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Category: ECS 110 Stories

ECS 100 Stories-Normative Narratives~ Race

Part I~ Normative Narratives

I chose the topic of race. I found an extensive amount of similarities between my story and many fellow classmate’s stories. However, I choose to analyze and compare my story to Karley S and Erin D stories. When comparing these peers’ blogs I was able to pick out two very strong normative narratives. Throughout the three blogs I noticed two common normative narratives in our stories. The first normative narrative is kids being exposed to a person of a different race. In all three of the stories the curiosity about the difference in skin colour is highlighted. This curiosity of skin colour leads to social separation. The second normative narrative I found in the stories is social separation created by curiosity. 

In all three of the stories the most noted trait about the new students was their “different” skin or “different” appearance. Also, oddly enough in all the stories the skin wasn’t described using a color, rather it was described using the word “different”. This noted difference in the skin colour is one example that shows the normative narrative, first exposure to race. All the stories I have choose along with my own take place in an elementary classroom.  The setting of an elementary classroom is a common place to first experience race and diversity. In Karley’s story she explains that upon meeting the new boy and the boy’s father she right away noticed they were “different”. She says “…I noticed his hands and face were a different colour than mine.” Showing her clear recognition in the difference of skin. Similarly, In Erin’s blog it says, “but there was something different about her.”  This quote shows how Erin too immediately noticed the difference in race. Karley and Erin’s race stories are very similar to my own story for lots of reasons. All of our blogs follow a similar storyline. It starts with a new student coming and exposing the students to race and everyone immediately l noting the “difference” between them. Oddly enough like Karley and Erin I also used the word “different” when describing the new student. In my story I said, “Their skin is different than mine.” So not only do I relate to Karley’s and Erin’s story in the story line and recognition but also, in term of normative narratives. As shown above in the quotations we all produce the normative narrative of young kids being exposed to “differences” in school. Also, in the stories it is clearly illustrated that production of this narrative is created at a young age. In these stories it is visible that this narrative is a common shared trait amongst the majority of the students.

The second normative narrative I found in the stories is the curiosity of the young students. This curiosity in most cases leads to social separation. I found it interesting that in all three of the stories the curiosity of young students was important enough to included. In my story I reveal curiosity towards the new kids through pondering questions about them. Very similarly Erin also expressed that she had questions. Erin says, “Our young brains were overflowing with questions about who this new student was and where she came from”. In mine and Erin story the curiosity towards the new students makes them different and creates a kind of separation. In Erin’s story the separation is created because the kids are nervous to ask or approach the new student. Putting the new student in isolation. However, in my story the new students are also separate but for a different reason. In my story the new students are separate because everyone wants to talk to them and ask them things making them overwhelmed. this forces them to try to stay separate from the overwhelming number of curious students. The narrative of curiosity works together with the narrative of difference to establish a large normative narrative of separation. All three stories create the normative narrative between the majority and the new students.

Upon analyzing Erin’s, Karley’s and my own self story it was evident that we all accidently re-enforced some basic normative narratives of race. The normative narratives of recognizing difference in race at a young age. The narrative of children’s curiosity which leads to a larger overall narrative of separation. The normative narrative of separation and difference is present not only in race but in classism and gender narratives too.

Part II ~ Disrupting Normative Narratives

Cassidy’s story about race is very different from Erin’s, Karley’s and mine. The main difference between the stories is the point of view they are told from. For Erin, Karley and myself we are experiencing race as something new and unknown. However, for Cassidy race isn’t new.  For Cassidy race is familiar, to the point that it has almost become invisible to her. Cassidy has been exposed to diversity and racial diversity for an extensive amount of time as a result in Cassidy’s story she finds it odd for someone to point out her sisters’ race. Certain stories work to disrupt normative narratives by telling them through the not so normal lens. In Cassidy’s case this is recognizing an outsider’s insecurity and curiosity towards her and her sister. The first normative narrative previously discussed was our inability to not noticing race and difference.  Cassidy disproves this when she says, “I then begin to think we aren’t the same and notice she is darker than me.” In Cassey’s story the difference between her and her sisters’ race was not a key detail like it was in Erin’s Karley’s and my own. This shows that in most cases the normative narratives are created by the majority such as myself and disproved by the minority which in this case is Cassidy.  In Cassidy’s story she also disproves the normative narrative about separation due to race.  Despite the fact that Cassidy and her sister are different races they are both very similar, as they have been raised the same. This lack of separation between the sisters disproves the normative narrative of separation.

In week 5 we read the article “Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism” by Dr. Robin DiAngelo. Dr. DiAngelo says “Socialized into a deeply internalized sense of superiority and entitlement that we are either not consciously aware of or can never admit to ourselves, we become highly fragile in conversations about race.” The previous revealed normative narratives can only survive in an environment where there is a strong internal sense of superiority and entitlement. DiAngelo articles reveals that normative narratives stem from this false entitlement. The normative narratives of race I have previously discussed such as creating difference and separation are effects of superiority and entitlement. DiAngelo perfectly explains how we have created a social structure in a way to benefit the majority. This social structure has had some serious effects. Such as creating many normative narratives that the majority are either not consciously aware of or choose to ignore. This social structure has created detrimental normative narratives in many aspects such as race, class and gender.


ECS 100-The Stigma of Race & Exploring Whiteness

The power behind white identity is directly reliant on structural and systematic racism. We live in a society where white people are the control group.  This means that society is built for white people. The structural and systematic make of our country has been designed to best suit the control group, creating racial equality.

 The society we grow up in is overwhelmed with White Fragility Dr DiAngelo explains it as “giving us the inability to cope with conversations about race that don’t protect individual white people’s sense of innocence”. (Dr. DiAngelo)  

We are always taught that we as white people are innocent and pure and that we don’t contribute to the racism. It’s easy to say you don’t contribute to race when race is viewed as an individual binary: Racist or not racist. This binary makes it easy for every white person to choose “not racist” and dodge having the conversations about race that we aren’t prepared for. 

Myself being a white Canadian I have never really explored race. I grew up in a small town with very little diversity. Before coming to university, I was very unknowledgeable about whiteness, white privilege, and race. This course has brought lots of uncomfortable conversations for lots of us myself included. However, I am glad to have been able to have these discussions in such a safe learning environment. I wish I would have gained this knowledge in grade school. Being uncomfortable pushed me into new territory on many topics allowing me to understand and explore views that differed from my own. 

In this course we have had lots of opportunity to exploring whiteness and racism. We have been encouraged to have uncomfortable conversations forcing us to consider new perspectives. Do you feel you have been able to examine race in a new perspective? As a future teacher are you prepared to recognize systematic racism in a classroom?  Would it be an advantage to discuss race at a younger age or is university the appropriate time?

ECS 100 Stories-It’s What I Love, and I Don’t Care What You Think ~ Self- Story #4

BUZZZ the score clock goes signalling the end of the second period. I am relieved to hear it. I begin to skate slowly from the bench to the door, while pushing pressure into my frozen toes. As I reach the door to exit the ice surface, I think to myself why on earth do we always have to play in the coldest rinks on the coldest days. The rink is an old barn that’s hardly insulated, which is likely the reason its cold. I push my thoughts aside and take the stairs down to the basement where all the dressing rooms are located.

 As I walk through the door, I feel a burning sensation as my skin is exposed to the warmth. I turn quickly out of the line and head for the girls dressing room. I search through my bag looking for my protein bar. In the bottom left corner, I spot it, I grab it fast and head across the hall to the boy’s room to join the rest of the team.  Upon entering the boy’s room, I see everyone is just getting seated, I scan the almost full room for a spot. I spy one and make my way over and plop down.

The coach begins his speech, it’s the usually “if we wouldn’t always sleep through the first, we wouldn’t always have to play catch up in the third.” And so on. Then he leaves the room the music starts up.  As usual it is some rap song, that has the base so loud the words are flushed out. Before I know it, the coach tells us it’s time to hit the ice for the third period. I quickly grab my helmet snap it up and head up the stairs. As I climb the stairs, I can feel the cold breeze sneaking in under the door at the top. 

The third period fly’s by, a little of them scoring a bit of us scoring and a whole lot of burning lungs due to the cold air. BUZZ the buzzer goes and that game we lost 3-2. I slowly crawl out of the box and head for the net to meet up with my team before shaking hands. I am pulled in for a group hug then everyone disperses and goes to line up at center ice. The single file line goes slow I am near the center. By this point all I can focus on is what kind of warm drink I will order after the game. I am caught off guard by a comment from a boy on the other team. He says, “Don’t you figure skate or something hockey is for boys.” I try my best to think of a snarky remark but by the time I do he is long down the line and it’s too late. I reach the end of the line with his comment still weighing heavy on me, I look around to survey his team looking for girls. In that moment it occurred to me I was the only girl. 

I began to think well maybe he is right not many girls do play peewee hockey by now it’s almost all boys. I quickly push away. My doubts and think, this is the sport I love and I don’t care if it’s meant for boys and can and will play it.

ECS 100 Stories- A Message from The Heart of Paris -Self-Story #3

The bus slams to a stop and I quickly direct my attention out the window. I feel stunned. As usually the location is nothing I have seen before. Seconds later Sophie the tour guide stands up and gives us the afternoon run through. She says, “Okay friends we are now in Montmartre Paris, you have the rest of this beautiful afternoon to explore the area and we will meet at The Sacré-Coeur at 5 o’clock sharp.” Excited and nervous I exit the bus. Immediately I realize that this area is not like the Paris we explored earlier today, that had the city beat and smelly scent. I take a quick look around and soaked up the atmosphere. I can’t help but be mesmerised by the beautiful old stone buildings, the narrow stone streets, steep staircase and ivory covered buildings. I decide not to waste any time so me and some friends head off to explore.

As I approached the market like street, I see miles and mile of art. It is almost like a farmer’s market for art, there are artist aligned down both sides of the street. Some of the artist are just displaying paints to sell, some offer live paints that you can watch them create, also there a few musicians preforming. The big market experience is a bit overwhelming for a farm girl like me. An artist yells out “young lady come let me draw you.” I think there’s no way he’s talking to me, so I don’t respond. However,  I am confronted by him, he asks, “I would love to sell you a self-portrait of yourself just come sit over here it will be quick.” I feel pressured to do it, but I decide to nicely refuse. I continue to walk along, and many artists try to call me or my friends over. I am beginning to feel annoyed. 

We continue along down and enter a small tourist shop. I decide to buy a small pendent with “MONTMARTRE”, I am excited about this gift because it will remind her of her hometown Montmartre Saskatchewan.  I leave the souvenir shop and a small café “le Consulat” just across the street catches my eye. It seems to be rather busy which indicates it must be good, so we head on in the café. The café is buzzing with tourist just like myself, once I get to the big red counter, I order a strawberry banana crepe. My crêpe comes in just a few minutes and then I head back outside to sit at one of the cute metal red tables on the patio.

The table conversation is minimal, which gives me a good chance to sit in the sun and reflect on my day. I can’t help but feel privileged. I am on a trip in Europe exploring new places with my friends. My thought is interrupted by my friend Taylor. “Guys maybe we should start to head back its 4:30, and it may take a while to find our way”

I said to the girls “Let’s go this way it looks like a more direct path”. So, we headed down a new street. The streets tempo is a lot different. We aren’t even 2 minutes down the alley when I begin to feel uncomfortable. On the sidewalks I notice lots of homeless people, and homeless families. I see a family sit on an old beat up blanket. The father is holding sign saying that reads, “This sidewalk is all I can provide for my family, my children haven’t eaten in two days.” This tugs on my heart string and makes me feel a sense of humbleness. But the overwhelming sense of fear overrules. We begin to pick up the pace and walk a bit faster it is obvious the other girls are also feeling anxious.  We continue to speed walk along the cobble stone street. I’m astonished by the amount of homeless people. 

Finally, we arrive at the meeting spot and I am revealed. We wait around for a few minutes before everyone arrives.  Sophie says “ I hope you enjoyed you day today, this day was likely very different for each and every one of you, I hope you all got to enjoy a new experience” I think to myself, ya a new experience for sure. I am puzzled as to why this experience is so shocking. I see that my social class is evident, but I don’t know how to respond or react to it. This makes my head hurt so I push these questions away and load the bus home.

ECS 100 Stories-They aren’t like me ~ Self Story #2

I am not sure the time but I can see the sun coming through the blinds so it must be almost be morning time. BIZZ, BIZZ, that sounds like mom’s alarm I bet it’s time to get up. I hear slow and unsteady feet coming down the stairs. I roll over quickly and squint my eyes shut pretending to sleep. CREAK she opens my door slowly. Then suddenly I feel a soft shake. I roll over slowly and say, “good morning, momma”. She says, “good morning, hunny can you hurry and get dressed so I can get a first day of school picture”. So, I get out of bed excitedly and start getting ready for my first day of grade 5. I go upstairs and pour myself a bowl of cereal for breakfast, I enjoy the lively first day feels as I eat my Lucky Charms. Before I know it, the bus is in the yard, mom snaps a few quick pictures and we are off to school on the bus.

I can’t help but feel anxious and I’m not sure why. I have been to school, in fact this very same school what feels like thousands of times. I begin to wonder if I will have any new classmates but quickly shoot that idea down since my class has consisted of the same 18 kids since kindergarten. The bus comes to a halt and I look out and realize we are at the school. I gather my things and exit the bus heading for the school.

 Immediately upon entering the school doors I head to my new classroom. As I observe the creative décor and welcome back sign hanging in my new classroom, I look over and see my bus buddy we are the first students here. I quickly realize the teacher has our nametag’s out, so I find my locker. Then I look for my desk while looking for my desk I also scan the nametags looking for any unfamiliar ones that could possible belong to a new student. I see the name “Karen”. “hey, I think we have a new person in the class there’s the name Karen over here”, I yell out to my bus buddy. “one over here too it looks like Bre… Brenz?” he responds. Finally, we both find are seats and the other classmates begin to arrive. The room is buzzing with chatter and I decide to take this time to catch up with my friends. 

RING RING the warning bell rings and now class is about to start. I face my attention to the teacher at the front as do my classmates. SQUEEK, I hear the door open; I quickly turn my head to see. At the door are two new faces, two people I have never seen before. I then realize the new names must belong to these new kids. They aren’t like me though, they aren’t from here. Their skin is different than mine. They don’t look Caucasian like me I wonder what their background is. Why would they want to come to come here if no one here is like them? I can’t imagine how nervous they must be. They quickly find their seats and the teacher starts underway with the regular first day things.

 As the day progresses, I can’t help but wonder about the two new students. Why did they choose Kipling? Do they know each other? Where do they live? Do they have siblings? Before I know it the morning is gone and its lunch time, I quickly eat my sandwich and head out for recess. As I arrive on the playground, I notice a big group of kids, so I go over to see what’s going on. To my surprise at the middle of the circle are my two new classmates Brenz and Karen. Everyone is asking them questions. Like where are you from? How old are you? Are you new? They look overwhelmed. Just like all the other kids I had my own questions, so I began to wiggle my way to the middle. However, the circle is broken up by the mean first grade teacher. She says, “leave these poor new students alone you guys can’t you see you’re a little much for them right now?” Just like that there goes my chance to learn about the new kids. I wonder about their old school? Did they have recess their? My friends and I decide to go to the swings. The rest of lunch break flies by. RING RING its time to go inside.

Within the first 5 minutes of afternoon class I realize it’s not going to be a free for all like the morning. Mr. Parley actually wants to start teaching us on the first day. I can already tell I’m not going to like grade 5. The afternoon drags by, finally the bell rings and its home time. I gather my things and slowly head for the bus. I wonder if the new kids take the bus? Or are they town kids? I get to the bus and plump down in my seat, I am exhausted. Man what a day, grade 5 is serious business.

ECS 100-“The Old Barn” -Being Canadian

I slip outside into the early evening atmosphere, quickly heading to my truck before the cold catches me. The drive into town is short. I admire the blanket like snow as my brother drives. I haven’t been home for awhile and I felt a bit off. Before I know it, the truck come to a rearing stop and I look up to see the rink. Despite the fact that I know the old rink will be cold and the ice will be rough, I jump out of the truck and start into the rink. The front door slams behind us and it is suddenly pitch black. My brother, sister and I stumble around in the dark looking for the switch. “found it” I hear my sister say and soundly the light rushes to fill the lobby.

  I grab my skates and force my foot in.  As I begin to clench my hands around the worn blue laces and pull them tight I glance out at the ice surface observing the Canada and Saskatchewan flags beginning to light up at the far end of the old barn.  Man am I ever glad to be home.  I am finally ready to hit the ice. As I step on the ice, I feel a sense peacefulness. “TING” my brother shoots the puck and it deflects off the crossbar, bringing me back to the moment. I take a few hard strides and then coast around the outer of the rink, feeling a cool breeze on my face.  The breeze is refreshing. While skating I find a puck behind the net. I begin to toy around with the puck. Lightly I push it away and pull it back. I skate around carelessly, avoiding collisions with my siblings. 

I look up to notice other local kids slowly piling into the rink. This sight brings my inner buzz alive. Soon enough the ice is crawling with local hockey lovers just like myself. It’s kids of all ages some just beginning to learn and some who already know, they all have one thing in common, a passion for the sport! A close friend of mine suggests we start a game of shiny, her and I drop our sticks in the middle to make teams. The word “shinny” spreads like wildfire and soon enough everyone’s stick is gathered.  I began to make teams, tossing the sticks one at a time to either side creating an anonymous team. We agree that we will play post and first one to 5 wins then we remake teams.

We begin to play. The game is friendly yet competitive. I take my turn on the ice skating, passing, shooting and missing, which is shortly followed by a much-needed break on the bench.  I enjoy taking in the view kids young and old all playing together while enjoying each other’s company. Don’t get me wrong it is competitive but very enjoyable. After what seemed like no more than 30 minutes everyone slowly recruits back to the lobby to warm our frosted checks. Slowly we come to the realization that we have skated the night away, and it is time to part our ways. I finally felt back at home.

I slowly pack my skates and gloves away. Then I lazily head for the warm truck to head home. I jump into the truck and sink into the warm leather seat. I can’t help but reminisce through the night. A night of shinny in a cold small-town barn like rink full of young locals is what makes me excited to be Canadian. Home for me is my small-town close nit community. I am grateful to be Canadian.

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