Michael Sam becomes 1st openly gay NFL player

Michael Sam becomes the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, the St. Louis Rams.  Sam is the 249th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.  A milestone for the NFL and major professional sports.


NAACP L.A. chapter head resigns over Donald Sterling scandal

The L.A. NCAAP chapter presented Sterling with the lifetime achievement award in 2009, and was planning to do so again this month.  The lifetime achievement award is the NAACP’s highest honor.  The first time Sterling was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the group was in the midst of a lawsuit for housing discrimination based upon race.  To honor him with the award a second time, after he had paid millions to settle multiple discrimination suits, is at the center of the NAACP controversy; read on…there is plenty more on Sterling’s past discrimination lawsuits and his relationship with V. Stiviano (the woman who leaked the tapes).  

Racist Twitter posts following Bruins playoff loss…

Boston Bruins president Cam Neely on Friday denounced those who directed racial slurs at P.K. Subban via social media after the defenseman scored in the second overtime to lift the visiting Montreal Canadiens to a 4-3 victory Thursday night in the opener of an Eastern Conference semifinal series.  Subban, who is black, scored his second goal of the game at 4:17 of the second overtime. Afterward, users on Twitter posted racial slurs disparaging him. Subban’s younger brother, Malcolm, was drafted by the Bruins in the first round in 2012.  

-This seems to be a reoccurring theme for hockey; whenever a person of color (there are very few in the NHL) is the difference maker in a playoff game the racist commentary runs rampant on Twitter from opposing team fans.  Bruins fans are repeat offenders of this cowardly, ignorant, and sad behavior.  In the wake of the NBA team owner Donald Sterling’s racist commentary, and soccer player Dani Alves (a person of color) having a banana thrown at him (Villarrea vs. Barcelona), what do you make of these overt expressions of racism in a medium (sports) that has supposedly been a leader in breaking down color barriers?  -abe

Questions by Abe: Group (Abe, Joey, Jenna, Kian)

Poverty and Welfare Global Pov: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rtySUhuokM

Looking at government subsidies: Entitlements (middle class and wealthy, no stigma attached) versus Welfare (poor, stigma attached). Walmart employees have to be subsidized (they are the largest recipient of federal aid in the nation) while the company is the nation’s most profitable business (16.4 Billion in profits in 2011). Walmart family owns 100 Billion in wealth, more than the bottom 40% of Americans. Does this affect your perception of government assistance to the poor, and the resistance to it? Does it affect your perception of the dependency of the poor on welfare versus the dependency of the wealthy on welfare and the labor of the poor?

This American Life, Part 1 (Act 1): Rules to Live By. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/487/harper-high-school-part-one?act=1

“So many of the shootings in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, the neighborhood where Harper High sits, are characterized as ‘gang-related.’ Often, the implication is that gang-related means there is a reason to the shooting — huge, established gangs shooting it out over drug territory. Gang-related often implies you must’ve deserved it, a certain level of ‘what goes around comes around.’”

I think the above assessment reflects accurately how the media and many Americans portray and perceive gang or drug violence. What is your reaction to this and gang related/drug related crimes, violence? When you observe the climate at Harper High School below, how does this affect your perspective of gang violence and those involved?

“Today, whether or not you want to be in a gang, you’re in one.”

“If you live on pretty much any block near Harper High School, you have been assigned a gang.”

More than 15 gangs in 2 square miles. They have guns.

“What if I don’t want to be in a gang, how can I avoid it?” (Reporter Lina Lutton)

Police Officer: “You can’t, it’s not going to happen. If you live here, you’re part of it.”

“Gangs are the defining social structure in the school; it’s the water that everyone swims in.” (Reporter Lina Lutton)

Rule #1: know your geography

Rule #2: never walk alone

Rule #3: never walk with someone else (it highlights your affiliation)

Rule # 4: don’t use the sidewalks (it’s safer in the street)

Rule # 5: if they shoot, don’t run (fall to the ground)

Rule # 6: you can be shot for reasons big and small

Rule # 7: never go outside

Kindergarten teacher: My job is now about tests and data — not children. I quit.


Cambridge Public Schools, MA.  An interesting article that leaves this local teacher of 25 years torn between the profession she loves and the shifting towards teaching mandates in the form of testing and date collection.  Future educators, what are your reactions?  -abe 

Stevens & Stovall Article

Stevens & Stovall Article (Critical Literacy for xenophobia: A wake-up call).

Arizona House Bill 2281 sought to prohibit classes that “…are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group, and advocate ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals.”  At the same time, the bill does not, “…restrict or prohibit…the grouping of pupils according to academic performance, including capability in the English language, that may result in a disparate impact by ethnicity.”  Do you see this as a contradiction?  Why or why not?

It is apparent that the grouping of students based on English proficiency amounts to an attempt at a new form of separate but (un)equal education; this particular case targeting Hispanics in AZ.  Do you agree?  Why or why not?

The authors state, “…it would be a fatal mistake to see these texts (issues and ideologies) as only reflective of the politics of Arizona or the immigration contexts of contemporary times.” Do you see parallels or similarities to the AZ policies or ideologies in your home state, or nationally?

“Particularly when educational policy is an explicit stage where schools are increasingly privatized, mimicking markets where the rich grow more advantaged and the poor are sidelined, sequestered, and scrutinized, identification of these trends is not enough.”  Do you agree with this, and if so, what specifically can we do to proactively and effectively “interrupt the rollout of discrimination?”

-Abe (Group members Kian, Jenna, Joey)