Journal 1: Responding to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Losing My Innocence,” pp. 26-28

Coates describes his neighborhood as “a world apart” from that “other world” he witnessed on television, in particular the world that belonged to the idealized white, middle-class, suburban family of Mr. Belvedere, a popular television sitcom at the time: “There were little white boys with complete collections of football cards, and their only want was a popular girlfriend and their only worry was poison oak. That other world was suburban and endless, organized around pot roasts, blueberry pies, fireworks, ice cream sundaes, immaculate bathrooms, and small toy trucks that were loosed in wooded backyards with streams and glens” (par.4). Reflect on how television, film, books, YouTube, and other media have opened up worlds for you, as the sitcom Mr. Belvedere did for the young Coates. Think of one or two examples of other worlds you have witnessed through the media and the impressions you have of them. For example, do you think the other worlds represented in the media are real and attainable or just fantasy? Lastly, Coates explains, “I felt, but did not yet understand, the relation between that other world and me.” What do you fell and understand about the relation between the world in which you live and the other worlds you see in the media? [250 word requirement]

Journal 2: Read Lily Wong’s essay “Eating the Hyphen” and respond to the two sets of questions that follow.

Lily Wong, “Eating the Hyphen”-1.pdf

[NOTE: If you have difficulty viewing the pdf, Wong’s essay can be accessed via the JSTOR database in the Palomar College Library. Visit the library homepage, click databases on the left, find JSTOR alphabetized under databases, then search for the article on JSTOR. You may need to use your student i.d. to access the article off-campus.]

A) Take a moment to reflect on the title of this essay. What does Wong mean by “eating the hyphen”? How do you define what this phrase means? And how does this title preview the larger argument Wong is making in this essay?

B) Reflecting on what she sees as the “contradictions” within her own experiences as an eater, Wong wrestles with the question of how to define truly “authentic” Chinese or American food? Do you have a standard for measuring the “authenticity” of a given food? Do you think such a standard is necessary? Why or why not?

[250 words]

Journal 3: Responding to Rosa Alexander’s “The Meme-ing of Trigger Warnings,” pp. 112-117.

A) Do you believe that there is a backlash against trigger warnings much as there is a backlash against political correctness? In other words, are people worried that “words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense” are taken to a level of absurdity? Give examples to illustrate your answers.

B) Also, what role do you think this new form of expression–memes–serves? We see them everywhere on the Internet as a form of popular culture. Are memes performing a natural role as far as human communication or are they something new altogether? Give examples of memes you’ve been exposed to to illustrate your answers.

[250 words]

Journal 4: Respond to one of the following articles published in The Conversation.

A) Peter J Hotez, “The Counties Where the Anti-Vaccine Movement Thrives in the US,” https://theconversation.com/the-counties-where-the-anti-vaccine-movement-thrives-in-the-us-106036. (Links to an external site.)

(Links to an external site.)According to Hotez, “Studies suggest vaccine refusal is linked to affluence and [hence] greater access to the internet…and social media.” Do you agree such a link is possible? Looking at the map-charts provided, what might be some other reasons for the increase in anti-vaccine groups? While Hotez, a vaccine developer for pediatric science, clearly promotes immunizing school-aged children, what are some reasons you might give for refusing to enter a vaccine program? Do you agree with Hotez that students should be required to be vaccinated in order to attend public schools? Any response relevant to the content of the essay is welcome. [250 words]

B)Reed Blaylock, “For Linguists It Was the Decade of the Pronoun,” https://theconversation.com/for-linguists-it-was-the-decade-of-the-pronoun-128606 (Links to an external site.)

Blaylock writes that “word-of-the-year votes are a lighthearted way to highlight the natural evolutions of language.” But past choices suggest something more politic: “fakenews” in 2017 and “quid pro quo” in 2019. Do you think that altering pronouns, a class of words that rarely changes in the English language, is acceptable? Do you think “the grammar of sentences with a singular ‘they’ is ‘correct English'”? Give examples of instances when you experienced the non-binary “they,” an emphasis on pronouns in social media, or the experience of being stumped to find the correct pronoun when referencing someone. Any response relevant to the content of the essay is welcome. [250 words]

Journal 5: Respond to Laura Beth Nielsen’s “The Case for Restricting Hate Speech” (pp. 205-206) using the [Reflect] section that follows it: “Make connections: Handling hate speech” (pp. 206-207). [250 words]

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