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Oppositional Identity

A depiction of Chapter 4, Literacy With an Attitude, Finn, 2009.
by

Melody Higgins

on 30 September 2012

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Transcript of Oppositional Identity

Chapter 4, Literacy with an Attitude, Finn 2009 Oppositional Identity For example: Stockton, CA in the 1930’s the children of Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican American immigrants all experienced difficulty in school probably because their limited ability to speak English. But by 1947, school failure had disappeared among the Chinese and Japanese but not among the Mexican American population. Why have some groups prospered in America while others have not? •Asian population in college far exceeded expectations.

•Fewer than 5% of Mexican American students in eighth grade were expected to stay in school through junior college.

•African American populations fared only a little better than Mexican Americans. •In 1983, a study found that Punjabi students did well in California school despite the fact that their held low-status, low-paying jobs and had little education.

•Studies consistently show that Asian Americans do better in school and score higher on standardized tests than most other cultures.

•Maoris, who are indigenous to New Zealand, do less well in New Zealand schools than Polynesian immigrants to New Zealand whose language and culture are similar.

•West Indian students do poorly in Britain but do well in the United States. Some puzzling facts: John Ogbu believes these facts disprove the common-sense theory that the more a minority is like the dominant culture the better they will do in school. He believe that these facts can be explained by the history of relationships between the minority and dominant groups involved. •People who have come to America for improved economic, political, and/or social opportunities.

•Initially feel discriminated against because of language and cultural differences.

•Children have difficulties in school.

•Perceive the mainstream to be “different” from themselves, not in opposition to themselves.

•Conditions generally improve over a single generation; should conditions not improve, they have the option to return “home.”

•Usually engage in “accommodation without assimilation” by encouraging their children to play the “classroom game” which is to adopt the social and academic norms without necessarily buying into the beliefs and meaning of those norms. Immigrant Minorities: •People who became Americans through slavery, conquest, or colonization and who were relegated to an inferior position and denied assimilation. (ex, American Indians, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Puerto Ricans.)

•Continue to experience failure in school for generations.

•Experience discrimination as permanent.

•Have no “homeland” to return to.

•Compare themselves to mainstream “whites” and see themselves as worse off.

•See themselves as oppressed.

•Have “oppositional identity” meaning they see the mainstream norms as not appropriate for them because they are the norms of the dominant culture.

•Adopting the dominant culture is seen as surrendering to the enemy. Involuntary Minorities: Because cultural differences between involuntary immigrants and the mainstream are viewed as oppositional (as opposed to just “different”) accommodation is difficult if not impossible. The chapter mentions a study conducted at a predominantly black urban elementary school and explains one of the behaviors that would bar a student from their "Academic Plus" program was a behaviors called "doin" steps." This frequently occurs outside the classroom but is viewed as "full of taboo and sexual innuendo." Students of involuntary immigrants may display certain signs of oppositional identity with behavior that might be considered offensive to mainstream culture. Characteristics that facilitate school success are associated with the culture and language of the dominant group, but for involuntary minorities, to adopt these characteristics is to adopt the culture of the enemy. Some mainstream educators believe education is the answer to our minority problems and that if it were successful the involuntary minorities would become fully assimilated making their separate cultures essentially disappear. Immigrants who voluntarily entered our culture, had a rough time and prospered, did so without the circumstances that set up a border between their identity and ours.

For educators to simply expect the student of involuntary immigrants to do the same is not only unfair, it does not help us get any closer to a solution. An important consideration is that involuntary minorities don’t believe they will be accepted even if they surrender their identity. by, Melody Higgins & Richard Sheldon The End The origin of what they refer to as "doin' steps" actually comes from African American traditional dance. The roots of the dance derive from what native African tribes performed for entertainment and therefore, due to the restrictions of geography and residency, were performed by all black crews. Current renditions are intentionally racially segregating as they openly and actively deny the admittance and participation of any non black members. Performances by any group that is not all black is usually met with criticism and/or open hostility. Here's are some modern examples of some younger kids and then college students participating in a stepping show: (clearly not offensive)
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