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Author: Julia Leonardi

Julia Leonardi.. 11/30/2020

It was interesting watching Dear White People because I had watched it a few years back just because it looked interesting. The film is extremely relevant and the topics within it are so important to be brought to light. I think that the people who made this were very smart in the way that they marketed it and the way they created it. The name of the movie is very attention-grabbing itself. The name is quite open, and it implies a divide, and it can cause white people to feel offended and draw them to click on the movie. I also think it is important that this movie was targeted towards teens, college students, and overall young people. I think this is an overall good thing because younger people tend to be more open-minded, and they can become inspired to make a change when they are in positions of power in the future. If this movie was targeted towards older people, I don’t think it would’ve been as effective.

Someone that really spoke to me in the movie was the hiring of the Dean and President of the University. Choosing the white man over the men of color to be in positions of power is something that happens every day. This is something that is infinitely harmful to communities of color. People grow up and see that the only people that can be in power are white men and it harms people’s potentials. It is sad to see that people of color will be more qualified and still lose the job to the white man because of racial bias.

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Julia Leonardi .. 11/16/20

So much of today’s chapter is relatable to our current climate today. As I read about how protests of the 80s were often unreported, it just made me draw similarities to today. It was interesting because over the summer there were so many peaceful protests all across the United States, but the press didn’t seem to care. The cameras would only be at the violent protests, or riots. So much of what actually happened over the summer got painted in a bad light, and it made people who weren’t out in the streets view the movement as violent and chaotic, when it wasn’t. The media is incredibly responsible for most people’s opinions, and in recent years it has become a corrupted system.

The elections of Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush being declared as landslides also is something that can be connected to today. With our most recent election, the media played a significant role in influencing people. From both sides, they played dirty and reported on the candidates based on their bias. We see that the right-wing media has nothing bad to say about Trump’s lack of taxes, but constantly bash on Biden for every little thing. It really just goes to show how corrupted the media has become. It is insane to think that there was a time when television and news weren’t biased, and it wasn’t about entertainment. I wonder if there is a coming back from this.

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Julia Leonardi // 11.09.2020

“Four Decades and Counting: The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs” has really made me aware of the history of this issue. President Nixon declared war on drugs, and it all seemed positive and helpful. No one will oppose a war on drugs, so other governors started to implement their own reforms in their states. This was where this war started to become detrimental to communities of color, especially. All the passed laws and acts are so controversial because most common, privileged people would not think twice about them, so they weren’t an issue that the public saw till recently. A lot of awareness has come through the summer protests, but it is still not enough.

 

Nonetheless, this topic can’t be more relevant today. The war on drugs has been such a devastating phenomenon for communities of color, but that rarely is something discussed within other communities or politics because people assume the war on drugs is a good thing. People think, “When has anti-drugs been a bad thing?” But they don’t bother to do the research. The movement isn’t bad because drugs are good; it is bad because it implements racial bias and devastates communities of color and the prison system. I think it is also interesting to note that Oregon has just decriminalized all drugs this week. With this decision, the rest of the United States can look towards Oregon and see how it affects its inhabitants, its prison systems, and its government. Many folks see Oregon as irrational, and this decision as crazy, but I believe it is because they are uneducated or blinded by their own privilege. I would love to see other states follow Oregon. Still, I also recognize how that might not happen anytime soon or ever because drugs are such a polarizing and emotional topic.

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Julia Leonardi // 11.01.2020

Platoon was a movie that focused a lot on showing us the real struggles of war, not just heroic scenes meant to inspire. It really showed us how guerilla warfare is almost impossible to fight against. I think it is interesting that my whole life, I had only heard of guerilla warfare when it related to Vietnam and talk about as a smart, but unethical way of fighting, but the Americans only won the revolutionary war because they themselves used guerilla tactics. I only learned that fact recently and it shocked me because I always associated guerrilla with bad because that is how we are taught how to think through the American education system. That just goes to show how history gets manipulated because people choose to omit certain parts of what really happened to justify their anger or wrongdoings in other parts.

A scene that stood out to me was the ending when Chris says, “we didn’t fight an enemy, we fought ourselves and the enemy was within us.” I think that is a perfect line to describe the war. We always hear that we were fighting an invisible enemy when talking about the war because of guerrilla warfare, which led Americans to ultimately fight themselves. No one wanted to get drafted into the war; it was an extremely unpopular war, yet these men fought for logistically nothing. It is sad how long this tragedy lasted. So many years and so many men killed for nothing. It is truly one of the biggest American mistakes, but what interests me is that we do learn about it. I wonder if it is because it was so recent, and affected so many that still are alive today that it would be impossible to cover it all up.

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Julia Leonardi // 10.25.2020

I was excited about this blog post assignment because it is slightly different from the other ones we have done. Langston Hughes is one of the most influential and infamous poets of the 20th century. I can confidently say most of us have encountered one of his poems throughout our school career. One of his most famous poems is “Harlem,” a poem that was not part of our assignment; he was able to touch many of our minds.

“Dreams” was a similar poem, and it serves as inspiration. Hughes encourages the reader to hold on to their dreams and not let go of them because life is bleak without dreams. The poem that really touches me, though, is “Theme for English B.” When the teacher tells him to write and let the page come out of him, it is encouraging to the reader, but he then explains his life. It is so important to see his narrative in this poem. It touches on the complexity of race and society. A poem that describes so much is so important for people to read, especially white people. It is interesting to note that the narrator says that the assignment will not fully represent him.

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Julia Leonardi // 10.17.2020

It is so weird to hear all of this. I feel like I’ve learned about World War Two a million times throughout my time in k-12, but never like this. What was really eye-opening that the United States claimed to have entered the war to uphold the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness while also being seen as the defender of helpless countries. When in fact the United States only entered the war when Germany and Japan threatened US world interests, and to seek out an “open door” policy in the Middle East for oil. They were also trying to look like the supreme world power, and they wanted to make sure that the winning nations were friendly with them.

It is interesting that they try to claim that they entered the war because of morality, but what was happening within the borders was immoral. They put Japanese- Americans into camps, and then claimed it to be a mistake when it wasn’t a mistake, they did it because they’re racist and have always been racist. I am not surprised that the US acted the way they did. It is sad that we have been manipulated into thinking of the US as a hero.

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Julia Leonardi // 10.12.2020

I had heard of people comparing the Spanish Flu to COVID-19, but I never really cared to look into it. It is not like the Spanish Flu was ever part of any curriculum I had in school or anything I ever learned about, so I was shocked to find how similar the two actually where. What was most interesting to me was the similarities between the government administration.

Trump, or anyone in his administration, could’ve easily just read the history books and known what NOT to do. Often, history serves as a guide, on what to do and on what not to do. This pandemic was an open note quiz, yet we are still failing. Trevor Noah brought up a great point when he jokingly said, “masks are still the only thing we have come up with.” It got me thinking about the fact that humans are so destructible. We have advanced so much socially and technologically, yet a virus can still just come in and turn the world upside down.

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Julia Leonardi // 10.05.2020

As a Latina woman myself, I found Anzaldúa’s work very personal. She speaks of the struggles of being a Hispanic-American and not knowing or having much of an identity. I have found myself in similar thoughts throughout my life. I am too gringa for the people in my homeland, but too Latina for the gringos. This is something I have discussed with my Hispanic-American friends. It is a struggle that most of us face. Living inside your culture in a different country’s culture can be very difficult, confusing, and frightening.

Anzaldúa mentions immigration patrol, which is a fear and a huge reality within the community. Today we live in a social climate where being by simply being part of the Latinx community, people assume that you’re a rapist, drug dealer, exploiter, and illegal. It is a sad bias and what’s even sadder is seeing the President of the United States reinforce those ideas. Whenever I tell people I am from Latin America, the first question I get is: But you’re a legal resident, right? I find that question to be completely inappropriate because it is simply none of anyone’s business, but also it is rude to just ask that. It is so rare to see that question being asked of European immigrants or even Asian immigrants. There is this idea that all Latinx people are immigrants and illegal immigrants at that. Because of that idea, most Hispanics live in constant fear of ICE and the government in jail. Your grandma, your uncle, or even your parents can be taken away from you and sent away forever at any moment. Immigration is also a silent argument because the only people who have a say are the citizens, and citizenship often takes ten+ years to achieve. Hence, people live silent and in fear until they can get a piece of paper that will make them be seen as humans and worthy of fair treatment.

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Julia Leonardi // 09.28.2020

As someone who didn’t grow up in the United States, I have always seen Abraham Lincoln as a hero. It is shocking to learn that he actually didn’t do much and that the Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t all that I thought it was. Lincoln was only using the proclamation as a form to appease the Northern businessmen while not changing the power distribution of the Southern landowners. Reading that was so shocking to me because I always saw him as a man of high morality and that stood for such a respectful cause.

While I sat there and watched the part one of the video, I began to reflect on the city that I live in and have come to know. When he was talking about Robert E Lee, I couldn’t help but think about all the monuments dedicated to him, schools named after him, and memorials in his honor. I began to research how those monuments came to be, and I came across the Daughters of the Confederacy. That was honestly disappointing and heartbreaking. These white women raised money to promote the confederacy all over the south just to be racist. The saddest part about it is that just now, this summer did these monuments even begin to get taken down. Monument Avenue has lost most of them, but the Lee one still stands. It is 2020 and people are still holding on to racist ideas and beliefs, and there is nothing sadder than that.

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Julia Leonardi // 09.21.2020

Upon reading “The Intimately Oppressed,” I was faced with anger, as I have been with all the other chapters in this book. I thought it was very interesting that this chapter came after the chapters about enslavement, so the comparison could’ve been made about being a woman and a slave. It is funny that I always knew that women were seen as property as were slaves and never made that connection, and I assume most people haven’t. The idea of using “biology” to justify treating people as inferior is what disgusts me the most though. Most of the time when I learned about feminism, and the feminism movement, it referred to the 1900s so it was what I was expecting from these readings, but I was surprised to see a form of rebellion or the slightest appreciation of women of the 1800s, who I had never heard of.

Anne Bradstreet was someone who’s poetry was beautiful and spoke about things that pertained to women. Her poem “To My Dear and Loving Husband” was a type of poem only women could relate to, and as I read it I kept trying to analyze it as sarcasm, but I actually do think she loves her husband, which says something about the times we live in today versus the times she lived in. Although Bradstreet was important in the sense that she was the first woman published, Wheatley actually surprised me the most. As I read about her, I was very surprised that she was able to accomplish what she did within her given circumstances. When I read her poetry, it felt more emotional and rawer, like good poetry is, and it actually made me feel something.

As I write this, right after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I have a deeper appreciation for Zinn’s writing about women’s history, and all the women he mentioned. Ginsburg was someone who was so greatly credited for women’s rights, and someone who fought so hard and changed so much for the benefit of women, that this assignment being assigned right after her death is almost eerie. It feels so closely connected and so relevant at the same time.

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Julia Leonardi // 09.14.2020

I never thought I’d read about the American Revolution again. It is one of my least favorite parts of history, and it always felt like it was taught in order to flex or instill a greater sense of nationalism. It’s always been something that is taught over and over again throughout k-12. You learn it multiple times in elementary school, then again in middle school, and again in High School. I thought I knew everything there was to know; tea throwing in the sea and all. Zinn brought up some points that I had never actually thought about, things that related to the common folk.

I thought it was very interesting that most of the colonists didn’t actually support the revolution. The middle class that actually did support the revolution, only supported it because of economic reasons, not because they hated England and wanted to rebel. A lot of people also refused to fight in the Revolutionary war, and staged mutinies, which is something I was never taught. That was so interesting because it really shows that the only people who really wanted this was the elite, and the elite are those who get what they want and write history as we know it. The elites convinced the working-class people that they were going to gain a lot from this war, and that is why they need to fight it, but at the end of the day who gained more power and more wealth was the elite.

This idea really connects to the society we live in today. A lot of promises are made to us by politicians, millionaires, people in power, but nothing is ever actually done unless it benefits the 1%. They get away with this because some is given to the working class, but most stays within the 1%. The small, and I mean small, advances made for the common people is what keeps everything in order and keeps the elites elite without much sacrifice or change.

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Julia Leonardi // 9.7.2020

All three of these readings were genuinely enjoyable. All three chapters really highlight Twitty’s relationship with his own culture and history, but through food and cooking. It is so interesting to see history taught through lenses opposed to the traditional way. Food is such an important part of culture, and reading about it, and the traditions that come with it, can be such an intimate way to learn history. “Your plate is your flag.”

Books like these make it so much easier for the reader to connect to the message. Food and culture in food is such a relatable thing, and something that most people, if not all, experience. It makes it so I feel more connected to the author and I can understand him in such a human to human way. So many times, reading these stories, it is so hard to conceptualize because these things happened so long ago and sometimes learning about history can feel very disconnected and far away. This type of writing makes the whole difference for me. Reading about Twitty’s hardships, especially about his inability to find his family’s ancestry feels so much more personal now. I can feel how lucky and privileged I am to be able to trace down my great great grandma’s recipe for pāo de queijo, whilst Twitty and many others cannot. This is something that is not talked about enough within our community. It is also something that I believe should be governmentally funded. Finding where you come from is vital to your identity, and to see people being robbed of that and nothing being done to repair that is unacceptable.

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Julia Leonardi / 08/30/2020

The first thing that came to mind when I was reading “Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress,” was how robbed of an actual education I feel. Just barely hearing the story told from the people’s point of view, changes my whole perspective of what history really is and how I need to change how it is viewed. Now knowing that it is this easy to just read and teach this side of history, I am disgusted that it took me going to college to read about Columbus as a villain and not the hero he’s been taught to be. This idea of completely ignoring the “great mans” wrong doings was already something that angered me, but to ignore mass genocide (he wiped out half of Haiti within two years!!) and extremely inhumane acts towards people, is nauseating. This makes me want to get back into the public-school system and demand change within the curriculum that is taught to kids all across the state of Virginia.

To quote Zinn, who quotes Camus “in world of “victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.” Although that is a factual statement, it shouldn’t be like this. We as a society should be on the side of victims. We should teach the real story of the Americas to children, and not wait for them to get older and choose to figure it out.

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