The Bubble of Ignorance – Part 2

Okay, firstly, I hadn’t intended on publishing something twice in a row. This is my 100th post, and it’s not what I envisioned sharing. But this is the world we live in now, and I can’t make happy, woo, cutesy posts when our world is continuing to face terrible acts of injustice, murder, and hatred.

Over two years ago, I wrote and later published a post about my feelings on the so-called Islamic State.

In those two years, my knowledge and understanding about how they work has grown.

I’ve started speaking out more about them, as well as many other injustices happening around the world. Since publishing that post, I have made an effort to not live in my bubble of ignorance. I’ve started protesting and educating myself and people around me about what’s going on. I’ve become particularly passionate about what’s going on in Syria.

Okay, enough intro. Here’s my follow up on The Bubble of Ignorance, especially in the wake of the attack on the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Once again, it’s unedited because I just wrote it.


Here you sit, in your bubble of ignorance.

I suppose it’s better than indifference and apathy.

But you laugh at me

When I call you out.

“What more can I do?” You say, as you scroll through Facebook endlessly.

Your thoughts and prayers are with them, you say,

When in actuality,

You’re hoping that I just go away

And let you return

To your bubble of ignorance.

Because you can’t be blamed for not acting

When you simply didn’t know

About the killing

Or the drilling

Or the missing

Or the chilling scenes of death, despair, and destruction

That flood my Facebook feed, but somehow you’ve tailored your feed

To only show you things you want to see.

That’s fair,

But you know what isn’t?

That you get to sit happily in your bubble of ignorance

While PEOPLE in Syria

And around the world

Are crying

Are DYING

Are trying to get to safety.

Are risking everything for their family.

When all you risk is your “image.”

“Facebook should be about happy things,” you say.

Fine, and by the way,

Your privilege says, “Hey.”

You can’t rush away from this injustice.

Now, trust us,

You’ll be asking for trouble

If you’re caught

Sitting in your bubble

Of ignorance.

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The Open Mic

Ten feet away, an idol stands at a microphone in front of her.

The idol announces that her turn is up in 3, and she isn’t sure

whether she’s ready.

She’s never been one to be so real

in front of strangers, and she doesn’t want to steal

the spotlight from people

whose stories matter more than hers.

Not that she thinks she’s any good.

It’s the opposite. She supposes she could

decide to leave or withdraw, but she sticks it out.

She practically blacks out during the next two sets,

but she tries to focus.

The man before her is powerful

with a message that empowers.

Will her message empower?

No.

But it’s her turn.

The idol returns and announces that she’s up.

Is that really her name? It sounds unnatural, and she wants to throw up.

But she stands up

and faces the open mic.

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I did my very first open mic the other night. I read Stubborn and Enough. I think it went well, but it was terrifying. Thanks to everyone who supported me that night, and special thanks to Kristine for taking me.

A Journey to Tiny Hands

A lone bag slouches on a shelf.A bunny bag sits on a shelf. Others sit below it.

Filled with books, all ready for tiny hands.

It sits.

And sits.

And waits.

A lone being approaches the bag, smiling.

It lifts the bag and brings it to a cart.

It’s filled with other, bigger bags.

A day passes.

The bags wait.

The being returns and moves the cart to a vehicle

Where it loads the bags and cart.

The vehicle moves for what seems like ages.

It stops.

The being is back, and it lifts the bag and carries it into a house.

After some time, the tiny hands appear.

Two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, too many to count.

They empty the bag.

Waiting to be refilled, it sits on the floor, satisfied that it has brought the books to the tiny hands.

A month passes.

The being returns.

The bag is refilled,

Reset in the vehicle,

Transported home,

Cleaned, and set on the shelf

Where it will wait for the next being who will transport it to new sets of tiny hands.

Success

What is success?

Is it a grade? A number? A pay check?

Is it measured with happiness? Education? A piece of paper?

Is it a big house, with a nice car, 2.5 kids, a dog, and a white picket fence?

In school, is it what you learn in a class, the grade you get, or both?

At work, is it the money, the praise, the patrons, or something else entirely?

At home, is it a safe place, a welcoming family, a cat?

What makes someone successful?

Is it a legacy, a memory, or what you experience while alive?

What is success?

Reblog: Academia, Love Me Back

This is so important. Reblogged:

TIFFANY MARTÍNEZ

My name is Tiffany Martínez. As a McNair Fellow and student scholar, I’ve presented at national conferences in San Francisco, San Diego, and Miami. I have crafted a critical reflection piece that was published in a peer-reviewed journal managed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Higher Education and Council for Opportunity in Education. I have consistently juggled at least two jobs and maintained the status of a full-time student and Dean’s list recipient since my first year at Suffolk University. I have used this past summer to supervise a teen girls empower program and craft a thirty page intensive research project funded by the federal government. As a first generation college student, first generation U.S. citizen, and aspiring professor I have confronted a number of obstacles in order to earn every accomplishment and award I have accumulated. In the face of struggle, I have persevered and continuously produced…

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Picture This: Reflecting Diversity in Children’s Book Publishing

sarahpark.com

At the 2016 ALA Annual Conference, author Tameka Fryer Brown presented the Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s (CCBC) multicultural publishing statistics during the panel “Celebrating Diversity: The Brown Bookshelf Salutes Great Books for Kids.” She displayed Tina Kügler’s oft-cited 2012 infographic, with the comment that even though the numbers are now 4 years old, the image communicated inequity in publishing so well that she would use it at every opportunity.

Just before ALA Annual, St. Catherine University MLIS Program assistant professor Sarah Park Dahlen had posted to Facebook asking if anyone knew of an updated illustration, but Kügler’s was the only one anyone knew about. Friends said they would be happy to support an illustrator to create an update. Author/teacher Molly Beth Griffin saw Sarah’s post and queried her Twin Cities Picture Book Salon to see if anyone would be interested; David Huyck (pronounced “hike”) responded, and a…

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Why Young Adult Fiction is NOT a Dangerous Fantasy

Out there in the interwebs somewhere exists a person with the name Joe Nutt.

Mr. Nutt has published an article that I will not link to here, as to not give his ridiculous idea more attention by way of web traffic. This article argues that Young Adult fiction is a dangerous fantasy.

Now, I do not read YA fiction regularly. I have read it in the past, and I have enjoyed what I’ve read in the past.

I am not an avid YA reader, nor can I name the top YA novels out today.

However, I am against people criticizing anyone for reading anything, .

All reading (even reading his article) is, by nature, reading. And reading is good.

No matter whether that takes the form of a graphic novel, comic strip, back of a cereal box, Shakespearean play, or YA novel.

In the paragraphs below, I will examine some of the points Mr. Nutt makes and attempt to counter them.

Be ready. This article is much more… blunt… than my typical works.


His first paragraph is probably the worst paragraph I’ve read in quite awhile, and that includes the many outrageous things Mr. Trump says.

What he describes is his idea for a YA novel, and it implies that being a transgender school dropout with autism and being a self-harmer is a bad thing. Excuse me. I’m sorry that people are transgender. I’m sorry they have autism. I’m sorry they drop out. I’m sorry they self harm.

Actually, no I’m not.

Because there are people who are transgender. There are people who are on the autism spectrum. There are people who self harm. There are people who have dropped out.

We need books that relate to their readers.

I’m sorry that your classic novels don’t relate to their readers. Not everything can relate. And that’s okay. Not everything has to relate. However, when the goal is to get people reading, having stories that they can relate to is a good thing.

Additionally, having stories with diverse characters and situations is good for everyone who reads them, even people who can’t directly relate. Because empathy is important, and spending time in a story with someone who is experiencing those things can teach us about their situation and open our minds to things we never would have seen otherwise.

As a side note, I don’t believe that embarking “on a magical quest to find an ancient crystal with the power to render all weapons useless” really is a plot line that you would find in a YA novel, anyway. That would fit better in other genres. But I digress.


Next, Mr. Nutt describes his life as a teacher of English. He describes his painstaking efforts to create “genuinely literate adults” as if “literate adults” are somehow not genuine.

Do tell me what the difference is.

Let’s take a look at what our dear friend, the dictionary, has to say on being literate:

Literate.JPG

Do you see anywhere in there where it says that a literate person has to be genuine or only read a specific type of writing? I don’t.

I see that they need to have the ability to read and write. I also see that they can be versed in literature and/or creative writing. Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the definition of “literature” as well.

literature.JPG

Hmmm. Mr. Nutt appears to be implying that YA novels are not “considered to be very good” or that they might “have lasting importance.” Now, we wouldn’t want to attempt to assume that we know what will be deemed as “very good” and important to future generations, would we?

If we look at the second and third points, we see a much broader definition of literature. Now, unless you can prove to me that a YA novel is not a book, I believe YA fits into this definition.


Next, he states that teenagers don’t like books that proselytize. No, they probably don’t. Then, he insinuates that YA novels are attempting to proselytize teenagers to something he doesn’t clearly define.

He argues that YA is “nothing more than gossip fodder” and is like reading a novelized form of a gossip/celebrity magazine.

I don’t believe so, but even if they were.

So?

So what?

People are reading. People are empathizing. People are learning.

Does it matter what form that it takes?


Next he goes on to describe that school libraries (in the UK) are emptying their shelves of nonfiction.

I can’t speak to situations in the UK, but in learning about the state of school libraries at my university here in the US, I see that budgets are being cut. When budgets are cut, libraries take a hit. Nonfiction isn’t always cheap.

Personally, I love nonfiction, and I love reading it. I see the importance of allowing our youth to read nonfiction. I will take the stance of one who encourages people to read nonfiction… just like Mr. Nutt should encourage people to read novels he deems appropriate.

However, neither of us should criticize anyone for reading what they enjoy reading. That’s not our jobs. Our job is to encourage reading in all forms and to allow them the chance to branch out. If they do, great. If they don’t, great.


After that, he goes on a tangent about how we as a society should look at how we’ve starved these poor children from a proper “literary inheritance.”

He says, “There is a world of difference between being able to decode symbols on a page and engaging with the thoughts and ideas of intelligent men and women who have important things to say, things which may even make that adult life, still some years off, a richer and a happier experience.”

Really?

It appears, again, that Mr. Nutt has placed judgement on something he shouldn’t be judging.

Are YA authors not intelligent? Do they not have important things to say? Can their novels not make adult life a richer and happier experience?


He then poses several questions to publishers.

Are YA novels culturally valid and something we should value? Do they introduce teenagers to the adult world?

He then goes on to judge publishers for patronizing teenagers and turning them off to reading “with books they think are good for them, instead of helping them seek out and enjoy books that matter.”

Tell me this is satire.

Mr. Nutt is doing the same thing he accuses them of doing. He believes he knows what is best for young readers, and YA isn’t it.

He believes he knows what books matter and what books don’t matter.

That is not okay.

I’m sorry that you can’t see the value in YA, but don’t try and shut off an entire group of books from people who enjoy them because you don’t believe they matter.


Lastly, YA is often read by adults more than teenagers, so everything he’s arguing is nearly invalid anyway.


Thanks for sticking through that with me!


Works Cited

“Literate.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2016. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literate

“Literature.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 22 Aug. 2016. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literature