Asynchronous Online Assignment
In her personal essay, Jaquira Díaz suggests that instead of criminalizing students “teachers might de-escalate situations rather than involving the police, prioritizing their black and brown students’ emotional wellbeing and physical safety, as they do with white children.”
Similarily in her fictional story, “Holyoke Mass.: An Ethnography,” Ivelisse Rodriguez contextualizes the cycles of violence, poverty, and neglect endured by her characters and by Puerto Ricans in the US when she reproduces an ethnography that says, for instance:
“The last to arrive, to work in the tobacco fields, were the Puerto Ricans. They came in the fifties. Not the fifties memorialized on TV. These people came to work. Not in offices. No clean, crisp, white shirts at the end of the day. No nices home to return to by six’o clock. No doting wives. The came to work with their hands. Maybe just like they did in Puerto Rico. Tobacco instead of sugar cane. By the time they came, though, everything was almost gone. All the promise. All the upward spirals. All the paper like gold.” (Page 45)
Rodriguez’s story takes this backdrop into consideration to portrait the entrapments experienced by Veronica, a 15-year-old Puerto Rican during the late 90s. In the story, Veronica experiences how gender and ethnic labels constraint her identity, educational prospects, physical and emotional well-being.
Pick ONE of the following assignment options and post your answer in the comment section below:
Integrating Jaquira Díaz’s arguments analyze the scene at Miss O’Donnell’s classroom in “Holyoke Mass.: An Ethnography” (pages 31-34). Discuss how Miss O’Donnell’s ethnic and gender bias creates an atmosphere of rejection that affects Puerto Rican girls like Veronica.
Thinking of the social analysis articulated in both pieces, discuss how in Rodriguez’s story, Veronica starts to recognize that her possibilities of social, educational, economic, and gender mobility are disappearing.
Pick ONE of the topics listed below, and discuss how these issues are presented by Rodriguez in her story, and how do you relate to these conflicts. Have you experienced something similar? How did you approach the situation? How did you navigate and resisted systemic oppression?
.lack of resources and stimulus for the youth
.the criminalization of Latina/o/x youth
.patriarchal (machista) dynamics in love relationships
.damaging gender labels