Assimiliation

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Cultural Assimilation in Literature

By Makense, Ryan, Chris 

Definitions 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides us with multiple meanings of “assimilation.” Assimilation is a noun and defined as “the process through which individuals and groups of differing heritages acquire the basic habits, attitudes, and mode of life of an embracing culture” (MWD). Assimilation has a couple of related terms such as acculturation and amalgamation. Although these three words deal with culture, there are notable differences. For example, acculturation deals with “political conquest or expansion, and is applied to the process of change in beliefs or traditional practices that occurs when the cultural system of one group displaces that of another” (MWD). Amalgamation is “a blending of cultures, rather than one group eliminating another or one group mixing itself into another” (MWD). In essence, assimilation is adjusting one’s attitudes, behaviors, traditions, or customs in an attempt to blend in with the dominant culture.

Etymology

< In Physiology, “absorb into and make part of the body,” from Latin assimilatus, past participle of assimilare, assimulare “to make like, copy, imitate, assume the form of; feign, pretend,” from assimilated form of ad “to” + simulare “make similar,” from similis “like, resembling, of the same kind.”

Keyword in Action 

One way to remember this word is to break down the word (as) and (similate) which means trying to be as similar to another culture or nation. The influence of assimilationism can be seen in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in The Sun, through the play’s racially segregated society when Mr. Linder oppresses the Younger family, and the values of Asagai and George. 

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In Act II scene III, the Younger family wanted to move into a nicer neighborhood. Residing in a White neighborhood, indicated for the Younger family that they are able to support themselves like a White, not like a “low” Black person. By moving into Clybourne Park, a predominantly white neighborhood, the Younger family will inevitably adapt and confine into the White culture. 

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Asagai, George, and Beneatha all show the different perspectives of assimilation. Asagai advocates to keep his culture alive. In Act II, when Beneatha says, “Mr. Asagai – I want very much to talk with you .. I am looking for my identity!” she goes to Asagai to educate her about African culture (62). After being in America for a limited amount of time, Asagai sees that black people have abandoned their heritage and assimilate into White culture. 

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George, Beneatha’s suitor, does not want to acknowledge his African culture because he is ashamed of his heritage (Hansberry 80). George remarks to Beneatha that her heritage is “nothing but a bunch of raggedy – assed spirituals and some grass huts!” (Hansberry 81). George is a scholarly man who cares and wants to further his future but knows the barriers of doing so because he is African American. In essence, George condemns his African heritage to appear more “white” and to be accepted by society so that he can achieve the future he wants. 

In Act II scene I, Beneatha remarks that she is not an assimilationist negroe (51). George Murchison has a heated debate with her when he comes to pick her up and she is dancing with her brother in a traditional African costume. It appears that George has assimilated to white culture by the way he dresses as well as the way he acts. He talks about their heritage negatively and chides Beneatha for wearing the African garb. Beneatha tells him that she is not an assimilationist and that she would rather stay true to her heritage than try to be more like a white person. An example of this would be her hair. She does not try to straighten it to look like a white woman’s hair, but instead lets it grow naturally into an afro. As seen throughout the play, Assimilation occurs because black people want to be equal to the dominantly white society. 

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston, a Chinese American writer, is a memoir that introduces the struggle of assimilating to the American culture while growing up in a Chinese household. However, it is not the main idea of the memoir. This memoir holds only a few instances of assimilation in her life.  Kingston shares her feelings of displacement and frustration due to being a Chinese-American. Being the first generation born in America, it was troublesome to appease the restrictions of the traditions of the emigrants with the relative freedom of life in America. Being Chinese-American typically means one is torn between each world while not being a part of either. Kingston feels different from her American classmates as she does from her own relatives. For a Chinese-American woman it would be frustrating because of the several everyday traits of a Chinese woman, for example, a loud speaking voice which stereotypically they do not have. Kingston never went to China while writing her memoir. She struggled to delineate the distinction between what was Chinese and what was peculiar to her family. In a way Kingston was assimilating to the American culture while struggling to keep up with her own Chinese culture. She has only really experienced the American culture rather than her own Chinese culture.

The last Chapter of Kingston’s memoir “A song for a barbarian reed pipe” lists a few examples of how Kingston struggled with the American culture growing up. Kingston states “When I went to kindergarten and had to speak English for the first time, I became silent. A dumbness-a shame-still cracks my voice in two” (Kingston 165). This quote displays the difficulty of being soft spoken and having the fear that Kingston faced trying to speak English. Furthermore, Kingston began to struggle more than before due to her being so silent causing her to flunk kindergarten. In addition, her sister and other Chinese girls had also been silent, displaying a wider range of who it affected. Assimilation in Kingston’s memoir refers more to the Latin etymology, to make similar or to copy. Many different cultures had been forced to assimilate to the English culture, for example, the Native Americans who had their land taken by the voyagers. Kingston mentions a story told by her mother, the story in summary is about a Chinese poet who was forced to assimilate to a Non-Chinese barbarian tribe. However, this poet could not fully assimilate to the Non-Chinese people. Kingston brings this story into her memoir because the poet reminds Kingston of herself and her own mother referring to themselves as foreigners.

Another instance of assimilation in A Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston is the failed expectations a “new world” can bring. Kingston has all these amazing ideas of what America was going to be like for her, although her childhood during the story is about as regular as any other child in America at her time. Her failed expectations for America are highlighted when Kingston states, “From the words on my back, and how they were fulfilled, the villagers would make a legend about my perfect filiality. My American life has been such a disappointment” (45). Kingston must have had all these expectations of what America would be like for her, but as she grows up she realizes her life is not extraordinary. With assimilation, high expectations that are often not met are often seen. Especially with groups moving to the United States, they may expect the roads to be “paved with gold,” but in reality it is very similar to their original location (besides language & general culture). Also, a threat of assimilation and its failed expectations are potential racism, and that is seen all throughout “A Raisin in the Sun,” by Lorraine Hansberry.

Works Cited

“Assimilation | Search Online Etymology Dictionary.” Index,

www.etymonline.com/word/assimilate. 

“Assimilation.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assimilation.

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York, 1959.

Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of A Girlhood Among Ghosts. Vintage International, 1976.

Do we have to be Mean to protect ourselves?

Throughout the novel Mean by Myriam Gurba, Gurba shares very revealing experiences from her childhood. The most traumatic of her experiences which caught our attention was being raped her freshman year of college.

As many of us know sexual assault is seen and heard far too often in our world today. For many, sexual assault can be one of the hardest to recover from because it takes such an emotional toll on women’s bodies. I know this because I myself am a victim of sexual assault, and it took a lot to recover including therapy, support, and a lot of time. As hard as it is for me to admit this to all of my peers, I just told about 20 individuals, Myriam Gurba wrote a book about it and told millions. Myriam Gurba felt that being mean was the best way to protect herself, she felt as if it created a protective screen. Unfortunately, the art of being mean wasn’t able to protect her from rape. Gurba said “We act mean to defend ourselves from boredom and from those who would chop off our breasts. We act mean to defend our clubs and institutions. We act mean because we like to laugh. Being mean to boys is fun and a second-wave feminist duty. Being rude to men who deserve it is a holy mission. Sisterhood is powerful, but being a bitch is more exhilarating. Being a bitch is spectacular.” (17) Gurba see’s being mean as the best way to defend herself, she experienced so many harsh moments which lead her to feel that way. She found empowerment in being mean, giving her a step above.

One of the hardest things that can come from sexual assault is the after effects, how you feel after, reliving it, wondering if you had gone somewhere else that night if it wouldn’t have happened. PTSD is common with the effects of how women and men can feel after rape. Gurba said “When you have PTSD, things repeat themselves over and over and over” (116) and she’s right. So many women, including myself, re-live the night it happened over and over and over again. The PTSD women feel from the event can be the hardest to overcome and can last years. The thoughts in their head repeat over and over again, “should I have fought harder,” “should I have been mean,” “should I have cried louder for help.” These are thoughts the victims are having every day, and it is heart breaking that so many have to relive the event.

We see sexual harassment every day in so many forms, I’m sure most Cortland girls alone that go out to the bars have experienced men grabbing their waists just to get around them, all of which is very unnecessary. Sexual assaults happen all over college campuses every year, and at least 50% of the time victims of sexual assault on college campuses involve alcohol which makes it even harder for women to fight back. So many women in today’s society are afraid to declare rape because they are afraid they will be accused of lying, in fact 63% of rapes aren’t reported. To make matters worse, as of January 1stin New York State women who were drunk when they were raped are not allowed to report the rape incident. This has enraged many, and rightly so many are trying to overturn the bill. 

Myriam Gurba is one of millions who have been sexually assaulted, although she took her incident and used it to tell a story, opening up to everyone. She shows everyone how she doesn’t have to hide. Reading Myriam’s story, you can feel her sense of empowerment and how she took such negative events in her life and turned them into such an inspirational story for so many men and women to read.

Questions:

  1. Do you know anyone that has been a victim of any form of sexual assault? If so, how did it impact them?
  2. Do you feel that sometimes you have to be mean to create a protective screen for yourself?

Works Cited:

Gurba, Myriam. Mean. Coffee House Press, 2017.

Just A Joke, or An Act of Revolution?

By Emma Fryer

 Myriam Gurba’s use of dark humor throughout her book, Mean, gives us clues as to what her personality was like as a child. The sarcastic tones and shocking language within her anecdotes imply that she was disobedient, precocious, and hilarious in the face of trauma and adversity, taking typically detrimental events and handling them in a unique way. The author also narrates her stories with the wisdom of an aged woman… despite having been quite young at the time of each of them. This emphasizes the way in which her current perspectives in life have changed the way she views her past, and makes otherwise basic tales much more interesting. These ideas are demonstrated in multiple instances throughout the book. Both factors work together to form an image of herself growing up as a young Chicana in a prejudiced world.

  One example of Gurba’s use of dark, intelligent humor is in the beginning of the book when she recalls her introduction to education. Her nursery school teachers assume that she can’t speak English because she is able to speak Spanish to them, the author having assumed that they understood both languages the way she had learned to. This results in the teachers attempting to teach her English despite her pre-existing ability to do so. However, instead of telling her teachers that she is fluent in both languages, she plays along out of pure amusement. This is revealed when she mocks her teachers efforts in front of her father at home. Gurba writes, “I pointed. In a didactic tone, I narrated, ‘This is a plate. This is a cup. This is a spoon. This is a fork.’” Once her father had understood the situation, he responded by saying to Gurba’s mother, “The nursery school ladies think Myriam can’t speak English so they’re trying to teach her! They’ve turned her into a parrot!” (5). This is one of the readers’ first opportunities to gain insight on Gurba’s childhood persona. We learn right away that she was a smart-ass kid who enjoyed mischief based upon her ability to out-smart and poke fun at her caucasian instructors. 

This scene also allows the author to stress the fact that such prejudice assumptions shouldn’t be made based upon surface qualities through her humor. Telling her story through the eyes of a witty child exposes how ridiculous prejudice is as a whole, revealing that even a little girl can recognize the problem. This is emphasized when Gurba says, “I didn’t know Mexicans were Mexicans” (5). The explanation behind her thought process during this situation is what helps us as readers understand her point. Pairing her hilarious reaction as a kid with a more mature viewpoint is a strategy that allows Gurba to emphasize how important it is to not let differences hold you back. 

Gurba’s comedic response to adversity takes stories that would otherwise be boring or sad and makes them hilarious. For instance, when she is invited over for dinner at her caucasian friend Emily’s home. The mother says, “Since you’re visiting, Mexican” in response to Gurba’s question as to what they would be eating (9). Instead of correcting the family or pretending to enjoy it when a terrible “Mexican casserole” and other unauthentic dishes are brought to the table, the author reacts in the most dramatic way possible. She says things like, “The brussel sprouts were a different story. I scooped one into my mouth and realized its flavor: eternal damnation,” and lets the food fall out of her mouth (10). Once again, Gurba chooses humor over anger or hurt in a situation that is wrong. This, much like the other example, says a lot about her as a young girl. Gurba didn’t care what people thought of her, something that she still believes. Her attitude pokes fun a prejudice once more, and solidifies the idea that you can turn any situation around to your own advantage if you learn to laugh sometimes.


Questions:

  1. If you were Gurba, how do you think you would respond to your teachers trying to teach you a language that you already knew?
  2. Do you believe that Gurba’s comedic approach is effective in getting her points across? Why or why not?

Works Cited

Gurba, Myriam. Mean. Coffee House Press, 2017.

Mean for a Good Reason

By Kayla Brizzell

The memoir Mean, written by Myriam Gurba, has a prominent theme of feminism and self-empowerment. Ever since she can recall, Gurba has been an “early-onset feminist” (15). Throughout the book, the reader is told different stories about Gurba’s life that support this self-identification. She likes to boss other people around, and says whatever she wants to whomever she wants. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself or others in order to get what she wants… in certain situations. 

Gurba also explains instances where she was unable to help herself in the memoir. These often include times when she is being treated unfairly or wrongly because of who she is. One example of this is when there is a “race war” in Gurba’s fifth grade class. When the teacher asks Gurba what happened she explains that the white girls were making racist comments towards her and the other Mexican girls. After she makes this claim, however, the “white girls burst into tears” and Gurba was forced by the teacher to “‘apologize for making them cry’” (20). The way that the white girls had treated the Mexican girls on the playground was easily dismissed by the teacher, and Gurba was the one forced to face the consequences. This taught her from a young age that there are not always good consequences for telling the truth. 

Another time something like this occurred was when Gurba was molested by Macaulay during history class. Everyday the same thing happened where he put his hands down her pants, yet she was afraid to speak up out of fear of being “call[ed] a ho” by her classmates (26). Because of what happened in fifth grade, Gurba was sure that nothing beneficial to her would come out of reporting Macaulay. She had to endure his molestation in class everyday just because she thought that she would be the one to face the repercussions for his actions. 

A third example, one that disturbed me the most when I read it, happened right after she got raped. Gurba walked into her mom’s classroom, told her what happened, and was taken to the principal’s then the nurse’s office. Gurba began to tell the nurse what horrible thing had happened to her, but, obviously upset about it, she started to cry. In which the nurse reacted to by screaming at her to “STOP CRYING!”, and followed up by saying, “These kinds of things happen. You’re going to have to get over this” (122). Just like Gurba, I was shocked after reading this. I couldn’t believe that the school nurse would say this to a young woman who had just gotten raped. She was treating her as if she was overreacting to this traumatizing event. This is just another instance in which Gurba is shut down and silenced in a time of need. 

All of these events, and more mentioned in the memoir, shaped Gurba into who she is today. She was forced to grow up quickly because of all of the trauma she went through at such a young age. She learned a very important lesson: “…the nicer you were…the meaner the world was” (16). At this moment, Gurba realized that she would stop being so nice to everyone. The only way to get what you want is to be mean, which was more fun anyway. While progressing through the book, the reader can see how Gurba changes and matures. She gets meaner and uses more humor to help her cope with all that has happened to her. She emphasizes in her ways of telling these stories how important being a feminist is because it has helped her overcome her obstacles. She shows us the importance of speaking up even when it seems like the world is against you. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you think Gurba would be different if these horrible things never happened to her?
  2. What scene shocked you the most in the book?

Works Cited 
Gurba, Myriam. Mean. Coffee House Press, 2017.

Meanness, the Most Effective Form of Self Defense.

By Lauren Cupelli

Throughout the novel Mean by Myriam Gurba, the author tells various stories about her childhood all revolving around this idea of being “mean.” Most children, including myself, have been taught to be nice to everyone no matter what yet she learned at a young age the complete opposite idea and in hindsight that may not be such a bad thing. Being mean has such a negative connotation when most of the time it is used as a method of self defense.

 It seems that the nicer you are, the more people feel obligated to take advantage of that kindness and walk all over you. Being mean is the only way to make sure everyone knows they can’t treat you like that. Gurba states, “We act mean to defend ourselves from boredom and from those who would chop off our breasts. We act mean to defend our clubs and institutions. We act mean because we like to laugh. Being mean to boys is fun and a second wave feminists duty. Being rude to men who deserve it is a holy mission. Sisterhood is powerful, but being a bitch is more exhilarating. Being a bitch is spectacular” (17). This is such an important quote because it just goes to show you that meanness can in fact be a good thing. If you don’t stand up to people who are blatantly rude to you then they will feel perfectly fine treating you like that all over again. The world can be a cruel place, especially today with social media. 

Sexual harassment comes in many forms such as disturbing comments left on Instagram. We see celebrities receiving comments like these daily and it has been so normalized that nobody even talks about it. Some of our favorite singers can’t post a decent picture without having some old man comment about how hot they look in the most derogatory manner. These are the type of people that won’t stop unless meanness is applied. I find it ironic that even people who are looked up to and are so important in society still live with harassment like this. This in a way reminds me of Gurba considering she has such a loud personality and has no trouble speaking her mind, yet once she begins to get sexually harassed by Macauly she refuses to open her mouth. Gurba states, “I looked at Macaulay with caution. This trepidation was knew but felt natural. Instinctual. I knew that what was happening under the table shouldn’t have been happening, but my impulses did not command me to fight. I froze. Many animals do this. Deer. Possum. My mother” (25). She knew she didn’t want that to continue but she didn’t know what to do about it. That is truly a traumatic experience and it is difficult to say something in that moment since you’re in shock and afraid. This would’ve been the perfect time for her to be mean and insure that he never lays his hands on her again but she couldn’t get any words out. This could go hand in hand with the fact that he was once her friend. Statistics show that eight out of ten victims of sexual assault knew the perpotraitor. This could also have to do with the fact that she is Mexican and maybe felt hopeless, even to go up to the teacher and ask for help. 

In conclusion, being mean is important and a way to defend yourself from the creeps of the world. It portrays you as being someone who is strong and someone that nobody should mess with. Nice people are easy targets and it is unfortunate that is what our world has come to. Gurba does an excellent job providing us with examples that support this claim, showing how brutal life can be. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you ever felt like you were being disrespected because of how kind you were?
  2. Would you consider meanness a form of self defense? 

Work Cited

Gurba, Myriam. Mean. Coffee House Press, 2017.

Giving the word ‘mean’ a new definition

By: Pilar Paez

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the definition of mean states to “be unkind, for example, by not letting anybody have or do something (OED). As children, we are told to behave nicely to everybody and treat people with nothing but kindness and respect. We are taught to realize that being mean makes somebody a bad person. Being mean is villainized and is often associated with cases of bullying and harassment. This is a common theme that is reinforced by pop culture and characters designed to fit this trait. However, in her memoir Mean, Myriam Gurba manages to overthrow the trope of the classic mean girl into something more powerful, more respectable, and more relevant to the society we live in. This book provides readers with a different perspective about what being mean can really do and how it can be used as a form of self-preservation.

The classic movie cliché of having a mean girl often involves the girl being selfish, petty, relentless, and spiteful. They often bully or harass others based on a deeper insecurity of theirs or they are simply jealous. This pop culture trope isn’t anywhere near uncommon, as it has been used as an ongoing character idea for ages in various types of genres. Characters such as Regina George from Mean Girls, Sharpay Evans from High School Musical, or Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl best exemplify the typical mean girl in media. As viewers, we are often prone to hating these characters but loving their melodramatic actions and dramatic responses to ridiculous situations. 

In her memoir, Gurba presents a different approach to the mean girl by exposing herself reacting to different situations throughout her life. Her reactions to different experiences are what people may claim to be ‘mean,’ but Gurba proudly recounts these moments. They are precious to her in a way that she is unapologetic for, despite the experiences not going the way she would like them to. While the typical mean girl’s reason for her behavior is usually trivial or even by nature, Gurba urges the reader to see that her meanness stems from issues of oppression and violence against women, people of color, and the queer community. Gurba identifies this approach when she admits that “mean is good too. Being mean makes us feel alive. It’s fun and exciting. Sometimes, it keeps us alive” (16). On my first read of this line, I was super distraught by Gurba’s perspective. I felt it was too dark and a bit unsettling after reading a conversation between Gurba as an innocent child and her father. However, the more I read the book, the more I understand what she means. 

Society is smitten with instances of oppression against people like Myriam Gurba. She recounts on times even dating back to the fifth grade where a ‘Race War’ was happening between the White girls and the Mexican girls. Slurs were thrown around and beatings were sometimes a form a retaliation. And instead of being kind and respectful, Gurba chooses to fight fire with fire and refuse to back down. Unfortunately, the teacher chose to believe the white students over the Mexican students and forced Gurba to apologize to them when they begin to cry. Despite the teachers’ inevitable loyalty to the White girls, Gurba still chooses to retaliate. Another instance of Gurba reacting to her surroundings is on the playground during recess. She has established a club for girls only and refuses to let anybody join in. When a few boys beg to join the club and be included, she is quick to reject them unless they climb to the top of the fence and jump. Looking back at her actions, Gurba is visibly unapologetic when she admits, “I hoped Steve would injure himself and die so that I wouldn’t have to let him into my club. That had been my strategy. To give his sex an insurmountable initiation” (15). Gurba rationalizes her brutality and hardness by explaining her aggressiveness towards the opposite gender as a form of self-defense. She indicates that her meanness is an act of retaliating against the world for its more serious, more violent crimes.

Gurba’s take on the word ‘mean’ offers a new perspective than what we might be used to seeing in literacy, pop culture, or even the media. Her nearly callous self has some similarities with the typical mean girl––such as being relentless––but each of them have their own reasons for behaving the way they do. In Mean, Gurba responds to the attacks of sexism, violence, and oppression against women and reveals her unapologetically brutal self in the process.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. Do you think that at times Gurba went too far with her actions?
  2. What are some similarities between Gurba and the typical mean girl in pop culture?

Works Cited

Gurba, Myriam. Mean. Coffee House Press, 2017.

OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2019. Web. 21 October 2019.

Injustice.

I chose a girl’s assault incident for my found poem. This specific case against Jacob Anderson, caused outrage among people because he received no jail time for his actions. Anderson only had to pay a four hundred dollar fine and serve three years probation for nearly killing a nineteen- year old and stripping her of her rights. I read this article from The Washington Post and was shocked when reading about the girl’s words towards her attacker. She said to him, “It must be horrible to be you” “To know what you did to me. To know you are a rapist. To know that you almost killed me. To know that you ruined my life, stole my virginity, and stole many other things from me.” When I read this, I could only imagine the pain that she spoke those words with. The trama that Anderson caused her is repulsive.

I chose to put the victims words in the center of my found poem to emphasize the monster that Anderson is and the magnitude of his actions that did not receive penalization. I was compelled to ensure his actions were exposed since the judge failed to do so. I placed his punishment at the top right of this poem to encapsulate how Anderson’s victim did not get justice. I felt the need to show a glimpse of her suffering in the bottom left of the paper to display the degree of her pain. The injustice that transpired during this case was unfathomable since it gives Anderson the opportunity to traumatize other innocent women for life. No one should have ever gone through what that innocent girl was forced to so the fact that there’s a chance that other innocent women could experience what she unfortunately had to is sickening.

Expression by Brooke Christman

Artists statement

For my found poem, I chose to take words from the Espionage Act of 1917. The original purpose of the Espionage act was to prohibit any negative speech towards the military operations of the United States. It was passed after the United States entered world war I, and was used as a way to keep criticism for U.S. war efforts at low. The act has always had a bad relationship with the ideas and values of free speech. Many people were convicted under its provisions, which raised questions regarding the fairness of being jailed for stating your opinion. Was this law really just a way to prevent information from being leaked to enemies, or was this a now legal way to silence the opinions of American citizens. A threatening way at that, as jail time would be punishment for breaking its code.

I decided that I would place the words in such a way that would portray the opposite side. I wanted my poem to carry the message of the importance of being able to say how you feel about the government. I had the words portray why hindering freedom of speech makes a nation cowardly, and why the citizens deserve to have that right. The words of the Espionage act discouraged citizen voices from speaking up, my poem condemns this and lifts up the ideas and values of having meaningful discussions, and highlights the power of being able to express your beliefs.

Police Brutality by Makense Garcia

For my poem assignment, One of the most offensive articles or cases that I found disturbing was the case of Amadou Diallo. It poorly discusses how the police officers approached Diallo. Diallo was an unarmed West African Immigrant who was shot 41 times because he was “acting suspicious.” It bothers me because all Diallo wanted to do was provide for his family. Instead, his life was taken away in the streets of Wheelock Avenue located in the Bronx, NY.

When I had to brainstorm for this project, I looked up police brutality backgrounds. The police officers attacking the African American showed up above. Also, I printed out The New York Times article about Amadou Diallo and cut out the the words that were essential to me. As you can tell, all the words that I cut out were related to Police Brutality. The word that I found disturbing was “41 shots” because it was unnecessary to even kill an unarmed African American. I hope you guys really like my found poem!

– Makense Garcia

infidelity by Jaden Forteau

In today’s generation, rap has many functions. Conscience rappers, like Tupac Shakur and Common choose to rap to get a positive or important message across. They focus on creating awareness on topics such as discrimination and politics. There are also “Gangster rappers” who choose to rap about what life is like living on the streets and hustling to make money. You will most likely hear “Gangster rappers” showing off their exotic cars and exotic women in their music. This is exactly what the rapper Future did in his song called “My Collection”.

 I chose to rearrange and cut the lyrics to this highly offensive song. I picked this song because the lyrics are a huge disrespect towards women and that made me infuriated. He spoke of them as items instead of humans with lyrics such as “Even if I hit you once, you part of my collection” and “Any time I got you, girl you my possession”. I rearranged these lyrics into a female response. I titled my found poem as “infidelity” so that you guys can be aware about what you’re going to read about, and hopefully a better understanding after you have read it. In my found poem, a woman finds out her significant other has been being unfaithful and this is her response to him.