For a while during high school, I lived with my friend’s parents.  They were an upper middle class Italian family.  They liked to have big, filling, hot homemade meals with lots of gravy and meat and fresh vegetables.  A few times a week they would order Italian food instead of cooking.  Sometimes the bill would be $150.  They had a couple espresso machines and other coffee gear.  Every guest that ate there would leave with leftovers in Tupperware.

I lived with another friend’s mixed race parents.  They were slightly lower middle class.  Most of the meals were a combination of roasted chicken, rice, and a steamed vegetable.  Sometimes the meals were bland, but always filling.

I’m think that my families were relatively close in class status, and the food they made resembled that of a lot of middle class American families.  I’m not sure what the eating habits of other classes are, but I know that a lot of middle class families eat home cooked meals; sometimes together, and sometimes in front of the living room TV.  Eating for these families is usually casual, affordable, and filling.



While I haven’t really felt personally tokenized, I know this to be a problem for people in the queer community.  I often see this discussed within social groups.  Sometimes, the only LGBTQ-identifying person in a social group will be subtly stereotyped by the people around them.  They become the “token gay” within a group that has a narrow definition of queerness, and the group may hold this person up to certain expectations that are exaggerated and unrealistic.  One example is expecting gay men to be feminine, and gay women to be masculine.  While these traits may exist in some people, there are large numbers of queer people who exist outside this definition.  It is unfair to limit people with inaccurate stereotypes like these, when people in reality are much more complex and diverse, and no single person can be expected to represent their group as a whole.



APA References

Gebhard, J. G. (2010). What Do International Students Think and Feel? Adapting to U.S. College Life and Culture. Ann Arbor, MI: Univerity of Michigan Press.

Mar, H. personal communication, June 30, 2011.
Mack, T. (1997, May). Culture Shock. Forbes, pp. 188–190.
Simpson, J. C. (2006, May 8). Chronicler of Culture Shock. Time, 156. Retrieved February 9, 2007, from Academic Search Premier.
Wright, R. (2005). Going to Teach in Prisons: Culture Shock. Journal of Correctional Education, 56(1), 19-38. Retrieved December 15, 2010, from Academic Search Premier.


Audio Essay Pitch

From a young age, I’ve been involved in the arts.  Many of the women in my family have been talented crafters, and it gave me an appreciation for the arts.  The thing I developed on my own was my interest in music.  Most young people listen to a handful of similar artists, usually the same ones as their peer group listens to.  I did always somewhat follow popular music, but my interest in music existed all across the board.  I wanted to understand the music that wasn’t popular with other adolescents—in my neighborhood, relatively white, insulated, middle-class ones.

Many young people who develop an interest in alternative music begin with the music their parents listen to.  A handful of young people in middle and high school, in suburban neighborhoods like mine, can be found listening to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles.  These are all historically significant musicians, but it always seemed to me like other teens’ musical explorations stopped there.  I never had parents who I could look to for musical taste, so much of my exploration happened in other ways.

When living in an isolated suburb, things on the “cutting edge” are difficult to come by.  Trendy music bars in the city were inaccessible to a suburban high school student, so my connection to alternative music existed through online blogs and forums.  [Play Bikini Kill song, then fade slightly as I continue speaking.]  I was about 13 when I first found Bikini Kill, while clicking through videos on YouTube.  The music they made was harder and more aggressive than anything I had heard my peers listening to.  And, the female lead singer wasn’t singing happy pop songs; this one’s voice was deep and harsh, appealing to a different emotion.  This pushed the boundaries of what I understood music to be; it was something I had to learn how to listen to.  It seemed taboo at first, but as I listened more, I found that they were singing about things that mattered to me, like women’s place within artistic culture.  This was part of my introduction into alternative music, and my exploration didn’t stop there.  In fact, my ability to “acquire” certain musical tastes outside the influence of my family, peers, and cultural background remains at work today.  [Play Woodie Guthrie or other folk song.] Lately, I’ve come to appreciate the historical purpose that folk and country music has had in the lives of the rural working class.  [Play N.W.A. song.] I’ve found that a similar purpose exists for hip hop in working class, urban communities.

With each new genre I learn to listen to, I feel like I am able to understand and develop an appreciation for a whole new group of people—their strengths, their struggles, and the culture they create.  Musical genres have had a profound effect on my understanding of the world around me.



Free Writing on Essay #1

Personal story about reading, composing, or teaching reading and composing.  My experiences.  Reading, music.  Writing, online, school, personal.  Sad, happy, poignant, funny, informative, incidental.  Powerful memories.  Learning to draw.  Participating in art blogging.  Connecting with contemporary artists online.  Learning about art as a dialogue.  Finding new ways to add my voice to contemporary culture.  Participating in cultural discussions about art, politics, and society.  Learning about new cultures and subcultures through online humor pages.  Philosophy memes.  Developing an interest in postmodern philosophy through online philosophy humor.  Developing interest in complex political thought through online humor.  Finding how even political humor bloggers have complex and varied beliefs.  Watching and participating in political dialogue.  Having my beliefs challenged through online dialogue, and reforming and revising my philosophical and political opinions as a result.  Next: using the things I learn online to implement real-life societal change.  Learning to play guitar,  “un”-learning to play guitar.   Watching YouTube videos of Angela Davis.  Administrating contemporary humor blogs.

  • A narrative about how I developed an interest in contemporary culture, politics, and philosophy through the language of online humor.
  • As a young person in the early 2000s, I learned about my interests online.
    • Developed internet-literacy at a young page
    • For young people, much of whose personal lives and professional lives play out online, internet-literacy involves far more than just being able to work a computer and operate a browser.
  • My understanding of online “etiquette,” or lack thereof, primed me to understand far more than captioned images about funny cartoon characters.  The format of internet humor carried on to much more complicated topics in my young adult life.
  • List some well-known humor pages on Facebook/Instagram.  Pages that most young people would know.  Verbally describe one of the popular humorous captioned images (“memes”) verbally, in detail.
    • This familiar format seems to carry over into every culture and subculture that exists within the internet.
  • Now name a humor page directed at people with philosophy degrees.  Describe one of the memes in a similarly detailed way as before.  Without having read the philosopher that this meme references, you probably wouldn’t get the joke (something about Foucault).  But because of my literacy in the world of internet memes, I understand the general meaning of what’s being said, even without being a Philosophy P.h.D


Audio Essay

The main expectation for the audio essay’s topic is to use music to provide insight into a period of your life and who you are as a human, telling this through a compelling story.  I’ve been told I tell good stories, and I like to be creative, so I think that may help me in this essay.  I might struggle with working in this format because I’ve never composed an essay like this.  I think that it might help me to listen to other audio stories to get ideas.



Summary to Brandi Chang’s Response

Brandi assessed how in Cadogan’s essay, “Black and Blue,” the author saw beauty in the act of walking from the time he was a child.  After moving to the US from Jamaica, he learned that the experience for black Americans is far different than that of Jamaicans.  Racial stereotyping is a major issue in the US, and Brandi makes the interesting point that, although one might assume this article was written long ago, it is actually from modern day.  Her surprise is not unusual; many people don’t realize the extent to which racism has persisted into the 21st-century.

In “Scenes and Un-Scenes: Class Dismissed,” the documents provided address the issue of class in American society.  Brandi believes that the American obsession with entertainment is what has caused us to ignore the class divide, but it is through entertainment that people might begin to be educated.