April 10, 2017. Stat 50. UC requirement.
I took my math exam about two weeks ago…
Math has always hindered me. It almost stopped me from graduating high school, and several times placed me on academic probation because I can’t seem to pass. I couldn’t dance on my high school dance team because my math grades weren’t good enough, even though I had the talent. My passion and abilities were treated as a reward rather than a necessity to my existence. I’ve attended three high schools. I experience the life of a young bi racial women. I experience my life in conjunction with my “immigrant” single mother who wants and desire the “American Dream”, a better life, for child and self. When I attended high school, my dance team gave me an award for barely participating on the team’s competitions due to “bad grades”. Life was hard for us at the time socially and economically, and my father’s recent death greatly affected me. I was a child in pain who spoke her mind. Many viewed me as socially deviant rather than an individual who acted out in need of love and support. I actively engaged and did my best in academics, considering our circumstances. I didn’t measure up. Dance was my outlet, and it was stripped from me. As a result, my dance “team” mates awarded me with ”Waste of Talent” for barely dancing/ using my talent for competitions. Shout out to Ms. P***** (anglo woman, and faculty “dance teacher”) from GHS for allowing that, and regurgitating it to my face. I’m not a competitive dancer. I’m an expressive dancer who believes in the importance of community.
Now I’m in college. I face the same challenges and predicaments as when I was a child, and adolescent. We took an exam two weeks ago. I obviously failed. I love statistics, but it’s mostly because I enjoy words. Math inspires me to experiment and research information that pertains to my major; however, I find no interest in solving problems that are of the dominant culture, such as golf or bets about money. I’ve never golfed…. We discuss money, and fail to mention statistics on poverty or homelessness. Math inspires my style of communication, body language, poetry, and creativity. My professor said I can do that, but that’s not what’s going to pass me. My creativity is admired by many, yet simultaneously undervalued. I want to receive quality education and use it creatively, preferably in and FOR the place I call home. I love learning. I’m sorry I won’t ever pass your tests. How does such accurately communicate my intellectual ability, and my passion for academics, or my persistence to make my community better? Let me make this world a better place by empowering communities with the knowledge I acquire, using my sociological imagination and stand-point theory. There are disparities in my community, an imbalance of resources, tools, and quality education and training. I’m apart of that statistic. I was admitted to UC Irvine and Riverside, though I’m extremely grateful I’m forced to move out of my hometown for quality education. I had a feeling UCLA wouldn’t think I was good enough, despite inviting me to their scholars community college partnership program for social justice and educational equity. I’m more than good enough; however, “our” system fails to accurately depict such. The irony. I made it this far. My major is Communication studies and Sociology. Sociology has very few women of color in the field, it’s dominated mostly by White men. Most social problems are related to me and ours, yet most commonly analyzed by dominant culture with out the voice that truly matters- “minorities”.
Our system is outdated, and grades are an inaccurate depiction of the individuals who truly learn and who also work extremely hard, but seem to never measure up. I believe this intellectually elitist standard has failed us, it doesn’t portray my, and others, scholarly ability. An educational reform is much NEEDED. We are a new generation. “Why” do we continue to abide and use the same system? (rhetorical) We’ve evolved as a generation. We are diverse, radical, and creative millennials. We are the future, yet our society chooses to maintain intellectual elitism to nurture pretentious attitudes and nature, maintain social hierarchy and power dynamics, and minimize upward mobility. Individuals graduate with degrees feeling entitled, not having a clue that knowledge is suppose to empower EVERY individual around you. Thoughts and actions are seeds that may lead to global impact. Math and sciences are an American social value that fail some, and exemplify racial privilege and cultural capita for others. Creativity, poetry, music, and dance are cultural practices important in Black and Latino cultures, especially as an expressive outlets, yet are often treated as “secondary skills”. We are living dire times our coping mechanisms and skills require a refreshed input. Mental trauma, stresses, and aggressions are common in our community. Creativity used in language and social dances are holistic practices, and unfortunately undermined in Westernized society. We must incorporate the importance of Art and creativity in our institution to avoid appropriation and aggression.
Black and Latino students are less likely to succeed in class rooms then dominant counter parts, due to economic privilege. Quality of education in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods is less than average in comparison to those who live in wealthy, isolated, and segregated suburb neighborhoods, which are predominantly Anglo. Intellectual abilities are shaped by past practices of socialization (Race in America, Desmond, 2016). Ignorance on the complexity of the social structure blinds society, and cultivates a stagnant American culture. Schools in the LAUSD are underfunded and run down, despite attempts to improve. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “dropout rate among public high school students in 2012 was 7 percent for Asians, 15 percent for whites, 24 percent for Hispanics, 32 percent for Native Americans, and 32 percent for Blacks” (2016). Why don’t we analyze such data? “Sample size.. normal distribution..relative frequency” (statistical terms), yet we don’t solve the statistical problem in our socioeconomic environment. There are different types of learning styles that aren’t even considered for our versatile individuals from different paths of life. W.E.B Du Bois concluded in 1953, the history of Reconstruction, that “determination unparalleled in science, the mass of American writers have started to distort the facts of the greatest critical period of American history to prove right wrong and wrong right”( Race in America, M. Desmond, 2016). The value scale is flawed. Evidently, my voice matters. The paradigm shifts, but social patterns and generational inheritance of educational wealth and poverty remain the same. Lack of diversity in the institution fails people of color because there’s inadequate knowledge of race and culture, as well as personal experiences to achieve academically, politically, and socially. Upward mobility is a far reach for many of us. Factors connected to intersectionality are diminished. Instead, our society continues to permeate Eurocentric history and practices in our society, such as books and media imperialism. This mentalitity ignores the grand value of other’s beliefs, and customs in the U.S., it’s caused people to culturally assimilate to embodied eurocentrism, and continues social patterns that date as far back as the civil rights era, and slavery. Through assimilation some are successful, others not so much.
I’m first generation, and too often I’m forced to mask my cultural practices and values. Dance is a branch in culture, yet also a cultural capita that the system does not value. I appear incompetent and lazy for attempting to balance all of my interests and hobbies, which in the end will contribute to the direction I want to create for myself in life. To diminish my necessities and place more value on society’s currents demands are academically referred to as ‘whiteness’ and ‘white privilege’, sociology terms, that reflect the dominant culture in our institution. There’s a strained relationship between White allies and Black and Latinos due to unwillingness to hear perspectives with out feeling defensive or offended. Intellectual honesty is a theory that encourages individuals to speak their personal truths and experiences.
There’s an educational gap because the system does not accurately cater our diverse cultures, patterns, and backgrounds. Math and sciences are a cultural capital that wealthy individuals mainly achieve in because they can afford quality education, and supplemental resources, such as books or tutoring. My perspective focuses on math. There’s an intellectually elite standard that I must call out. It’s a sight far beyond this one course. I’m sure with more practice I could pass this class; however, my community needs me, and as of now I don’t see how analyzing data on how much coffee you drink can help my society and community. It’s time many of us move on, but many of us can’t because of systemic practices of oppression caused by applied practices. There’s a struggle and inability to move forward towards the direction of quality education and lifestyle…
Check the statistics.
Who does the system nurture? Symbolic Power (sociology term). As Lilian Smith remarked in Killers of the Dream, easily “slip from the conscious mind deep into muscles”. Racial domination (sociology term) prevails in the city I call home, and the overall country through institutions, systems, and social structures..
“Race is a social reality ” – PHD, Sociology. Lecture notes, Spring 2016.
Someone let me borrow Martin Luther King’s novel this day. …
“I love academics. I love learning! I can’t pass my math courses. I want to use Math for poetry, dance, and film.. I want to attend a prestigious university. Don’t let Math halt me and my artistry.”
Unfavorably, I’m forced to move for quality and prestige education when it exists in my hometown. It’s time I migrate, another social pattern…
Talib Kweli, Hiphop Artist. Lyrics/ Social commentary on his Artistry.
Tryin’ to bring your struggle to life;
The label want a song about a bubbly life.
I have trouble to write some shit
To BANG in the club through the night
when people suffer tonight.