infraction is a petty offense and isn’t “considered a criminal offense and thus not punishable by incarceration (”  A misdemeanor is “punishable by a fine.” Neither of these penalties call for physical violence, so why was this action taken? Maybe it was because this young man was African American and he was “resisting arrest” (stated in the video) from a Caucasian officer for a crime that everyone commits.

Police brutality is an alarming issue in the United States.A reporter named Aaron Morrison from the international Business Times took the issue of the police attitude to the people. Through social media Mr. Morrison asked if Americans were to grade the police, like teachers grade students, what would this grade be. The articles states “that nearly half of Americans give their police department a “D” grade or a failing grade.” People are seeing that law enforcement is decreasing in their efforts to protect the people. This decrease can cause distrust in the laws and the people enforcing said laws. One of the tweets mentioned in the article says the reason police are averaging a “D” grade is because “More Americans are killed by cops.”  If the police aren’t protecting the people then it is more likely they are causing damage to the people.

One death from police abusing their power is in the case of Sandra Bland. She was 28 years old when she pulled over by a Texas officer for failing to turn on her turning signal. This offense normally calls for a fine. But in Bland’s case the trooper said she was “argumentative and uncooperative” this lead to her being arrested for “assaulting a public servant.”(CNN) in the video the officer asked her what is wrong and Bland comments that she is irritated, but that frodoesn’t stop him from giving her a ticket. Afterward he continues to comment on her attitude, then proceeds to ask her to get out of the car. Bland then explains that he has no right to make her get out the car. Which is true, according to Martin Kron a traffic court judge says "It's perfectly legal for you to say in the vehicle.”  So there is no reason for the trooper to get aggressive and continually demand Bland to get out of the car or for him to arrest her. Later in the video it is also shown that Bland is shoved to the ground she then screams “you slammed my head into the ground.” This doesn’t always happen when someone is pulled over for a simple misuse of their signal.

After Bland’s arrest she was place into a cell for three days. Later on she was found dead in her cell. The police claimed that it was a suicide but all family members that knew Bland said that the thought of her committing suicide is “unfathomable”(CNN). Frosted Illustrated also made the point that she was left in her cell for three more hours after she was found dead. Why would someone be left in their cell three hours after they were found dead unless the police had something to do with it.

It is most likely that this situation escalated so quickly because of the color of her skin and because she wasn’t doing what she was told. In the world Black People are mostly seen as suspects, even when they aren’t doing anything. An article written by a law professor from states that “The police stop blacks and Latinos at rates that are much higher than whites. In New York City...when whites were stopped, only 8% were frisked. When blacks are stopped 85% were frisked according to information provided by the NYPD.” Only 8% of White People were frisked in a place mainly populated by Black people. This shows that the police system is more trusting in the white population since their is such a big difference in the percentages.

When asked police may say that they are making the world a better place and trying to keep things safe. But on a close look they are the ones tearing down the world. For example Sandra and this young teen in California who were only supposed to receive a warning but when they had the right to resist they physically abused by the people supposedly there to keep them safe.

Work Cited:

  1. Morrison, Aaron. "Police Brutality Statistics: Law Enforcement Departments Receive Failing Grades In Twitter-Based Report Card."International Business Times. N.p., 27 Aug. 2015. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

  2. "Jaywalking - FindLaw." Findlaw. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

  3. "Cops Beat Black Teen For "Resisting" His Jaywalking Ticket." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

  1. Sterbenz, Christina. "If The Cops Pull You Over, These Are Your Rights."Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

  1. "FULL DASH-CAM VIDEO OF SANDRA BLAND ARREST RELEASED!!"YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

  1. "DA: Sandra Bland's Death to Be Investigated as Murder -" CNN. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

  1. "Sandra Bland: Suicide or Homicide? New Evidence Raises Questions."Frost Illustrated. N.p., 16 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.

  2. "Police Brutality." Dictionary of American History. 2003. "Police Brutality." HighBeam Research, 01 Jan. 2003. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

  3. Quigley, Bill. "Fourteen Examples of Racism in Criminal Justice System."The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.

My Language Belongs to Me

“Hey, do you want to come with us to Chinatown?” the people I knew in my stream would ask.

“I don’t know,” I said in an unsure manner.

That is what I usually sound like when I am in school, with people I feel uncomfortable around. I am not a very extroverted person and when it comes to being social, I’m not sure about what I should say, do or how I should act. When I’m around people that I hardly know, I feel like they won’t accept me for who I am. In times like these, I am unable to make decisions for myself because I feel out of place and I feel like I’m the center of attention. When I’m the center of attention, I feel uncomfortable, like I am being judged and that affects how I make decisions. Sometimes when I can’t make decisions on my own, I go further into the corner that is my shyness instead of breaking out of my shell and thinking for myself. When I put myself in these situations, I am always questioning myself like, “What should I do?” or “Should I just do this?”

My first year of high school was very tough because everything was new to me, especially the language people used. I heard people using slang words that I didn’t know the meanings of or what they were saying. After a while, I did get used to the slang and started to use those words when I spoke to people at school in order to fit in. The way I spoke was different whenever I got home from school because I respected my parents enough where I wouldn't use slang words.

In my sophomore year of high school, things have changed, especially the slang. I do feel like it’s my freshman year because of my new stream, new friends, new languages, even though everything still seems new, but different to me. This year is different only because of my new friends, languages and everything that goes along with it. I am still very shy and aware of what I say because I’m afraid that I will sound unintelligent to them. As James Baldwin said, “People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate.” This relates to me because he is saying that people change their language to fit in, not be judged and to be on the same level as everyone else, and my case, it would be the level of intelligence. He is also saying that it is easier to understand someone on your level, instead of being left “clueless” from someone on a different level of intelligence.

Sometimes when I am around people that I don’t know in other places, I think that I sound weird to the people. Also, if they ask a question that I either don’t understand or hear, I would be afraid to ask if they could repeat the statement. I am a very shy person, so that really doesn’t help with speaking up and asking people to repeat. When it comes to situations like that, I just don’t want to ask them to repeat because I always think that is rude. I am also a very kind person, which also plays a big role in being shy.

“So, who had an awesome day today?” I would ask my family when we were sitting down, eating dinner. When I am in my own environment, I feel “free” and able to do what I want and be what I want. I don’t have the pressure of being different or being weird because I was being myself. I think the way I speak determines how I feel or act around people. I think language plays a big role in determining someone’s identity because some people talk differently and act differently around certain people. I know that I do act differently around my immediate family, than I do around my cousins, aunts and uncles. With my cousins, it’s usually easier to talk to them, even though some of them fall into the category of people my age. I feel this way around them because I grew up with them and I have always felt close with them. With my aunts and uncles, they tend to try and make me the center of attention because they are used to their kids being more out-going than I am.

My parents, on the other hand are the complete opposite because they let me be who I am and don’t try to make me be something I’m not. They are fine with me being introverted because they can understand and have explain how they can relate to me. They let me use my own language, even though they try little by little to break me out of my shell. They tell me to talk to people if I am having problems, such as being my own advocate and tell me to try and speak up if I have a question. My language derives from the language they use, which I always used for as long as I can remember.

“Wow, your daughter has an extensive vocabulary? Where does she get it from?” people always ask my parents.

“She’s always been very mature and she has always very courteous. She sometimes surprises me.” My mom would respond.

The language you use says a lot about a person because language is multiple things. It is mainly your dialect, your accent and the words you use, which does say a lot about one person. It tells a story about who you are and where you are from. Language and identity go hand in hand because one determines what the other is like and they are both used as ways to express oneself. You will never know who a person truly is until you are able to meet with them, talk to them and really get to know them.

Homophobia and Masculinity

Chloë Epstein



Homophobia and Masculinity

In the United States, it is acceptable and common for a woman to be very intimate around her friends. She feels comfortable enough to hug, sit close, and talk about her feelings and emotions with them. But what about men? Do men feel the same way about their male friends, or even family members? Many experts say no, because of the combination of hyper masculinity and homophobia that men learn starting at a very young age. Men’s fear of homosexuality results in an obsession with masculinity and avoidance of any type of physical or emotional behavior with other men.  

Professor and sociologist Michael S. Kimmel stated, “The great secret American manhood is: We are afraid of other men.” What he means by this statement is that men tend to be afraid of being judged by other men, specifically when it comes to their masculinity. Men will do anything to avoid being seen as feminine whether they want to be or not. A significant way men distance themselves from femininity is through homophobia. Gay men are stereotypically seen as feminine, and therefore more submissive. Therefore, straight men need to prove they are not feminine by distancing themselves from their feelings/ emotions, and even making fun of men who are more emotional. For example, a man will call another man a “sissy” when he acts in feminine ways; they will also use the word “faggot” in the same way. Another example is the phrase “no homo,” which is used after one man says or does something emotional to another man. A man can’t even express his own emotions, or he might be labeled as gay. If a man expresses his emotions, he is seen as feminine, and if he is feminine then he must be gay.

On June 28, 2000, James Dale lost his fight in the Supreme Court against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), who had fired Dale from being a Boy Scout leader because they found out he was a homosexual. It took nearly 15 years for the Boy Scouts to change their policies on Gay Boy scout leaders. Within the Girl Scouts, a homosexual leader, or scout’s experience would be much different. The Girls Scout of the USA allow homosexual scouts, leaders, and now even transgender people can be a part of their organization. One reason that the Girl Scouts is more accepting of homosexuality is that Girl Scouts, Inc. owns the organization, while the Boy Scouts is funded by nonprofit organizations such as churches and Christian groups. Another reason why the BSA is less tolerant is that the organization is afraid its scouts will be exposed to homosexuality, which will is assumed to lower their masculinity. One reason why the Girl Scouts is much more progressive is that it’s more acceptable for girls to express themselves, including when it comes to their sexuality or others’ sexuality. According to the BSA, by having a gay leader or mentor boys are taught to be more feminine, which eventually leads to the scouts “turning” gay.

Male friends have always been known to be less intimate than females. Once a boy becomes a teenager, holding hands or hugging another man becomes taboo. Even at a young age, boys start to feel ashamed or uncomfortable for platonically touching another boy. Part of the reason for this shame is how boys are raised. Many boys are raised to be “tough” or to have little emotion. This approach leads to many boys feeling that they can’t express themselves. According to Mark Greene, editor of The Good Men Project, “By the time they are approaching puberty, many boys have learned to touch only in aggressive ways through rough housing or team sports.” For example, in sports such as football and wrestling, boys can show physical contact but only through violence instead of care. Parents teach their sons that they have to express themselves through violence or they aren’t real men. That is why being compared to a gay man is seen so negatively; gay men aren’t seen as real men.

Besides being afraid of each other, men also don’t trust each other. U.S. culture has taught men that they don’t know how to control themselves, specifically when it comes their sexual urges. Although it’s women who usually experience this behavior from men, what’s to say that a man couldn’t control his urges around another man too? A new study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who are homophobic tend to also have some attraction to the same sex. Men will act reserved and homophobic to prove to themselves and others that they aren’t homosexual themselves. "Sometimes people are threatened by gays and lesbians because they are fearing their own impulses," said professor Richard Ryan, author of this experiment. Men don’t trust themselves or other men to engage in physical and emotional contact because it could result in them being sexually attracted to other men. Masculinity is so fragile that men are scared of their own sexuality, whether they are gay, or not.

Growing up, boys are taught that masculinity is their most important attribute and they use this masculinity to prove that they are worthy of being called a man. Although women are expected to be somewhat feminine, their respect doesn’t rely on it. Homosexuality is a threat to a man’s masculinity, which it why so many men in the U.S. grow up homophobic.

Work cited:

  1. Kimmel, Michael. "Masculinity as Homophobia." Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <>.

  2. Bixby, Scott. "There's One Huge Lesson the Boy Scouts Need to Learn From the Girl Scouts." Mic. 23 July 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <>.

  3. Greene, Mark. "Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch -." The Good Men Project. 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <>.

  4. Greene, Mark. "The Lack of Gentle Platonic Touch in Men's Lives Is a Killer -." The Good Men Project. 4 Nov. 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <>.

Freeman, David. "Homophobes Gay? Study Ties Anti-Gay Outlook To Homosexuality, Authoritarian Parenting." The Huffington Post. Web. 12 Oct. 2015. <>.

Q1 Senior Art

Welcome to Sydne’s Senior Art... This year I’m in the senior art class which means I have two more extra classes to work on my art.  My junior year I enjoyed art so much that I came back to improve my skills. After reading the section we read of Art history I wanted to push myself more to be a better artist. So that means putting more time into each of my art pieces, mixing colors and experimenting with different colors. Using texture and shapes and just going outside the lines. So for the first quarter I tried mixing new colors and painting with texture.

Since we are still getting back into the flow of school and senior year I wanted to be calm and relax, and just enjoy art so I did. For my ceiling tiles I did my all around the world tiles and added Philadelphia and Brazil. I wasn’t really ready for halloween so I didn’t carve a pumpkin like last year but I did dress up with some friends. It was my first time using chalk so it was a experience for me. I did a water lily because when sunlight hits it in certain angles they can make pretty shadows on the water and that was the focus with the chalk, to make shadows and use different shades of black. I had fun for my first time, it was a little messy and hard to get off my fingers but I’d like to try art with chalk again. My self portrait was simple, I picked one of my favorite pictures of myself and just rolled with it.

My favorite piece, and the piece I’m most proud of is the Pocahontas painting. This was a challenge for me because we didn’t have the shades of purple, and blues and greens so I winged it. I noticed that mixing watercolors made the different shades of purples and blues and it came out nicely. It’s been awhile since I’ve used water colors so there was a lot of trial and error. I went against using blues for the tree because it looked to dark with the background so I mixed blue and greens. After the long process of mixing, drying and dabbing the extra water I loved the way the painting came out better than I could imagine.  Overall quarter one work was chill. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and see what new techniques I’ll learn. The point of this class was to become a better artist and expand on what I already know. I hope you check the next 3 quarters to see how I progressed in art.

The Militarization of the Police and How it’s Making Us Less Safe

Colin Pierce English 3 Ms. Pahomov
The Militarization of the Police and How it’s Making Us Less Safe In the past decade, incidents of violence between regular citizens and the police in America have become more frequent. With the increasing incidents of police violence, notably Michael Brown and the incident at a Phoenix pool party, it is obvious that there is a problem, and it shows no signs of improvement. This can be attributed in part to the militarization of our police forces, which is only getting worse with the influx of advanced gear left over from the Iraq war. These weapons and defensive items being introduced mask the human features of officers, and makes them seem more like objects than actual people. This dehumanizing effect makes them look more threatening, and creates a greater contrast between the police and the average person. It is believed by some scientists that, when people are exposed to weapons, they are more likely to exhibit violent behavior, as Bruce Bartholow, a psychologist from the University of Missouri, told NYMag. He said “Theory underlying the weapons effect or similar kinds of phenomena would suggest that the more you fill the environment with stimuli that are associated with violence, the more likely violence is to occur … I would expect a bigger effect if you see military weapons than if you see normal weapons,” Dr. Bartholow stated that people are more likely to act violently when they are around weapons. On a regular police officer’s uniform, their weapon is small and can fit on their side, which isn’t very noticeable. However, when an officer is carrying a larger rifle, they have no choice but to hold it in front of them, which is very visible and threatening. This goes both ways, as an officer would feel more open to violence the more they handle their weapon. As a result, both police and civilians would feel more inclined to start violent incidents, and as a result, the crime rate would increase. Fortunately, the opposite effect can also be arranged. It has been proven during field tests that, when police officers wear more casual clothing instead of their regular uniforms, their relationship with the community improves. Richard Johnson, who is a medical student, puts it best in his article on, where he writes “In 1969, the police in Menlo Park, California dispensed with their traditional navy blue, paramilitary-style uniforms and adopted a nontraditional uniform in hopes of improving police community relations. The new, nontraditional uniform consisted of a forest green sport coat blazer worn over black slacks, a white shirt, and a black tie. The officer's badge was displayed on the blazer and the officer's weapons were concealed under the coat. ... After wearing the new uniforms for 18 months the Menlo Park police officers displayed fewer authoritarian characteristics on psychological tests when compared to officers in the surrounding jurisdictions.” Johnson examines a real life example of officers wearing more casual uniforms, and shows that it caused them to display fewer authoritarian characteristics, which improved their connection to their community, and ultimately reduced crime. Even police officials agree that too much gear can separate a police officer from the rest of society, as Chief Norm Stamper told NBC in an interview in 1999. He said “[W]hen riot shields are raised, the seemingly simple fact that civilians can't see the cops' faces flips a psychological switch for some citizens in the crowd — and that image acts to dehumanize the officers.” When officers have riot shields it will, depending on the type of shield, completely blocks the officers’ faces. This outright removes the human aspect, and makes rioters feel like they are attacking objects instead of people. In conclusion, the appearance of an officer has a large effect on people's view of them, and also the officer’s view of everyone else. A more militarized uniform causes the officer to think of people as opponents and potential troublemakers rather than the people they’re supposed to protect. These differences create a dehumanizing effect for people which only creates more violence. A common argument by police is that they need more armored uniforms because of the increased violence against them, but in reality the reason that there is so much violence against them is because people are scared by their uniforms. Police officers are supposed to make people feel safer, but with a ‘heavy-duty’ uniform it does the exact opposite. WORKS CITED: "How Militarizing Police Can Increase Violence." Science of Us. NYmag, 14 Aug. 2014. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <>. Johnson, Richard. "The Psychological Influence of the Police Uniform." The Psychological Influence of the Police Uniform. Police One, 4 Mar. 2005. Web. 9 Oct. 2015. <>. Briggs, Bill. "Are Ferguson Cops Fueling Mob Psychology By Donning Battle Gear? - NBC News." Are Ferguson Cops Fueling Mob Psychology By Donning Battle Gear? NBC News, 16 Aug. 2014. Web. 9 Oct. 2015.

You Are What You Speak (Kind of)

“Why do you say it like that?”

“What are you talking about?”

“Aluminium. You say it funny.”

My friend James lives in Scotland. We met one day on an online game. At some point, we began talking over Skype. First just audio, then eventually video calls too. We played the game all the time, finding new servers to play on.

“You mean aluminum?”

“See? You say it weird! Like ‘uh-loom-in-uhm.’”

I’ve gotten to know him fairly well. At least as well as you can know a person without giving out too much personal information. I met him over the internet after all, and you have to be careful.

“Well yeah, that’s how it’s spelled. You’re saying it like ‘al-loo-min-ee-uhm.’ There’s only one ‘i’ in it.”

“Yeah but… Wait no. There’s two ‘i’s in aluminium!”

One night, we were playing the game that laid the foundation of our friendship. I asked him where all of our aluminum had gone, since he often doesn’t put items back where they’re supposed to go.

“No, there’s only one ‘i.’ That’s why I say it like that.”

“Well, we spell it with two ‘i’s in Europe.”

“Really? That’s weird.”

This somehow turned into a debate on how you pronounce the word. It was rather interesting to hear that things were so different over in Scotland. Apparently they don’t have any doorknobs, just door handles. But another thing was the language. I mean, we both were speaking English, but somehow the ocean between us caused some strange anomalies. Of course, there are more differences between our ways of speaking than accents and how we pronounce and spell aluminum. There are objects and ideas that we use entirely different words and phrases for. The language you use is unique in all of these ways, as well as several others.

But what’s interesting is how your language can correlate with the type of society

you grew up in, and even give some insight about your behavior. James for example has that sarcastic sense of humor often associated with European accents. It’s not stereotyping, it’s just the culture of that region. I have other friends who have interesting ways of talking. A number of my friends are very familiar with the beauty of swearing, especially the F-word. That itself indicates that a person is most likely from an urban setting. Once again, it’s just the culture of the region. And what’s even more fascinating is how the way you speak has ties to the way you think and act. I know that I have a tendency to speak with volume and confidence the same way I like to have volume and confidence in my actions. And if I were to say things like “Yo man” and “Turn up that jawn,” you would mentally put me in a group with all the other people you know who speak like that, and you would most likely assume that I act in the same way. Everyone knows people who talk like that; it’s considered cool, and associated with rebellious and independent behavior that this generation seems to admire so much.

Is it wrong for me to say this? Am I stereotyping people based on their language?

I hardly think so. I mean, it makes sense when you think about it. If you hang around a group of people, it doesn’t matter what type of group it is, you begin to pick up certain habits. Habits commonly passed around this way are your language, your attitude, your view of life, and the way you interact with others. Would it be wrong of me to say that homeless people smell funny? Of course not! It’s rude of me to say, sure, but the two go hand in hand. Homeless people generally don’t own showers, thus leading to an unpleasant odor.

But I digress, all of that goes to say that making inferences about people based on their language is not stereotyping. Of course, you should never judge a book by it’s cover. People are much larger than how they speak and what that says about them. If that weren’t true, nobody would be a true individual. Everyone would fit almost perfectly into one category or another. But what would be the point of life without individuality? Living wouldn’t be anywhere near as exciting if everyone could be given a label that perfectly and completely described them; that would mean that there were tons of other people like you. The reason we don’t have such precise ways to label people is because everyone is different. As Mark Twain once wrote, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).” Half of what gives your existence meaning is who you are, and how you’re different from everybody else. A world without originality would be simpler in some ways, but it would also be extremely repetitive and bland.

Overall, as an individual you are influenced by many things in your environment; the people you interact with is one of the bigger influences. But from the streets you walk to the way you talk, these things are also what define you. However, those aren’t the only things that decide what type of person you are. You have a surprising amount of control over who you are. I know personally that I used to be “one of those kids” in elementary school; you know the one. I was always off task and getting in trouble. I’ve been lectured countless times about being productive in class and not distracting myself or others. Sometimes another kid would make some annoying sound and the teacher would call me out by default. Needless to say, I wasn’t very satisfied with this cycle of misbehavior, and my teachers certainly weren’t either. And through a ton of time and effort, I’ve managed to stop getting in trouble for that type of thing. There’s still an occasional slip up, but I do my best.

In any event, what I’m trying to say is that personality isn’t static. People aren’t defined by any single attribute, and they even have the power to change if they want to. Take it from me, and don’t bother trying to judge someone without getting to know them. Just enjoy people for who they are.

Manipulative Tongues

Language is a form of communication that people or animals use. Since everyone is different, that means that we have different ways of communicating. Mostly by age groups; but there are also other major differences in the way we communicate. .

One day when I was walking from school, I saw an old friend of mines. I didn’t even recognize her until she came up to me.

“Hey! I haven’t seen you in like forever!”

“I know right, how you been?”

“Good, how ‘bout you?”

“I’m great, everything is ok.”  

“That’s good, it’s nice to see you, I gotta go right now, I’ll call you later. Maybe we can go out for lunch or dinner next time.”

“Sure, that’ll be nice, see you!”

People have many different  ways to talk to one another. The Japanese said that you have three faces. The first face is the one you show to the world. The second one is the one that you show to your family and your close friends. The third one is the one that you never show anyone, and that’s the truest reflection of yourself. To my understanding, the faces you show also needs to be shown by communicating. They way you communicate to the people around you shows who you are as an individual.

Most of the time, people talk to their peers, their closest friends, using a slang words, or

short phrases that are usually common within their generation.  Maybe it might be different when you talk to people that’s not your age, because different generations have different ways of speaking. For example, if a teen uses slang talking to an adult, the adult could think that the teen isn’t properly schooled, or is dumb. It’s also the other way around, where the kids would say that the adults are too “old” to know what they are talking about.

Language can intersect with a person’s identity in many different ways.

“Hey man, how you doin?, I heard Tay threw you an oop with that girl the other day.”

“Wassup man, I’ve been good. Yea he did, that girl got them full moons, yamean”

When people hear things like that, they’re going to say that you’re a kid from the hood. But, if someone said,

“Hey, how are you? I haven’t see you in a long time”

“Hi, I’m doing very good, how about you? And yes, I think the last time I saw you was when you were on your way to school.”

Now, if people hear that conversation, they’ll quickly identify me as an educated kid, who’s smart, kind, etc. Since everyone has a language that they speak, people will criticize or assume who you are just by the things you say. If a little kid came up to me, or anyone that’s older than them, and they start cursing and saying things they shouldn’t be saying; we will all automatically say that the little kid was poorly raised.

Why? Because everyone has a fixed mindset on how someone should talk. I think that people would criticize me more just because of my race. Since, I’m Asian, people assume that our parents are strict and that if we curse or say something bad, people are going to say many different things about me. My parents aren’t that strict, they let me do many things and they trust me to do the right things. I know that if I talked to an adult or someone older than me the way that I talk to my friends, they’re going to say that I have no manners and that my parents didn’t raise me correctly.

I talk differently when I’m around different people. If I’m at school, I’ll talk a certain way to my friends and then another way to the adults or teachers. I usually talk using less slang and more proper English with the grown ups that I encounter. I also talk differently when I’m at home. Since my parents doesn’t speak English, I have to speak to them in Indonesian, and I can’t just talk to them as I normally do. It’s the same as if I was talking to an adult in english; I have to speak to them with proper manners because they are my parents and I have to show them respect. Just like the story I read class where the kid also spoke differently with different people.

Whenever I talk, I talk differently depending on who I’m with. Like when I’m with my friends from school, I would talk to them with slang or with more abbreviated words.

“Yo, where ya goin?”

“I got class in like 5 minutes, I gotta get upstairs. How ‘bout you?

“Same, but my next one is on this floor, so I gotta stay here.”

“Ard, see you later b”

“Ard, later”

As the younger or teenage student of this generation, we usually use more abbreviated words. I think that the language that I use can say a little about me. I know that when people hear me talk to my friends, they might be a little shocked, because of my race but since I grew up in South Philly, I talk like how others talked to me while I was growing up. When I talk to people my age, they’ll say that I’m kind of ghetto, or if you can ask any of my friends, the say that I’m not even Asian, I’m black; because of the way I talk to them. They believe that I am a mean person, but to me, when I talk most of the time, I try to tell my friends the truth and it might be mean to them, but I think that it’s better than to tell them a lie and sugar coating something that’s wrong.

If you ask an adult about me, they might say a different thing about me. If someone asks the teachers at school, they might say that I might be a little loud, or that I’m shy because I don’t participate in class. If someone asks the people that I grew up with which is my church community, they’ll say that I a nice kid, but also I can be a little wild. I might from time to time be a little crazy with the things I say, but I’m a funny person and caring most of the time and that I talk to them with respect and honor.

I think that there are many different ways language identifies a person and how I talk says a lot about myself. Since different people talk differently, they might have only one way of talking to everyone, but there are also people like me, who talks differently depending on my environment. There are a many ways a person can communicate in their daily lives, so it's okay if you differently or the same when you communicate.

Cat Got Your Tongue?

“What did you say?”

“Thingy? Just put the thingy over there!” I felt my face heat up. Oh gosh, what was the word? What was it called?!

“Haha, that’s ridiculous, it’s called a wrench.”

“I knew that…kindof.” I bow my head. I should’ve known that… If I just had more time.

Everyone is different in the ways they convey themselves. Speech, writing, even little sayings, not one person uses words the same way. However, some people have trouble thinking of words all together, and one of those people is me.

Words in writing and advanced speech is a slippery slope and often take a while to fully grasp. Know that ‘it’s on the tip of my tongue feeling’? Imagine it happening twice as much and you’ll get more of an idea of people like me who find it difficult to convey what they truly think through words.

Over the years you learn and begin to grasp words more easily, they now appear instead of you having to heave them out of the murky water of your mind. Writing becomes more fun as you see all your work in one solid form. Those muddy thoughts can become clearer with just a little more concentration and more time. Writing is easier now, so much so, however, speaking the words you want to say doesn’t always work the way you want it to.

“Would anyone like to answer why plants grow?” My third grade teacher asked. I looked around the classroom and not a single soul moved. I looked back over to my teacher and she was staring right back at me.

“How about you Zoë!” Her eyes were begging me to say something as I fully understood the material based on my homework grade.

“Um. Well sunlight is, um, what’s the word? Soaked up through the leaves…” I was cut off by a boy sitting two rows in front of me.

“Like a sponge?!”

“Uh, no, well kinda, like the leaf takes it in and stuff happens and…”

“So like food! I never knew plants could eat light!”

“N… no. Plants don’t ‘eat’. They um...” I looked to my teacher with a look that clearly read “Help me!”

“I think what Zoë is trying to say is that plants have special cells that absorb light and turn it into energy.”

“Oooooo!” The whole class understood finally after I caused all the confusion. I was upset at myself for not thinking of the right word, absorb.

Over time I read more and more and vocabulary started to finally stick. I learned of the great book called the thesaurus and would use it whenever I was stuck. However I find myself reverting to my younger behaviors when I can not think of a specific word.

Thingy is my most popular choice. If something makes a noise, like a power tool, I mock the noise.

“Can I use the, um, ‘wer wer’ thingy please?”

Or simply when I am learning a whole new subject, it takes time for me to fully remember the vocabulary.

Now it’s not that I don’t understand what a word means and that’s why I get stuck, no. It’s this infuriating feeling when you know the word, you know the definition, but the word itself is not presenting itself to you.

This often happens a lot when talking about my feelings or emotions.

“How was your day today?”


“Just fine…?”

“Well, yeah…”

When I am surrounded by people I respect and want to display my skills off, I try to push the mucky forgetfulness away. I use a type a language I consider the ‘proper way’. I try to use a higher vocabulary and try to say what I am thinking or want. If I get stuck I replace the word that I want to say with an easy replacement. And I push through the conversation and never use my childhood words of ‘thingy’ or ‘thingamabob’.

When I am surrounded by friends and family, that tense air drops and I am not as guarded. I make up words as substitutes and not always use the easy synonyms I know. When I get stuck I ask my friends for help, because I am comfortable and not trying to impress them.

Usually when I revert to this old habit I’m called childish or cute, which I have mixed feelings about. Sure my speech might sound childish and I used it since I was young, but I am trying to adapt and speak on things I am not an expert on; I am trying to have grown up conversations. I get really frustrated when someone won’t take me seriously because I am struggling with my sentence structures or word choice.

As James Baldwin states, “It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument means and proof of power.” When it’s hard for me to rediscover new words I’m seen as someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I’m innocent, a child in their eyes, which isn’t true at all. People who view my language habits as below them often think they are the highest, or very powerful individuals. They often use their knowledge of words and put together points and elaborate pieces that sometimes don’t have an interesting or overarching plot. Having a better memory and knowledge of words doesn’t just automatically make your content strong. Now I’m not arguing whether or not how your knowledge of words make you seem more advanced, but it’s how you use them in certain contexts.

Gloria Anzaldúa states “... so, if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language.” People assume and people judge, it’s part of human nature. Sometimes it’s really insulting and sometimes it is a small comment. However language seems to be a really prickly subject when it comes to these judgements. For example, I have a hard time conveying myself in words and seem distant or unfeeling sometimes. Just because I don’t know how to convey something doesn’t mean I don’t feel or know about it. How you convey something is really based on who you are. How you access a person also depends on your mood and how you’re feeling. All in all, language isn’t just an organized type of speech shared between groups of people, but it is also how you define and show yourself to other people.

My werid but cool langauge

“Fatima are you ready we're about to leave right now.” Mom said .

“K mom I’ll be there in like 2 mins”

We’re going out to eat because my mom was tired from work so were going out to eat at the buffet.

‘’Mom I don't like buffet it's real corny’’.

“Food is food Mom said.”

“Ard mom.”

My mom and dad paid and the waiters took us to our seats

“Hi could I please get a drink ?”

“Sure.” The waiter said

I got up and went to go get my food with my cousins , we all was waiting for the dinner food to come out .

“Yo where the chicken broccoli at?”

“It's over here dummy”  mom said.

“Ard mom you think you cool now’’. I said.

“I am sweetheart now give me a kiss’’Mom said.

I chuckled and gave her a kiss. Whenever i’m out my mom always tell me to give her kiss because she just want to know that i’m going to be safe if she is not directly next to me.  

“You need anything else?”  The waiter said.

“Yes could I get a bowl of ice cream?”

“You talking so proper right now?” My sister said.

“Well I have to be proper I can't be acting like I don't have sense.”

“Here your bowl of ice cream sweetie.” waiter said.


“I really want more food yo i'm really fat.” I laughed’’.

“Go get some I ain't pay all this money for nuffin.” Mom said.

“Ard mom I heard you like a million times”

I went to go get some food with my sisters and cousins , we kept bringing stacks of food back to table we all just real hungry.

“This shrimp look real good yo.”

I took a couple of plates of food and went to the table. When I dropped my plates of food on the table I went to go get some fortune cookies because I was bored and wanted to read some fortunes.

“We’re going to leave in 20 mins.” Mom said.

“Ard!”  Everyone yell.

I get my last plates together before we leave.

“Yo my mom drawling she not tryna let me take these plates home like in real life hungry.”

“You just had 3 plates.”  My sister said.

“And ima get hungry after so.”

“You real life stupid forreal”’ My sister said’’.

“I'm not, but your  weird I was talking to my mom not you.” I said’’.

Me and my siblings always get into argument all the time but I still love her but I was seriously talking to my mom though.

We got in the car and my mom got a text message saying that we should stop by our family house and that’s what we did. We havent’ seen our family in a long time and we wanted to link up with each other and see how everything was going.

“Wassup cuzz bro I really miss you.’’ My cousin said.

“Yo bro i miss you too dawg.” I said

“Hi everyone how are you guys?” My aunt said

“Hi big girl you're getting bigger and prettier”  Aunt said.

“Aw thanks.” I said

“Yo I hate family gathering they always acting weird.” I said

“Right that's why i'm never around here they weird.”  Cousin said.

“Right here one of them coming now yall betta shut up.”I said

“Hey Auntie!”  Everyone yelled.

“Hey you beautiful people you guys really grew up.’’ Aunt said.

“Yeah we know lol we did.”  Everyone said.

Me and my cousins were all sitting down at the table eating and talking about school and what we wanted to do with our lives. All of us always wanted to be doctors when we were little but then things change after a while and now we all want to be something different well expect me.

‘’Broo I don’t  even wanna finish school but I got goals forreal I want my dad to know even if he can’t  be with me now he can see me in heaven. ‘’Cousin said’’.

‘’Bro we all miss him RIP to Uncle Mohammed but you gotta do this for you finish high school then go to college and get a job and work you really gonna see the hard work paying off. ‘’ I said’’.

‘’You right’’ Cousin said.

‘’I love every single of yall yall really my homies’’ Cousin said.

‘’We love you too’’ I said.

After we had our conservation I started thinking about my life goals of what I wanted to do. I want to be a doctor get my money and help my mom and dad out since they raised me and now it will be my turn. I know I need to bring my grades up graduate high school and college and then be successful. I know my cousin wants to make her dad proud of her all she can do right now is finish school her dad would be so proud of her. My cousin dad was killed from lung cancer on March 14 2015 11:54pm. After that day she was never the same.

‘’ We got food on the table if you guys are  hungry ?’’ My aunt said

‘’ No thank you we just came back from the buffet with my mom not to long ago’’ I said.

‘’ Okay the food will still be there if you become hungry again ‘’ My aunt said.

‘’ Ard thank you’’ I said.

My cousins tell me when i’m with my family I speak proper but when i’m not with them I speak like i’m  from the hood. I laughed because I know it’s true when i’m with my family i’m shy and don’t  speak as much but when i’m with my cousins or friends I talk a lot and i’m not proper i’m like hood talking. I think I talk the same anywhere I go.

‘’ Yo I think i’m boutta leave ‘’ I said

‘’ Yeah cuz she getting ready’’ Cousin said.

‘’ Just hit me up cs I be really missing you dawg’’ I said.

‘’ I gotchuu you know I will love you little cousin’’ Cousin said.

‘’ Love you to big cousin’’ I said as I shed a tear.

After that day my cousin was never the same. It was something going on with her I just couldn’t figure what was it. One day she texted me and said she wanted to be with her dad she just couldn’t take the pain anymore. I talked to her and talked to her and she finally realize that her dad would always be in her heart no matter how far they are from each other.

‘’ Come on baby it’s time to leave’’ Mom said.

‘’ Ard mom i’m outside already at the car’’ I said.

My mom tell her goodbyes  to her family and we get in the car to go back home.

‘’ Mommy I really love you I don’t wanna lose you mom I swear I don’t’’. I said.

‘’ Princess I can’t  say i’m going to be with you forever but I can tell you that you won’t lose now’’.’ She said.

From talking to my cousin it just made me realize a lot , I don’t want to lose my mom or dad at all it will be so hard for me but I know while they are still living now I could make them proud now. Language is different that’s what I learn while writing my story. I have an accent which is where i’m from southwest I don’t have a foreign accent I have a accent of what is talked around me. Many people have accents  but they always think of accents from foreign places.

The Masterpiece Called Language

“Hey,wassup wit you?” I say eating my lunch.

“Nuthin much tryna finish up some of dis homework.” Kimberly says sitting across from me says. “True. aight. Imma let you do yah homework. Imma hop outta dis joint and catch you later.”

I say as I walk away from Kimberly.  When I talk to my friends I use a lot of slang and I don’t usually sound a lot of my words out but this is because I see no need to. I am comfortable in the way I speak to my friends because I know that no one will correct me and I also know that they also speak that way to me as I speak to them. Then again, I am much more comfortable and laid back with them. I don’t have to censor my words. I speak a language my parent’s don’t understand, it’s teen. Teen is more like a laid back tone with words that we've made up just to make school feel a little more at home.

  At home I usually sound a lot of words out and use complete sentences because my parents want me to speak proper so that I can learn to use both slang and correct english because both  can come in handy.I also speak more proper at home because my parents don’t understand most of the Philly terms I use, especially because they are both from New York. So I don’t really have a choice or they just wouldn’t understand a word that I say. In meetings and professional events I use correct english and try my best to use complete thoughts. I change my language or the way I speak based on location,gender,age,sometimes race,personality and the event.

The location I am in is  a very significant influence in the way I speak. If I am in a classroom setting I don’t use profanity and when speaking to a teacher I don’t use slang. The reason is because even though I am in a classroom with other teens, it’s out of respect for the adults that surround me and also because it's a learning space so a lot of my language is going to contain what I am learning about and is going to have a formal tone.

  Tone for me is a big part of language. Tone is a language of it’s own because it expresses the way I feel  toward you even if it’s just a mutual tone. Anger,sadness,happiness, and interest, changing it depending on the situation and the person I am dealing with . The tone of someone’s voice can let you know how they feel in that moment and where their mind might be. In language you say a lot but like mom says “ it not what you say it’s how you say it”

“Hey sweetie” my mom says, shuffling the papers on her lap.

“Hey mom” I say walking in the door placing my bookbag on the floor.

“How was your day?”

“ It was great actually. My friends and I were laughing and joking. Throwing shots and bidding on one another it was great.” I say sitting in the chair.

“ That’s great to hear but don’t sit in the chair, you have to clean your room.”

“I will.” I say upsetly

“ Get up out the chair and clean the room now. No if’s , no but’s. “ my mom says looking directly at. me”

“Okay... Can you give me one second? I just wanted you to tell you about my day. Nevermind. “ I walk out the room.

“Watch your tone with me , clean your room, matter of fact you can clean the basement too. Enjoy yourself.” my mom calls out.

 Even though it’s a conversation of  my mom and I bickering, it changes mood and tone. Language becomes more intense and my word usage changes. I don’t know why this happens, it just does. If I had to take a wild guess though it’s because of what I learned from my parents when I was young. If they crossed their arms, raised their voice. To me, I would say, I am just repeating the tones of my parents. The language that they have and made for their own selves. Than I just add my own touch onto their words to make them my own. Making your language fit to who you are is important. You change the way you say words and definitions of them based on knowledge and experience. Even though we repeat the tone and language from our parents and copy some from our peers, it’s  our language. We constantly change it to fit who we  are ,from saying “ that jawn” to “that thing” or to saying the name of the actual object are the choices we make to form bits and pieces of who we are.

Our language changes when we change. When there is a change ,we shift our words to  what feels more comfortable with our surrounding we try to fit in. In all of this shifting , there is a language we prefer the most. A language that makes us feel more like us, that compliments our identity. My language with my best friends feels more real to me because I am in my comfort zone. I don’t have to shift for anyone even though all the language I use is real. Something about being with my friends make it more so. Most likely because I would probably speak that way a lot if it was an option. Every language is real. There are many differences and changes in the way we speak but it’s how we survive and connect in the world. From tone, to syllables, to accent, its language. There is no right or wrong language because the diversity is what makes language so beautiful.

Luke Risher 2fer revision

Luke Risher


D band

Today America is dealing with a very broken education system. Many schools are struggling for necessary resources, such as nurses, while other school maintain luxuries of wealth. Such a inequality calls citizens to look at the system and what is not working. Right now, a major determiner in how much funding schools get, how capable a student is, and how well a school in doing is standardized testing. However, many people from educators, to parents, to students themselves say this system doesn't work and they work towards alternative methods. Because standardized testing is unjust and inefficient alternative, more applicable, and constructive education methods are what society needs to draw on to better societal education.

Since 2002, when the No Child Left Behind act passed, resulting in nationwide standardized testing, the United States has dropped internationally in several subject categories including math, and science along with no change in reading. Those subjects are all on American Standardized tests. This is after 44% of school districts were forced to narrow down on social studies, and the arts to focus more on teaching to the test. Right now Finland uses no standardized testing and is ranked as the number one in education internationally. These facts prove the inefficiency and negative affect of a system set up around standardized testing. A Brookings Institution study found that 50%-80% of increases in scores were only based on yearly preparation. Standardized testing doesn’t make exceptions for non english fluent students. Standardized testing is so stress inducing that teacher booklets include teacher procedures if students vomit or pass out. Despite these issues, the U.S spends 1.7 billion on standardized testing a year. Because the inefficiency, cost, and injustice of standardized testing, the education system needs to find different models of education.

A great thinker on alternative methods is Paulo Freire. Paulo Freire was born in 1921 in Brazil. His family suffered poverty. This childhood experience gave him the critical lens on the way education worked. He lived most of his adult life as a thinker, writer, community organizer, and educator. Much of his writings were on education systems and how they did and didn’t work. An organization dedicated to Paulo Freire thinking has a quote summarizing his idea of dialogue “Each must trust the others; there must be mutual respect and love (care and commitment).  Each one must question what he or she knows and realize that through dialogue existing thoughts will change and new knowledge will be created.” These ideas and concepts make up the Freirean model. This juxtaposes the system where the primary concern is information transferred for regurgitation. The Freirean model is ultimately more memorable for all participants, and much more applicable to the real world. If people have a lasting relationship with each other, they can build on top of previous knowledge and educational experience. Because dialogue is within a relational system that standardized testing can never recreate it is more applicable to the real world, encourages engagement from all students not leaving any behind, and nurtures community through two way exchanges versus just top down. this model creates and better system of education and evaluation of students.

The Freirean model may sound difficult to pull off, but it can happen in a traditional setting. Science Leadership Academy (SLA) is a project based school that uses the scientific method of thinking across all subjects. In the “Mission and Vision” section of SLA’s website it states three questions that guide its work. “How do we learn?, What can we create?, What does it mean to lead?” These questions are key to an alternative model. “How do we learn?” Science leadership is a very diverse school (Asian-6%, African American-38%, Latino-10%, White-36%, Other-6%) this shows a more diverse group students benefits from the project based method then standardized testing. All questions in standardized test are either a one answer multiple choice question or a carefully formulated “open ended” question that also have a very basic answer with strict instructions that allow for no expression or creative thinking. In contrast, In a project there are instructions, but they also have extensive room for thinking and creating student's own thought and innovation and this allows instructors to see more clearly the thinking processes and knowledge of the students. Standardized testing is a top down system that allows for no qualities to be measured except how well students can complete a multiple choice test. If Americans want student leaders, if Americans want innovation, if Americans want a system that works for a more diverse group of students standardized testing is much worse than project based learning.

Standardized testing cost billions of dollars, takes up hours of valuable class time, and doesn’t accurately measure students ability. There are many other ways to measure and teach students beside standardized testing. Relational teaching and dialogue helps create and better learning environment and encourages higher participation of students. Project based learning uses more thinking and encourages innovation and creativity. If all affected by the education system thought about it, the system of standardized as an overall negative effect on education, therefore it should be replaced with more beneficial methods of education.

work cited

"Concepts Used by Paulo Freire." Freire Institute. Freire Institute. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

Bentley, Leslie. "A Brief Biography of Paulo Freire." Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Inc. 29 May 2012. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

Popham, John. "Membership." Educational Leadership:Using Standards and Assessments:Why Standardized Tests Don't Measure Educational Quality. 4 Mar. 1999. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

"Standardized Tests -" ProConorg Headlines. 3 Apr. 2015. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

Jouriles, Greg. "Here's Why We Don't Need Standardized Tests." Education Week. Lesley University, 8 July 2014. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

"Problem." - Standardized Education in America, and Why You Should Not Support It. Web. 25 Sept. 2015.

The Changes of My Language

My language changes a lot when I’m at home and when I’m not at home. At home I can understand what my parents are saying, and I can communicate back to them in the same language.

Can you come here and help me?” my mom would say in fujianese.

“Okay” I would say back.

When I communicate with my parents I would respond back to them in either fujianese or english.

“Addison, come here and take out the trash.” my dad would say in fujianese.

“Okay.” I would say back in fujianese.

When I go to my grandparents place they would always speak in fujianese, they would never understand me if I spoke english. So when I want to say something I would try to explain it to my mom and then she’ll say it to them or sometime I can respond back to them.

“You have to learn how to speak fujianese because when you go to China you want to learn how to speak with other people there.” My grandparents would say in fujianese.

“ I know.” I would respond back in fujianese.

“Do you? Do you know?” They would ask me in fujianese.

“yes.” I would say back.

Speaking my own language is really difficult for me because I can’t say words that my parents would be able to say. For example, if they say something to me in fujianese, the only way I could respond is in english.

“Call dad and tell him to buy food vegetable for dinner cause we need it.” My mom would say in fujianese.

“Okay” I would respond back.

On the phone with my dad.

“Hello, dad? Mom said go buy some vegetable home.” I would say in fujianese, but in a weird way.

“What? Put mom on the phone.” My dad said in fujianese.

Speaking my language is hard for me because I never actually got a bunch of experience in speaking it because since I was born in Philadelphia, I was introduced toEnglish more than chinese (fujianese). My family would say to me that I’m not asian because I do things that asian people would do. For example, I can’t use chopsticks or speak their language. When any of my family members say to me ever I would feel

Now going to my school/ out of school language. My friends would say I sound black because my voice is low and I dress black. People would say I curse a lot. So I tend to curse more outside than at in my home.

“Bro, can you help me with this?” My friend would say.

“Nah, I’ll help you later because I have to do my s**t” I would say back.

Speaking in school really brings out my english language because at home I only speak english to my brother. So at school I feel more free in speaking english, instead of struggling at home trying to speak fujianese. I noticed that my language can change drastically, once I step outside of my household.

“Yo bro you down to chill today?” I would say to my friend.

“Yeah I’m down bro, just give me the time” My friend said back.

“I gotchu ya.” As I respond back.

When me and my friends were walking down at South Street, these group of teens called use racial names. But once me and my friends confronted them, they apologized because they thought we wouldn’t understand a thing they said, but they were wrong.

“Look at these chinks, go back to China.” As one of the tennager yelled, smiling at his friends after he said that.

“What the f**k did you say?! Just because we asian, means that we don’t understand a thing you say? You really think that you’re cool for saying that? If you think that is, maybe you should find something better to do with your life. Now say something f***ing stupid again and watch adjust your face!” As my friend snapped at the straighter.  

Trying to hold him back before things go bad.

“Okay dude, I’m sorry.” As they said

“Just f***ing leave, before he really f**** you up!” As I shouted

That day I noticed some people can be racist to you, no matter how you look because we was called out by random people just on how we look like.   


Niah Lombo

Air stream

English 3

When people think of bullying, they often think of scenes like being pushed into the lockers and being called names which everyone points and laughs at you… However, Bullying has extended far beyond school and into the world wide web. Even though these acts of aggression take place outside of school boundaries, school officials should have the authority to discipline students who engage in cyber bullying because... Doing so will help improve the online behavior of students and decrease incidences of cyber bullying-related suicide attempts.

Ryan Patrick Halligan was a 13 year old student in Vermont, when he was bullied by his classmates in school and cyber bullied online for almost a year. A classmate told him that she had a crush on him online, like anyone he was happy and flustered to have someone like him. but what he didn’t know that the whole school saw the messages. He told his parents that he didn't want to go back to school after being humiliated to the point he left the classroom in tears. After being bullied in school and online, he began to research ways to kill himself. Early in the morning, when his family members were still sleeping, Ryan Halligan committed suicide by hanging himself. His body was found later by his older sister. It all had started on the internet and ended with the internet, if someone would have taken action and punished the kids for bullying Ryan then maybe they would have saved him and others.

Sarah Lynn Butler was a seventh grader from Hardy, Arkansas, committed suicide on September 26, 2009. Sarah, who had just been voted Queen for her upcoming Fall Festival, was teased at school, and later on received bullying messages on her MySpace page.  Her mother would often check her Facebook page to make sure nothing was out of the order and once she noticed the hateful comments she confronted Sarah. Sarah brushed it off and then blocked her mother so she can’t see her page. Sarah hated to go to school because her online bullies also went to school with her, she was afraid to go to school because of them. What makes it worse is that they don’t see the face of the people they are bullying, so the comments or inboxes become harsher and harsher.  On the morning of her suicide her mother login on Sarah’s Facebook to see “she was just a stupid little naive girl and nobody would miss her.” When her parents returned home they found that Sarah hanging in her closet. She left a suicide note that said she couldn't handle what others were saying about her.

These two stories are not unique. Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. As of 2010, 8% of public schools reported that cyber bullying had occurred among students daily or at least once a week at school or away from school. Out of the schools who reported having cyber bullying situations, 4% reported that the school environment was affected by cyber bullying. Just because it doesn't happen in school doesn't mean that it won't be brought back into school.  The phones, laptops and etc. may not be at school but the hatred of the person will always be there until someone stops it.

 At present, no federal law directly addresses bullying. In some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). But once it is outside of school property (School, Bus, Athletic Game, or on a school computer) there is nothing they can do unless it is physically affecting someone at school. School officials should still be able to discipline someone who is a cyber bully outside of school. Mental and physical health are both equally important, it’s easier to heal physically than mentally.

Everyone goes to school to get an education, and if fear is getting in the way of that than school officials should be able to get involved even if it is not occurring at school. That's like a teacher noticing bruises on a kid and they believe that the child is being abused, they are allowed to report it because a child's life is in danger. That is the same thing as cyber bullying, but the bruises are invisible. If making a school a good and safe environment is the goal, then cyber bullying should be addressed not only by the parents but the school officials also.


  1. "Section 13A03.1 - Act of Mar. 10, 1949,P.L. 30, No. 14 Cl. 24 - PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949." Section 13A03.1 - Act of Mar. 10, 1949,P.L. 30, No. 14 Cl. 24 - PUBLIC SCHOOL CODE OF 1949. U.S. Department of Education, 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.

  2. "Pennsylvania Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies." Pennsylvania Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies. Pennsylvania Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies. GOV, 2015. Web. 6 Oct. 2015.