Good morning! Our snow is turning to rain and possibly, quite possibly winter will begin turning to spring. Spring testing. Spring breaks. Spring fever. Spring is quite a time for educators!
Please don’t forget that Sin’s of the Mother premieres tonight on Lifetime at 8pm/est and 5pm/pst
I’m trying to spend less time online as the sitting in one position for too long a time is not good for my neck and shoulders. I did manage to run into quite a few interesting pieces across the Internet and they certainly do make for good Sunday reading!
According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2010 is the Year of the Tiger, which commences on February 14, 2010 and ends on February 2, 2011. The Tiger is the third sign in the Chinese Zodiac cycle, and it is a sign of bravery. This courageous and fiery fighter is admired by the ancient Chinese as the sign that keeps away the three main tragedies of a household. These are fire, thieves and ghosts. (source)
The US Postal Service has come out with some quite attractive stamps to celebrate the the year of the Tiger.
One has to admire the Post Office’s effort to address multiculturalism in its product lines. Their winter holidays aren’t only about Christmas! This month, Anna Julia Cooper graces the Black History stamp. Cooper, whom our history ignores, wrote about how the Haitians impacted France’s developing democracy, in 1893 about the universality of the women’s cause as a leader in the field of education, developed community colleges. She earned a PhD at age 64 and inspires me to keep on keepin’ on! I hope the Post Office continue to address diversity with more faces, celebrations and artifacts from the Latino, Native and Asian communities as well. I like the Year of the Tiger stamps and will probably mail just a few more notes to share them with friends. I miss snail mail letters.
I went back to MyYahoo this morning and found a few blogs I haven’t checked with in a while, like Apophenia. Several interesting articles there, including “Race and Social Network Sites: Putting Facebook’s Data into Context” which is well worth reading and clicking all the links. The article takes us beyond the digital divide and looks at how networking is used by race and questions sex and class implications as well.
Using social networks connects us in very dynamic ways. Interacting with the technologies develops new skills and teaches etiquette. If you don’t have online access, your experience diminishes. Many without online access at home do have it at school, but schools block many social networking sites. Too many educatores are so stuck on teaching to the test that they don’t have/make the time to teach or use blogs, wikis, Twitter or other tools that could enrich the learning experience while teaching responsible use of networking tools.
When the “digital divide” conversations started up, folks boiled down the discussion to being one of access. If only everyone had access, everything would be hunky dory. We’re closer to universal access today than ever before, but access is not bringing us the magical utopian panacea that we all dreamed of. Henry Jenkins has rightly pointed out that we see the emergence of a “participation gap” in that people’s participation is of different quantity and quality depending on many other factors. Social media takes all of this to a new level. It’s not just a question of what you get to experience with your access, but what you get to experience with your friend group with access. In other words, if you’re friends with 24/7 always-on geeks, what you’re experiencing with social media is very different than if you’re experiencing social media in a community where your friends all spend 12+ hours a day doing a form of labor that doesn’t allow access to internet technologies. Facebook’s data provides a glimpse into how Facebook access has become mainstream. It is the modern day portal. But I would argue that what people experience with this tool – and with the other social media assets they use – looks very different based on their experience.
Many folks think that I care about access. Don’t get me wrong – access is important. But I’m much more concerned about how racist and classist attitudes are shaping digital media, how technology reinforces inequality, and how our habit of assuming that everyone uses social media just like we do reinforces social divisions that we prefer to ignore. This issue became apparent to me when doing fieldwork because of the language that young people were using to differentiate MySpace and Facebook. (source)
Friday, I went to a local production of a one man show, “Boricua” by Ricardo Melendez. Without trying to review the performance, I’ll say I thought it was quite brave for the actor to make such boldly enlightening statements on a stage here in the heartland, one of the last places in the US where Latinos began to settle. The monologue was a comedy as some things are best digested with a grain or two of sugar. But then, people began to realize they were laughing at things that just weren’t funny. Melendez had to appreciate that he did seem to have a thinking audience. OK, so it wasn’t quite so PC to have the Boricuan character diss Mexican workers, but I do believe those present now get that Latinos don’t have a single voice. Mayra Lazara Dole brings that message to the book community in this post. I’ve felt this for a while: in the need for lists, I’ve felt it a bit challenging to put together a list of Latino Authors. There are those with “Hispanic surnames” who do not write Latino characters. I don’t know how they identify themselves and it’s not for me to decide for them. It reminds me of a line in the play where the Melendez says that we want to be a melting pot yet we need to label all the ingredients.
Are you watching and enjoying Faces of America or have you been caught up in the Olympics? For me, it’s the Olympics and I really think I’m beginning to enjoy the winter Olympics much more than the summer. Sure wish I could find some of those cute little knit caps!