Posts Tagged ‘America’


Native Women in North America – campaigning

December 28, 2012

Native women experience triple discrimination from the time they are born: being a woman, being a woman of color, and living within a lower income (being poor). They want their dignity respected. They want to be heard, like any human being who has something to say to stop the violence exerted against Her-Self. (Native women in North America are five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as the result of violence.)


Canadian Report: A Girl’s Right to Learn Without Fear

December 19, 2012

Between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experience violence every year, many in the institutions that we trust most to protect and nurture our children: schools.


Jennifer Thai

December 15, 2012


Don Delillo and June Jordan

December 12, 2012

Yesterday I mentioned that I thought these two authors should be read once people have consolidated an advanced level. I would like to explain why. But just remember that what we can or cannot actually do depends above all in our resolution to embark on that! I do support people reach out for the moon.

I read White Noise and was so fascinated by it that I wrote a paper on it, “Dissenters Are Never Superheroes.” I also typed a couple of examples from the novel, on supermarkets — if I remember correctly. Bits that I thought students could understand better. Here is the link to that, in case you are interested: Don DeLillo at Talking People.

soldierAbout June Jordan, I’m reading Soldier. A Poet’s Childhood at the moment, and its true that you would be able to understand a lot of the passages. But there are other bits where Black English (or should we say Ebonics?) is used. Also, she’s extremely poetic. She writes narrative granting it the power of words in poetry. And I know appreciating poetry is not a priority in people’s lives, so that’s why I’m reluctant to recommending her books at this B2/C1 level. But if you had a consolidated C1 level, I think you should read her! 😀 Here is an excerpt (pages 133-6), but don’t imitate her paragraphing here, at least not in exams (yes, she often creates a new paragraph with one sentence, and she also arranges some bits of sentence as if it were a poem. This is literature, not an academic exercise! 🙂 :

In a way, fighting was a huge relief. So I didn’t mind it too much.
Way more than maybe getting beat up, I hated being afraid of anything.
That was creepy in the extreme: Walking around scared.
And I felt that a lot,
because I never knew when my mother or
my father was going to hit me, or why.
I suppose I came home from school at very different times after three.
It depended on what kind of a sight lasted how long.
Even if you were not the one targeted for the main fight that day, you couldn’t just sidestep the big action of your peers.
You were supposed to stay there, shoving and yelling, and also improving your own fighter abilities by observation. Plus, every single fight changed somebody’s status.
And you had to catch that news as it went down.
Your own reputation would suffer or plummet if you didn’t know, day by day, the winners.
But besides all this, I got into fights at school about once a week at least. And whenever I went outside the house to play for an allotted hour, or an hour and a half, that meant I’d be fighting:
Another little girl, or a group of other little girls, would insult or jump me, and pretty quick I’d be banging away with my fists and keeping my chin tucked down. If and when I actually got hurt, I’d suddenly go ballistic. Around where I lived, people said I had “a terrible temper” and that I was “crazy” if you got me mad.
At any rate, I seldom came home from school right away.
Maybe that’s why they beat me.
I never had a wristwatch, so I seldom came home exactly after an allotted hour or an hour and a half.
Maybe that’s why they beat me.
I don’t know.
But I’d ring the bell sticking out of the brownstone beside the iron gate door to our house.
And I’d wait.
Then my mother would shuffle toward
the gate and click it open.
I’d step down to enter the house.
And sometimes, just as I’d be
coming in right past my mother, she’d
just knowck me down. And I’d
cringe there on the concrete, waiting for the next blow.
But with my mother, there was never
a second or third attack.
I was down.
It was over.
And I never knew why about the whole thing.
I never hit her back. She was my mother.
And she was like a girl.
But with my father, the beating turned into a fight between us.
He’d start with a series of fake questions, and what I’d understand, basically, was that there was nothing I could say to derail his furious sarcasm and his gathering rage.
It seemed he needed to frighten me first with his words and his voice.
Then he’d rush at me, either by himself or with something he’d pick up as he lunged.
And he’d tell me I was being disrespectful if I didn’t just sit or stand in place and make myself take it “like a man.”
I was consistently disrespectful.
I ran. I ducked. I threw things back. I tried to escape.
Once I ran out of the house for several blocks in my pyjamas. And he chased after me and, at last, caught me and beat me–in public.
And he said now I should be ashamed.
But I thought he should be ashamed.
That was my opinion.
I did not like being picked on or
beat up.
I did not like things happening
to me out of the blue.


Life Out of the Box

November 24, 2012

A great project — 2 people quit their Western-like life in the USA and moved to Nicaragua to set up a business trying to earn a living while avoiding the exploitation of others!  Perhaps it’ll give you some perspective of what we people can do and cannot do! 😀 Life is Living!

Life Out of the Box has two main goals:

1. To inspire people to live their ideal life, go global and make their dreams come true by living Life Out of the Box
2. To give others in developing countries the same opportunity to live a better life by giving an educational product back to them for every product sold

Watch the two videos on the About page (past in the USA and getting to Nicaragua + Living in Nicaragua):
Read about their work:

About tags: Remember I use “America” to name the continent, not the USA. America is a continent full of diverse cultures and peoples (pueblos). And this explains why I say US American English, too.


Two songs that meant a lot to a lot of people

October 23, 2012

Some students have been asking me about songs, and I’m replying songs are tricky, because they can have very slangy bits, and that it’d be better to work with textbook audios, TV series and podcasts. Anyway, I’ll try to post some songs whose language is OK for learners of English and that have had cultural importance. Here are two of those. I hope you like them!

Horse With No Name, by America
It’s a song written by a 19-year-old man in 1975. You can listen to the songs and print the lyrics (don’t learn “for to”, though!) Notice how the music sounds like a horse galloping in the desert! This song is a bit like a poem, so just don’t try to understand it with your translating mind, just with your artistic mind.

You’ve Got a Friend, by Carole King This song belongs the album Tapestry (1971). Tapestry became the top-selling pop solo album ever, a position it held until the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller in 1982. The album was later placed at #36 on Rolling Stone‘s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. And it’s no wonder: it’s a beautiful song about friendship. Friendship does exist, after all!

This song was performed by James Taylor too, and it was included in his amazing album “Mud Slide Slim” (it’s on YouTube, in case you want to listen to it).

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