31 octubre 2007

post from an american citizen

So, I'm supposed to become an American History teacher, right, or at least an instructor (educatory facilitator) in the US Public School system, and i'm thinking on how to inculcate civic values in kids with values that are infirm to start with (with which to start?).

from a WORLD magazine article:

1) "...we're proud to be Americans,
2) we're proud of our history,
3) and we're part of the American story."

* * * *

3) "and we're part of the American story."
the last one i completely promote. we are writing history. "ideas have consequences." the lack of my babies' ideation has consequences. action and nonaction has consequences. previous generations had power over the state of our lives today. we have power over Bush's grandchildren's. and Osama's. and Obama's, which is interesting.

2) "we're proud of our history"
the second i cannot claim under any definition i know of "proud." history is just too broad.
"feeling pleasure or satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable or creditable to oneself" is impossible when i had nothing to do with the making of those decisions. i benefit from some, which connects me, i guess. but other things i would have opposed with all my might if it had been today. why would i feel possession for the wrong actions or right actions of people far from me?

ahhh... let me think... i feel proud of Elijah calling down fire from heaven because that's my boy! my brother... i am proud of Peter's "not just my feet but my hands and my head!" statement because i would have said the same if i could've thought that fast. [rabbit trail, but that previous sentence would've been in the subjunctive past tense in spanish, which i don't know, and it's really been bugging me. if you have any input, please put in.] so maybe i should feel more connected/ responsible for American history, but i don't.

it surprises me to hear the teacher i'm observing say stuff like "when WE attacked the Native Americans..." we were twinkles in our super great-grandparents eyes; we weren't doing much of anything at all, let alone attacking the natives. neither would i be able to explain to latin americans why we are at war. we are sitting in a library, putting off our homework. we could not tell an AK47 from a Berretta if our life depended upon it. we have OTHERS we would declare war on, were we faced with that option...

1) "...we're proud to be Americans"
the first one is if-fy. let us go about this antithetically, shall we? i do not hate or feel aversely toward [should it be adversely? blast...] my american-ness. i am not ashamed to be an american. i do not underestimate the value of being an american. i do not take it for granted.

but... i had no say in becoming an american. it'd be like saying, "i'm proud i speak english." it just happened, a result of others' decisions/actions. then, again, even though i guess i "had a say" in becoming a Christian, i wouldn't say i'm "proud" to be a Christian either. really, the feeling's almost the same, which is also interesting.

i'm HUMBLED to be an American. i'm PRIVILEGED to be an American. i'm BLESSED to be an American. i'm in AWE that i should be born an American. i'm at times ABASHED to be an American... not by anything pertaining to America but simply because others are not American. statistically, i shouldn't have been born here. i think it's something like i should have been an urban Chinese/ Indian male, which would have been tremendously interesting, but i'm kinda liking the American female life model... i LIKE being an American. me CONVIENE ser Americana. on occasion it's inconvenient, but mostly not.

and of late, my awe in America grows. i was doing some lessons on the 1st amendment, and i might've cried once or twice. seriously. we have such good "rights" (which, seen in a global context, feel more like "privileges") that we have the option of ignoring them. wasting them. while others die for lack of them... (which is an applicable scenario in several different contexts, me thinks.)

so, i'm pessimistic, but i wouldn't say cynical. there's beauty in America, in being an American. i'm not bitter, just sad, because i feel the worth is dismissed and unappreciated. i do not endorse all historically/ culturally American values, but i can see their [pragmatic] value in creating the benefits i enjoy as an American. i recognize the faults of Americans, past and present, but i think that historically, the merits of Americans and their values outweighs [heavy word, that 'un]their flaws and vices, something quite amazing.

thank you for accompanying me on my civic introspection... i still need to think through loyalty, responsibility, American/ "global villagism" identity, Peruvian/American patriotism [by a non-patriot/ expatriate! ha! define THAT!], and sectionalism so be forewarned.

[p.s. i AM inordinately proud of the American holiday known as Thanksgiving. that emotion is definitely pride. i had nothing to do with the Pilgrims, Tisquantum, or Lincoln declaring it a federal holiday [thank you, wiki], but i sure as all get out celebrate it and will celebrate it on ANY continent in ANY language EVERY 4th Thursday of November, at LEAST.]

29 octubre 2007

it's just that i'm human before i'm an american....

thought one:

"[Language] is the most vivid and crucial key to identity: It reveals the private identity, and connects with, or divorces one from the larger public, or communal identity…To open your mouth…is (if I may use Black English) to ‘put your business on the street’” You have confessed your parents, your youth, your school, your salary, your self-esteem and, alas, your future. ~James Baldwin

thought two:

live365.com has a superchevere repertoire of musical delights. so i'm listening to some baccan Nigerian beats and certainly jamming whilst i effect great social change through lesson planning. after a while, i realize, "hey, this is the same song that's been playing..." and i look... the blinking song is 19:54, ok! THAT is music. the one before it was 23:03... next comes on a sister and she starts the Total Prayer 2... her title, not mine. 20:11 ... it's total, for true.

thought three: upon viewing WETBACK, the Undocumented Documentary

So yeah, it was definitely a bit biased, and the complaints of the American citizens (eg: incoming criminals, identity thieves, gangsters, could-be terrorists) were pretty much ignored, but still...

leave families, leave their mothers, leave their parents' graves, leave their born social network, leave home, leave their past, leave their record, run, ride, sit crammed, stand squashed, catch trains, hang on trains, hope not to fall or be pushed off trains, escape corrupt policemen, do not escape corrupt [read: WICKED] policemen, sweat, cry, joke, lose sleep, worry, dehydrate, panic, are robbed, rob, are beaten, fight, are attacked, sneak, swim, drown, walk, walk, walk, walk, trust, distrust, are taken advantage of, relocate, look for a job, swallow their pride, mow lawns, build houses, repair roads, clean apartments, live scared, live illegal, live as non-citizens... BREAK THE LAW...

just to be here.

Me, I was conceived.

I am legal.

They are illegal.
"And if you consider someone who breaks the law a criminal..."
criminals, AND

thought four: upon the same theme...

so, looking at all this from human eyes, and occasionally unlogical ones at that, it's hard for me to be loyaler to "America" than to the prerogative of people who want a better life.

why should i want to preserve american interests? i just happened to be born here, just like you (presumably). really, slightly selfish to criminalize people who happen to be born a little bit south and made their way a little bit north without permission because i don't want them to metaphorically muddy my filtered water of safe American living. can you fathom what its like to be in a situation with no prosperous legal exit?

~ while some thugs will be thugs anywhere (making deporting them all down south not so terribly ethical) crime IS exacerbated here...
~ i hate gangs, gang culture, and gang glamour, as i have possible intimated before... the issues are definitely related; how closely?
~ then there's the issue of everybody else in the whole world whose lot STINKS too and who have oceans, not the rio bravo, to swim to wet THEIR back...
~ i'm confused: what social services are illegal immigrants allowed access to?
~ also, it's not necessarily the healthiest thing for THEM to be in America either. this IS babylon, mind you... there ARE worse things than poverty.
~ oh, yeah... and sympathies aside... it is illegal. so maybe the rule is wretched, but how justified am i in supporting the breaking of ANY law...? ew. i hate ethics.

24 octubre 2007

'Cause Wednesdays Are Like That Sometimes...

04 octubre 2007

like love and skydiving...

thought one: segun Wiki, acerca de the FIRST Chavez, the good one:

"[Cesar Chavez] opposed both legal and illegal immigration to help keep wages higher and improve work safety rules.

In its early years, Chávez and the UFW went so far as to report illegal aliens who served as strikebreaking replacement workers, as well as those who refused to unionize, to the Immigration and Naturalization Service"


"The Immigration Reform and Control Act (November 6, 1986) (signed by President Ronald Reagan) is an Act of Congress which reformed United States immigration law. The Act made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit undocumented workers (immigrants who do not possess lawful work authorization), required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status, and granted amnesty to undocumented workers who entered the United States before January 1, 1982 and had resided there continuously."

the things one learns in middle school!

thought two:

by law,
state textbooks, those beautiful beautiful (i joke not) tomes of all the best taxes can buy, must be destroyed once they are "retired." they cannot be bought or sold or sent to Africa. or, theoretically, Peru.

except for that one immaculate eighth grade literature book i bought for $0.75 at a certain unnamed-but-quite-reputable 2nd-hand shop on the South Side...

thought two:
teaching is like the whole legendary "being in love" stereotype... i walk around smiling. i don't rightly recall touching the ground all day. my ears perk up when i hear "lesson plans." i go to sleep thinking about good anticipatory sets (attention getters) and wake up wondering how to incorporate upper level thinking with kids who are antipathic toward... eh... thinking. i'm not hungry. i'd prefer to buy Child's First Atlas (middle school kids like pictures, too!) and The Princess Bride (BOOK!) from Goodwill than supper... it's crazy. adrenaline is addictive, and who needs skydiving when you have a middle school down the road...?

gem from today:

"Okay, Luis, call on a girl."
Luis: "Go, Juan. Do the next question."

but they make me LAUGH, yall...!

He thinks he's poetic...

Mi Turi... pray for the brother, please.
~Chincha, PERU~

1 month after earthquake