In Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior’s hardest struggles come from living on the Spokane Reservation and the stigmas and stereotypes attached to that. Junior faces lots of problems such as poverty, racism, and bullying, but those issues all stem from one place: living on a reservation. The stigma attached to reservation follows Junior everywhere, affecting how others view him, and even how he views himself. Everyone on the reservation is said to have lost hope; well, everyone except for Junior. After a heart-to-heart conversation with his teacher, Mr. P, Junior begins to realize he would “find more and more hope the farther and farther [he walks] away from this sad, sad reservation” (43). The Indigenous people residing on that land seem to have accepted that things are not good and will not improve. They feel that if no one else cares they shouldn’t either. This creates a horribly toxic environment where anyone who has passion and big dreams are shot down, told only white people can be successful. Junior is faced with the difficult situation of choosing whether to leave the only place he’s known, but open countless opportunities for himself, or keep going to school on the reservation and limit his future. Yes, he’s had a rough time living on the poorest side of the reservation and having parents who heavily abuse alcohol, but the reservation is the only home he’s ever known. After much debate, Junior decides he must transfer to Reardan. They may only have white students there, but they also have hope. When he tells Rowdy, his best-yet-troubled friend of his plan, he is violently reproached, being called a white lover and much, much worse. With that, Junior’s “best friend [has] become [his] worst enemy” (53). Everyone on the reservation calls Junior a traitor, making his low social status and self esteem even lower. If he did not live on a reservation, he would not be called a traitor. People on the reservation see white people as enemies, not helping to heal the relationship between the ‘outside’ and the ‘inside’. Once Junior transfers to Reardan, the bullying doesn’t stop. Because he lives on the reservation, he is the target of discrimination from students as well as teachers. Imagine, the people who are supposed to build you up and help you succeed, treating you as second-hand simply because you live somewhere else then they do. He was ridiculed for leaving, and now he’s being ridiculed for coming. Junior’s life has always been affected by living on the reservation, from the minute he was born, possibly until the day he dies. This is happening in our world, not just Juniors. There is a lot to be done to restore the pains reservations have created, but the least we can do is detach the stereotypes that follow in the shadow of that word. Junior’s life doesn’t have to be so difficult simply because of where he lives, but it is. Is that really so hard for us to change?
#6 – Authors should not be allowed to use racist language in their writing.
I partially disagree with this statement. There are some places an author may need to use racist language, but there are also a ton of places they shouldn’t.
An author should never use their literature to harm people of another gender, ethnicity, or religion. If their book’s only purpose is to be hurtful, it would not be okay.
I believe that there are two places racist language can be used by authors. The first is in historical literature to give us a glimpse of the past, and the second is when the language plays a crucial part in the story.
For example, let’s say that a book is about a person of colour overcoming racism in their school/workplace/etc. I believe it would be acceptable for the author to write racist language being spoken by the antagonists the character will need to deal with. That way we can see the characters struggles and victories. However, I believe this should be used sparingly, and come with a trigger warning at the beginning of the book.
The flickering light of the old, rusty lamppost casts an eerie shadow over the grimy brick walls of the alleyway. A strong, frigid wind blows, rustling leaves along the cemented ground. The gust is as sharp as the eyes of the black alley cat, who sits perched on the dumpster – its cool gaze like jagged icicles. A small mouse scurries past. Its enlarged shadow dances along the floor, gingerly dodging piles of leaves and garbage. The loud screech of an owl pierces through the quiet night like a booming crack of thunder. The sound alone is enough to wake the dead. The pungent smell of rotting despair fills the alleyway. It leaves a harsh, metallic taste in your mouth. The black cat flicks its tail and licks its lips. Its icy blue eyes begin to glow. Those eyes, they seem to call out to you like a siren to sailors lost at sea. A heavy fog sets in, blurring your vision like the tear drops accumulating in your eyes. A large, nightmarish shadow begins to grow from the small feline; It taunts you, calling for to walk forward. The jagged shape grows until the alleyway is consumed by the void like darkness. The lamppost goes out. The eyes still glow.
“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”
– Dr. Mae C. Jemison
Dr. Mae C. Jemison is a truly inspiring woman who has inevitably changed the world forever. If being the first woman of colour to go into space wasn’t enough, she has helped people all over the world as a Medical Officer in the Peace Corps and is currently making history as the Principal of the 100 Year Starship Foundation.
I chose Dr. Mae C. Jemison due to her undoubtable strength, courage, passion, and perseverance. Like me, Dr. Mae C. Jemison has a large variety of interests. As a young girl, she was involved in dance and musical theatre; she loved it so much, her childhood dream was to become a professional dancer.
Mae C. Jemison’s mother, one of her biggest inspirations, gave her some life-changing advice, “You can always dance if you’re a doctor, but you can’t doctor if you’re a dancer.” This advice convinced Dr. Mae C. Jemison to peruse her other interests and to enroll into Cornell University Medical College. This was after already receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. While studying there, she had the opportunity to give medical aid to those in need in countries such as Thailand, Kenya, and Cuba.
After her medical training was over, Dr. Mae C. Jemison joined the Peace Corps as a Medical Officer. For two years she saved countless lives in Sierra Leone and Liberia, two countries in desperate need of health care. I find it so inspiring that Dr. Mae C. Jemison could leaver her home for such a long time so that she could help make the world a better place. I have so much respect for those who can sacrifice so much to help those in need.
After returning to the United States, Dr. Mae C. Jemison decided to tackle her long-time goal of becoming a NASA astronaut. She was inspired by Nichelle Nichols, an African-American actress who played Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek. She wanted to change the status of women of colour in space from fiction to fact. Dr. Mae C. Jemison applied to NASA’s astronaut program. She, along with 14 others, were chosen from over 2000 applicants, making her the first African-American woman to have been accepted. I like to think that there is a little girl of colour out there who is learning about Dr. Mae C. Jemison and her accomplishments, hoping that one day that can be just her. Even though I will never be able to fully relate to what that little girl is feeling, but I know that representation of minorities and people like you can be inspiring and truly life changing.
If that wasn’t enough, Dr. Mae C. Jemison is currently the principal of the 100 Year Starship project. Her ambition is so inspiring, and I fully believe that her goal of exploring space outside of our solar system will soon become a reality. I mean, has she given us any reason to doubt her yet?
When Dr. Mae C. Jemison retired from NASA, she took it upon herself to educate and inspire future generations. She has written a memoir for children called Find Where the Wind Goes. This inspiring story tells about her struggles against racism and bias during her education. Topics like these are so important to talk about, especially with younger children. Dr. Mae C. Jemison also opened a dance studio where she taught jazz and African dances. I think it’s beautiful that she teaches younger African-American girls to embrace their culture and to be proud of who they are.
It is safe to say that Dr. Mae C. Jemison will be remembered for centuries to come. Her intelligence, selflessness, and creativity make her stand out as an eminent woman. She truly helped to pave the way for people of colour and women in the sciences, achieving more in her 61 years than I could ever hope to in multiple lifetimes. And who knows, maybe in 100 years time we will remember her as we explore a new solar system, just like she dreams of?
Scholastic Team, (2001), Dr. Mae Jemison Interview, Retrieved from http://teacher.scholastic.com/space/mae_jemison/interview.htm
Dr. Mae Jemison, (2003, February 2), EXECUTIVE LIFE: THE BOSS; ‘What Was Space Like?’, Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/02/business/executive-life-the-boss-what-was-space-like.html
Biography.com Editors, (2018, January 19), Mae C. Jemison Biography, Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/people/mae-c-jemison-9542378
Anonymous, (n.d.), Mae Jemison Biography, Retrieved from https://www.notablebiographies.com/Ho-Jo/Jemison-Mae.html
100 Year Starship Team, (n.d.), Mission, Retrieved from https://100yss.org/mission/purpose
When Margarite Caine’s father is murdered in cold-blood, all evidence points to Paul Markov, her father’s quiet research assistant. I couldn’t help but admire Margarite as she forces Theo Beck, another of her parent’s assistants, to let her to join him on his interdimensional quest to avenge the death of the world-renowned physicist. Margarite’s actions really impressed me: she is willing to sacrifice anything to get back at Paul and even is even running the risk of “getting blended into so much atomic soup” (14). After reading on, my admiration changes to concern. While in the first dimension her and Theo jump to, Margarite leaves a message for her alternate self: “KILL PAUL MARKOV” (1). Since it has only a few days since her father’s murder, I know that Margarite is in a fragile mental state and I am worried that her actions will become reckless, as they are fueled by rage. This scene is crucial to the rest of the story since it depicts Margarite’s wants and fears; her wants are to find Paul and avenge her father, while her fears are the unpredictability of untested interdimensional travel and being consumed by her grief. Since I have never had to travel into another dimension to kill my father’s murderer, I don’t know how I would react in Margarite’s situation. I don’t enjoy confrontation and don’t like violence but in a state of grief as strong as hers, who knows what I would choose to do.
It is true that Sam’s lie had some benefits, but they do not outweigh the harm that his lie caused in the first place. Sam told his class he was crying because his dad was dying but really it was because Arthur the dog was sick. Sam didn’t want his class to know he was crying over a dog since he was embarrassed. This is the first thing that bothered me about his lie. Not only was this a very serious lie, but Sam was using it to make himself look better. I believe that you shouldn’t lie to make people respect you more or to change their opinion of you. The lie Sam told was very selfish; he wanted others to think his crying was justifiable (even though crying over your sick dog isn’t something you should be ashamed of). With this lie, Sam took advantage of many people. He got special treatment in class, extra ice cream at the store, and many lasagnas gifted to his family from their caring neighbors. Telling people your dad is about to die is bad, but accepting ‘donations’ is even worse! After a while, Sam was beginning to feel uncomfortable and like he couldn’t keep the secret any longer. As the story states, “Sam couldn’t stand it anymore. He had to set the record straight”. In the end, Sam didn’t tell his parents about his lie since he saw them happy and relaxed while their neighbors threw a BBQ for them. I feel that Sam’s intentions were good here. He was happy to see his parents had a chance to escape the stresses of their day to day life. But with a lie that drastic, his parents would be sure to find out soon, which will make things worse for Sam in the end. Overall, I believe that Sam’s lie caused more harm than good, and that he should have confessed, or better yet, not have told the lie in the first place.
a. How might your digital footprint affect your future opportunities? Give at least two examples.
- Employers often search for applicant’s names online to see what their digital footprint is like. If you post something that doesn’t make you seem like a responsible employee, and it’s attached to your name, chances are you wont get hired.
- Many jobs are starting to incorporate more and more technology into the workplace.
b. Describe at least three strategies that you can use to keep your digital footprint appropriate and safe.
- Be careful about what is attached to your name. If your name is attached to your social media (which isn’t a great idea in the first place), make sure what you’re posting can’t get you into trouble in the future.
- Change your settings so that your account is private. This will make it so only people you approve can view your profile. In addition to that, make sure you only accept people you know, or else the privacy settings are useless!
- Don’t share your passwords with anyone! Someone else could log onto your account and post something inappropriate or unsafe. You shouldn’t tell even your best friend in the entire universe, because you don’t know if you will still be friends years from now. The only people you can ever trust with your passwords are your teachers and your parents/guardians.
c. If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently online? Think of what type of advice you would pass on to your younger self or other students. How could you go about explaining it to them?
- I believe that I have had a pretty safe online presence throughout my life, so I don’t think I would change anything major. My only suggestion to myself would be to sign up for accounts with a different e-mail address so I wouldn’t have had to spend so much time de-cluttering my inbox.
- I would pretty much teach younger kids about everything stated above. I would also tell them to make sure they don’t post anything that could be embarrassing later on in life.