Check out the final videos from a program about environmental sustainability and digital media that I worked on through Global Kids. Basically, teens produced a virtual talk show about different environmental issues they chose (climate change, electronic waste, and food production). This video is on climate change, but you can watch the e-waste one here and the food production one here. These videos have informative information about each of these topics and the hope is that people will not only learn the issues, but take action to live in a more sustainable world.
You can read more about the program in my previous entry here.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I can barely keep up with Linsanity. Every time I go on Facebook, the top stories on my news feed are all from people who have mentioned "Jeremy Lin", "Knicks," or "Asian American" in their posts. This blog entry title was my attempt at playing with the name Lin, which is also something we've seen with just about every word possible in the past two weeks. This is my compilation of articles I've read recently about Jeremy Lin that have all made different and interesting points. Yes, many are race related (it's real folks, we ain't colorblind).
This blog entry by blogger MagicDongHuang takes a personal look at Asian American role models growing up (or lack thereof), from Bruce Lee to Yao Ming, and now Jeremy Lin and how he's different. Favorite quote: "It doesn't matter that Lin doesn't have a jumper, loves Jesus, or has that strange country twang to his words. He's just like you, he's a little like me, but most importantly he proves we're not all from another planet without google, facebook, or properly spelled bathroom signage."
This article from Julie Huang at the PR firm Kaimen Company, is about the inappropriate "couple of inches" tweet from FoxSports.com National Columnist Jason Whitlock on the night the Knicks beat the Lakers. Specifically, it talks about the speedy and appropriate response from the Asian American Journalists Association, demanding an apology from Whitlock. Favorite quote [from AAJA to Whitlock]: "The offensive tweet debased one of sports’ feel-good moments, not just among Asian Americans but for so many others who are part of your audience."
A lot of my Christian friends posted and re-posted this article about Jeremy Lin and his devout Christian faith. No doubt, a lot of Christians are happy that they have someone who they can relate to, who also isn't anywhere near as offensive or controversial as Tim Tebow. Favorite quote: "I like to think of my approach to faith as nuanced and not fitting easily into anyone’s standard boxes. I suspect Lin’s has to be as well."
The Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights & Education helped pass California's Fred Korematsu day, the first day in U.S. history named after an Asian American. This article is written by Ling Woo Liu, director of the Instiute, and it's so on point. It nestles Jeremy Lin's story against other fairly recent incidences of racism against Asian Americans, from Private Danny Chen to the terrible Pete Hoekstra superbowl ad with the mock Chinese accent, to historic incidences of racism like the death of Vincent Chin. Favorite quote: "Hopefully one day, Americans of Asian descent will no longer be seen as foreigners, economic competition or anything less than equal Americans. Until then, race matters, whether we like it or not."
This NY Mag article is about 15 reasons to love Jeremy Lin. Favorite reason: He's not a nerd, but he's willing to play one for our amusement.
And of course, one of my favorite blogs, Angry Asian Man, has a post called the Jeremy Lin Edition with another set of good compiLINtions.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Photo from http://www.teacheractivistgroups.org/tucson
Last March was the premiere of Precious Knowledge, a must-watch documentary directed by Ari Luis Palos about the battle to save ethnic studies in Arizona. You can read a detailed review here. Aside from feeling impassioned about the topic while watching the film and fury at the ignorance and racism of those who are banning ethnic studies, I also drew a lot of parallels between the teenagers in the film and the teenagers that I've worked with. Luckily, the state where I work is less racist state than Arizona, because perhaps if my organization did what we do in Arizona during the school day, we'd be considered just as threatening.
The comments in the film about teenagers having an aversion to school (importantly distinguished from an aversion to learning because, as someone in the film said, no teenager is ever averse to learning), and the comments from students about how they didn't feel included in the school system, are not specific to chicanos and chicanas in Arizona. Many teens I've worked with also felt like there was no place for them in school; that they didn't have a voice or that anyone cared what they had to say; that learning wasn't fun or interesting; that all they learned about were dead white men they couldn't relate to...the list goes on. However, students in the film eloquently described the ways that their ethnic studies classes gave them confidence, a voice, greater perspective for ALL cultures and ALL humanity, better academic scores, a desire to pursue more learning, and so many other great things we want America's youth to experience.
How did all of that happen? It's Multicultural Education 101. Teaching students about their culture and from their backgrounds and experiences = greater self-concept = greater sense of pride and confidence = greater understanding of multiple perspectives = greater investment in school and beyond. Of course this isn't a formula for creating successful students. Clearly the teachers in the film were stellar educators aside from their amazing content. And neither is social justice pedagogy a formula - I wrote my graduate thesis on teaching for social justice and saw so many interpretations of what that means to teachers and how it can play out in the classroom - but neither are those theories "anti-American" either.
I say this because a common theme I heard throughout the film from those who opposed ethnic studies was the complete misunderstanding of multicultural studies, critical race theory, and social justice education. They labeled those teachings as "anti-American" (one of my least liked phrases), as seeking to incite rebellion, as threatening the safety of others, as ruining the reputation of the Founding Fathers, and other outlandish and false accusations. Luckily, this film sheds light on what was really going on in those classes; not an intricate Mexican plot to conquer the United States (yes, this dumb idea was actually what some thought), but teenagers who, with the help of teachers, were encouraged to ask questions about their lived experiences, observations and the world.
If you haven't seen the documentary, watch it. If you've watched it, share it with others. And if you've shared it with others, encourage them to share with their friends. Or maybe hold a screening of it. But definitely talk about it, talk about it, talk about it. If you're an educator, find out how you can stand in solidarity with our Arizonan teachers here. If you're a college student, stay up to date on which colleges are screening the film here. To learn about SB 1070 read here.