Ana Lezama and I went to visit our sites together the week before Thanksgiving Break, when we found out that our sites are very close together. At noon, we got to Ana’s site, Lafayette Square Park. After taking a couple of pictures of the site, we posed in front of the White House and ended up at the Renwick Art Gallery, that is only a few minutes away. It was beautiful looking and learning about the history of Washington D.C. After walking around and absorbing it all in, it was time to go to my location. It wasn’t too far of a walk, only about 20 minutes or so. I took a few pictures of the street corner between 13th and M street and went inside the Thomas Circle Apartment complex that I had visited earlier. (I didn’t talk to the reception this time). We walked to Thomas Circle and looked at the National City Christian Church. We then took an über to Starbucks, ordered coffee and sat at a table by a window and worked on our built environment descriptions together. We actually stayed there until late afternoon. It was an overall very fun day, and I’m glad I found someone to explore my site with. It definitely made the project a lot more fun!

In her article, “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” Suzanne Tick argues that gender-neutral design is incredibly important for the kind of society that we live in today as all societies go through the transition of becoming more and more accepting of gender fluidity. Traditional gender roles are revolutionizing and no longer being seen the same way. To this day, the design landscape of many designers out there are still being seen through a male perspective. It is widely known that since the beginning of time, men have had the upperhand when it came to power, and that still lasts to this day. Suzanne Tick’s goal is to achieve a design that is not based on a man’s perspective.

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Fortunately, there are many celebrities and high-ranking people that have brought to life the same concern that Suzanne Tick is describing. Famous people such as Emma Watson (I attached her speech from ‘He for She,” where she talks about the inequality of the LGBT community) have exposed the world to the unacceptable treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals. This opened the eyes of the public and helped them to understand why it is so important to make sure that every person is treated with the same rights. As women have started to take power more and more, it is seen that the hierarchies are starting to crash down.

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Although design is well on its track to becoming more accepting, fashion and beauty have already started to take the steps to becoming less gender specific. This wasn’t mentioned in the article because it was before it came out, but recently, Covergirl Magazine came out with a new issue, and their covergirl (pictured above) is a beautiful male-identifying individual totally rocking that makeup. This happened earlier in 2016, and caused an outrage within many people internationally, but it also caused people to open their eyes and see that at this time, it’s okay for men to do traditionally “feminine” things and vice versa.

Big companies have also begun to take big steps in becoming gender-neutral. A corporation like Google have started to adopt unisex bathrooms, which allows for people of all genders to feel safe, comfortable and included. It is obvious that there is much more advancements that need to be made regarding the acceptance of the LGBTQ community.

Moral of the story, it should not matter whether or not you believe that these people deserve their rights. What matters is that no matter what, all people are treated the same and not oppressed for the way they identify.

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In her article, “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’”,  Emily Bazelon argues that it is important to realize that at this point, it is important to realize that genders are no longer only male and female. She also explains that this also applies to people who may not have been born as a certain gender, but identify as another. Transgender people are trying to stop society’s ways of thinking about gender bathrooms. Everyone knows how uncomfortable and borderline humiliating it is to walk into the wrong bathroom. This is an understandable request since it would put to ease how uncomfortable it is to go to the “wrong gender” restroom. Since it is 2016, transgenders have been much more accepted in common spaces and public facilities, but unfortunately it is still an issue that many people are struggling with to this day. In fact, it gets so bad in some places that there was actually a riot in Houston in which a group of people protested against gender neutral bathrooms. They even wore shirts that said, “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms.” This shows just how much of a commitment people have to leave things the way that they have always been.  

It is a little ironic how most schools have no problem calling people by their preferred pronouns and letting them join sports of the gender that they identify with, but have a problem with changing bathrooms to make them more accommodating to all genders. How are these people supposed to know which locker room to change in after a soccer game? How are they expected to accept their own identity if their own school is refusing to let them use the bathroom they prefer? It is more than important for activists and the general population to advocate for the rights of transgender people. Although it may be true that it is becoming more and more acceptable, our society is nowhere near becoming a completely inclusive community. There are even extremist groups whose sole purpose is to destroy the rights of the transgender people.

 

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Emily Bazelon also talks about how using the word “accommodating” can be negative. Accommodating means that something has to change, and that people have to settle down for this change whether they like it or not. This isn’t a positive way of thinking about gender-neutral bathrooms. This movement shouldn’t be looked on as something that is bad and needs to change, but rather as how important it is to improve a way of life that is inclusive to everyone. I do understand how it can sometimes be tough for some people to understand the whole process of being transgender, but that doesn’t give one the right to be completely against it to the point that one can’t even deal with having a female-identifying woman in a women’s bathroom.

For women, at least, a bathroom is not a place you go to just to literally go to the bathroom. This is where ladies go to chat with their friends, fix their hair, do their makeup, and just be with each other.  If one doesn’t let another into their identifying bathroom, not only are they taking away the rights to use the bathroom, but also the rights to be a part of the female-identifying lifestyle.

In their article, “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces,” Kathleen Scholl and Gowri Gulwadi argue that the physical, social, and mental environment is an important aspect of a student’s college career.  

The physical environment of a college campus.

The physical environment of a college campus.

The physical environment refers to the actual landscape and area around the institution. Although this may seem irrelevant, it is actually very important to the overall quality of a student’s education.

The social environment of a college campus.

The social environment of a college campus.

The social environment depicts how a student communicates with others; chances are that the more people a student has to speak with and be around, the more positive his or her learning outcome will be.

The mental environment of a student.

Mental environment is how a student regards himself or herself. How students perceives themselves is extremely important to how successful they are going to be in the future. The more self confidence one has, the more they are able to get things done, which leads to reaching their potential and achieving their goals.  

As described, this means that the aesthetic as well as the overall aura of a campus is imperative to a student’s education. This makes sense because I know that for me personally, it is much easier to be able to study outside of my room, when I go to a university that has such a beautiful campus. If I were to walk outside on a regular school day, there are students studying everywhere outside, hanging out by the tables in front of buildings, or reading on the quadrangle, which helps to prove Scholl and Gulwadi’s claim that all types of environments are extremely important to the education of a student at a learning institution.

In their article, Scholl and Gulwadi explain the exact textbook definition of the word campus. “The word campus, (derived from a Latin word for “field” – “an expanse surrounded…by woods, higher ground, etc., Harper, n.d.) was first associated with college grounds to describe Princeton University in the 1770’s (Eckert, 2012; Turner, 1984) and now refers to the overall physical quality of higher education institutions (Bowman, 2011).” This definition is extremely important because as seen in the beginning of the quote, the definition of a campus was solely the physical environment. To break down the quote, the beginning says that any piece of land that is surrounded by an institution (whether it is a higher ground or the woods), is considered a campus. This definition was first developed at Princeton University. As the years passed by, the definition developed into meaning that a campus is now described as the physical environment of the higher education institution.

On the other hand. Scholl and Gulwadi try to disprove this definition. They are saying that the physical qualities of a college campus is not the only important aspect when it comes to student life and education. This definition does not take into consideration the mental environment and social environment of a student. When I say mental environment, I mean the aura of the college campus. For example, what do the students themselves think about the campus? Do they act positively or negatively when talking about the campus? What a student believes about their school can gravely change how studious they are. Social environment is also very important. If a student were to have many friends and study groups to be around, chances are he or she will be much happier in their school. This means that when they will go to their campus, they will have a positive outlook.

Works Cited

Issue, By. “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces | Scholl | Journal of Learning Spaces.” Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces | Scholl | Journal of Learning Spaces. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

In the introduction of their book, They Say / I say, Graff and Birkenstein argue the proper way to write in the English language, and the difference between what the author writes, and what the reader understands. Graff and Birkenstein show that for every idea that an individual wants to write; there is a certain template that must be used. It is imperative to realize that not every paper is written the same. Critical writing is a much more complicated task than general writing. While general writing has basic templates, for example, “ Many Americans assume that …. ”, when summarizing a widely held belief, critical writing has a much deeper meaning than just putting words on a piece of paper (2).

This is where the idea of “They say … ; I say …” develops. In fact, by analyzing this part of the book, I am using this formula. The “They say ; I say” template does the following. It helps the writer describe and summarize what the author is explaining, which is the “They say” part of the equation. When the writer evokes a response to what the author is saying, that is the “I say” part of the template. This not-so-complicated idea is used mostly in academic writing. Academic writers who write scholarly articles and use critical writing in their papers usually have more than one perspective in their papers. Graff and Birkenstein argue that in order to have a good foundation for this paper sources are extremely important. There must also be a deep understanding of the topic so that the person reading the paper believes that the writer actually deeply analyzed and researched their topic.

Another big idea that Graff and Birkenstein explore in the introduction of their book is that there must be some sort of argument within their writing. Arguments usually come from something that an author that does (or doesn’t do) or says (or doesn’t say) that may stir up some attention with a crowd. An argument must make an impact. It must make the reader accept the argument, and convince them that although they may not believe the argument, they are willing to understand the opposing side. I believe that if a writer is really motivated to write about a certain issue, then their passion will be seen, which could also inspire the reader. Graff and Birkenstein explain that there is also a hidden reason as to why people start writing about a certain subject. As it is said in the book, “Clearly, King would not have written his famous letter were it not for his critics, whose views he treats not as objections to his already-formed arguments but as the motivating source of those arguments, their central reason for being.” (6). This quote shows that Graff and Birkenstein argue that there is always a motivation behind writing.

Another important aspect of writing is having templates. As Graff and Birkenstein explain, templates equate to creativity.  Creativity is one of the most important aspects of writing. Using templates throughout this book will not only help a writer figure out how they will structure the rest of their paper, but also help him or her think of more creative ideas as they begin to write.

They Say ; I say template

They Say ; I say template

 

The above picture explains perfectly the difference between “They say” and “I say”. As seen on the left, “They say” is mostly referring to the author or narrator of the piece depending on the way it is written. It is about another author arguing, assuming, agreeing, arguing etc. The “I say” side is about personal opinion, such as how the reader may have interpreted the author’s argument, and how it differs. Overall, the “They say ; I say “is very helpful in certain situations. To reiterate what Graff and Birkenstein have been saying throughout the introduction, this template is extremely useful for a writer who is looking to improve their writing skills. It is especially useful for academic papers, or papers where one writer argues a certain idea, which ultimately should be how every paper is written.

 

Works Cited

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. Print.

In his introduction to City of Rhetoric, David Fleming expresses the huge difference between the North and the South of Chicago when it comes to racial discrimination. While Fleming explains how the ‘North side’, as the locals call it, was known to be one of the most troubled neighborhoods, the south side was believed to be an elite group of people that had very much self interest. It was run by the African American matriarchy, which might also have been part of the reason why the Southern Chicagoans did not pay much attention to it. In the late 1990s, when it came to white middle classed families, racism was an intrinsic trait. In fact, the people committing these ra

cist endeavors may not even have been aware that they were doing so. It can even be argued that racism and discrimination is still instilled in some communities to this day.

Throughout the introduction to the book, Fleming continually talks about how most families in the South were not comfortable being around African American people, and how the presence of African Americans was not justified. In the beginning, there is much proof that white families dominated every part of Chicago. When the first few African American families settled there, there wasn’t a lot of protest. As described in the book, “… the coming of blacks to the Italian North Side was relatively peaceful: perhaps because the number of blacks was not at first very large or because the two groups were equally destitute or because Italians got along better with blacks than other immigrant groups did.” (3).

Cabrini Green was an organization that was created in order to better the Northern community and brings awareness to the rest of Chicago on what kind of events are happening regarding discrimination. There was a building that was supposed to help the members of the society to live a normal life with the same privileges as anyone else. Unfortunately, at first, this organization did not seem to sway the thoughts of the Southern Chicagoan community. As it explains, “Cabrini Green was now largely hidden from the rest of the world and only noticed when violence there became too horrendous to overlook.”” (7).  This part of the community was extremely underdeveloped. There were no shopping centers, movie theatres, banks, or any other general institution that neighborhoods usually have. It got to the point where it was so bad, that outsiders started to offer to step in and help. This is saying a lot, since usually the outsiders refused to even recognize that part of town. The sudden interest of Cabrini Green sparked change in the neighborhood, but still, no one knows the exact reason why people started to help in the first place. Were they genuinely concerned for the lives of the people who lived in that neighborhood? Were they being offered money to act like they cared? I personally found it very odd that people were suddenly so focused on helping out other people when they haven’t even be acknowledging them.

David Fleming makes some great points throughout the introduction, including some personal anecdotes of what he saw when he began visiting Cabrini Green for the first time. I believe that these people have the ability to completely change the negative connotation that this neighborhood holds, as long as the people around them who are helping are actually motivated to do so.

Cabrini Green: Before and after

Before the construction

Before the construction

After the construction

After the construction

As I was researching the history of Cabrini Green and all that it has done for the community, I was very surprised to see what it was like before and after the public started to help. Above are two pictures showing what Cabrini Green was like before and after. As seen, before, there are piles of garbage in and around the building, which shows that it was definitely not a place that many people took care of. On the right, however, the building looks much more developed and cleaned up. This shows the power that people have on a society; the power that we have to make a difference.

 

Works Cited

CLIFFORD, By STEPHANIE, WGN-TV News Desk WGN News – May 18, 2010, WGN-TV News Desk, and BY MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA Staff Reporter. “The Transformation of a Neighborhood.” Home. N.p., 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2016

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany: SUNY, 2008. Print.