Foundations for Writing

A St. Cloud State Site for English 191

September 29, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“Greta Thunberg responds to Asperger’s critics: ‘It’s a superpower'”

According to The Guardian, Greta Thunberg

has spoken about her Asperger’s syndrome diagnosis after she was criticised over the condition, saying it makes her a “different”, but that she considers it a “superpower”. ….

She said she had not been open about her diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum in order to “hide” behind it, but because she knew “many ignorant people still see it as an ‘illness’, or something negative”.

“When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!” she wrote, using the hashtag #aspiepower.

While acknowledging that her diagnosis has limited her before, she said it “sometimes makes me a bit different from the norm” and she sees being different as a “superpower”. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/02/greta-thunberg-responds-to-aspergers-critics-its-a-superpower?CMP=share_btn_tw

The Guardian also captures two tweets from late this summer that show how Thunberg responds to the “haters.”

September 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“Clean, affordable drinking water is a racial issue.”

Anna Clark points out that drinking water is an issue outside Flint, Michigan, and disproportionately affects communities of color—noting especially Detroit and Chicago.

When it comes to water, you’d think the cities of the Great Lakes would be the envy of the country. In a time of scorching drought and climate change, the northern coast is a place of abundance. The lakes hold an astounding 84 percent of all the surface freshwater in North America.

But even here, we struggle to deliver safe, affordable drinking water to millions of people, often communities of color. Throughout the region, these low-income neighborhoods face high water bills, contamination risks and large-scale shut-offs — all the manifestation of a history that many would like to forget. The “separate but equal” policies of the 20th century are still with us — and they explain why communities cannot take safe drinking water for granted, even amid the magnificent Great Lakes. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/09/23/clean-affordable-drinking-water-is-racial-issue/)

Clark also points out two midwestern cities that are pioneers in removing lead pipes from their water systems: Madison, Wisconsin, and Lansing, Michigan.

September 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“Black girls say D.C. school dress codes unfairly target them. Now they’re speaking up.”

The Washington Post reports on black girls speaking up on dress codes.

For generations, girls have been sent to the principal’s office for violating dress codes: Shorts must reach past fingertips. Shirts can’t be too low-cut. No spaghetti straps. No cleavage.

But these rules are often enforced in uneven ways, and black girls are disproportionately targeted, students from the District said in a report last year from the National Women’s Law Center. Now, some of those students are beginning to speak up — organizing walkouts, lunchtime protests and meetings with administrators to call out dress codes they see as unfair.

In a new report released Wednesday, the National Women’s Law Center highlighted some of these recent shifts and rated D.C. public and charter high schools based on the strictness of their dress code policies. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2019/09/05/black-girls-say-dc-school-dress-codes-unfairly-target-them-now-theyre-speaking-up/)

September 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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US beauty contests and standards of beauty—and state congressional action

In the US, black contestants in beauty contests are wearing “natural curls.” The Washington Post reports on this trend and also on legislative changes regarding “natural hair” in state legislatures:

 

 

This year marks an unexpected sweep in the beauty pageant field: For the first time, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA are all black women. Two of the three won their crowns wearing their natural curls.

It has been a notable few weeks for natural hair on other fronts, too: Last month, the California Senate passed a bill that clarifies that traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and hairstyle, are protected from discrimination in schools and workplaces (and has the unusually winning acronym CROWN: Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair).

This follows a similar move in February, when New York City’s Commission on Human Rights issued guidelines that codify mistreatment at work and schools based on hair texture or style (mentioning traditionally black hairstyles in particular) as racially discriminatory. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-having-black-beauty-queens-with-natural-curls-matters/2019/05/09/1f98b4d0-7283-11e9-9eb4-0828f5389013_story.html)

September 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“Black Brazilians are ditching hair straighteners and white standards of beauty”

Women in Brazil are also moving to natural hair and abandoning “white standards of beauty.” According to the Washington Post,

Bruna Aparecida smiled cautiously at her reflection as a hairdresser snipped the last strands of her straight hair. Her head was crowned with curls.

“I didn’t know myself without straight hair,” said Aparecida, 27, who used chemical relaxers for nearly a decade before deciding to go natural. She used to be the only black woman at the bank where she works who had kinky hair. Today, she is one of six.

“It’s all the rage this year,” she said. “Many of my friends are doing it.” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/black-brazilians-are-ditching-hair-straighteners-and-white-standards-of-beauty/2018/06/18/25499a0e-6d8c-11e8-b4d8-eaf78d4c544c_story.html)

 

September 24, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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“Protests over black girls’ hair rekindle debate about racism in South Africa”

Here’s the lead of an article from the September 3 Washington Post about protests concerning school guidelines regarding natural hair:

In recent years, staff members at the prestigious Pretoria High School for Girls in South Africa’s administrative capital had taken to telling black students to “fix” their hair, according to some current and former pupils. Exactly what “fix” meant depended on who was issuing the order, the young women said: Some were told to use chemical straighteners, while others got a reminder about the school rule limiting cornrows, dreadlocks and braids to a centimeter or less in diameter.

To many of them, nothing needed fixing in the first place.

Last month, propelled by the long-simmering belief that such criticisms were discriminatory, a group of current students took action. Protests were staged on the leafy, gated campus over the hair fracas and other incidents reported at the school, including teachers allegedly discouraging students from speaking African languages. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/protests-over-black-girls-hair-rekindle-debate-about-racism-in-south-africa/2016/09/02/27f445da-6ef4-11e6-993f-73c693a89820_story.html)

We’re seeing some of these restrictions—and resulting protests—popping up in the US, especially in private schools.

September 21, 2019
by Judith Kilborn
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Greta Thunberg on climate change in various venues

An initial image from outside the Swedish Parliament in August 2018

And an initial video posted to Thunberg’s Twitter feed that month

Testifying to Congress on September 18, 2019

In a video released by https://nowthisnews.com/

Speaking in Battery Park, New York at the beginning of the Climate Strike on September 20, 2019

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