What do you wish your teachers and peers knew more about you?

Something that I wish people knew about me is that I’m quite sentimental. Over the years I have moved schools a lot and when you move a lot it was sort of as if I was starting a new life every one-to-two years. As a result of that I have come to cherish the ones around me a lot more than I used to. I think that not many people know this about me because it’s very hard to be outright sentimental but I do tend to appreciate the moments I get with my family and friends more as I get older. I’m also quite sentimental because I have friends who I’ve known since I was 11 or 12 yet I haven’t seen them for four years yet we still talk everyday and I think that this contributes a lot to know that you always have people even if you don’t see them everyday. When I’m older I want to be able to look back at my school years and be happy about the people I surrounded myself with.

Writing about abstract concepts

What is freedom?

Dear Elizabeth,

Freedom is the feeling of being unstoppable as if you’re a bird flying high in the sky, where you have the ability just to sit and appreciate your surroundings. You feel as though you are secure in the person you are and the person you’re becoming. 

Freedom is the idea that you’re not only content with who you are, but you know that you’re surrounded by people who love you, you can go on a walk with friends or family and enjoy the view. 

It is the ability to put yourself first and take care of you. Freedom means you’re proud of where you are yet you know that you can improve and adapt in situations.

The idea of freedom has always meant to me that you have an abundance of options that you can see yourself using and still having freedom. Freedom is something that is taken for granted many a time, causing us to not appreciate it as we should. Freedom doesn’t mean you do not have bad days; it means that you can get up from those bad moments and grow, adapt and improve. 

I believe having access to many options has been the key to my freedom, whether it’s education or knowing that I am happy with who I am now, or the fact that in the future I will still be surrounded by great people and I will make it through life. The security of knowing I will be OK is my freedom. 

Lily 

Response to “You didn’t make good choices. You had good choices”

I think that this quote is especially relevant now because it is one that could be put in the argument of race. Most of the time white people will have “better options”. They’re more likely to get promoted, more likely to not be killed because of their race, they’re innocent until proven guilty, yet when we talk about black people it is always guilty until proven innocent and they’re seen as a lesser race. Not by everyone of course, yet it is not taught to not have racial preferences and that is where problems occur. In the scene, Elena says that she would never bring race into their argument. This is because she has never experienced racism, she may have experienced struggles but those struggles will never have come from a racially charged motive. For her to not recognise the struggles of what Mia will probably have gone through her entire life is ignorant and rude. Not seeing colour isn’t effective when it comes to situations like this, one must see colour to truly understand how it affects our society and how we can fix the problem. I know for a fact that I am privileged as I have had a stable income in my family my entire life, I have always had things such as an education or a roof over my head and water running. Not everyone has this, so it’s people’s jobs to figure out how to help others, not seeing colour doesn’t help, saying things like “all lives matter” doesn’t help, ignorance doesn’t help. We can no longer be oblivious to what is happening around the world.

A letter to the Shaker Newspaper

I don’t think people fully understand the ramifications of this and how it could not only affect the babies life but the mother’s life too. When Bebe Chow was desperate and couldn’t afford to keep her child, she decided to give her child up in hopes that May-Ling would have a better childhood. Although she didn’t go through the proper ways of giving a baby up for adoption she did what she thought was best for her child. Once you leave your child, in the cold, not knowing if your child will even survive the night. You have given up your child for life. You can not return to having primary custody of a child that you left without help, warmth or anything that a child needs to provide you need to prove that you are a fit mother for the rest of your life because that one moment defines it. At the same time, I don’t believe that she shouldn’t have a relationship with her daughter. She is the biological mother, there should be at least a chance for her to bond with her daughter but you cannot put a baby with a mother that abandoned her when there are safer options for said child. Linda and her husband have lost children before and taking a real one right from their arms are not only cruel, it’s inhumane teasing them with the false hope of having a family just for someone to take back the baby just because they birthed them. I am a firm believer in letting Bebe see her daughter but sometimes your family is not always your biological family and that has to be taken into consideration otherwise what’s the whole point of adopting children.

A post that affected my week

I chose this post because it really spoke to me and how I felt. I think the other thing that enticed me was the fact that my friend wrote it. She’s someone I’ve known for years, she’s fully Kenyan and that was the thing that initially bonded us. Yet we had never talked about race before. Obviously, I knew that she wasn’t pro-racism or anti-Semitic or anything like that, we’d just never discussed race which I think is quite weird since we are both affected by bias/prejudice in this world. This affected me because it was as if I had these thoughts but I didn’t know how to word it. So when I saw this, this is the one that really affected me because to a certain extent the amount of people talking about it now scares me. It scares me because what if in two weeks no one cares and I think that this post really highlights the fact that it can’t just be a post a black screen and you’re not a racist or you’re supporting the movement. It needs to be a forever change. I know that I come from a place of privilege, I go to a private school and I have done for most of my life, I have family that can provide security if I needed it and I’m only half Kenyan meaning that the racism I have endured and will probably continue to for a lot of my life will never be as harsh as others. Yet when I spoke about racism before the protests and the riots and the ‘outrage’ people told me that my life was no different from theirs because of the colour of my skin. So this post is the one that affected me the most because I want change to happen, forever. Not just for now, because this is the type of thing that could give my nephews, my brothers, my cousin, even my friends a better life.

Chapter 7 Analysis

What does the author reveal about Mia Warren in Chapter 7?

I think that the author revealed that Mia Warren is more motherly than initially perceived. In the beginning, it seemed as though she only cared for her career and what she believed was right that’s why they moved a lot because it bored Mia to stay in one place. Even taking the job showed that Mia was selfish in that she only took the job to spy on her own daughter Pearl. Yet when Izzy comes up to her and doesn’t say a word, she opens up. Mia knew exactly what to do to make Izzy feel comfortable, even if it was her own house. It was almost as if Mia was positively manipulating her to open up so that she could be aware of the situation and it worked as Izzy got motherly validation from someone who wasn’t her mother. Showing a more motherly side humanises Mia.

How are we meant to respond to her as readers?

I think that readers see Mia be a disrupting force ruining the ‘normality and unity’ of the Richardson family. Mia is not necessarily seen to be an antagonist though as we don’t know enough about her or her life. It’s seen that Mia is quite an intrusive person as she only took the job for personal benefits and those personal benefits had nothing to do with money. Yet though there are complications readers aren’t meant to dislike Mia as a person. I think that the author is trying to let the readers get to know Mia before making any judgements.

How does she contrast with Elena?

Mia largely contrasts to Elena as she is seen to be more free living in her way of life. Mia has moved around a lot and has experienced things Elena will never experience. It’s seen that Elena has gotten complacent in her life and doesn’t change a lot whereas Mia is unexpected. Mia is also more forgiving to Izzy when Izzy does something bad Elena reprimands her not knowing what to do or how to get her own child to talk to her. This differs to Mia because withing the first few minutes of meeting Izzy, she got her to open up. That was something that Elena had never gotten her daughter to do with her. That is probably the biggest contrast in that Mia sees everyone equally and analyses to find out who they really are and empathises with Izzy whereas Elena thinks that she is the black sheep.

Elena Richardson Reaction (phone call w/ a friend)

Do you know how hard I try with Izzy, she burnt her hair off and I barely even reprimanded her. She has talent, she was the second row at the concert and she’s only 14, yet she wastes it by her trivial acts to grab attention. She comes from a loving family with three great siblings who all turned out normal, what happened to her? I asked her to wear one simple dress to the recital and she acted as if I was asking her to cut off her hand. I don’t understand where she is coming from. Does she not care about how I felt during that moment. I was so proud of her, I thought she liked the violin, the family was there to cheer her on. And she just sat there doing nothing only to turn and look at us with big black writing all over her forehead saying “I’m not your puppet”. How ridiculous is that, what does that even mean? I am her mother she should listen to me, I know what is best even Lexie and Trip knew what she did was wrong. You should’ve seen the look on their faces, it was embarrassing for all of us. Oh, and the car ride home was even worse, complete silence. What am I supposed to say after that stunt? How am I supposed to raise a child that doesn’t want to be raised? Should I take her to some sort of therapist because clearly whatever I do isn’t enough? I just want her to be normal like my other children and embrace her talent as well as being a functioning person in society. Is that too much to ask for?

What are your thoughts on some of the issues raised in the article and in the video? Are there any clear solutions? Where does responsibility lie?

I think that both the article and the video made it very clear that although they have been trying to tackle racial issues for over 65 years there is still more that can be done. It is clear in the data that is shown and how the people of Shaker Heights, both black and white see this issue as something that not only needs to be sorted out but also something that should not occur especially in a community which has such a prevalent integrated society. One of the main issues raised was that there is a clear gap in how many black students excel in school compared to white students, with even a black student questioning the number of people in her AP English class. As well as the clear difference, you can’t change how people perceive things. For example, a black mother talked about how three weeks into the school year the teacher automatically went to tell her that her daughter needed to go to a lower level instead of insisting on helping her before considering this. To the mother, this seemed like it was racially charged as she believed that her white counterparts wouldn’t have gotten the same treatment and that the teacher would’ve come up with other solutions. And then there is the other side where a white teacher told a black student off for being on their phone and their mother thought that was racially charged and “bullying”. The problem with that was that the teacher was in fact treating the student like any other yet because it happened to be them that was singled out they believed that it had something to do with the colour of their skin. I don’t think that there are any clear solutions because it has been shown that both sides don’t understand each other well enough to be integrated. I think that a mother said it very well, that though there may be easy answers to why black people don’t show up to things such as PTO meetings, that it is more likely the feel of the room as it is primarily white people there so why would you put yourself in an unnecessary uncomfortable situation. I think that responsibility lies upon everyone. There is no way that you can have an integrated society if it is only one half’s job to fix the problem. Both sides need to come to an agreement about how to tackle the issue and then see how that works from there because obviously though they have been trying for so long, something isn’t right.

What does Ng reveal about Elena Richardson in this extract? How is this effective?

I think that this extract truly shows how Elena Richardson sees herself, she sees herself as selfless yet there is a need to show that she doesn’t need the money. The constant reiteration of they didn’t need the money showed that though it could be perceived as a selfless act, there will always be a selfish aspect because if they needed the money they would raise the rent. Although she has been very generous by renting out the house at a much smaller price she said that she views the house as a “charity”, meaning that she believes that she is helping many people by renting at such a low price and that she is better than most in her community because she helps others with her “charity” house. Also, the idea that Elena is the ‘human embodiment’ of Shaker Heights is quite prevalent in this extract because she is seen as the perfect wife with three kids that have their own issues and she is the sort-of ‘wrangler’ of them. I think that this shows that Shaker Heights is the place where people settle down and have their entire lives planned out, this is especially obvious when Elena Richardson talks about how her parents raised her. The idea that helping people has been engrained in her since she was a small child reflects the way she talks about her part in the community.