The question written on the board in Spanish class was, ¿Que hiciste en la semana pasada? (What did you do last week?)  

Confident in my ability to answer the question, I raised my hand.  I had the perfect answer to the question in my head: “Yo hice mi tarea y practiqué tenis (I did my homework and practiced tennis.)”  

Don Marcos called on a few others while I continuously recite my answer inside my head.  Fearing if I make a mistake, I will be vulnerable to Don Marcos’s harsh criticism.  Finally he calls on Jose, which is my Spanish name.  I start to say my answer, “Yo hice mi...”

Don Marcos promptly cuts me off.  “At least try to fake an accent Jose.”  The whole class erupts into laughter.  I try again, now shaken by his remark and the laughter, “Yo hice mi tarea (the class begins to guffaw again) y practiqué tenis.”  

Don Marcos proceeded to call me a “Gringo,” defined by Merriam Webster as, “A foreigner in Spain or Latin America especially when of English or American origin.”  Originally I did not know what this term meant but the person sitting next to me explained as she chuckled.  Then Don Marcos told me that my accent was something I will work on this year in his class. He then complimented me on my knowledge of written Spanish; this was possibly an attempt to lessen the blow to my confidence.  But the damage was already done.    

My Spanish accent was not always the subject of ridicule.  In fact Srta. Manuel told me that I had a natural accent early last year.  Maybe I rested on my laurels a little bit too much the rest of the year.  As the year progressed, Srta. Manuel made no effort to correct my pronunciation.  I assumed that I still had a good accent throughout the year.  I think pronunciation was most likely not as important to her as Don Marcos.

I just cannot seem to get the sound of the language down.  I believe there are many reasons I struggle.  The greatest reason I struggle to do this is my English dialect has a very clipped rhythmic structure; which is the complete opposite of Spanish’s smooth and consistent flow.  I have also have never successfully rolled an “R” in my life.  Many people have tried to explain to me how to do it; however, most of the the time, the sound just comes out like a fake growling sound as if I were trying to impersonate a bear.      

Since this experience I have lost some power to speak in Spanish class.  Even though I am a confident person when it comes to academics, I now am fearful and afraid of getting laughed at every time I speak Spanish.  My peers are ready for my poor accent, waiting to pounce on my first mistake, whether it would be holding a vowel sound for far too long or using the wrong emphasis in my accent. It has gotten ridiculous lately as even before I speak some people begin to chuckle in anticipation.  This hurts my feelings but I can understand why others laugh.  It is just a natural reaction when somebody is bad at something or dumbfounded. I must confess to laughing in similar situations and thus cannot fault them for it.  

Just last week I was sitting in geometry, my math teacher asked a girl in our class to identify the Y intercept on a graph.  After spending all of last year’s math working on it, I would assume that she would be able to do such a simple task.  However, all that came out of her mouth was “Uhs” and “Ums.”  I must admit to suppressing a few snickers at her confusion.

While people’s self esteem in a school is important, this pales in comparison with what struggles happen in the real world on a daily basis. For instance, in the personal memoir, Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez, Richard’s parents are immigrants from Mexico.  Richard Rodriguez explains his parents struggle when he wrote, “In public, my father and mother spoke a hesitant, accented, not always grammatical English.  And they would have to strain their bodies tense - to catch the sense of what was rapidly said by los gringos.”  

While my struggles in Spanish class are a problem, I can’t imagine what it would be like if my daily survival depended on being understood by people around me.  This experience in Spanish class has made me more sensitive to people who speak English with bad accents. Before, though I would not laugh out loud at poor English accents, I admit to holding back laughter or snickering on occasion.  Writing this memoir has made me reflect more deeply on what having a poor English accent would entail in one’s daily life.  I thought about the struggles that it would take to even order food with a poor accent because of people’s lack of understanding.  It would also be problematic to get a job because of people’s judgment of you.  These are issues that did not cross my mind before writing this memoir.  

           I also have reflected on what laughing in class at somebody’s academic struggle can do to one’s confidence.  As I said earlier, it is something that most people are guilty of at least once in their lives.  However, I had not been on the receiving end of this type of abuse on a consistent basis since second grade. Now after this experience, with my poor accent in Spanish, I’m going to make a more conscious effort not to laugh at someone’s struggle in class.

There is Power in Language

“God she such a oreo!”

“Why do she think she all that? Just ‘cuz she went to a white school? Girl please.”

“She need to act black and stop tryna be white.”

“‘Lil white girl wanna-be.”

As I was just ending a presentation on the dangers of childhood obesity and how rapidly it’s spreading, I overheard these words being said about me. I was in the fifth grade at the time. Who these people were saying these horrible things about me, I have no clue. But, since I was so used to it, I just ignored it and continued to my seat. Because I just moved to Philadelphia from the suburbs, I wasn’t used to the slang and terminologies they used and they weren’t used to how I spoke either. Language is very powerful and affects people emotionally.

“Why don’t y’all just leave her alone she ain’t bothering y’all!” said my best friend defending me. We are still best friends to this day.

“Is you rocking with us or that fake cracker?”

Although I appeared strong and unbothered with these side remarks and name calling, inside my heart and dignity crumbled into a million pieces. I’ve always struggled being an African- American young lady who speaks properly living in an urban area. Other African- Americans in my neighborhoods and schools have always viewed me as “thinking I’m better than everyone else” because of this and how I spoke, but in all reality I’m no better than anyone else in the world. They may have not known it, but their words were more powerful than any gun or knife.

I knew why people did not view me as their “homegirl” or “sistah”, but I never understood, and have to understand, why the way I spoke affected them so much they felt the need to belittle it.

Have you ever said something that hurt someone’s feelings but not intentionally? I have. I know what you’re saying, “After all that you went through in fifth grade with those people using their language to hurt you, you do the same?” To be completely honest, yes. But, unlike them, it was not on purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just go around calling people names and hurting their feelings. But, occasionally I say certain things that come out the wrong way, which puts me in a sticky situation.

“Honestly I feel like you’re being too desperate over him. It sounds to me like he doesn’t even like you”

I have said this before to my best friend. She ended up not talking to me for a few weeks, but hey she eventually got over it. As I’m writing this essay, I fully realize how much a jerk I came off as and how much my language affected her. I didn’t mean to be horrible at comforting her about her boy problems, but from my perspective my language was perfectly normal and harmless. I was being selfish and oblivious to her feelings and how my language could have affected her. Many people do not recognize how much of an impact their language has on others who may have a different language from them, which is the mistake I made and had to learn from.

Sebastyne Young, a well known author, once said “A picture is worth a thousand words, but a few words can change the story.” If someone is called beautiful or pretty, they will feel flattered and confident about themselves. But, if someone is called ugly or unattractive, their self- esteem would most likely drop like a roller coaster. There’s a difference between “She’s pretty” and “She’s kind of pretty”. Those two words, kind and of, have changed the entire meaning of that comment. I believe Young is saying in the quote that the things people say and how they say them, even the smallest word or tone of voice, can either build someone up, or tear them down.

Another power that my language holds is the image I that set for myself is the image others view me as. I’ve been involved in so many rumors, gossips stories, etc. and majority of it was not true whatsoever. A story I can remember most is when I was in the 7th grade. I liked this boy and he liked me too, but it seemed someone always had something to say about everything. So, many people would commonly say…

“He’s too cute for her”

“She’s not cute at all’

“Why can’t he date me, I look better”

For a second, I began to believe what they were saying because their words were so  powerful and hurtful. Finally, I recognized that  in order for others to see the  beauty and confidence in me, I had to have confidence in myself. So, I began telling myself that I was beautiful and a princess, and I started to believe in myself. The issue I went through as a tween was struggling to fit it and I cared what others thought about me. But now, since I use my language to encourage myself, others view me what I view myself as.

The power of language has had a major influence in my life, positively and negatively. I learned that my language and the things I say can give a person, or myself, the confidence needed, or take it away if used in the wrong sense. Although I have gotten stronger in letting the words people say affect me, it still happens. I still get hurt, but I just don’t show it. Also, I have worked on my aggressive language towards others. In conclusion, the journey I have encountered with my language has been a long one, and it will continue to evolve for the better.

Language that Formed ME!

As I made a few steps in this unfamiliar space, they were all so small and slow. I made a big yawn to make my step dad think I was just tired, not nervous. I came yesterday.

“Hurry up, we will be late!”

I started to walk faster. The park we walked by was big and pretty. I never saw anything like it. There was so many things that caught my eye and-

“Come on, you know that they told us to come 30 minutes early.”

His words sounded weirder than usual, since he was speaking English the whole morning, and now it took him a few seconds to process Serbian words he gave me.

“This is it. Ready?”

Nodding my head, I stept in the building; it felt uncomfortable. I walked into a crowd of people speaking another language. English. Soon I will have to learn it too, and just like them I will understand.

The halls were decorated with all kinds of papers, posters and pictures. As I passed by everything got stranger. We walked in the office, and we saw a tall brunette waiting there.

“Oh, you must be Katarina. Hi, I am Miss S.”

When she spoke I was surprised. I never heard a person speak Serbian with such a big English accent, but then again she was born in the US and English was her first language, while Serbian was the only language I spoke.

“Hello  Miss S. Um, I have a question. What grade will I be attending?”  

She smiled and put the papers she was holding down into a small section of the cabinet. The she looked at me again.

“Right. When were you born? ”

“July 1st, 1999.”

“Okay, that means you will be joining the sixth graders today. We only have one class per grade in this school, so that is where you will go.”

“Thank you. What room is it in?”

“311 but today they first have gym, it is in the basement. If you really need help understanding, just come to me.”

“Thank you, and {I pointed at my stepdad} you can go. As you can see I will be just fine.”

“Okay, okay, I will leave as soon as I fill out some papers. Have a good first day.”

I left the office and looked around for the steps. The school was like a maze. Steps to go up but none to go down. I went back and forth, until I saw a railing in hallway behind the steps. I walked up to it and slowly went downstairs. The room was bigger than a classroom, but smaller than a regular size of a gym.

That was my beginning journey to learning English in the US. I started to go to ESL (English as a Second Language) classes and started to slowly understand. The people in my class were so nice that they were trying to be my friends even if I was not understanding what they said. They even half mimed while talking, to help me.

Few months passed and I learned enough English to communicate. Still it was rough.

“Yes, and then I… ummm… how do you say that again? ”

“Say what, Katarina?”

“Umm, for example when you put water into a cup.”

“Oh, you mean pour?!?”

“Yea! Poor!”

“No, you are saying people with no money! Not poor, pour! I pour water into a cup.”

“Ohh!!! Sorry!”

“You don’t have to apologize! You are still learning! It’s okay.”

And then we both started to laugh. I guess that I needed my best friend to remind me of those things. Now when I think about it, I have no clue how I really did it. The classes? My talks with friends? Now in school I am learning Spanish, and it feels like the hardest thing ever.  

  A year passed and we had a new student and she did not speak English. We became very good friends and we helped each other learn.

By the end of middle school I was a person who officially learned English. I no longer processed it in the “translation” in my head.

I started to think in English, and I tried to fix the accent I had over the years.

This summer I went back to Serbia, to visit family and friends, and there was something that disturbed me. I would go into a store and buy something.

“Dobar dan”

“Vas rachun je 1,832 dinara.”


“Prijatan dan.”

“Thank you.”

I would walk out the store and realize that I thanked them in English only a few moments later, when I already walked away.

Learning a new language made me see the world in a totally different light, and I want to explore the world more. Learning it made me think I can learn things easier. It boosted my self confidence.

Just as James Baldwin said in “If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”  “What joins all languages, and all men, is the necessity to confront life, in order, not inconceivably, to outwit death: The price for this is the acceptance, and achievement, of one's temporal identity.” He is saying that we do not need language only for the sake of understanding, but also to show us the identity we have now, but it will change over time. Language has many meanings to different people, and each person gives language a different value. For example, someone that knows 3 or more languages, probably thinks that languages are easy to learn and understand. But someone who knows only one, can not comprehend being able to think on another language.  

Most people had at least one point in their life, where they hate the way they speak or the accent they have. It makes me feel better, that I know someone went through the similar thing as me. And that is what makes us, human beings, same, but different.  

My language learning experiences change my life every day. I hope to learn new languages in the future. I feel that if I could learn one different language, why not try more. I know that’s my goals are a bit challenging. But I want to feel that amazing feeling of happiness that I caught along the way. My challenge begins right NOW!   

Serge Mass 2fer Revision

Sergei Mass



The United States has just embarked on one of the biggest anti-terrorist campaigns in the country's history against a group by the name of ISIS. Obama has a plan to send in troop’s accompanied by drones after his . The loss of troops in war would be devastating to the United States. Sending in unmanned aircrafts and drone strikes to fight ISIS would be a cheaper and more ethical substitute instead of sending in many troops.

After the US launched their first strike against ISIS in late August of 2014, the leaders of ISIS kidnapped a reporter from the US, who was reporting in Syria at the time. James Foley was an important asset to the US so he can give his first hand opinions and experiences from the group. “Foley was killed on camera by a self-professed member of the terror group. “ (ABC News)  After the live execution, the US was in shock and terror. At that point Obama was outraged. With the use of earlier drone strikes, we could have eliminated ISIS before it spread like a cancerous cell to the Saudi Arabian peninsula. There were two more executions broadcasted after the beheading of James Foley. These inhumane acts could have been avoided with initiative from the US government and stopped this terroristic threat before they got the fame they wanted.Time is something the US cannot get back, it is just a matter of time that one more of these beheadings occurs or if Syria's schools are bomber again. It will lead to a much greater uproar than what is already presented.

ISIS is a very advanced terroristic group and knows a lot more about modern warfare and techniques. They understand the the US has had their hands tied dealing with AL-Qaeda for a long time. They are planning to become our next threat, currently having over 30,000 members nationwide. "Armed drones may provide the administration with a cosmetic military solution for the ongoing crisis, affording the U.S. the opportunity to look tough and engage ISIS without endangering US. troops or creating the impression that we we’re re-fighting a war that we declared over in 2011. " (Defense One) Since the drone strikes would be stealth, ISIS would not expect it. With no time to prepare or move away there will be no safe haven for anyone that threatens the US. The U.S. will have the element of surprise and avoid US casualties with this method.  They will be sitting underground and controlling the drone 5000 miles away in a safe and secure base. The drone strikes will give the U.S. the upper hand, slowly proving to ISIS the U.S. is not a pushover country.

Some may want to argue the statement that “drones would be more efficient and much more safe” with the statement that they would kill our own troops and civilians in the area of the attack, but an online political paper did some deeper research into the subject. Some anti-drone party members brought up a killing of 16 civilian in Afghanistan in 2012, but that was due by a bomb and not an unmanned drone. “Drones kill fewer civilians, as a percentage of total fatalities, than any other military weapon.” (Slate Magazine) With this being said, the drone strikes will lessen the total amount of U.S. casualties in war and also civilian casualties. It may be hard to say the term “safe war”, but the last thing the U.S. needs is more controversy around killings of innocent people. The ones that say that “we are not ready for this type of war” are the same ones that are not ready to move on to a much more advanced time in counterterrorism battles. The more advanced the battle is, the more likely the US will come out victorious in the fight against ISIS.

When asked, The United States Administration of Defense might say that the drone strikes would make the US lose the fight on terror, but on closer inspection, they would cut back on US casualties and cost of war. With the newest anti terrorism campaign against ISIS becoming increasingly serious, the U.S. needs to start getting with the program and into action. Obama declared war and his plan to send troops into the Saudi Arabian Peninsula would be devastating to the U.S. People need to realize that the U.S. is evolving as a county and so are the strategies on how they fight wars. The alternate plan to send in Drones to fight the battle and try to eliminate casualties is a much smarter attempt on this potential deadly war.

Work Cited:

Ferran, Lee. "ISIS Trail of Terror." ABC News. ABC News Network, 10 Sept. 2014. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

Tucker, Patrick. "The Pros and Cons of U.S. Drone Strikes in Iraq." Defense One. Defense One, 13 June 2014. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.

Saletan, William. "Drones Are the Worst Form of War, Except for All the Others." Slate Magazine. Slate Magazine, 19 Feb. 2013. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.

Jamie Turner's Revisions

Ever since hockey was first played fighting was always a part of it.  It’s a whole element of the game that some think it would change the game if it wasn’t allowed.  Lots of people would agree it should be banned for many reasons but the Professional leagues for the most part say keep it in.  Fighting is only allowed in professional Hockey because of the entertainment aspect and the money it brings in.

When teams whose hometown’s are relatively close to each other’s play each other that usually means it’s a rivalry game.  It’s not common to see a lot of hitting and fighting during rivalry games.  Recently NBC Sports has started broadcasting these games nationwide no matter what city the game takes place in.  This is so new comers see all the physical contact and are immediately hooked.

If the fights didn’t bring in new fans they wouldn’t be allowed.  A lot of fans go to the games or watch the games just to see a fight or two.  If there was no fighting these fans would lose interest therefore making the pro leagues losing lots of money.

Along with fighting comes many injures.  At least 2 NHL “enforcers” have committed suicide in the past 10 years due to depression that is linked to their role on the ice.  The sole purpose on an enforcer or goon is to fight for their team.  Most of the time these players get little to no points a season and are only brought in for big games where they’re expecting a lot of fights.  Without fighting these players may not have lost their lives.  A counter argument to that is that they would’ve never gotten where they were if Hockey wasn’t allowed but a life outweighs a job in any situation.

Fighting is considered part of Hockey.  It’s been allowed in Professional leagues since it all started.  It’s never been allowed in non-pro leagues.  How can something be part of the game if only a select few are actually allowed to fight?.  Rec leagues and school leagues do not allow fighting.  Basically once money gets involved fighting is allowed.  Is that a coincidence? No.  It’s allow about the money and keeping fans entertained.

Many leagues in the East have banned fighting.  There’s a much bigger penalty than just 5 minutes in the penalty box in those leagues.  There hasn’t been any suicides linked to players in those leagues because there is no enforcers in a game of non-fighting.  Ironically these are the leagues that aren’t as popular.  The NHL is without a doubt the biggest league in the world.  They do allow fighting and They do make the most money of any professional hockey players.  

In the long run the only reason there’s still fighting in Hockey. The revenue it brings in is too large to get rid of it.  If it didn’t bring in a lot of money it would’ve been gone years ago.  Progress has been made but as long as players are getting hurt enough progress hasn’t been made. Soon enough it’ll come to an end.  Yes, it’ll change the nature of the game but it’ll be changed for the better.

Lillipop, Lillipop, Oh Lilli-Lilli Pop

A long road stretch out ahead like a never ending run on a treadmill. Nothing is better than a road trip from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, all the way to North Platte, Nebraska, to see my aunt and her family again after 10 years. On top of that was getting to meet my cousin Jenny for the very first time. My sister Mey and I had talked to my aunt’s family countless of times over the phone and had never noticed the differences between our speech, until we had finally met.

The difference is subtle, subtle yet sharp like the sound of a pin drop. It all started from the conversation between Mey and Jenny.

“Mey, do you want a lillipop?”

“Huh, what’s a lillipop Jenny?¨

“You never had a lillipop?”

Out of all the confusion, we finally realized a lillipop is actually what we call a lollipop. Jenny grew up in North Platte, but had moved back and forth from Lincoln, she had said that most people call that type of candy a lillipop and does not hear much of the term lollipop. I come to realize that it’s not much of the full sentence that has an accent you’ll notice, but it’s the way specific words are said that makes it different.

One day my aunt called out to the little ones and I,

“Kiddos, come down it’s dessert time!” We came down to make ourselves an ice-cream sundae, and I had asked my aunt,

“Auntie can you pass me the caramel?”

Aunt and Jenny laughed, because they don’t hear it often the way I say caramel as “car-ra-mel, while they said it like “carmal.” My aunt told me this part of North Platte she’s in everyone knows everybody or knows how everyone talk, and they would know that I am not from around there right when I open my mouth. I felt as if I was a foreigner who was pronouncing things wrong. I started to feel uncomfortable with meeting my aunt’s friends or to talk to people in the neighborhood. I was a afraid to sound like a walking alien. The hardest part was being approached by nebraskan in that area, since everyone seems to love starting conversations with anyone.

Words are pronounced in many different ways throughout the U.S and some places do share similarities, yet certain places can automatically tell you’re not from that are. People of certain areas are so used to hearing what they normally hear or considers the normal. Just like in Philly with food, if you don’t use hoagie and use sub, they can identify you right there and then that you are not a Philadelphian.

Sometimes it’s the accent that can let people point out what region or place you’re from, it can just be simple by the use of a word that’s uncommon in a certain area. One day I walked into my aunt’s donut shop for breakfast. We told our aunt and uncle that Jenny and us are on a trip to Snake River Fall.

My aunt asked, “Ling, you sure you wanna go like that, where’s your tennis kiddo?

“Huh? I never brought any tennis equipment to Nebraska. auntie.”

“You don’t know what a tennis is kiddo?”

I was very confused until I finally realized she was talking about sneakers. Then on the way to Snake River Fall, we got lost, getting stuck in the middle of no where, which was surrounded by tall fields of grass. Finally saw a ranch when to ask  for which route as in “root” to take, end up realizing they call it a “rut” instead.

It’s the few words that my family and I would say to sound so foreign in that area. I started to notice how different my family and I were. As soon as we ask for directions or when I had spoke, they can tell and guess what part of the U.S we were most likely from. I knew just by the look of their faces, some even started a conversation which ended up asking or guessing what state we were from. I did not mind it at first, but the longer I stayed, the less I wanted to talk, because I got tired of hearing the differences that made me felt like the way I speak was the wrong way my whole life.  When to me, it sounds like they were the funny one. Also how they move their mouth in order to pronounce certain words, I tried myself and it felt very strange, trying to get the word out like how they did.

My mom probably had a harder time than my sister and I did  when it come to speaking without people going,

“Huh, repeat that again?”

She has an accent from her motherland combine with how english is in Philly sounded. We never thought how few words said can make you stand out so much.

A quote from the article “The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingstan was, “It was when I found out I had to talk that school became a misery, that the silence became a misery.” It somewhat relate to how I was feeling. Even though it’s a different situation, I found myself double checking what I was going to say to make sure it was one of those words that’s pronounced differently. It’s not bad that they know we’re from somewhere else, it’s the fact that we constantly have to repeat ourselves because of a few words, or how we tend to drop the ending of the words.  

I personally like the experience in the beginning, finding it interesting how only a few states away, a word can be pronounce so different and dominant in an area. As days went on, it got less funny and interesting, but more of an annoyance like a non stop bee buzz.

I really enjoyed my time in Nebraska, saw more cows than I had ever did back in Philly, and they sure do pronounce things in such weird ways. I do like the people we met though, just not the language pronunciation part, I enjoyed seeing their facial expression more than actually talking to them. The way we talk probably sounded really hilarious to them too, even steven I have to say. I can’t wait to visit North Platte, Nebraska again!

Allison Kelly's Revisions

Lots of adults believe that rock and roll is the leading cause for teenage rebellion. To say this implies that teenagers did not act a certain way until a song promoted it. Considering that a bunch of 16 and 17 year olds made up majority of the first rock and roll bands that changed music and that they only had their own life experiences to write about proves that teenagers already acted this way. This behavior now just began to be the topic of songs. The rebellious stage of teenagers' lives has been the underlying enabler to rock music being one of the most successful genres in music.

During the early ‘60s, The British Invasion was the term used for these very successful British rock bands expanding their music to America. These bands, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Kinks, came in with a bang and changed American music forever. George Harrison of the Beatles proves young teens themselves started rock and roll, being that “Two weeks before his 15th birthday, George officially became a member of the band.” It is true to say that not everyone was acting the, “rock and roll” image before the music got popular, but rock didn’t influence teens to act this way, teenagers influenced other teenagers to act this way. Teens and some of their rebellious habits, such as drinking, drugs, sex, and reckless behavior, have been the root of the rock and roll genre and style, and by this music relating to so many and becoming so popular caused for it only to be influential to those who may not have acted this way before they heard the music.

The Who was another band who made their break and carried over their music to America. One of their most famous songs, “My generation,” contains the lyrics “I hope I die before I get old.” This made a huge statement for the teenagers of that generation because of new topics for their music. Rock and roll was hated by parents and the adult generation because it was said that the vulgar and passionate lyrics promoted sex, drugs, and reckless behavior. Some songs, even some classic ones by The Beatles and The Stones, were banned because of certain lyrics. The Beatles’ very famous song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ was banned because the initials were thought to have stood for LSD. The younger generation now was not only acting out even more as the songs caught on, but they now held a strong grudge against the parents of that generation considering they were being kept from their beloved music. By stating ‘I hope I die before I get old,” was just more teenagers writing about life experiences. “Getting old” to them meant going against all they loved, rock and roll and the lifestyle it brings.

A teenage rebellion article on TeachRock speaks to the idea that “Rock wasn’t just changing the lives of teenagers, but of everyone in some sort of way. Rock and Roll was an expression of that teen rebellion and of the growing gap between generations.” Parents felt their children drifting away, kids acted out towards adults, and adults and teens began to live in two totally separate worlds that despised the other. The media began to speak on behalf of all adults of that generation being as they were banning these songs. Little did they know is that the more they showed the hatred of the music by the older generation by publicly displaying it the more children got on the bandwagon of it. This only gave the teens something to rebel against. Those who couldn’t relate to this music before were now given a reason to listen to it.

The rebellious stage of teenagers' lives has been the underlying enabler to rock music being one of the most influential genres. If the older generation stopped to think about it, they would realize that the promotion of rebellious behavior does not just involve the rock music that was being blamed, but the media that was actually trying to demote the music as well. Teens started it, parents hated it, and the media ended up helping the side they were directly trying to go against. All in all, the promotion of rebellious behavior gave rock music its success.

Work Cited:

"The Beatles Biography." - the Beginning, the Rise, and the Aftermath of the Greatest Band on Earth. N.p., n.d. W

"My Generation by The Who Songfacts." My Generation by The Who Songfacts. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2014.eb. 21 Sept. 2014.

"OVERVIEW." Teenage Rebellion. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2014.

The Native American Genocide


In this paper, I changed my thesis. My original thesis was about how the American government has done nothing to help the poverty of the Native Americans. Now I have written about how Native Americans have gone through the longest genocide with the most deaths. One thing that I improved on was my organization. I did so by connecting the end of each paragraph back to my thesis. This was something that I struggled with in my original essay. I also improvement on making the 2fer more of an argument instead of a history lesson. I didn't just state a ton of facts, but I explained each fact that was include in my paper. 


2fer Revision:

The indigenous people of America, commonly known as the Native Americans, first came to America at least 30,000 years ago, thousands of years before the European settlers. They made America their home, with a population of 10 million and hundreds of tribes. The Native Americans thrived off of the land, using it for survival. But when the Europeans settled in America, they were enslaved, dispossessed, and annihilated. The Native Americans experienced a genocide that took tons of lives. History has seen some very gruesome genocide or methods of mass destruction, but none of them can be compared to the ongoing holocaust that the Native Americans have endured.

The word genocide is derives from Greek and Latin. The prefix “geno-” is Greek for a group of people, a race, or tribe. The suffix “-cide” is latin for killing or killer. Thus genocide means the killing of a group of people, a race, or tribe. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines genocide as the deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political, or cultural group. Native Americans have under went a genocide because they were eliminated first by Christopher Columbus and other Europeans and then by the American government. When Christopher Columbus thought he was the first person to discover America, he used violence and slavery to retrieve gold from the Native Americans. He also forced them to convert to Christianity and introduced many diseases that the Native Americans were not immune to. The American government had its part in this genocide because it passed many laws that allowed it and the American people to remove or kill Natives if they stood in the way of American colonization. All of these things contributed to the Native American genocide because it wiped out a mass population of tribes. The Native American genocide was so great compared to other genocides because so many have died. For instance in the Jewish Holocaust, 11 million people died in the span of 12 years. However, in only three years of Columbus being in America, five million Taino people were dead. Fifty years later, it was recorded that only 200 Tainos were living. It only took 3 years for Columbus to kill 40% of what the Jewish Holocaust did in 11 years.

The Indian Removal Act was another form of genocide. It was a law passed on May 28, 1830 that authorized President Andrew Jackson to give the Native American tribes in the southern states, the unsettled lands of west Mississippi in exchange for their land. Only a few tribes went in peace, but a myriad number violently resisted. During the winter and fall of 1838 to 1839, the Cherokees were forcibly relocated west. Approximately 4,000 died on the march, which was more than a fifth of the Cherokee population. This became known as the “Trail of Tears.” The American government moved the Native Americans out of their land, placing them on reservations with promises of peace, cash payments, and supplies. However they never received any of it. This was a form of genocide because many of the Native Americans died because of the cold weather, starvation, lack of water, and diseases like measles and smallpox. The government’s purpose of the Indian Removal Act was not only to move the Native Americans west so that the settlers could have their land, but to kill them on their way there. They succeed in that, considering the they wiped out ⅕ of a tribe.

There was also a cultural genocide that took place among the Native Americans. A culture involves language, music, art, religion, agriculture, food, and the social life. To destroy a culture is to destroy people’s dreams and spirit. In perspective, destroying a culture is more complex than killing people alone. The American government tried to destroy the Native American culture by capturing and brainwashing the children. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Bureau of Indian Affairs founded American Indian boarding schools. The schools would literally kidnap the children from their families. They were physically, sexually, and mentally abused in order to “kill the Indian and save the man.” The children could not to talk in their native languages, they could not wear their tribal clothing but they had to wear uniforms, and they were harshly disciplined. When these children returned home from boarding schools they were confused and they lost their cultural identity. That lead to suicide, drinking and violence. Robbing Native American children of their culture was a form of genocide because once they were done with school, they either no longer wanted to be a Native because they were taught that Natives are savages or they wanted to be a Native American again, but couldn’t because they didn’t fit in. This form of cultural genocide engendered many deaths and poverty.

Today Native Americans struggle with alcoholism, health problems, and poverty because of the genocide that they experienced. From the day the first European that sailed upon the rich coasts of America, to the present time as many Native Americans struggle with alcoholism, violence, diseases, and impoverishment they have been massacred. Thus the genocides throughout history are not as immense compared to the holocaust that has been enacted upon Native America. The Native American holocaust has lasted for more than 500 years and at least 95,000,000 have been exterminated, more than any genocide combined.


Works Cited:

  1. Staff. "Native American Cultures." A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 1 Oct. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


  1. "Primary Documents in American History." Indian Removal Act: (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress). The Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


  1. Alexie, Sherman, and Ellen Forney. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. New York: Little, Brown, 2007. Print.


  1. "Native American Living Conditions on Reservations - Native American Aid." Native American Living Conditions on Reservations - Native American Aid. N.p., n.d. Web. 29Sept. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


  1. "Racism Against Native Americans." Do Something. Do Something, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


  1. Giago, Tim. "Racism Against Native Americans Must Be Addressed." The Huffington Post., 04 Oct. 2009. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>


  1. "Racism against American Indian - Native Americans." Racism against American Indian - Native Americans. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.


  1. "Native American Cultures." A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.

  2. Blais-Billie, Braudie. "Ten Things You Don't Know About American Indians." Native American Heritage Programs. Native American Heritage Programs, 9 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.

  3. "Native American Genocide." The Espresso Stalinist. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.

  4. "Nick Dispatch." Nick Dispatch. The Odyssey - United States Trek, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2014. < (Links to an external site.)>.

Bella Beato's Revision

Today America is constantly improving, but not always improving for the better. With the increase in technology and need for resources Americans are moving in a negative direction. The resources needed for all the technology really moves in a backwards direction. Damage to the environment is inevitable because of the constant change of the world and the standard of the way Americans live. 
With the constant growth of the human race they tear down forest and other natural habitats to make room for high rise buildings with condos and other things are created. Deforestation is extremely harmful to the planet. “The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Seventy percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.” This supports the thesis because it shows how when the world changes and more and more humans are born more and more species die  to make room for us. Humans need trees to breathe and by destroying all of our trees how will humans breathe. Humans need to stop destroying our natural resources and keep our earth healthy.
With the forever growing world of technology more and more people will need to use electricity to charge or power these devices. Humans don’t use the best methods of getting electricity however. “Most of the electricity in the United States is generated from fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas, and oil.” This supports the thesis because to get these resources its extremely harmful for the earth and humans will eventually run out of these resources. Humans don't use our other natural resources enough. We as humans, don't use solar power as nearly enough as we need to. When we run out no one will know what to do.
In addition to all of this development, factory framing is growing in the world. Animals are treated poorly and food is becoming genetically mutated. With these growing factories it is killing the environment. “The waste lagoons on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) not only pollute our groundwater, but deplete it as well. Many of the farms use the groundwater for cleaning, cooling, and drinking.” This helps the thesis because its shows by making these factories and not doing everything the natural way it ruins the environment. Americans consume these harmful mutated products and destroy our bodies. But humans don't only destroy their bodies they harm the animals that they mutate.
Although Americans might not think that damage to the earth matters much, their influence goes beyond damaging it the earth to actually killing it. Americans don't consider their impact on the environment when they do pretty much anything. When in fact the earth is affected by everything that we do. 

Revised 2fer

Pilar Carroll

Air Stream

American Apparel, a basic clothing company, has become a more well known business from their advertising strategy. They advertise sex through clothing , that makes their company talked about. Though their profits went down for a short period of time due to the economy, they still got a lot of publicity from the way that they advertised their clothing. If American Apparel stopped to think about it, they would realize that advertising sex is not just about having sex, but about celebrating sex through clothes.

According to a press report from the Chicago Flame, American Apparel’s main strategy for selling their products is advertising sex. The article states that American Apparel advertisements  often have models or even store clerks that are wearing one article of clothing, usually a tee shirt or a pair of socks. The age group American Apparel is approaching are young adults. American Apparel as a business’ main concern is to sell clothes. If advertising sex sells, why not help a business while drifting on that topic? There is nothing that states they treat their workers and models unfairly. They are payed well living wages for the services that they do, and they are not forced to work, unlike other major clothing brand factories. Since no one at the factory is forced to work, they freely make the clothes, and the models freely shoot the scandalous advertisments.

One memorable statement American Apparel made that is advertising sex, is when the company made their mannequins have pubic hair, and nipples. The New York Daily News shared that the store posted a picture of the mannequins on instagram, a social media site with the caption,” Au natural is best but our lingerie is a close second. Stop by and get some V-day inspiration! #lingerie #AAlace #vday.”  American Apparel says they are a company that celebrates natural beauty. They created their window off the idea of changing how people think of sexy. And how women should be called sexy by their natural selves. American Apparels post on instagram got 1,180 likes. This scandal made American Apparel the talk of the town. Though not all the comments about the mannequins were good, when someone would say or write American Apparel, they were promoting the company. By posting comments on social media, one follower more knows about American Apparel. So in the long run, there is more publicity on the company, and it will be more known around the world.

By a click of a button an article can be posted out to the world. American Apparel makes sure their article eye catching. They are scandalous, because of what they make themselves known for selling. Is it bad that they advertise sex? Not for them.  Through advertising sex, they gain publicity. And rather than showing sex in a negative light, American Apparel makes it a beautiful thing. If American Apparel stopped to think about it, they would realize that advertising sex is not just about having sex, but about celebrating sex through clothes.


Source #1

Fosses, Michaelia. "Questionable American Apparel CEO Pits Crude Background against Positive Business Ethics - Chicago Flame - American Apparel." Questionable American Apparel CEO Pits Crude Background against Positive Business Ethics - Chicago Flame - American Apparel. N.p., 9 Jan. 2006. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.

Source #2

Miller, Tracy. "A Hair Too Far? American Apparel Debuts Pubic Hair on Mannequins ." NY Daily News. N.p., 17 Jan. 2014. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.


To revise this paper, I mostly worked on, my spelling, remembering words (not forgetting words), And add more thoughts. I had multiple spelling errors, and punctuation. I also forgot to write in words in sentences such as, the, a, and. Lastly, I didn't go in debt with my thoughts, so I had to write more. I now feel my 2fer is complete. 

2fer Revision

Reality television shows are frowned upon by many people in society. This is because they display behaviors that society should be trying to avoid, and glamorizes them into appearing desirable. However, if these shows are watched deeply enough, viewers can find their many positive attributes. Many actually influence society in a positive way by displaying real people who have made bad decisions or come from rough pasts, inspiring viewers to not make the same mistakes, or to work towards fixing them.

MTV’s popular television show “16 and Pregnant” puts teenage girls on display during their pregnancies, and transitions into motherhood. While many people find this show to be an extremely bad example for society to follow, there is evidence that shows it actually deterred teen viewers from following this example. A study was conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research to see what the cause was for a severe drop in teen birth rates, “The results of our analysis indicate that exposure to '16 and Pregnant' was high and that it had an influence on teens' thinking regarding birth control and abortion.” Even though “16 and Pregnant” may be thought of as a bad example for by making teenagers think it is okay to have a child at such a young age, it actually does the opposite. This show displays a lot of dramatic scenes, especially fighting scenes between the two teen parents, which can often be looked at as inappropriate, but really this graphic content is what makes young adults want to stay away from these negative kinds of behavior.  Many young adults find shows like “16 and Pregnant” to be entertaining, but whether they know it or not, they’re also being educated on what life is like when bad decisions are made, like the people in these shows. The fighting scenes, specifically, are often traumatizing for viewers. No one likes to see a couple fighting, especially violently, in front of their child. After seeing this, viewers can assume it is almost inevitable to have the same problems as those shown on tv- making viewers not want to make the same mistakes. Reality television educates society on what these negative decisions entail, and how to go about avoiding doing the same. “16 and Pregnant” is a great example of a reality television show that may carry a bad name, but actually teaches a valuable lesson to society- which positively influences them to not make bad decisions like those portrayed in the show.

The Biggest Loser is a reality competition show that gives an inside look on what it is like to be overweight, where the contestants have to work to lose as much weight as they can. This show exposes those who are overweight, which is something society should be trying to avoid- Yet this show delivers a positive, inspirational message to society. Season 3 winner, Erik Chopin, came onto the show at 407 pounds, and won at the weight of 193, losing 52% of his body weight. Erik is an inspiration for all people who struggle with their weight, as he was much heavier than other contestants, and ended up winning in the end. Jodi Davis, a Michigan local who used to struggle with obesity, found the hit reality show to be extremely inspirational. “It helps you face the fact that you can change and makes you believe that you can lose the weight.” America, especially, struggles with increasing obesity rates. Even though The Biggest Loser displays something society should be trying to avoid, it sends an extremely encouraging message as the contestants are everyday people who just want work to live a healthier lifestyle. For many, obesity is something that seems impossible to overcome. The Biggest Loser provides proof that it is indeed possible, and inspires others to make good choices just like those on the show.

American Idol makes dreams come true for many talented individuals who want to make their way in the music industry. This reality show is a competition for everyday people who have amazing voices and want to make a name for themselves. A lot o
f these people come from rough backgrounds, and watching their story inspires others to chase their dreams as well. Lazaro Arbos was a contestant on the show in 2013, but he was different from the rest. Not only did he have an amazing voice, he had gone through many hardships due to his stutter. Alain Lopez, a speech-language pathologist and owner of Bilingual Speech Language Pathology Center Inc. in Fort Myers says, “I think he's a good role model for other individuals who might be in similar situations, who might be hesitant to follow their dreams.” Lazaro Arbos is a great example of someone whose life was changed due to American Idol. For many, especially those who also have something that is holding them back from accomplishing their goals, Lazaro is an inspiration to never give up. American Idol gives people the opportunity to not only follow their dreams, but allows society to become inspired to do the same. American Idol gives the chance of success to all kinds of people, no matter what background they come from. This provides a wide range of contestants, making it almost impossible for a viewer to not be connected to at least one. Watching an everyday person be heard all over the world for their true capabilities gives society a bright outlook on life, and encourages them to not give into bad lifestyles just because you don’t have a perfect past. American Idol positively influences society by encouraging them to follow their dreams.

Reality television shows are often thought as to glamorize negative choices that society should be staying away from, when in actuality, these shows send a positive message to society by showing them other people who make bad decisions or have rough pasts but work to have a brighter future. Even shows like “16 and Pregnant” where the bad mistakes aren’t always fixed, it shows viewers why to stay away from these mistakes. Although reality television shows tend to have a negative connotation attached to them, many actually influence society in a positive way by displaying real people who have made bad decisions or come from rough pasts, inspiring viewers to not make the same mistakes, or to work towards fixing them.

Works Cited:

Wilson, Jacque, and Stephanie Smith. "Study: MTV's '16 and Pregnant' Led to Fewer Teen Births." CNN. Cable News Network, 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.

BATLLE, MARYANN. "Lazaro Arbos' American Idol Run Inspires Others Who Stutter." NPDN. N.p., 12 Apr. 2013. Web. 07 Oct. 2014.

Davis, Jodi. "TV’s ‘The Biggest Loser’ a Great Motivator For Positive Change." A Healthier Michigan. N.p., 26 Sept. 2011. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.

Harrington, Amy. "The Biggest Losers: Where Are They Now?" Fox News. FOX News Network, 18 Sept. 2009. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.

Avery Monroe 2fer Revision

Death is inevitable, but it can happen in many different ways. Those who cause death, are often sentenced to death as a punishment. When convicted of murder, there is always a consequence. When someone is given the death penalty it is because they have been found guilty of a certain crime, there is a small list of crimes that would make the death penalty a possibility. There are currently 32 states that still practice the death penalty. Not only is the death penalty a cruel and unusual punishment but also, it can be extremely expensive and devastating to the prison and state system. Experts say, sentencing a prisoner to death on average costs about three times as much compared to sentencing them to life in prison. The Death Penalty should be banned in every state, because it is a financial burden that will eventually cause major problems to the prison and state system.

If the person is not given the death penalty the alternative is usually life in prison. Although the price that the prison system has to pay varies from state to state, it is pretty similar. According to Amnesty USA, “Death penalty case costs were counted through to execution (median cost $1.26 million). Non-death penalty case costs were counted through to the end of incarceration (median cost $740,000).” Criminals have committed a crime that is not only constitutional in our governments eyes, but also have committed such an inhumane act of foul behavior. It is difficult to believe that states spend millions of dollars to allow the death penalty to continue. Instead of creating a cycle of death, the state should abolish the death penalty and replace it with a more suitable consequence. It costs so much more to kill somebody than to just give them time in prison. Since there are sometimes large numbers of people on Death Row, this will cause a default in the money that the government has.

To be on Death Row, there must be a deplorable crime that has been committed. It is up to the judge of the court to decide if the crime was horrendous enough to give the criminal the death penalty. Mario M. Cuomo, the previous Governor of New York, stated that “That law is a stain on our conscience... The 46 executions in the United States in 2008 were, I believe, an abomination. People have a right to demand a civilized level of law and peace.” Not only was Mario Cuomo a respected governor, he raises a fair point on the matter. As stated before, the cost of having criminals on death row creates a staggering cost due after the senseless “consequence” they completed. According to information gathered previously and the information from Mario M. Cuomo, those 46 executions in 2008 would have been a grand total of over 58 million dollars. While on the other hand they could have spent a more manageable portion of money. Yet still expensive, the cost for the 46 inmates sentenced to life without parole would have been closer to $35 million. Spending this much more money, over time, will mean the states have to take money from other resources and will eventually will end up causing bankruptcy to the state. It is much more of a financial burden to the states to continue the death penalty.

When a state spends so much money executing inmates, they do not have to money to do other things that are very necessary, such as reducing available resources. Again, Amnestyusa states, ” Reducing the resources available for crime prevention, mental health treatment, education and rehabilitation, meaningful victims' services, and drug treatment programs.” When spending money to put people on Death Row, the state prison system is not only at risk of going into bankruptcy, but also at risk of reducing, or eliminating other state needs. One of the resources that will be diminished is “crime prevention”. Using this money for crime prevention will reduce Capital and violent crimes that they are being put on death row for. What sense does it make for the states to take the money to kill people when they could be taking the money to stop crime in the first place? So many of these resources are vastly important and useful to everybody.

The Death Penalty should be banned in every state, because it is a financial burden that will eventually cause major problems to the prison and state system. If the state stopped to think about it, they would realize that The Death Penalty is does not just affect the money in the state, but the children as well. There is a lot of money that gets spent on the prison system every year. A lof of this money could, instead, go to children in the school districts. It is effecting the children, and could start a cycle of people who do not go to school ending up in prison. It costs a lot more for the prisons and states to continue with the death penalty law, rather than to imprison the criminals. Keeping the death penalty drains the financial needs for other major resources. It would be much more efficient to discontinue the law of sentencing people to death.

Works Cited:

  1. Slobodzian, Joseph A. "Rarely Used, Pennsylvania's Death Penalty Remains a Headache on Both Sides of the Debate." N.p., 15 May 2011. Web. 03 Oct. 2014.

  2. "Death Penalty Cost." Amnesty International USA. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2014.

  3. "Death Penalty Fast Facts." CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.

  4. Cuomo, Mario M. "Death Penalty Is Dead Wrong: It's Time to Outlaw Capital Punishment in America - Completely." NY Daily News. N.p., 2 Oct. 2011. Web. 05 Oct. 2014.

Russian Ban on American Adoptions

Carolyn Borock

Air Stream

The issue of international adoptions took a major turn in early 2013, when Russia, which had been a very popular country for American adoptions, passed a law which barred Americans from adopting Russian orphans. Russia’s giant plan was to “poke” the American population by using Russian children as pawns in an international game. The Russian government wanted to retaliate against the US for passing the Magnitsky Act, a US law that was created in response to the investigation into corruption, tax fraud and human rights abuses by Russian officials.

The circumstances which led to the ban on American-Russian adoptions began in 2008 with claims of corruption and tax fraud filed against an American-Russian investment firm. Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer who worked for the investment firm, and in defending against the corruption claim uncovered the wrong-doing against  Russian officials. Instead of charges being filed against the officials, Magnitsky’s investigation and testimony resulted in his own arrest for tax evasion and eventually, his death in prison while waiting for trial. Although officially a “heart attack”, it was clear that Magnitsky was subject to what amounted to torture for his refusal to back down from the corruption allegations and died as a result of being denied medical care in prison. In response to pressure from the American citizens whose firm Magnitsky worked for, the US in 2012 passed the Magnitsky Act. The Act allowed the US to freeze the assets of and hold responsible the individual officials involved in the corruption scandal and human rights abuses, rather than institute sanctions against Russia itself. (Washington Post article)

Several months later, the Anti-American Adoption bill became Russian law. Why did the Russians choose to ban Americans from adopting Russian children. why not something else?

The “Anti-American Adoption Bill” is a heartless way to get the attention of many Americans by hitting them emotionally. The action could affect hundreds of U.S. families seeking to adopt, not to mention the Russian orphans, who now must languish in orphanages rather than be adopted into a loving home. Americans adopted close to 1,000 Russian children in 2012, according to U.S. State Department figures, The most innocent and vulnerable of Russian citizens – its orphaned children – are being punished to protect corrupt Russian officials so they can line their pockets, while depriving Americans of the opportunity to provide a loving home for a child or children. How can Russia get away with that?

According to the, the uncomfortable truth is that underneath the posturing, Vladimir Putin has a point. “The international adoption trade is a shady business – about 25,000 babies are adopted across borders every year; with half of them going to the US. However loving the prospective parents, in many nations there exists, according to the children's rights charity Terre des Hommes, "an industry around adoption in which profit, rather than the best interests of the child, takes centre stage".

Unfortunately, there have been several well-publicized incidents where orphans adopted from Russia by Americans did not end well. In 2008 Dima Yakovlev, a Russian toddler adopted by Americans, died after being left in a sweltering car for hours. His adoptive parents were found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter.“  The Russian Anti-Adoption bill is named for him.

Unfortunately, however, the Yakovlev case was not the only famous case that gave the Russian government an excuse to ban Americans from adopting. In 2010, a seven-year old boy adopted from a Russian orphanage by a Tennessee woman was returned to Russia by himself on an airplane, with a note that he was being returned because he was violent and had psychological problems. At that time, the Russian government threatened to suspend the American adoption program. It was also noted that there had been several failed adoptions, including three in which the children died. (

All of this provided a “valid basis” for Putin and Russia to create a bill which “protects” Russian orphans from Americans, the same way that the intent of the Magitsky law is to punish human rights violations.  However, the Yakovlev bill was not passed by the Russian government until four years after Dima Yakovlev passed away, and two years after the boy was returned on the plane, and pushed through very quickly after the Magnitsky bill was passed. It seems obvious that the Anti-adoption bill was created in retaliation, using the orphans for an excuse.

The US knew that the Russian government wanted to retaliate against the US. Why did the Russian government  choose to retaliate by banning Americans from adopting Russian children, why not something else, like trade? Russia makes a lot of money from the adoption process and they treat the children like an item. These are children not items.

In conclusion, Russia is using the children of their own country to hurt the Americans that fell in love with them, and hurts the Russian children who need loving homes; this is a situation in which neither side wins.

Works Cited :

(Washington Post article):

"Russia's Ban on American Adoptions Won't Go into Effect until next Year." Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.,:

Penny, Laurie. "Russia's Ban on US Adoption Isn't about Children's Rights." N.p., n.d. Web.

"Boy Sent Back to Russia; Adoption Ban Urged." N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014.

Sounding Like Home

“Hi. My name is Michaela. I’m thirteen years old, and I’m from Philly,” I said to the group of girls around me. It was a standard summer camp icebreaker. We came from all over the country to spend a week here in Newport, singing. Since we were spending the week together, we were all introducing ourselves, telling each other our names and homes.

“Have you always lived in Philly?” one of the girls asked.

“Yeah. Born ‘n raised,” I responded with a shrug.

“Huh. You don’t sound like you’re from Philly,” she said in an off-hand manner.

I just gave her a tight smile and shrugged, not letting her see how annoyed I was.

“You don’t sound like you’re from Philly.” I can’t tell you the number of times people have told me that. And whenever I ask them where I think I am from, their response is almost always: “I don’t know, just not Philly.” Has anyone told you that don’t sound like you’re from the place you call home? It hurts. The worst part is when they want you to prove it. The number of times I’ve taken the ‘water test’, as I’ve dubbed it, is horrible. Someone will ask me to say the word ‘water’. They expect me to say something along the lines of “wooda”, since they think that’s what everyone from Philly says. They’re almost disappointed when I say “wadar”. Often I’ll just smile, and explain that the “Philly” accent that they are expecting is a South Philly accent. And, yes, there are people who say “wooda”, but the majority of the people I know don’t say it like that.

A lot of people would say that I should be happy that I don’t sound like I’m from Philly. That way, it’ll be easier for me to get a job down the road. The thing is, I do sound like I’m from Philly. I slur my words and elongate the ‘s’, sometimes even adding an ‘h’, like almost everyone else from Philly. People just associate a “Philly” accent with the voice of Sylvester Stallone. And I’m not the only one who has to deal with this issue. This is a problem people all over the world face. We assume all people from a certain area speak like the people in movies. We think everybody from Boston says “Pak the ca,” (Park the car) or the that everybody down south speaks slowly and almost slurs a little. And nobody is immune to it.

A great example of this would be the time I met one of my closest friends, who lives right outside of Boston. Alyssa acts like your typical Bostonian (she loves the Red Sox, can’t wake up without a cup of coffee from Dunkin’, and can be a bit abrasive at times), but she doesn’t sound like one. Or, at least, she doesn’t have the accent most people associate with people from Boston. The first time we met, we both immediately started judging each other’s accents. She had said I didn’t sound like I was from Philly, and I snarkily replied, “Yeah, well, you don’t exactly have a Boston accent, either.” And before you judge, I am completely aware of the hypocrite I was being in that moment. But that’s just something humans do. We judge people on what they sound like, and try to figure out their story from the moment they open their mouths. Another great example of this lies in The Hunger Games series. In every book, Katniss talks about how strangely people from the Capitol speak. She even goes so far as to mock them, even after she has met several people from there, and knows they aren’t all that bad. Their accent is vastly different from hers, so her instinct is to distance herself from it and make fun of it. We do the same. I still have the impression that all people from Boston say “Pak the ca”, even though I know people from that area who don’t.

And, like I said before, those thoughts hurt. The place you call home is a key part of your identity. It’s one of the first things you tell people when you meet them. So, when people tell you that you don’t sound like you are from the place you call home, it’s almost like they are ripping away a piece of your identity. However, what’s worse, is when people tell you that you’re accent is undesirable. When people make fun of your accent, they make fun of the place you call home. They aren’t taking away a piece of your identity, they are telling you that an important piece of you is undesirable, that you should hide it. At least when people take away a piece of your identity, other’s can replace it. But some wounds aren’t so easily fixed, especially when they are supported by popular culture.

Gloria Anzaldua addresses this issue in her essay How To Tame a Wild Tongue. She says, “Because we internalize how our own language has been used against us by the dominant culture, we use our language differences against each other.” She was talking about actual languages, but this quote can be related to accents as well. An example of this would be what Alyssa and I did. She told me I didn’t sound like I was from Philly, so, I retaliated. Neither of us has the “standard” accent of our homes. So, we used those differences against each other, which starts a chain reaction. Once we feel inferior, we want to make others feel inferior, at least on a subconscious level. We deem any and all accents that differ from our own inferior, creating the urge to reach “the voice from nowhere”. Sometimes, we even denounce people with our own accent, because we think that it is shameful. Yet, if we do eventually get to “the voice from nowhere” , aren’t we just putting ourselves back at square one? If we have “the voice from nowhere”, people will still tell us that we don’t sound like we are from our homes.

The idea of “the voice from nowhere” or a “superior” accent is ridiculous. Everyone has an accent, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Not only do these accents relay where we are from, they are a part of our identity, which is why making fun of them, or denying their existence, hurts. I know that we can’t just stop thinking the way we do, or change our misconceptions over night, but we can start to making changes. We can stop laughing whenever we hear a “funny” accent. We can stop voicing our thoughts about where we think people are from, or not from. And we can definitely stop trying to make others feel inferior because their accents differ from our own. No matter what we do, we will still make assumptions about people based on their accents. But maybe someday, those assumptions will come to include the less popular accents from a certain area. After all, don’t you want to sound like home?

Different People, Different Voices

I have no interest in this topic seeing as I have no accent, I’ve never been against other people’s accents, and never been affected by a family member/ friends accent. I’ve always heard strong accents, and maybe I have judged or poked fun, but they’ve never really affected me personally. But, this is not just about accents it’s really just about your speech in general, so I guess I will talk about what i’ve noticed with my voice, particularly how I talk to people depending on who they are. Even though I have a defining personality that stays with me everywhere sometimes I change a little depending on the person I’m with.

I walk to the cafeteria filled with loud noises, and rushing feet,. I come to the table closest to the lunch line where I find my friend Amanda eating what the school district calls “food”. I set my backpack down on the table, rush to put my frozen chicken masala in the microwave and find a seat next to her.


“Hi” Amanda says.

“How has your day been going”?” I say somewhat sarcastically.  

She takes a deep breath and starts shaking her head.

“Oh god, I just can’t anymore with these teachers. They’re drawin’. I mean Mr. Abbott has a test and a benchmark due in the same week. And guess what! I have to do this asshole’s homework too! We laugh. “I just can’t anymore.’

“Well I’ve got two fuckin’ benchmarks due in the same week. Mr. Chase has one due this Wednesday, and Mrs. Jeffreys is due this Friday. Thank god she changed the date or it would’ve been due on Thursday, I would’ve been fucked!” I say in one breath.

We laugh again, and attempt to eat our lunch in this chaotic cafeteria. Eric walks over to our table and stares and Amanda’s lunch.

“Hey” We say.

“That shit looks like cat food. That’s disgusting.” He says pointing at it, laughter.

“More like cat vomit. “ I say. More laughter.

“No it looks like sweat. Like fucking sweat!” He says. Even more laughter.

“I don’t even know if I want to eat it anymore.” Amanda says.

“ I wouldn’t.” I say. Eric nods his head in agreement. Amanda throws out her food looking hungry and tired.

“Can I have some of your’s?” She says eyeing my food. I give into her puppy eyes and let her have some of my chicken masala.

When i’m with my friends I obviously talk how ever I want to. I curse, talk trash, and am overall incredibly vulgar. And so are my friends. It’s not a bad thing, everyone does it, but you only do it in front of the appropriate people. If I were to talk this way in front of an adult, I probably wouldn’t get a positive response. And, in my case wouldn’t, which is why I talk much differently with adults, particularly my dad.

I sit down at the kitchen table, waiting for my food to be served. My dad scoops up some mac and cheese into my bowl. After giving himself a serving he sits down. We start eating, at first in silence with jazz in the background, and then  my dad starts to talk.

“How was your day at school today?” He asks. He asks this a lot. I guess all parents do.

“Good.” I say.

“Well what did you do?” He asks.

“Nothing much.” I answer. “Just went to classes, talked to friends and stuff.”

“Oh. Well what do you have for homework?” He says.

“I have this history project…” I say.

“About what?” He says.

“Um, well it’s like this project where you have like a fake wikipedia page, and the topic is religion, and everyone does something different on religion. I'm doing art and religion.” I say.

“That sounds cool.” He says.

“Yeah the religion’s I’m doing are Islam and buddhism so I have to do some research on that…” And that’s when a billion other questions come in, and his knowledge on art, religion, buddhism, islam, and pretty much everything else that has ever existed. He also asks me if he can see some photos of this religious art that I have found. I of course have none, so I have to look up some google images.Then after realizing I already finished my meal I clear my plate and ask to be excused.

“Thanks for the dinner dad. It was really good.” I say.

“Your welcome. Make sure to show me those pictures!” He says.

“I will.” I say.

My voice changes when I talk to certain people. I am louder, more vulgar, and more revealing with my friends, while I don’t really know what to say with my dad or most adults in general. I don’t feel like I have to act a certain way in front them, or I have to say certain things to please them. There is no pressure, no worry with them, and I can say mostly what I want. I don’t know if this how your life works, maybe you feel the opposite way, or at least have more freedom to speak towards your parents/ adults. But, I think one thing we can all agree on is we don’t talk or act exactly the same with everyone.

My art was made with a very broad meaning, being straightforward yet beautiful. The reason that I created these pieces were because they had a very close mean to me. The art that I enjoyed making the most was in weeks five through six. I re-created a piece of art that was included on Kanye West album graduation. His music holds a very strong and close meeting to my hear and I think molded me into the person I am today. Music in my opinion a form of art, and just like the drawing it can be colorful and vibrant. 
The messages that I am trying to give as a person is that the things that shape you mold you into the person that you are, and that is depicted in the art. Although I would not consider myself an artist, I can convey a strong message through project. That is what I attempted to do here. I used Various colors that were very bright and both weeks two through three and five through six. The reason I picked these drawings are because of being a cartoon is affiliated with being a kid. The message is that being yourself is alright , and in my case I feel like I will always be young kid, with the young mine. The bright colors brought out a very active and I'll be feeling to the painting.
Week 2:sketches for ceiling tile collaboration
Week 3-4:collaborate with a with a “middle” to create a ceiling tile
IMG_0011 (1)
IMG_0011 (1)
Week 5-6: Choose your own drawling
Week 7-8:make three bats (the animal) out of construction paper
Week 9-10:self portrait any medium on copy paper
IMG_0346 (1)
IMG_0346 (1)

Second Languages are Another Set of Eyes, Ears and Mouth

“A, B, C, D, E…” “Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro, Cinco…” Is basically how I started speaking Spanish back in kindergarten. When I was 5, I was enrolled in Independence Charter School, where you can start taking many classes at a young age in English or Spanish. See Both my parents were born in Nicaragua, my mother’s parents are from Pennsylvania so when she was a baby they returned to New York State. My father on the other hand, lived in Nicaragua until he was a grown man. My dad since he grew up in a more open cultured place, he learned many languages like English, Spanish and a few other native languages. My mother only knows English. So my parents wanted Luke and I to have a bilingual way of learning. We continued through kindergarten with the baby steps. “A,B,C,D,E...” “Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro, Cinco…”

Luke and I started learning a second language at the young age of 5, my older brother was not put in the Spanish classes. My mother learned that it would be very hard for him, as learning a language comes easier as a child. I started really learning my Spanish because every class was taken in Spanish. I had “matemáticas” y “ciencias.” The teachers spoke to us in Spanish. “Aaron; nos vamos a la escuela, va a llover.” I understood them. Even when I never speak or practice Spanish outside of when I “need” to. We were told we could only speak Spanish in class as well. We were given “pases” for one time you can speak English every class. If you exceeded them the teacher would make you stay after to speak Spanish with them. “Me voy a verte durante su almuerzo.” “Si maestro.” Is what I would reply. They would push you early to ensure you learn and sustain skills in English and Spanish.

I learned Spanish but never got one of those “expected” accents. You hear the Spanish accents on TV. They like to make sure to show of their rolling R’s when unnecessary. People might say “Oh yeah, well you don’t sound like you’re Spanish.” Well then how do I know if you speak “English.” Stereotyping is a problem for Spanish speakers and many languages around the world suffer as they are supposed to fit the description of the languages “native speaker.” I am Latino and White but I look and you could say “sound” white. Many like me have had issues with stereotypes, with the American gringo look. I believe it’s because our physical look are viewed as people who can’t speak Spanish the “right” way. I am happy that I have this second language skill no matter what others think of what Spanish really is.

A struggle I have had was transitioning from learning from Spanish to English. Up until middle school every class I had was in Spanish, even music. We ended that in 6th grade. It was hard to learn the terms in math go from “pulgada to inch.” I would get things wrong on tests because of myself not knowing these words. I felt like Richard Rodriguez in math class, he said “ I remember to start with that day in Sacramento- a California now nearly thirty years past- when I entered a classroom able to understand some fifty stray words in English.” That might be a bit of an exaggeration as well as the second half only relating to myself. I felt I had to learn math twice all the time, the way I knew it and the way it was expected to be done. This was a burden on me but I overcame it. I overcame my transition from Spanish learning to English with practice, learning new things in classes in another way. I was happy that I learned my classes in Spanish as well, otherwise I could have lost my Spanish forever.

At SLA, I have gained a different way of learning Spanish, where working together rather than yourself is how we learn. I thought I should’ve started in a higher Spanish, but in Spanish 2 as a freshman with Don Marcos we often worked together to learn and show our projects to improve our Spanish. But at ICS it was more individualized and I’d say competitive. What I learned in Spanish 2, I learned in 5th grade at ICS. At ICS we had books to read constantly, long tests, projects and papers due often. ICS had a much larger commitment to Spanish, where I’d take the class seven times a week. The differences are astronomic between how I’ve been learning Spanish, and how I was originally taught. I can’t imagine not having taken Spanish classes in my life, they have been enriching to my speech in situations and how I look at cultures.

Mom: “Aaron Come help me out, I’m talking to one of my students and I can’t understand him, can you help?

Aaron: “Alright, cool.”

Student: “Que fue la tarea de la noche pasada?

Aaron: “Mom, what was the homework from the other night?

Mom: “The homework was to read the text then write a connection to yourself, and the world with the reading.”

Aaron: “La tarea fue a leer y después escribir conexiones de su mismo y el mundo del libro.”

Student: “Gracias, Ms. Sharer.”

Aaron: “Mom he said thanks.”

Mom: “Aaron yeah I know that one.”

(Mom types in de nada)

Mom: “Thanks.”

Learning Spanish hasn't just helped me but others around me. My mother does not speak much Spanish, she knows what would be called “un poquito.” She currently works at the school district building but previously worked at Furness High School. Furness housed many immigrant students from around the world. A chunk of them from Latin America. She would try to help them out of class by trying to talk in Spanish with them online. She had a hard time so when I was available, she’d ask for my help. I would be a translator for her so her students could learn and improve in class. Helping my mother goes a long way as it helps the student for the long run. My mother thanks me every time  help her out and using a skill of mine for the good of others is a great way a second language helps in the real world.

This essay makes me think about being thankful. Not for upbringing or material possessions but the gift of opportunities I’ve had to gain skills like Spanish. Things like skills are things to be more thankful of than those pair of shoes you bought last week. The language skill lasts longer and has a price tag that can’t be set. You can’t put a price tag on knowledge but you can on just about everything else. That’s why Spanish has relevance to me and it’s influence on myself and people close to me. Your language never goes away, so hold onto it and take advantage of it.

I Can't Understand You

“Say it again!”

“ Wanzie”, my mom said.

“I thought it was onesie.” I said laughing.

“That’s what I said, wanzie.”

Another round of laughter came from my sister and I. My mom was thinking of gifts for her friends baby shower and the idea of a “wanzie” came up. We had never heard my mom say that word before. We thought my mom talked without an accent. All my life I thought my mom sounded like any other American, but friends and strangers would ask where my mom was from.  The rest of her family had strong accents that even made it hard for me to understand sometimes. I could never understand how she sounded different. Until that day.

My mom is Guyanese. She was born and raised in Guyana with all of her family. At the age of sixteen, she and my grandmother came to America. In high school, people couldn’t understand what she said. They made mean jokes and stereotypes about where she was from. In college, my mom wanted to go  into Communications. She wanted to be “the next Oprah”, but she knew she had to lose the accent. She didn’t end up being the next Oprah but she did get a job at our church being the Events Coordinator. This job meant she would always be on the phone and communicating with people. Her new voice was beautiful. So beautiful that she became the voice on the answering machine. But why was it good enough there but not good enough in college?

When I was younger, I never noticed my mom had an accent. People say I have lived with her so long that I wouldn’t notice. I thought my mom was like every other American mom, except for the fact that she made curry and other Guyanese foods. Whenever people asked where she was from I thought it was her appearance. Maybe Guyanese people looked differently that other Americans? But then they would say to her “Oh your accent gave it away.” “What accent,” I would think, “ she didn’t have an accent.” Sometimes, after I would hear my grandma or someone with a strong Guyanese accent speak, I would ask my mom to talk with her accent. I would say she’s “americanized” and tell her she’s lost her Guyanese roots, all jokingly of course. All along not knowing she never lost it.

My mother’s side of the family has always been strict on speaking properly. My grandmother doesn’t accept slang or incorrect pronunciation of words. “Mac and cheese” is changed to “macaroni and cheese” and “You went over her house? Like flew over it?” is asked if  “went over her house” isn’t  changed to “went to her house”. Proper speaking is a must. New slang words are the types of things she gets mad at us for saying. Because I am black, people will automatically think I speak improperly. My mom installs in my sister and I that our language is everything. People will judge you by how you speak and she doesn’t want that to happen. “Open your mouth and pronunciate,” is a line I hear a lot,”you want people to understand you.” She learned that the hard way.

In class, we read a passage by James Baldwin. In the passage, a quote stuck out to me and I felt that it would fit perfectly into my essay. The quote says “It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power.” This quote relates to me because I think if my mom didn’t have an accent then she would have had a better chance at achieving her goal. I’m not saying that that is the only reason because their are many other factors, but I believe that it would have helped dramatically. If my mom didn’t have her accent, she would have had a better shot at having a job in the area she went to school for. A better job would result to a higher salary. Her accent determines what types of jobs she will get. Just like in the passage, “means” are a result of her language. She could be the smartest person in the world, but her language will counteract that. Society wants us to speak a certain way and if we don’t we are looked down upon and not given the same opportunities as everybody else.

I have had experiences where I have been told I talk “white”. This means that I speak like a “white person” would talk. I don’t think I talk like I’m “white”. I believe I talk properly when I’m around certain people. I speak differently when I’m around professionals because I know that the way I speak will determine how they view me. The way they view me determines if I get the job or the opportunity I want. My skin color already creates stereotypes so my language has to change that.  My mom tells me to always speak properly because she knows how important it is. She doesn’t want me to have limited opportunities because of the way I speak.

I don’t agree with the way the world treats people who speak differently than how they thinks they are supposed to speak. I believe that everyone should be treated equally, no matter how they speak. Not everyone can speak “white”. It’s unfair to withhold opportunities from people because they don’t fit the language criteria that society has. Sadly, we don’t live in a time like that. I now understand why my mom pushes for a great education for my sister and I and for us to speak clearly and properly. She does not want us to be cut out from opportunities that we can be given because of our language. My mom had to work hard to change her language to fit in with society. Now that we don’t have to work as hard, she doesn’t want us to take our language for granted and mess it up. She just wants the best for us.


“Stop it!” I yelled as my voice was starting to hurt more than my head. My sister laughed and pointed, self satisfied, while my mom cupped her hand over her mouth in a failed attempt to conceal her laughter.

“I’m being serious, stop it, right now!!” In rage, I screamed again in my highest, whiniest voice. Another burst of laughter erupted, and tears streamed down my face.

“Sweetie, I’m sorry, Its just difficult to take you seriously sometimes when you are screaming in such a high voice,”  My mom laughed and I backed away.

“ I can’t control my voice!” I yelled in a final attempt, and stormed out of the living room.

Though I don’t anymore, when I was young, I had a very high pitched voice. I was always aware of this when I was little, and more often that not, my voice didn’t matter too much for me. As a little girl, having a voice like mine, along with being shorter than average, was considered cute to my peers. I learned this quickly, and I tried to use it to my advantage.

In kindergarten, pretzel day was the highlight of our school week. On thursdays, our teacher would send us downstairs to a makeshift pretzel stand that the 5th graders ran. Everyone was ecstatic and we would run down to get the first spot in line. Pretzels were only fifty cents, but I was a forgetful kid. I would always try to remember to ask my parents for pretzel money, but I rarely did. When my friends had no money to spare, I was forced to go up to the counter empty handed. I looked up at the big fifth grader and explained in my cutest voice.

“Pleeeeeese?” I asked sweetly. I remember the girl giving me the pretzel, pulling me to the side and saying:

“Don’t tell anyone, okay?” she smiled as she handed me a warm pretzel. I nodded happily and ran back upstairs. I tried using these techniques on my parents, and they began to pay off. I was manipulative and I knew it.

As I got older, my voice began to change. At age eight I still had a high voice, but it had gotten  lower. However, I still wasn’t growing taller and I was easily mistakable for somebody much younger. My so called “techniques” didn’t seem to work on my parents anymore. From years of learning to beg things from my parents or teachers, I seemed to shift into a higher octave when I was pleading. My parents recognized this, and refused to give me what I wanted when I asked for things in that tone. My parents worked with me to stop using that tone, and they would try to alert me when I was doing it. My dad would note my deviousness by saying:

“Zoe you are using your little voice” As an eight year old, this made me angry. Many times I shifted into this voice unintentionally, and I believed I could not control it. When my parents told me otherwise, I would get angry and try to explain to them that it was simply the way I spoke. Ultimately, my high voice became even more common, now happening when I was begging and upset.

By age ten, my high voice had become a part of who I was. My best friends even began to recognize when I went higher. In my family my voice was still present. At that time, our house only had one desktop computer that my older sister and I would share. When we didn’t want to play the same games together, the computer was the center of many of our arguments. One spring morning, we both wanted to get on at the same time, but neither of us was willing to sacrifice for the other. I tried to get her off of the computer chair, but I finally gave up after the realization that getting her off of the chair was nearly impossible. I stormed out of the room and told my sister that she had thirty minutes to play on the computer by herself. I waited patiently and watched the clock as I sat angrily in my room. After the time was up, I ran downstairs and into the computer room to find the door shut. I pushed on the door and felt a weight against the other side.

“Brigit, I know that you are pushing against the door, let me in!” I yelled through the small crack at the bottom of the door.

“No!! I never agreed to your rules!” my sister screamed back. I pushed on the door against my sisters weight. Each time I felt the door open just slightly, and then shut once more. I gave one final push and felt a release. As I gave the hardest push of all, my sister let go of the door and I tumbled face first into the computer room. I sat for a moment, too stunned to get up. I soon rose and began to cry for help. My mom rushed into the room and gave me ice for my head. My mom carefully asked us both what happened. When my sister explained that I had tried to kick her out of the computer room, I was furious. I yelled at her to stop talking, but she continued. I was angry, and nobody could take me seriously.

“I’m being serious, stop it, right now!!” In rage, I screamed again in my highest, whiniest voice. Another burst of laughter erupted, and tears streamed down my face.

“Sweetie, I’m sorry, Its just difficult to take you seriously sometimes when you are screaming in your little voice,”  My mom laughed and I backed away.

“ I can’t control my voice!” I yelled in a final attempt, and stormed out of the living room.

I ran back into my bedroom and slammed my door. A few minutes later I heard a knock. My mom came in and apologized for laughing at me. She said that she knew I couldn’t control my voice, and in fact that wasn’t what they were laughing at at all. My mom was just laughing about how I was overreacting about the computer and my sister agreed. She said that she couldn’t care less what I sounded like, but when I act immature it is hard for her to take me seriously. I thought about what they said and I apologized to them both for acting immature.

Soon after, I outgrew my high voice. After that argument with my mom, I started to notice when I changed my voice. Age has helped me realized how silly my arguments with my sister were. I know now that using my high voice turned into a subconscious way for my brain to get what I wanted, but it did the opposite as I grew up. Though I sometimes still worry about I sound like, I now try to be as candid as possible with my voice. When speaking about language, Mike Rose says in his essay, I just wanna be average: “It is a powerful and effective defence- it neutralizes the insult and the frustration of being a vocational kid, and when preferred, it drives teachers up the wall, a delightful secondary effect. But like on strong magic, it comes at a price.” Oddly enough,  I think that having my high voice taught me that there is always a bad side to the good. The price I thought I was paying ended up being the thing that finally made me realize and grow out of the voice I was using. As clever as I thought I was tricking the 5th graders out of pretzels, that bad habit stuck with me, and has made me who I am today.

A Day Full Of Code Switching

¨Yo bro what you doing.¨

He replied with ¨Bout to go get something to eat.¨

“Tell me how this jawn came up to me today and whisper in my ear. Like she weird forreal like who does that.¨

He says ¨Was she cute. Did she have cake ?¨

I reply with ¨She was okay. She had a little something. Nothing that noticeable but she had something.¨

As my brother and I enter the car on our way to school. I say ¨ Son papi¨ to my dad which is asking for his blessing.

He replies with ¨Dios te bendiga¨ which means “god bless you.”

My brother does the same. As my dad starts the car I turn up the radio. Switching the radio station to 96.5. We start on our way to school. My Dad starts talking about His teenage years. He starts talking about how it was hard for him to learn English and how his accent makes it hard for people to understand.While listening to him I realize that I talk differently depending on my surrounding. Like around my brother and friends I talk less educated and more slang. While around my parents I talk Spanish as well as English on their level of understanding. I also notice I try to talk more standard English in school .Its like I’m a totally different person when I’m in school than when I’m at home. As we arrive to school , My brother and I sign in and walk to a table.

Kareem says “Yo wassup.”

I reply with “sup”

As I walk up to class. I get ready to talk or try to talk standard English to my teacher.

I say “Hello Miss Pavohmov¨

She replies with “Hey Arsenio.”

I asks her “ So how has your day been.”

She replies with “Its been great how about yours.”

I reply with “My day has been good thanks for asking.”

I walk over to my seat and start getting my book out. Is not written in standard English but written in slang like how I speak at home and around friends. Anyways while reading the book I realize that people from the same city speak differently and dress different. An example is myself I’m from North Philadelphia and I say certain things differently compared to someone from South Philadelphia. Miss Pavohmov told us to put our books away and to talk about our books in our groups. I’m the first one to talk in my table about my book while everyone in my group are too shy to go first. I start talking about the main character and the problems he is facing. Once I finish they start talking about their books. Then the class really starts on its lesson.

The school day is finally over and I can go home. I wait for my brother down in the cafe. Once he gets there we leave through the front door.

“So how was your day bro?”

He replies with“It was alright.”

I ask “ have any home work?”

He says “ I have a little bit not that much how bout you?”

I say “ Nothing much just read.”

We arrive at the trolley stop. We both don't speak on the ride to the train station. My brother gives me the look. I nod my head left to right because this is not our stop. Then I rise 1 finger to indicate one more stop. He nods up and down to say okay. Once we get to the train station we walk to the Dirty Broad street line. Once we get there we wait for the train to come which usually doesn't take that long. The train comes and my brother and I enter the train and sit down not talking the whole way there. Once out stop is near I gave him the look then nod up and down indicating that the next stop is our. So we get off the train and wait for the bus to come. I do the same once we are in the bus. We are finally home where I’m free to speak slang English and not get judge by society. Once I’m home I realize that I do a lot of code switching in my daily life.  

I was reading this article called How to Tame a Wild Tongue by Glona Anzaldua.  She starts talking about how she codes switch in her daily life and says, “I may switch back and forth from English to Spanish in the same sentence or in the same word.” When I read that I  understood what she meant. She says she switches from English to Spanish in the same sentence ,I do that that a lot when speaking to my parents. An example is “Mami hoy en escuela nosotros tenemos un project but I don't really understand can you see if you can help me.” I  said mom today we were in school and we have a project but I don't really understand it can you see if you understand it. I don't only do this from English to Spanish I also do it with proper English to slang English. An example is “ Yo bro may I use your pencil.” which rarely happens but does sometimes. The switching from Spanish to English is what I call the language Spanglish. Which is just using Spanish and English in the same sentence.

Anyways enough talking about English. So let me give you some background history. Both of my parents are from the Dominican Republic that's were I get my Spanish accent from. Which I just noticed recently that I had. I also notice that I try to hide my Spanish accent when speaking English or trying to speak standard English. I take pride in my Spanish heritage unlike others who hate it. I take pride in it because that is what makes me unique from everyone else. Then again it leaves me in a disadvantage because some people might not take me as seriously because of my accent.

The reason why I code switch is because I feel comfortable doing it and it makes. When I don't talk on the train and just give out signals to my brother. Or when I speak Spanglish to my mom is because I feel comfortable with doing it. Not because I have to or because I’m force to. I do it because it is a easier way of communicating with my family and friends. I think everyone should code switch if it helps them get their idea across. I think code switching could be good and bad depending on how you are using it. You can use it to communicate to your peers easily or use it to talk trash about someone it all depends on the type of person you are.

How Hackers Do It.

All around the world computers are becoming more and more common in households and everywhere else.  Computers are becoming best friends and not having one means that are missing a lot.  There is endless things to do on computers, such as facebook, instagram and other social networking.  These give hackers more ways to get your information.  But the biggest problem with computers these days is the fact that they are so easy to hack. They can get pictures, contact information, emails, search history, passwords and your money etc. Your information could be everywhere in minutes.  All you have to do is have a computer and the mind of an everyday person and anything can happen.  As new software and devices come out, hackers find ways to get through it. Their traps are getting smarter.  As new devices come out hackers get smarter and smarter, while technology users are falling into the same traps, allowing hackers to gain control of thousands of computers a day.

Everyone has computers now and if one does not then they are missing out on something important.  Seeing kids everywhere using laptops makes others want to buy them.  When a person gets a computer and they are unfamiliar with it, it can be very easy for people to fall into a hacker’s trap.  Some examples of hacker traps are pop ups, using open wifi and sneaking viruses onto downloadable files. To avoid this problem many people  “Use the Same Password for Multiple Accounts.”  ”Sure, using the same password for multiple accounts seems like a great way to save you from having to remember so many passwords, but If a hacker hacks one of your accounts, or your account and password are involved in a data breach, a hacker is likely to try your compromised password to gain access to other accounts”  This is a common mistake that many people make to help themselves remember their passwords.  The smarter thing to do is change the password very little so it is not identical to others.  Another way that people make the mistake is when they “Respond to Pop-up Messages and/or Unsolicited Emails.”  Hackers get people a lot with this mistake because they make the emails seem so real, making people feel that you actually know that person.  These pop-ups tend to reel you in with prize winning and ways to help you or your device.  A lot of people are very gullible so they believe what they see because they think it will benefit them from hackers.  Little do they know they have just been hacked.  The most common mistake is pop ups because hackers can manipulate the pop up causing people to click exactly what they want.  There are many different ways to get hacked and people need to be more conscious of what is real and fake.  

Once they have gotten into a persons computer or device then that person has to do whatever it takes to get rid of them because, what hackers can do, is endless. In minutes all of the data and the person’s information could be in their hands.  This is an interview with a hacker showing what they can achieve through mediocre wifi signals in a person's everyday cafe.  “With the stroke of a few keys, a code flashed by and then suddenly he pulled up a list.  He points to a list of names and phone numbers on the screen.”  “Yes. Absolutely. I can grab the SMS (text messages). I can actually grab the contact of the actual text.”  The easiest access point for hackers is free wifi cafes because they can create what seems to be a normal network connection.  

One of the most common places for a person without internet is a free wifi area/cafe.  People go to these places specifically for internet, so they do not waste any time checking if something seems suspicious.  They join the first network that says it is free and before they are off, they have the hacker already in there computer system.  Hackers make it seem like its working right by putting websites that are popular so that there is no suspicion.  Then within minutes, they have you texts, contacts, passwords and pictures.  With that information they can cause identity theft and more.  

If you want to not be like the people who get hacked, all you have to do is find good ways to avoid hacker traps. Some people are very conscious about where they are and what they do at every moment. Ways to avoid these people are simple. Cover the laptop camera so that if they get into it, they will not be able to take pictures of people while not using your laptop. Next, be careful when downloading software updates. “When companies discover vulnerabilities in their software that hackers can exploit, they send out security patches to solve the problem that appear in the form of pop-ups or download prompts.” Finally, anything that is not 100% clean, such as emails do not open or answer to. These days people need to be very sure when making decisions like those.  

Technology is a need to know part of life these days.  More inexperianced people feel that they need to own computers and fancy phones because others have it.  This is not true.  Before buying a device of some sort people should first learn some safety precautions because they become the easiest targets for hackers. Hackers traps are getting smarter. Computers are a way of life these days causing more people to buy computers.  As new devices come out hackers get smarter and smarter causing people to fall into their well thought out traps, gaining control of thousands of computers a day.

Works Cited:

Donnell, Andy O' "5 Common Mistakes That Might Get You Hacked."About. Andy O'Donnell Security Expert, n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2014.

Sutta, David. "How Hackers Are Using Free Wi-Fi To Steal Your Information - CBS Miami." CBS Miami. David Sutta, 24 Sept. 2014. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.

"What Hackers Do." What Hackers Do. EBOOK, 2000. Web. 07 Oct. 2014.

Thomsen, Jacqueline. "How to Avoid Hackers, from Cyber Security Experts on Campus." Newsroom How to Avoid Hackers from Cyber Security Experts on Campus Comments. Jacqueline Thomsen, 13 Sept. 2014. Web. 07 Oct. 2014.

Farsi: The Language I Never Learned

“Chiara, bia enja.” [Chiara, come here.] said my father.

“Baba, metoonim berim bozi conim?” [Dad, can we go play?]

“Yek lahzeh lotfan.”[One second, please]

“Boshe Baba.”[Okay dad.]

I walked over to my dad, waiting for him to be done sweeping the floor. I wanted to go play with the soccer ball. It was Sunday, this meant I’d only have an hour before I had to leave for Farsi school. I really liked it there. The only bad part was the drive over. It took an hour! I always got antsy in the car.

We arrived at the doorstep of the school. The dark wooden doors were tall and heavy. I placed my hands on the doors, and pushed. I could never open the door, my dad always had to help me. As I walked in I could smell the rice. They always cooked food for the parents. They would sit down around the sofre, a table on the floor. A table cloth is placed on the floor, everyone sits around it and eats there. It is a traditional Iranian way of eating with friends and family. I saw my teacher waiting by the door to the class, I ran over, excited for the day’s lesson.

“Carfsh unja bezar.” [Put your shoes over there] my teacher says pointing to the shoe closet.

“ Salam, shoma chetur hastin?” [Hello, how are you?] I said.

“Khoob, va shoma?” [Good, and you?]

“Khoob”[Good]  I said as a smile crossed my face. I ran into the classroom, excited for today’s class. This time in my life reminded me a lot of a story I read called The Woman Warrior. In the story the author states “There we chanted together, voices rising and falling, loud and soft, some boys shouting, everybody reading together, reciting together and not alone with one voice.” She attended a school that taught her, her native language.

My sister was in the class with the older kids. I could not wait to go to that class. They got to learn how to read and write Farsi! The letters are so different, easily mistaken for Arabic. I love the Farsi language, it is like a skipping rock. You throw the rock and it hits the waters surface, flying. You keep looking at it until it stops.

I never got to take that class, though. The school moved even farther away, I was no longer able to attend. I had not completed the speaking part of school. I spent less hours speaking Farsi. My father was at work most of the day. I spoke Farsi less and less. This took a detrimental turn in my life.

I was about five years old when I stopped attending Farsi school. I was just beginning to get into real elementary school. I still attended Italian school every Saturday. Two languages swirled around the house. Italian was spoken to my mom but when my dad arrived home from work we all spoke Farsi to each other. As the years went on, English became the prominent language. Three children in one house who used to speak comfortably in the Italian and Farsi language soon began speaking more fluently in English. My brother, sister and I began to speak to each other in English, a decision that would impact us harshly.

“Posso andare fuori con amici stasera, Mama?” [Can I go out with some friends tonight, Mom?] asked my sister, Darya.

“Si a che hora?” [Yes, at what time?]

“Non lo so, come le quattro? [I’m not sure, like four?]

“Okay, fa mi quidere a Baba.” [Okay, let me ask Dad.]

“Grazie.” [Thank you.]

Most of our conversations now consist of three languages. My mom speaks Italian to us, and Farsi to my father. My dad speaks Farsi to all of us. Meanwhile we speak all three, English being the one we use most. I am able to communicate with my Italian side of the family through messages and phone calls. But because I never learned to read and write in Farsi, I am not able to communicate with my Iranian family members over social media. They live miles away on a different continent, a different time zone. A completely different land. I am only able to speak to them over phone, video chat, or when I see them in person.

I wish so much to read and write in Farsi. To speak to my family whenever I want, not having to wait for a phone call or a visit that happens once every two years. My mother leaves notes written in Italian on the kitchen table, telling us what to cook or when she will be back. She texts my sister and I in Italian. We write to our cousins in Italy through Whatsapp. My father never got the luxury to do that. He was never able to teach his children everything about his language, something that created who he was.

Over the years we have tried to learn how to read Farsi and we have made little accomplishments. A couple years back, we began to conduct our own little Farsi class at home. My mom and dad pulled out old books that teach children how to read Farsi. This was the beginning of our language homeschooling. I can now read Farsi when written in the English alphabet. However I do not do this with the grace I wish I had. I still stumble over words and hesitate when reading it.

No longer do we have our little Farsi school at home. But the classes that I have had made a huge impact on me. I found myself through my mother tongues. Although I am most comfortable in the English language, I do not consider it to be the thing that has shaped me into the person I am today. All the discipline I was taught, came from Farsi. Each language has had a factor in creating who I am today. Farsi shaped the way I speak. Not only the way I speak to family, but friends and elders. People have different dialects and we can argue that, that is what defines a person but I believe it is what shapes a person.

Language has the power to create us into influential beings. The power I possess by knowing how to speak three languages is enormous. It will allow me to get far in my life, it has given me the power to communicate with relatives and understand multiple cultures. I have been blessed with the ability to fit into a culture so beautiful and creative. Language has given me the power to find myself, to know who I want to be, to know how to be. Farsi has taught me that every human can possess elegance, language has the power that allows you to hold true to yourself and your morals.

Racial Slurs

People are starting to use racial slurs in their daily lives through conversations and even in an educational environment. It seems to be very common in the teen and younger societies but when looking deeper into the topic, racial slurs have become increasingly more popular. This is because of how exposed teens are to these words in their everyday lives, through school, social media and even through music. Using racial slurs is perpetuating stereotypical treatment among minorities.

Racial slurs have been prevalent in America for many years. The racial term “Nigger” derived from many different types of languages. Such as the latin and spanish  terms “niger” and “negro” which both mean the color black. By the 1800’s the term “nigger” has become known as a derogatory term used against African Americans. Every ethnic group have experienced their fair share of slurs. Over time the vocabulary of americans has changed.

Stereotypes can be found anywhere, and even as a form of communication among teenagers. Now a days with social media and different forms of technology, vocabulary has been changed and adapted. Slang, which is commonly used by teenagers, is changed throughout generations. Words like “nigga” or “cracker” are slowly being accept and used to refer to people.  There was an article that talked about such terms by the Teaching Tolerance organization that read, “Much of the commercial hip-hop culture by black males uses the n-word as a staple. White youths, statistically the largest consumers of hip-hop, then feel that they can use the word among themselves with black and white peers (HMC)” The n- word is used among friends and is usually accepted by people of the african american culture but now when different races use it, it is not taken as lightly. With music and things of the sort that boundary has been blurred. It is an insult that, overtime, has been transformed into a term of endearment.

“Nigger”, “Nigro”, “Nigga”, all forms of the same derogatory term used against blacks. With the amount of minorities and blacks attending public high schools. An article titled Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools says,  “From fall 2001 through fall 2011, the number of White students enrolled in prekindergarten through 12th grade in U.S. public schools decreased from 28.7 million to 25.6 million... number of Hispanic and Black students enrolled during this period increased from 8.2 million to 11.8 million students. (MAB)” With the number of blacks and minorities that attend high school increasing, slurs like nigga, etc. are used more. Even if the term is not used in an “offensive way” the term is still prevalent in their vocabulary.

When asked, teens might say that certain racial slurs are okay if they’re used by someone  of that race but when used by someone who’s not... it becomes an issue. But on closer inspection, racial slurs are racial slurs, period. Using them on your own race does not make it any better or justify it anymore/less. Overtime teens have been exposed to so many racial slurs that they have learned to overlook and and those words have made their way into their everyday vocabulary. The true definition and meaning behind offensive terms such as “nigger” have faded and are less offensive because of the fact that they’re becoming a form of endearment among people and have begun to be accepted into people’s daily lives.

Works Cited:


"Straight Talk about the N-Word." Teaching Tolerance. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2014.



"Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools." National Center for Education Statistics. Common Core Data (CCD), n.d. Web.


My Revisions:

In this 2fer revision my main focus was to fix any grammar errors especially spelling and things of the sort. I also went over the comments that were made on my google doc by peers and Ms. Pahomov and then incorporated them into this revision of my 2fer. I also worked on my conclusion and worded it better. 

"Bad Blood"

The evolution of technology within the medical field has taken on a vast development allowing for more effective treatment options for diseases, that affect everyday life factors for many people. From insulin for diabetes, to the treatments of one particular genetic disease, hemophilia The lack of medical precaution taken for the developing treatments for hemophilia is a prime example of the vast amount of leniency our government allows in regards to public health.

Hemophilia is a genetic disease found in the X chromosome that affects the clotting factor within blood (Factor IV). Without this particular factor found in blood a patient can find themselves in excruciating pain after they have had a paper cut, or hit there leg on a chair, because their bodies to not contain the proper factor within them to stop bleeding. This results in cases of internal bleeding and death from excessive loss of blood. From the early 1940’s up until the late 1950’s treatments for these bleeds consisted of transfusions of whole blood in order to replace the factor in order to be rid of the bleed and allow the blood to clot. The issue with this is that one can have patients sit through the excruciating pain of the bleed for hours even days to be rid of it. This caused the lives of hemophiliacs to be long and painful. In 1957 Charles R Drew discovered the use of a discarded substance while researching blood. This was the plasma which could be separated from whole blood in order to suffice as a quicker and safer means of curing bleeds. It was able to be packaged and sold to hospitals for the treatment of hemophiliacs from Hours or days of excruciating pain to merely one or two hours due to the waiting room. However while this development was a breakthrough the real means to a normal life for hemophiliacs came several years down the line in the mid 1960’s where the separation of complete factor from plasma became possible.

This breakthrough in science allowed for a convenient and normal lifestyle for hemophiliacs. Now able to play sports and partake in extra curricular without the strain of and constant anxiety of a bleed. Nevertheless where hope seems to shed its light we begin to see a dark truth behind the curtain of such a miracle. In order to supply and maintain a proper or substantial amount of blood toward hospitals, several blood banks had imposed locations within impoverished areas where one could donate blood and receive a cash compensation for their donation. However the predicament one can often find in offering money for donations such as blood allows a motive for people to lie about their health. For instance, if a heroin addict who has been diagnosed with HIV is offered an easy and quick way to earn money, they would have no concern for those who would be receiving the blood that they have donated but that of their own well being. Also withholding the factor of testing peoples blood to save time and resources those who could have been infected had given blood. The method of which blood was processed to create factor was also irresponsible. Blood from several different people regardless of type, conditions, and age, were being to mixed together in large basins in order to process and separate factor from blood more quickly in larger amounts. Therefore if we return to the blood bank where someone has contracted HIV/AIDS virus and gave their blood in order to receive cash and their blood is then mixed into these large basins where the blood is processed the entire supply of blood has been infected.

This entire system of giving taking and processing blood resulting in a massive outbreak of HIV among American Hemophiliacs using the factor IIIV. This was at about the same time that HIV had become a worldwide epidemic and hit the US resulting in homophobia and fear of hemophiliacs who had also contracted the disease. Despite these horrific circumstances there was never a recall of the Factor IIV, instead a warning label had been placed upon the bottle and those who were more aware or afraid of them or their children contracting HIV had gone back to the use of whole plasma which was a longer process but much safer. However the use of plasma for treatment had become nearly obsolete since the development of the separation of factor IIV. The pharmaceutical companies who had allowed this amount of harm to come to innocent people were never required to submit to a recall or nor were they required refund those who had been infected and continued to profit off of their treatments.

When asked, the medical industry in charge of the developing treatments for hemophilia might say that because of its rarity it was not a priority to seek out treatment therefore more strict regulations were not called for, but on closer inspection the issue was not with the priorities of the diseases, but with that of profit for there was no immediate recall of factor IV in fact there never was one.