Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Talking Points #9 Christopher Kliewer


I could heavily relate to Chritsopher Kliewer's chapter titled "Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome". In my senior year of high school I was highly involved with the special needs students in my school, and in the state of Rhode Island. Luckily, I was fortune and privileged to be part of a school who welcomed students with developmental disabilities with open arms. I stopped playing soccer my senior year and joined the school's Unified volleyball team, a league created by the Rhode Island Interscholastic League and the Rhode Island Special Olympics.
I built many bonds with the athletes. We practiced together and had a game every week for the season and ended up coming in second place in the playoffs. I later on joined the Unified Basketball team, and we also had an amazing season and came in second place again. I was also on the committee for the RI Special Olympics youth forum that year, and went on a trip to Yawgoo Valley with my hockey teammates to cheer on Special Olympic athletes in the winter games. I really think it's amazing that schools systems are starting to give students with developmental disabilities recognition as equals, which they rightfully deserve. I believe that assimilation within the classroom should always be practiced, and no one should be segregated for being different.

"I suppose you could argue that and it's hard to argue that you might be wrong. Lee is, in a sense, in a way he's branded. People see him. They see Down syndrome. They see mental challenge, retardation, whatever you want to call it. That's what they see, but they wouldn't be seeing him. Do you know what I mean? Because Lee is Lee, and anybody who knows Lee knows, and this includes all the kids, they know he's gifted-in how he solves problems, cares about others, reads, loves math. So I guess what I'm arguing is that if you did pick Lee out, you wouldn't be seeing Lee. It's not Lee you're picking out. It's your stereotype, your mind-set. It's you, and
it has nothing to do with Lee. But if that's how you choose to see him, I don't know that anything I could do, we could do, I don't think there's anything Lee could do to change your mind."(84) 

This quote basically summed up everything that I feel about this article. Any individual person, no matter what disabilities they may have, is still a person. Lee is a person, just as you and I are people..and that's what we all deserve to be treated like. I find it completely degrading to separate an entire group of individuals solely because they we born with individually entirely different disabilities from each other. In fact, it doesn't even make sense. I believe we've come a long way since this book was written in 1998, but there are still many schools, and people for that matter- nationwide who really need to change their paradigm.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Talking Points #7: Separate is not Equal

Free Response

I believe that what Tim wise and Bob Herbert both had to say about racial integration are very similar to the issues that the United states had faced at the time of Brown v. Board of Education. Tim Wise made an valid accusation that we do not have a "truly equal opportunity society", and that black people have to be truly exceptional in order to receive the same acknowledgment and power as mediocre white people do. This was true in the past when only extraordinarily intelligent African americans became lawyers and doctors and other high class positions, and is also true now during the time of Obama's presidency. Tim Wise makes a good point when he speaks about many different white politicians who have extremely bad track records who are where they're at, and that you don't see black people with similar records in the same positions. I agree with him when he says that white people were in denial in the 1950's when they were asked if they thought black student's received the same educational opportunities as white students, and that they still are today. Bob Herbert raises the issue of racial integration in schools and explains that because of "...residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities, and long-held custom", schools are still segregated in the United States today. Schools are still segregated much like they were in the past, which gives very little meaning to the ruling of the Brown v. Board of Education case. Low-income students who live in areas of poverty, many of whom are black or latino, all get sent to one school. Middle and high class students, who are mostly white, get sent to other schools in their own areas. Herbert explains that intelligence not about the race of the students, but the environment in which they are learning. If schools are still segregated among the country, they are definitely not equal.