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The Stupidity of Removing Shakespeare

Shakespeare. He is regarded as one of, if not the most influential writer in all of history. He wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and 5 poems. Not only this, but he is responsible for inventing over 1700 words in the English vocabulary. It would be ignorant to deny that Shakespeare was a literary genius. Shakespeare’s work is studied in schools all over the world, and has become the figurehead of English curriculum’s everywhere.

Despite Shakespeare’s genius, there are those who wish to remove him from literature entirely. On May 11, 2017, the National Post published an article titled, “Ontario School Board Tosses Shakespeare for Indigenous Writers”. In this article, Superintendent, Mark Sherman states, “Not only do indigenous students not see their culture reflected in their curriculum, and become disengaged as a result, but non-indigenous students are not made to engage scholastically with First Nations until late in the educational game.” Now I am not against diversity whatsoever, but removing Shakespeare is not the way to achieve diversity. What makes this claim so flawed is the idea that the indigenous students cannot relate their culture to a Shakespearean work of writing. He lived during the late 16th- early 17th century, almost 500 years ago. If you ask me, I don’t think anyone can relate on a personal level to Shakespeare. We do not study Shakespeare to feel a personal connection to him; we read Shakespeare because of his literary genius, his ability to produce entertaining works of literature.

Perhaps the most outrageous reason to kick Shakespeare out, is due to “Academic Diversity”. The Washington Post published an article back in June 13, 2015 titled, Teacher: Why I don’t want to assign Shakespeare anymore (even though he’s in the Common Core)”, in which one teacher, Dana Dusbiber, cried and complained about how Shakespeare was set in place by white people a long time ago. She stated, “I am sad that so many of my colleagues teach a canon that some white people decided upon so long ago and do it without question”, which is an absolutely racist thing to say. The fact that she isn’t interested in something for the sole fact that it was written by white people is so indefensible. Her only reason aside from her apparent racism, is that she finds it difficult to read, stating, “…I dislike Shakespeare because of my own personal disinterest in reading stories written in an early form of the English language that I cannot always easily navigate…”. So, what can we take away from this? We can see that not only is she racist, but stupid as well. As an English teacher, you should have a very profound understanding of all works of literature. If you ask me, I hardly believe she is deserving of her job. Having an opinion of something, and backing it by racism and laziness, shows just how weak you are intellectually.

Our studying of Shakespeare does not come without reason. We read his works because it makes us think, and exercises our intellect. You may find it easy, you may find it difficult, but in the end, it’ll only serve to better educate you on reading and writing as a whole. We should not be casting away Shakespeare, but embracing him. He is someone to be revered, therefore we should be keeping his legacy alive.

Sources

Strauss, V. (2015, June 13). Teacher: Why I don’t want to assign Shakespeare anymore (even though he’s in the Common Core). Retrieved September 17, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/06/13/teacher-why-i-dont-want-to-assign-shakespeare-anymore-even-though-hes-in-the-common-core/?utm_term=.3fdb82121ca2

Brean, J. (2017, May 11). Ontario school board tosses Shakespeare for indigenous writers. Retrieved September 17, 2017, from http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/ontario-school-board-tosses-shakespeare-for-indigenous-writers

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Quote Dissection: Confucius

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

– Confucius

     Of all the teachers who had ever lived, Confucius was one of the greatest. The quote above is one that I admire. The reason it holds so much importance to me is that, as an aspiring teacher, it tells of the one of the best methods of teaching. Below, I will dissect each sentence within the quote:

  • “I hear and I forget.”: If you are told how to do something you will not retain the info. How many times have you been told something only to forget about it shortly after? This basically explains it all. You cannot retain information simply by hearing it.
  • “I see and I remember.”: If you observe someone else doing something, you will retain it. You will have the ability to share and recall the information after seeing it first-hand.
  • “I do and I understand.”: When one performs something, they are able to realize the point. They end up knowing the reasons and why.

When we perform something we grasp it in its entirety. Only seeing or only hearing cannot paint for us a full picture. This is why, as teachers, we need to guide our students and allow them to perform things for themselves. Confucius truly was a well-respected teacher and this quote shows us why. He knew how to teach an how to do so effectively.

The American Dream: Why we need it now more than ever.

The American dream; the dream of a lifestyle filled with luxuries and riches for every American citizen. In his article, “The Real Meaning Of The “American Dream”, Michael Lewyn states, “The term “American Dream” was apparently invented in 1931 by historian James Truslow Adams; he was referring to ‘That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement'”(The Real Meaning Of The “American Dream”). To own a house, support a family, earn a steady income, and being able to retire early are all aspects of the American dream, however the dream does not necessarily mean everyone should strive for the exact same thing but rather, everyone is given equal opportunity: “Thus, the term “American Dream” means not one type of house on one type of lot, but an economy open to talent, whether in dense cities, streetcar suburbs, or small towns”(The Real Meaning Of The “American Dream”). A well-paid job however, is what people need in order to obtain any of these. During the time period in which this became the standard of living, not everyone had an equal opportunity. Jim Crow and various segregation laws were rampant in the Southern states, inhibiting the civil rights of African-Americans. Therefore the American dream only applied to white men. But today, we do have equal opportunity. No matter your race, religion, ethnicity, or gender, you have the same opportunity for success as everyone else. It is because of this that we must revive the American dream. We must revitalize this drive for success.

During the time period in which the American Dream originated, women did not have the same level of opportunity as men. Women during these times were seen as inferior to men, and were often viewed nothing more than their husband’s property when married. The idea that women were best suited in the home was the common mindset at the time. Women were expected to stay at home with the children, keeping the house tidy and maintained, while their husbands went off to work to provide for the family. The idea of a woman running for president would have blown the minds of people back then. Today, the likelihood of a female president is higher than it has ever been. With women being granted more opportunities for personal success, the American dream becomes less and less of a man’s dream, but a dream for both men and women.

Up until the mid 1900s, blacks were denied the same level of opportunity as white people. Segregation was heavy within America at this time, making the ability for people of color to succeed extremely difficult and near impossible. Laws made it difficult for blacks to vote, travel, purchase items, etc. The “separate but equal” laws kept restrooms, drinking fountains, schools, nearly everything, divided between blacks and whites which hindered equality. Modern day however, has lifted the gates of segregation and discrimination, paving the way for equal success. People of all races and backgrounds are able to live freely among each other.

In today’s society, there are those who try and convince the population that segregation, racism, and sexism are still the norm. They try to convince women and people of color that oppression towards them does still in fact exist. This fallacy holds women and minority groups back. Everyone holds an equal opportunity for success what others may want you to think. You have the potential for success, why not pursue it?

 

Works Cited

“The Real Meaning Of The ‘American Dream.’” Planetizen – Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education, http://www.planetizen.com/node/30899.

Maryland During the Civil War

     Maryland has a history of having a very indecisive personality(and no, I’m not talking about her climate). Various changes in ideals towards the period of the Civil War began to divide and ultimately shape Maryland into what it is today. Starting in the 19th century and as the years lead up to the bloodiest war in American history, our nation’s ideals began to divide. These divisions in the standards and social accept-abilities of the time would begin to take their toll on Maryland as well. My love of history first began when I saw a historical documentary on the Civil War when I was younger. Today, I will discuss the Civil War’s impact on Maryland as it affected her agriculture, politics, and society.

     First, I will talk about Maryland’s agriculture and its effect on the state’s political position as well as its stance on the institution of slavery prior to the Civil War. According to the book, “Maryland in the Civil War: A House Divided”, during the 1800s, Marylanders detested abolitionists. For roughly 2 centuries, Maryland had been a slave state. There were few Marylanders at the time who opposed slavery, but most turned a blind eye upon the issue. Public opinion had frequently forced the beating of slaves from view. However, Marylanders were not oblivious, and were well-aware that it occurred. The decades before 1860 saw changes in agriculture which steadily altered the nature of slavery in Maryland. Tobacco was still a significant cash crop in the southern counties. Crops like fruits, vegetables, hogs, cattle, wheat, and corn required less labor and so farmers who had an excess of slaves would sell them to dealers in the southern parts of the state. “Maryland lies at the center of the Eastern seaboard”, as stated in an article on the History Channel’s website. Because of this, Maryland’s landscape is very diverse. Due to this diversity in landscape, each part of Maryland had, and still has, its own way of sustaining itself. The eastern shore for example, was more secessionist since slaves were seen as more of a necessity due to farming and tobacco plantations being abundant.

     Next, I would like to discuss how Maryland as a whole began to divide on issues as the war began. As stated in the book, “The Civil War in Maryland, by 1860”, “Maryland’s economical, geographical and political positions at this time can best be summarized by the state’s present day tourism slogan, ‘America in Miniature’.” America at the time was divided into two main issues, these issues being, the struggle between the North and South for power in Congress, and the expansion of slavery. This immense struggle would soon after turn into war as the North formed the Union in order to combat the growing secessionism as the South formed their Confederate States of America. Since Maryland was split between political factions as well, she was, in a sense, a near perfect representation of America at the time.

     Lastly, I am going to tell you about Maryland’s complete and overall change through the war, and as it came to a close. According to “the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History”, during the Civil War, Maryland was a very disorderly place due to her divided ties between Northern and Southern ideologies. “Secessionist sentiment was strongest on the eastern shore, along the western shore on the Chesapeake Bay south of the Susquehanna River, and along the Potomac border with Virginia. Unionism was strongest in northern, central, and western Maryland.” The Civil War began in the year 1861. That same year, the Baltimore Riot erupted On April 19th. During this riot, civilians attacked Union troops who were moving through the city. Three days later, Union troops secured the state’s capital of Annapolis. During 1863, as Maryland was drawn more closely towards the Union cause. Most Marylanders became supporters of the Union in 1863 due to heavy government regulations. These regulations included: the control of public behavior through the military, loyalty oaths, the mandatory flying of the Union-American flag were required, and any expression that favored the Confederacy was prohibited. Many of these regulations violated the Constitution and thus infringed upon the basic human rights of the citizens. The Union’s occupation began to convert Maryland into a more Northern-sided state. However, Maryland still fostered citizens whom of which supported the Southern cause, which kept Maryland from being completely loyal to one side or the other. By November 1, 1864, Once again according to the book, The Civil War in Maryland, “slavery ceased to exist in the state of Maryland”.

     In conclusion, the Civil War impacted America in a very significant way. Not only did it affect America, but Maryland individually.  It had lasting effects on her political ties, her loyalties, her societal standpoints, and the livelihood of her people. And so, the next time you explore Maryland’s landscape, think of how history has shaped her into what she is today.

Works Cited

Cottom, Robert I., and Mary Ellen. Hayward. Maryland in the Civil War: a house divided.         Maryland Historical Society, 1996.

 

Floyd, Claudia. Union-Occupied Maryland: a Civil War chronicle of civilians and soldiers.         The History Press, 2014.

 

Heidler, David S., et al. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War. A political, social, and              military history. ABC-CLIO, 2000.

 

History.com Staff. “Maryland.” A&E Television Networks, 2009, History.com. 02 Feb                   2018, www.history.com/topics/us-states/maryland.
     

Toomey, Daniel Carroll. The Civil War in Maryland. Toomey Press, 2004.

 

Democratic Hypocrisy

In the politics of today, the Republican Party is often labeled as the party of bigotry. The Republicans are seen as racist and misogynistic. These labels are far from the truth. Throughout American history, it was in fact, the Democrats who were the racist and misogynistic bigots. From the Trail of Tears, the Ku Klux Klan, the Civil War, and Jim Crow laws, Democrats were behind them all. It may be true that things have changed to a certain degree in this modern age. However as people, we cannot simply put labels onto others, whenever we ourselves are, or have been guilty of those exact things.

Between the years, 1839 and 1850, the mass movement of Native Americans known today as the “Trail of Tears”, began. This movement forced nearly 125,000 natives from their land in order to secure land for the growing of crops, as well as territory for the livelihood of more Americans. Many did not feel that the Native Americans were civil people and thus viewed them as “sub-human”. Andrew Jackson had always been an advocate for this “Indian Removal”. When he was an Army general, he had lead brutal campaigns against multiple tribes across the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida and thus resulted in the transfer of hundreds of thousands of acres of land from Indian nations to American farmers. When Jackson became president, he only continued what he had started. Jackson was a Democrat. Not only was he a Democrat, but he was the first, for he was the founder of the party. He was a racist man, whom of which believed that the American people were entitled to land that the native Americans had owned. Today, the democrats enjoy calling the Republicans bigots, whenever their party’s founder, was a bigot towards the natives.

In 1861, the Civil War began. What led to this major conflict was growing political tensions within America. During this war, the Democratic South fought to sustain their way of life, and their states’ rights. Their way of life consisted of polygamy and slavery, which completely devalued women and blacks. If it were not for the Republican North, these awful practices would not have been abolished as soon as they were.

A major label that the Republicans are given is “racist”. Now, if I’m not mistaken, which party founded the Ku Klux Klan? How about Jim Crow laws? Oh and can’t forget “separate but equal”. Who founded each of these? It was indeed the Democrats. The Ku Klux Klan was a white supremacist group that was birthed from the southern Democrats. The Jim Crow laws were laws that prohibited blacks and whites from integrating amongst each other.

Another label commonly bestowed upon Republicans is “misogynistic”. It should be noted that it was Democratic President Woodrow Wilson opposed women’s right to vote. It was not until the 19th amendment was passed by the mainly Republican congress, forcing Woodrow Wilson to drop his opposition to women’s rights. For over 50 years, the democrats refused to bestow equal rights upon women.

It is so easy for someone to slap a label unto their opponents. However, it is absolutely stupid to put a label onto someone whenever you yourself are guilty of the action that the label represents. The Democrats need to understand their own hypocritical tendencies when it comes to labeling. This being said, do I believe all Democrats to be racist? Of course not. However, I want to shine light on the party that was founded and ran on the ideals of misogyny and bigotry.

 

Why?

When facing something in your life, regardless of whether it’s a math problem, a philosophical idea, a way in which a particular living or nonliving thing functions, etc., simply ask yourself “Why?” Why does it work like that? Why is it solved like that? Why do we use this term rather than that term? With all of these questions, it is up to you to find the answers. Find the answer to these questions on your own before consulting the internet, a peer, or a mentor.

What most people do is they merely scratch the surface, but fail to look within. I love figuring out the answers to many different questions and problems, and I do this by looking deeper, asking myself questions, and then finding the answers. So the next time your faced with something that may not make sense on the surface, ask yourself “Why?” And you may just find what you’re looking for.

The Rights of a Robot

Picture a scenario where a robot, an artificial intelligence with the capability to think and act like a human being has just been created by a team of scientists. Now this robot has just been given legal citizenship by your government, how would you react? Would you accept this robot, this “thing” as a member of your society? Or would you look at this with distaste as a machine has just been publicly given human status. Whenever someone gives a scenario about this, it is typical for most people to shrug as if they do not care. You’ll often hear the phrase, “It’s not hurting me so it’s no big deal.” However, I beg to differ. This is not something to merely shrug your shoulders at.

Recently, Saudi Arabia gave citizenship to a robot named, “Sophia”. She has been noted to have superior artificial intelligence. Quite frankly, I don’t care how advanced her AI happens to be, she is no human, and therefore has no right to be treated as such.

Giving human rights to a machine, is the equivalent to giving citizenship to a pencil. If you break that pencil then you’ve committed a murder. Is that not ridiculous? This whole ordeal is just another instance of man attempting to play God.  We as human beings have been given our rights by God, thus is why they are referred to as “God-given”.

When we bestow human rights to something that is not human, we belittle our own existence. Human beings are at the forefront of the natural world. In other words, we reign supreme over our earth. We should be above our own creations and should not be stooping down to their level. The idea of giving an object human rights is absurd in of itself. Objects do not equate to man.

The Art of Handshaking

When it comes to greeting, a handshake is a symbol of mutual respect. You can tell a lot about a person based upon the way they handshake. A confident person delivers a firm but inviting handshake, whereas a meek person will display a lack of confidence in his handshake. A person who couldn’t care less about anything will give a pathetic handshake whereas a passionate person will be very expressive and friendly with their handshake. Handshaking truly is an art due to the underlying complexity and nature behind this age old greeting.

Handshakes can also be weak due to a lack of experience. In today’s age, handshaking has become less and less of an informal greeting. The only time you will ever see someone giving a handshake is whenever it is some sort of formal arrangement or event. However, I believe that handshakes should be encouraged no matter whom you are greeting.

One of the most distasteful things you can ever do is decline someone’s handshake. I would much rather shake a limp noodle, than to not shake the noodle at all. It is disrespectful to decline a handshake, no matter who the one offering may be. Even if you are bitter enemies with the person, you should still be willing to shake their hand, you will exhibit a great deal of character this way. A strong man is willing to shake his enemy’s hand.

Handshaking is far more complex then most believe. There is a good and bad way of going about shaking someone’s hand. The nature behind the handshake is what truly makes it an art form.