So, it’s yet again been a while– yikes! I guess I have had things to say but have been saying them in different forums and formats: teaching, theater, I don’t know. But I still like this blog space as a catchall for things that catch my interest and that I’d like to share. So here are a few random topics for today.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965. I spent some time this past few weeks helping some very bright teens examine the consequences of the 2013 SCOTUS decision to take out Section 4 of the VRA. (The section which calculates which states can’t change voting laws without getting federal approval because of a record of abuse.) After helping them dig into the topic, I realize a few things. One, Sec 4 is probably outdated and unfair, but two, there is evidence that the states it impacts are still above average in terms so maybe Sec 4 still has its the intended effect. I learned more about the 10th Amendment, the Reconstruction Amendments, and how weird it will always be that the same country that had slavery and Jim Crow voter suppression and still struggles with racism today is also the country run by these incredible rules. Anyhow, in my opinion, the vote is what makes America what it is, and if you try to bring down voter turnout because it helps your party, take a long hard look at what you’re really trying to do.
GirlPower Movies I’ve gone on sometimes about the need for more good female teen leads for female teen – and male teen – audiences. In the past few months, under my niece’s influence, I have seen both Catching Fire and Divergent. I may be in the minority by saying I liked Divergent better [and continue to find the Hunger Games concept of kids slaughtering other kids to be beyond me] both movies have made millions and are big deal franchises. And what’s interesting is no one has stopped to talk about “oh, it’s a chick flick’ — the basic response has been what it would be for any movie.
Frozen has princesses, but I’ve heard they’re pretty badass and compassionate. And Frozen also seems to have a wide range of audience, kids both boys and girls. (Though I think the teenaged girls are probably moreso digging on the film than the teenaged boys…)
Is all this a sign that there’s more “crossover” happening for movies with female leads into a less strictly girl market? Let’s hope.
New Angle On The Education Gap. Startling figures about how discipline is doled out unevenly according to a child’ s race. Is this conscious or unconscious bias, or both? And what can we do about it? And is suspension really a tenable policy anymore? I don’t know. If a kid is messing around in school, maybe his or her presence is an unfair disruption and he or she should get kicked out for a while. Sometimes it’s even a safety issue. But in terms of punishment, should he or she really lose all that education time? Is that even a punishment? And won’t being behind make the kid less likely to invest in school? And if there’s a racial bias…I know I’ve been working in a high school six months and have had many occasions to check myself on my blindspots and biases. Then again, I don’t have the power to do anything to any kid lol.
More later. I promise. No, really, I do.