The person I will be observing during this project is Mary Church Terrell. She was a charter member of the NAACP and an early advocate for civil rights and the suffrage movement. Born on September 23, 1863, in Memphis, Tennessee, Mary was the daughter of small-business owners who were former slaves. Terrell was a suffragist and the first president of the National Association of Colored Women. Terrell and her brother were raised and taught to be hardworking and ambitious. In 1884, she became one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree from Oberlin College in Ohio. She earned her master’s degree in education four years later, which was very rare during this time period. In 1891, Mary married Robert Heberton Terrell who would eventually become Washington D.C’s first black municipal judge.
With Terrell having a new life in D.C., she was very involved in different movements, but the women’s rights movement in particular caught the majority of her attention. Her main focus, though, was the right to vote. Although the goal was to have equal rights and opportunities for all women, African-American women were often excluded from different plans that were executed. So, this lead to the creation of, with the help of fellow activist, The National Association of Colored Women in 1896. She was instantly named the organization's first president, and used this position to advance educational reform. Years later, she became a charter member of the NAACP, and combined her women’s right activism with her civil rights activism. Mary died on July 24, 1954.
In conclusion, Mary Church Terrell has made a huge impact in the world and specifically the women’s right movement. She was the first president of the National Association of Colored Women, which was a movement that fought for women’s rights. During the time period of women fighting for their rights, blacks were often excluded because it was still during a time of segregation and oppression against blacks. The fact that black women were excluded from the different organizations, this led to the creation of the National Association of Colored Women.
The main reason I decided to research Mary Church Terrell was because I learned that she was one of the first African-American women to earn a bachelor’s degree in education. I am very big on education, especially within the black community because of how oppressed we were during the segregated times. So, to be able to research a black woman who achieved something that I feel is amazing seemed like a good idea to me. Also, I love my culture and am always interested in knowing what my people had to go through, so my target was an African-American woman who was involved in the gender equality movement.
The process of this project went pretty smoothly. I turned everything in on time, and each portion of the project helped me further my understanding of the gender equality movement. The research portion that I felt was most effective was the timeline, simply because it helped me learn the chronological events that happened in Terrell’s life.
Biography.com Editors. "Mary Church Terrell." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. Web. 28 Mar. 2016. <http://www.biography.com/people/mary-church-terrell-9504299#an-activists-life>.
Steptoe, Tyina. "Terrell, Mary Church (1863-1954) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Terrell, Mary Church (1863-1954) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed. National Endowment for the Humanities. Web. 28 Mar. 2016. <http://www.blackpast.org/aah/terrell-mary-church-1863-1954>.
"Progress of a People: Mary Church Terrell." Progress of a People: Mary Church Terrell. United States Government, 19 Oct. 1998. Web. 28 Mar. 2016. <http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/aap/terrell.html>.
I can honestly say this Advanced Essay has been the most challenging one of the four we have received in this English class this year. Starting off the unit, I couldn't really get into the book we were reading because I just wasn't interested in it and when it was announced we were to do another advanced essay for our benchmark this quarter, that made me feel even worse about everything. I didn't know what I wanted my paper to be based off on at first, I was going in the direction of story-telling and the affects that had on people until I realized that was more of a personal piece. So, I finally came to conclusion of wanting to surround my paper on the media and with the help of my peers and Mr. Block, I am satisfied with what I produced. My goals were to have a clear, concise and controversial thesis which the reader could thoroughly understand which I do feel I've accomplished. I feel as though teens would be able to relate to this paper the most simply because we are living in the generation where media is booming.
Unconsciously and unknowingly, people’s behavior and aggression towards violence are influenced by the media. Majority of the youth is exposed to some sort of act of violence through the media before the age of ten years old. With the numerous and everlasting murders that have been occurring more frequently lately, school shootings, and fights going on it’s hard to ignore the violence factor that goes on in the world. Because children are still developing in their teenage years, seeing certain things such as inappropriate music, movies, television shows, etc. can affect their psychological development and views in the world.
Television can be a very powerful teacher to not only the youth, but adults as well. According to the BLS American Time Use Survey by A.C. Nielsen Co., approximately 99% of Americans own at least one television in their household. This shows just how accessible tv is and how common it is for people to be watching it. A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics says the average eight year old child spends eight hours a day on media, and teens more than 11 hours of media a day. This is more than a full day of school, which means the youth are being exposed the media and the inappropriate things it contains For example, they see things from funny memes to violent beatings and fights. With the youth being revealed to such at this young of an age, it’s already registered in their minds that this is common in society since it is praised and laughed at which can increase the likelihood of aggressive behavior at an older age without them even thinking much of it.
Kaj Björkqvist, a Professor of Developmental Psychology at Åbo Akademi University, randomly assigned one group of five- to six-year-old Finnish children to watch violent movies, another to watch nonviolent ones. Raters who did not know which type of movie the children had seen then observed them playing together in a room. Children who had just watched the violent movie were rated much higher on physical assault and other types of aggression. Other experiments have shown that exposure to media violence can increase aggressive thinking, aggressive emotions, and tolerance for aggression, all known risk factors for later aggressive and violent behavior. With the children being so young and naive, they had no clue how great of an impact the violent movie had on their actions and aggression. They were just following what they had seen in the movie and weren’t even incorporating the fact they were being violent which shows how unconscious people are with the influence violence in the media has.
The cartoon above is a perfect representation on how oblivious society is to the issues that we constantly encounter. There are constantly issues with violence in the world and we wonder where some of the root causes stem from, yet the answer is right in front of our eyes. The future is completely dependable upon how we bring up our children, which can either be a good or bad thing it’s all in the power of our hands. Allowing violence in the media to take over our children’s mindsets can only lead to even more violence and aggression, which this cartoon shows. It’s also shown above how the child is saying “Kill them! Kill them all!” With a huge smile on his face which shows he’s condoning the people who are being killed. Both the parents and the child are unaware of how violence is impacting and influencing their lives as shown in this cartoon.
On October 1, 2015 at Umpqua Community College located in Oregon, there was a mass shooting killing nine and wounding many others. The shooter, Christopher Harper- Mercer, after killing nine innocent people was shortly killed in gunfire with responding officers. After the shooting, the police investigated Harper- Mercer’s background and found that he was obsessed with violent gaming and would focus on this more than spending time with his family. His neighbors would say he was a nice young man, but was isolated majority of the time and only took interest in conversations when discussing video games and guns. While investigating, the police even found a secret chat room online which him and anonymous others were planning out exactly what he’d do. Before he had committed this tragic crime, he said “I’ve been waiting to do this for years”. Meanwhile, his companions were supporting him and even giving him ideas on when and where to do it. Recently, researchers at Ohio State University conducted a study and concluded that, "People who have a steady diet of playing these violent video games may come to see the world as a hostile and violent place”. Without even the slightest thought, one’s perception of the world can be altered just by constantly being exposed to violent video games.
In conclusion, the media can impact our daily life decisions unconsciously. Some solutions to reducing the influence violence in the media has on us are reducing the exposure to violent movies, television shows, videos games, etc. By doing this, it won’t place anyone in a specific and unhealthy mindset. Also, by increasing media that will have a positive effect on our lives and actually teach us something helpful both short and long-term will not only educate us, but place us in the right mindset that’ll benefit everyone in the world.
"Managing Media: We Need a Plan." Managing Media: We Need a Plan. 29 Oct. 13. Web. 21 Mar. 2016. <https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/managing-media-we-need-a-plan.aspx>.
Eves, Christopher. "Television Watching Statistics." Static Brain Research Institute, 18 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Mar. 2016. <http://www.statisticbrain.com/television-watching-statistics/>.
Thoman, Elizabeth. "What Parents Can Do about Media Violence." Center for Media Literacy. Web. 21 Mar. 2016. <http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/what-parents-can-do-about-media-violence>.
Fletcher, Lyndee. "14 Mass Murders Linked to Violent Video Games." Charisma News. 15 Oct. 2015. Web. 21 Mar. 2016. <http://www.charismanews.com/culture/52651-14-mass-murders-linked-to-violent-video-games>.
Healy, Jack, and Ian Lovett. "Oregon Killer Described as Man of Few Words, Except on Topic of Guns." The New York Times. The New York Times, 2015. Web. 21 Mar. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/03/us/chris-harper-mercer-umpqua-community-college-shooting.html>.
Overall, I can honestly say I enjoyed working on this project. I learned a lot about my sister and her experiences, and also about different definitions of identity and belonging. The checkpoints were really helpful for me, although they were frustrating. The first interview I did with her was a failure, it related to identity but was not what I pictured my final product looking like. So, after I redid the interview I was very satisfied and looking forward to editing and showing her the final product. I really did like this project, though, simply because light was bought to my knowledge and I was definitely enlightened.
Growing up, my father was a Pastor and my mom was an ordained minister. I was always in the church; Sundays would be for service, Tuesdays bible study, Fridays dance practice, Saturday's community service, and the cycle would repeat itself. I was taught many different things growing up as a child, from don’t cross the street without looking twice and always pray before going to bed. Even after my parents divorced, they still remained consistent with keeping my sister and I in church. As I got older my mom began giving me bits and slices of freedom, allowing me to make my own life decisions. But, one thing she always reminded me of was to value my body and my virginity. I didn’t think much of it, though, simply because I was more focused on the new episode of “That’s So Raven” coming on TV than having sex.
The older I got, the more I experienced different encounters and I finally discovered that more kids were having sex than I thought. By then, I had made the promise to God and myself that I would save my purity and virginity until I married to have sex. Although this was a great goal set for myself, I felt like I didn’t belong. The people around me were in Corner A, stacked like sardines while there I was in Corner B. I felt like a needle in a haystack. Everyone looked at me as if I had done something to them, as if I thought I was better than them.
I remember in the fifth grade, when the beginning of me feeling like I didn’t belong due to who I was and what I believed in, someone came up to me and said “You’re weird for waiting to have sex. Don’t you get it, nobody will want you by then. You’ll be all old and dried up and disgusting.” I could feel my lips twist and my brown skin boil like eggs in scorching water. The tears began to swell, but I swallowed them back down preventing them from revealing themselves. All I could do was run away. I ran far, and didn’t looked back, I needed to escape.
In a TED Talk featuring Thandie Newton, she begins off her talk by saying “The self is a projection based on other people’s projections.” This particular quote supports my claim on how our identity is a reflection on external and internal influences. Thandie is saying the projection of oneself is dependent upon the projections of others. This isn’t necessarily negative thing, because some projections can be positive ones. But, what I can say is one can decide exactly which projections of others they want to be reflected upon them. For example, I decided to choose to wait until marriage because of the influence from my parents.
Over time, though, I became comfortable with who I was. Oscar Wilde said “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” The only person that I knew I could be was me, and I was great at it. I had finally been content and fully loved myself, and once I’d done this other began to do the same towards me. I learned how to use who I was as my strength and not a weakness, and it felt amazing. I know that I am constantly changing as an individual, but I’m confident that I have figured out the basics of my identity and who I am. I may not belong to a specific group of people, but I belong to myself and am perfectly fine with that.
2) My own anti-gender bias film test would be called the CP Test. The four questions would be...
a) Is there at least one named male and female character?
b) Is the male aiming to do something that doesn't benefit him getting "the girl"?
c) Is the female aiming to do something that doesn't benefit her getting "the guy"?
A movie that I am going to review to see if it fits my film test is Revenge of the Bridesmaids. In this film, there are a group of bridesmaids known as Abigail, Parker and Rachel who are trying to ruin a brides wedding simply because of the simple fact she was only marrying for money. On top of that, the bride, Caitlyn, stole her "best friend's" and one of the bridesmaids, Rachel, boyfriend. So, Rachel was a bridesmaid to her best friend who stole her boyfriend and is only marrying him for his money. I do not think this fits my film test because although there is a male character not doing anything to "get the girl", the whole movie was based around getting justice for the male AND getting Rachel her guy back. This goes to show that there aren't many movies in which guys/girls aren't aiming to just get "the guy" or "the girl".
She wonders if she will ever have the same rights/ opportunities as men
She hears the laughter of men and women constantly throw themselves at them
She sees the world constantly changing around her
She wants for her husband to still be here with her, so she won’t feel so alone
She is my nurturing, amazing grandmother
She pretends to be a basketball star, but knows it won’t happen because she’s supposed to be a “lady”
She feels like wearing sweatpants, but doesn’t because she knows her mom would give her hell
She touches her rough, gray hair and wishes it was longer
She worries about if her daughter, my aunt, will have to struggle how she did
She cries when she she finds out her son got divorced, it was never in the plan
She is my nurturing, amazing grandmother
She understands that women and men will never be equal
She says things like “If women were to listen to men, I bet you more marriages would last”
She dreams about her entire family being together again
She tries to make her grandchildren have the same views that she does, but it just won’t ever happen
She hopes that men will continue to be superior, which I will never understand
She is my nurturing, amazing grandmother
“Wassup dog”, or “Lemme ask you something real quick.” are some of the things I would normally say to my friends or family members. But, the second someone of a higher class or professional field approaches me, that language would automatically switch. Without even thinking about it, that “wassup dog” would turn into “how are you doing today?” Code- switching is the practice of alternating between two different languages, usually to fit in more with a specific environment.
Fifth grade was the year I first encountered and discovered code-switching. Because I was raised in the suburbs around white people of high class, whom are considered the dominant members of society because of their social status and wealth, I had become accustomed to speaking Standard English as a dominant language. In today’s society, those of the high class are viewed as superior, educated, and powerful. When I first moved to an urban Philadelphia area, there were words and slang terms being used that I never knew could exist.
“Why you talking like that?”
“You talk like a white girl?”
“Stop talking like that, be yourself.”
Before even asking for my name, these were just some of the things that people said to me on my first day of attending a Philadelphia Public School. Someone had told me to be myself, yet that’s what I had been doing all along. I didn’t know how to talk any other way than standard English, so I did the only thing that I thought and knew would ensure my survival in Philly. Learn. I learned how to speak slang, what words to use and not to use. Most importantly, I learned when to use this on my own. Speaking slang around those in the higher class could cause judgement, leading to stereotypes against those who aren’t privileged. In order to not be judged and stereotyped, I learned how to code- switch in order to be able to survive not only in Philly, but the real world, which isn’t made for everyone especially not myself. The United States of America was claimed and created by white men and for white men, no one else. Yet, as one, the majority of American people have grown to be diverse and integrated. Although this is great, it doesn’t take away from the values of those in power. The only way I could succeed in a world that wasn’t made for me to succeed was to cope with and somehow learn the ways of those who America was created for.
I can not remember exactly how many times my people (black people) have told me I “talk like a white girl”. This just shows the psychological mindset of blacks in America. Speaking properly is considered “speaking white.” Yet, the most successful people, not always white, know how to speak fluently and professionally. Being able to do so can take one further in life than them not being able to or doing so, and this is because of the cultural capital of those who are superior in America. The reason many people associate speaking “black” with speaking “ghetto” or improper is because that is how blacks are viewed as a whole, regardless if they can speak properly or not.
I remember watching and observing a video project relating to code- switching and there were numerous perspectives involved. There were blacks, whites, hispanics, and those of the lower, middle and higher class. The video composed of numerous questions being asked based on code- switching, who is superior in society, and who is inferior in society. One interviewee who was a black male of the lower class said "I don't see my cultural capital to certain institutions as valuable as a white person's cultural capital". Being black in America, I can relate to what was being said. Because blacks are viewed as inferior to whites, this inferiority can discriminate against the views of those who are inferior. The effects of this discrimination are a group of people, whose ideas and opinions are swept under the rug and viewed as abnormal to those who are superior in society (typically the high class). Which brings back the point that anything outside of society’s norms leads to stereotypes and judgements, as Black English is viewed. My language does not define who I am, rather it defines who I’m around and which way I am perceived to act.
After writing this essay, I learned things about myself that I didn't realize. I learned in order for me to fully move on with my life and no longer hold a grudge, I have to forgive people who hurt and let go. I was really able to connect with this writing piece because having my best friend and boyfriend kiss was heartbreaking, but made the writing even stronger. I could have improved on my larger idea though, and reflected more descriptively. Overall, I am very pleased with my work. Enjoy!
Have you ever been betrayed so unpleasantly by someone you would have never expected to do so? The feeling of your heart crumbling into a million pieces, scurrying to your stomach and turning into butterflies. Knowing that the person never had good intentions since you two first met. A sweat breaks out like a disease and you just want to run far away from that person and the world. Personally, I have experienced these feelings more than once. Not only was it by someone I loved, but also by people I considered to be my best friend.
The only way one can be betrayed is if someone trusts or opens up to another person. Having someone you trust throw everything away like a useless piece of trash is hurtful, especially if it’s a person who you’d thought never leave your side. The feeling of a loss is distressful- regardless of family member, friend, etc. The main way to cope with a loss of someone you thought was your friend is to remember whoever you encounter in life is either there for a reason or a season, but you must be open to this and remember not everyone is meant to be in your life.
I was in the eighth grade. There were 7 other girls whom I considered best friends of mine, we called ourselves “The Crew”. Each of our parents knew the other’s. Everyone was close and no one could break our bond, which was as strong and sturdy as a leather belt. At least I thought it could not be broken. We told each other everything, and could open up about the worst and best experiences that we have been through. Those seven girls meant everything to me, and I could not bear the thought of losing them as friends.
I had a crush on this guy, Dom, since my eyes were first placed on his round cocoa brown face, which was in the sixth grade. He never paid me any mind at first, though, which was pretty embarrassing. After a while I began to lose interest because “spitting game” was getting played out like a repetitive song on the radio. Right when I was over him, at the start of eighth grade, he started to begin liking me. How coincidental. Me, being the weak, insecure, and naive person I was, jumped right back into liking him because I was finally getting the attention I had desired for so long.
Months passed after talking and we had finally decided to make our relationship official. This day, November 13, 2012, meant everything to me. Simply because that was the day that had started the small, yet noticeable, crack in the Crew’s bond.
One dreary winter day, I received a phone call from my boyfriend. His voice was quivering and I could tell something was bothering him.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, nervously.
“I need to tell you something.” he said, voice shaking like a massive earthquake
Those six words can either be the best news one could receive or the worst. In my case, it was the worst.
“Suzie and I kissed….” he said blandly.
After he said that, the rest of the words that followed were completely shut out. It kept replaying in my head like a scratched record. Those emotions began seeping in. Heart crumbling, evil butterflies, realization, breaking out of a sweat. Before I could even think about what to say, tears began strolling down my face, they were unstoppable. Not only was he supposed to be my boyfriend, but Suzie was supposed to be my best friend in the Crew!
A very wise man, known by Drake, once said “Tables turn, bridges burn, you live and learn.” Tables turning and bridges burning is exactly what happened in this situation. The tables had unexpectedly flipped on me with no warning by either my best friend nor my boyfriend. They both burned the solid, loyal bridge with me by going behind my back and plunging a 16 inch knife in it. The pain felt was both physical, emotional, and intellectual. Although this happened, life is about learning lessons. These lessons won’t always be learned the easiest way, there will be different trials that will break you down and build you back up. Yet, the key to succeeding in life is learning from the lessons and not making the same decisions that have no benefit to you.
Which brings me to the other question, what exactly had I done so bad to Suzie for her to do this to me? What motivates people to selectively decide on which knife they’ll plunge into their loved one’s back? Is it jealousy, envy, or even hatred? Then I thought, maybe she’s had a problem with me all along but placed these issues behind a mask just to get close to me. They say “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” for a reason. I finally realized that the reason people betray is because their intentions were never pure from the start, which accurate in Suzie’s situation. In conclusion, going through the many lessons I learned from fraudulent friendships has honestly made me stronger as a friend and person.
Q2 Benchmark Project- Writing Styles
In Christina Baker Kline’s book Orphan Train, she uses a variety of different writing styles and techniques to impact the reader’s experience. What makes this book special is how Kline uses point of view in her stories. She writes from two different points of views and switches back and forth between the two. In this story, there are two main characters. There is Vivian, who is in her early 90s and then Molly, who is a teenager. Vivian and Molly are orphans which allows them to connect on another level. Throughout the story, Molly agrees to help Vivian clean out her closet and the more they clean it out, the more Vivian remembers from her childhood and the deeper she travels back into her past. Kline’s unique use of the point of view in the story is very important to the experience of the reader because this allows them to encounter more than one character’s emotions and journey.
The first person point of view, which is written from a character in the story’s perspective using “I”, can be identified in the story when Vivian would talk about her childhood from the past. As she talks about her childhood and trials which she overcame, the reader is able to live through her experiences and know how it feels to lose her family at such a young age, jump from home to home, and have her dignity taken away from her as she got older and older. Although the reader might have not experienced the exact same issues, the point of view allows the reader to feel the character’s feelings because you are reading from their perspective. Having a story written in first person puts the reader in the shoes of the character who is speaking, which is the reason it affects the reader’s emotions so greatly.
The third person point of view, which is written from the outside looking in and when the narrator sees and knows the actions, thoughts and feelings of multiple characters, can be identified in the story when the time period shifts back to the present tense and is more focused on Molly’s feelings and actions. When the story is being told in third person, the reader has the ability to go through a journey with more than one character. Although the third person storytelling is more focused on Molly, the story isn’t based around the feelings of Molly individually. Both Molly and Vivian’s actions and feelings are both expressed in the present day storytelling. The reader is able to experience what the characters are experiencing, which allows the story to be more effective because multiple experiences of the same event are conveyed.
In the story, as Vivian is on the Orphan Train talking to her new friend Dutchy, he says to her “We are headed toward the unknown, and have no choice but to sit quietly in our hard seats and let ourselves be taken there.” Dutchy saying this has an influence on the reader because it makes them feel as if he is talking directly to them. He says “we are headed toward the unknown…”, which instantly places the reader in the shoes of the character from which the point of view is being told from. If Dutchy were to have said “they were headed toward the unknown”, this would have not been as emotional and involving because the reader would not have felt included in the story. Incorporating the reader in the story enables the chance for the reader to relate and connect to the characters.
Julie P, a fan of Kline’s, has read the Orphan Train and fell in love. She says “ I was very impressed with her storytelling abilities, especially how she went back and forth between the present day and the past, still being able to link together Vivian and Molly's characters.” Julie’s experience while reading the story was also impacted due to the different uses of point of views. Although there was a change in the point of view, Kline still found a way to connect the character’s back to one another. If Kline did not connect Molly and Vivian back to each other, this could have caused confusion for the reader, thus the connections of the character’s was very important.
Another reason Vivian and Molly have such a strong connection is they share many of the same experiences in life. As the story is being told in the present tense and written from third person point of view, it states “When Vivian describes how it felt to be at the mercy of strangers, Molly nods. You’re grateful for the slightest hint of kindness, and then, as you get older, suspicious. Why would anyone do anything for you without expecting something in return?” As Vivian is talking to Molly about her past, Molly is able to understand how she feels. She knows how it feels to constantly be taken advantage of, but was oblivious to it because she was so young and naive, and as they both grew older they began seeing how greedy and evil people can really be. This connects back to Vivian’s past and because the story is written from her point of view, the reader is able to go through her life experience with her. So, because the reader knows how Vivian feels, they are also able to understand how Molly felt since they both have the same experiences.
In conclusion, Kline’s book was definitely unique and stood out to many of the readers of it. Without the point of view being written the way it was written, the reader may have only been able to relate to one of the characters. Also, having the point of views switched back and forth from the past to the present keeps the reader engaged and interested to what will happen next. The reader is able to be in one character’s shoes and seeing their views on life, while also viewing other’s point of views and still being able to relate to the other characters. Kline did an amazing job keeping the story entertaining and leaving the reader at the edge of their seat, all while still connecting the character’s to one another made the story effective.
The Final Countdown
Please don’t do this. I haven’t even taken my first breath in the real world and you’re not allowing that to happen? Don’t do this.. I’m begging you. I’ll do anything, I swear. I-(stutter) I’ll be a good child. Won’t cry, whine, holler, none of that! You don’t gotta breast feed me, just pop some formula in and I’ll be set. Get me a few outfits that’ll last me throughout the year and that’s all I ask for. Just please don’t end the life I haven’t even started.
I can feel how you think. I know I’m just an unborn fetus but hey, I have feelings too! That’s how I know what you’re about to do. And how I know how I got here. You think about it everyday, so I think about it too. And I HATE that because why would I want to think about my own death? About me never being able to play with my friends, or go to Chuck- E- Cheeses. I hate him, too, you know. Sometimes I wish he’d never did what he did, because if he didn’t I would be here counting down the minutes until my death.
You still have thoughts about your wrists, that were held down as you tried to fight that asshole off. It didn’t work. He was too strong and you were too weak. Him, slapping and slapping you, and covering your mouth with his sweaty, smelly palms. I can even hear your screams, that sounded like fire alarms. As he penetrated your small, fragile body, right then and there you put up a wall isolating yourself from the world. Your burning emotions flow through you at the thought of it happening to you, but it doesn’t melt your ice cold heart.
Know what else I can feel you feel? The way people judge you. That’s the main reason why you’re getting rid of me. Because you care so much about what people, who don’t give two shits about you, think. Forget them! They don’t put clothes on your back, or shoes on your feet, or put food on the table. Why do you care so much what they think? They won’t ever love you the way I will. Well, the way I would have if you’d let me live.
But then again, maybe keeping me isn’t the best idea. You’re only 15. You can barely take care of yourself, let alone a newborn baby. I can feel your stomach growling for food at night, and your head pound with pain because you haven’t eaten for 4 days. I know for sure I don’t want to live that kind of life. So, maybe you should get rid of me. I mean, who would want to have the same dad as their mother.
Your heart is pounding out of your chest, that must mean the doctor is coming. Goodbye world, which I never got to see. Goodbye to the “father” who put a child in his own daughter. Goodbye to those assholes who judged you but had no idea what happened. I wish we’d get this over with already…
Wait. What’s going on? Why do I feel you rethinking this? What are you doing! Dammit. I can’t yell because, well, I don’t even have a voice! Doctor come back! Cut her open and take me out. Please. Just let me go. (dramatic ending scene)
“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.
Greeting (Good Morning Classmates)
Introduction to project (explain what project is about)
Explain what it means
Purple because it is one of my favorite colors
Galaxy background because it shines and stands out (as myself)
Explain quote and how it relates to me
Explain how I interpreted Presentation Zen
(Large Font, Visual, Contrast, Empty Space,)