So I don't know if I mentioned this yet but my US history class is a Senior class, so if things didn't seem a little intimidating before... they still don't. The Senior class is a bit more well behaved than the freshman algebra class (especially first hour freshman...whew). I think I am going to like the history class. Friday a handout was given asking questions like "what would the benefits be to going to a traditionally black college?" and "what would the disadvantages be to going to a traditionally black college?"
The desks are set up in little pods and I joined the most rambunctious one to try and keep the students on task, not an easy job. Being the only white person in the room (other than the teacher, most teachers are black, but the two I work with are white males) and given the fact that the students had no intention of doing their work I decided to give them a white persons perspective on the matter. In the discussion I earned at least a little respect, one student commented on how he was surprised with how real I was being with him and said he said he respected that.
I let them know that I came from a predominately white community and I have very little experience with other cultures and that being in an environment like theirs could be very intimidating, but that I'm adjusting quickly and think that learning about other cultures will strengthen me as a person. I encouraged them to do the same; even though they are not used to working with or even seeing people of other races its important for them to get used to the idea if they ever want to leave their community. (their town is a very poor one, about 99% black, almost all below the poverty line)
Chicago is the second most segregated place in the entire United States. This is no accident, from a very early time the government was very strategic about separating whites from all other ethnicities. Most of the money Chicago takes from taxes goes to the "nice" part of Chicago, the place where everyone visits, while other areas are left forgotten. Of course all of the US used to be like this when black people couldn't attend the same schools or live in the same neighborhoods as white people. But Chicago has continued this tradition by how they spend tax dollars. Upper and middle class Chicago all live in the center and as you reach the outskirts (before the suburbs) is where you'll find everyone else. Of course I don't know how all the politics work, but like I said it is not by chance. So in order for the students I'm working with to break this pattern they need to know how to get out of their comfort zone and explore other areas. Of the students I talked to they all get nervous and/or uncomfortable when in a group of white people.
In other news I am currently working on a video for an attendance rally that we are hosting at the high school, it's taken me a while because I'm teaching myself how to use imovie but it's a pretty simple system. I'm using imovie '08 and from what I've seen imovie '11 is light years ahead, but I'm still having a good time with it and it will certainly work for what I'm trying to do. Again, any questions, please feel free to leave a comment! love you all!