Resource #4: Sweetland Writing Center

As the due date for my Women Studies’ final paper approaches, I decided it would be a good idea to have someone read over my paper before I submit it. It is the first time I have ever written an eight to ten page research paper. Because I’ve never written such a long paper before, I wanted to make sure the structure of my paper is coherent. Deciding the Sweetland Writing Center can help me, I made an appointment and met with Professor Paul Barron.

Throughout the thirty-minute session, Paul read my paper and gave me feedback on the structure of my essay. As he went over my essay section by section, he suggested how I could connect certain ideas together so my paper flows better. He believes the cause-and-effect sequencing of my arguments is a comprehensive way to organize my paper. In addition, he helped me with some APA citations that I wasn’t familiar with.

The Sweetland session with Paul made me more confident about my paper. At first, I went feeling my paper was all over the place and he wouldn’t be able to understand what my paper is saying. However, Paul assured me that the organization of my paper was consistent. I will definitely use the Sweetland Writing Center more often in the future, especially for long papers.

Resource #3: Student Ambassador

Because the first semester is a transition period for me, I haven’t joined many student organizations or clubs in my time so far as a University of Michigan freshman. However, I did decide to participate in a student organization called Student Ambassadors. Our goal is to recruit perspective students. I realized that somewhere along the lines of adjusting to college, I became a proud Michigan Wolverine and wanted other people to have that opportunity. Student Ambassador also reminded me of a high school program called Big Sibs. Big Sibs is a program in which selected upperclassmen become sibling figures for groups of freshmen as they adjust to high school. Realizing I’m into mentorship, I thought being a part of Student Ambassador would be suitable for me.

As a Student Ambassador, I participated in an event called Slice of Life. This is an event in which a visiting high school student follows me around for half of the day to get a sense of college life. At first, I was nervous to have a student follow me. I wasn’t sure what I should say or do to make it an enjoyable experience. However, when I was assigned to a girl named Skylar, a high school senior from Detroit, I realized the best approach was to go about my day like I normally would. Besides the mini tour I gave Skylar, I just followed my usual Wednesday routine. As she thanked me at the end of our session, she told me she would definitely apply!

During the Christmas break, I will be going back to my high school and recruiting for the university. I can honestly say I’m looking forward to telling my college experience to my friends who are now applying to college. I never saw myself as much of a recruiter. But after becoming a Student Ambassador, I’m being more comfortable with talking with expressing myself and I’m surprised with how my enthusiasm for recruiting comes so naturally.

Resource #2: Career Center

I’ve heard about the Career Center multiple times but never really paid attention to the services it provides, thinking I wouldn’t need to visit the center any time soon. However, then I attended a workshop held by the Career Center to help with the interview process for the community assistant position I was applying for. As the coordinator explained more about the Career Center, I was thinking about making an appointment. Class registration for next semester was coming up and I honestly was getting a little worried because I still wasn’t sure what I want to major in. Although I’m thinking about majoring in Communications and International Studies, I’m not entirely sure what communications encompasses or if it is suitable for me. With all these questions roaming around me, I decided to seek advice and suggestions from professionals who can provide more information about the field. That was when I decided to go online to make a First-Time appointment for the Career Center.

For this first appointment, I met with Amy (Hoag) Longhi. In the beginning of the session, I explained my situation to her. She showed me various resources the Career Center website has for me to find my interests and provide some majors that possibly suit me. She also taught me how to navigate the Career Center’s website to find the Career Guide and how to find potential career paths through Career Cruising. I even asked her for information about internships that are available for freshmen. She showed me various links where I can explore internship opportunities and how I can minimize the search options to those that interest me.

After this session I felt a bit more hopeful. Although I’m still unsure about my major and the classes I want to take, Amy showed me great resources I can use to help me find my interests and possibly a summer internship!

Resource #1: Undergraduate Library

For a research paper I was writing in my Women Studies class, I decided to use the library to find some academic sources I might have needed. I have been to the undergraduate library multiple times in between classes to study. However, I never ventured out of the first floor. Hoping to research as much as I can about my topic, I decided to walk-in to ask the librarian staff where I can find my resources.

We began to browse the library catalog to find books relevant to my topic of eating disorders. Throughout our short session, the librarian staff not only suggested books that can aid in my research, but he also taught me how to navigate the library website. He showed me how I can reserve books online and which location I can pick up the books. In addition, after writing down the codes for the books we agreed will help my research paper, the librarian also helped me located the section I’ll be able to find them in. With his help, I found the books we wrote down and I’ve found other sources as I browsed through the shelves.

After I checked out the books from the university library, I felt that writing my research paper shouldn’t be as much as a problem as I originally thought. I was able borrow multiple books that would allow me to write my research paper more easily. I even reserved some extra books as I continued to browse the library catalog for extra sources. This trip to the library allowed me to explore the undergraduate library and realize how many resources it can provide for papers or just books for leisure. I would definitely go back to the librarian staff when I need help finding materials for future classes.

 

Reflecting on Writing 100

Reflecting on Writing 100

Reading over the Directed-Self Placement (DSP) essay and the first essay I’ve written for Writing 100, I cringed a little. Just a little. From my earliest papers to my most recent ones, I believe my writing has definitely improved. This is not to say my writing has “flourished” like my friend Jeany had said, but I’ll say it is beginning to sprout. Am I saying that writing is my thing now? Well, no. I’ll still say writing is not my forte. However, I’m coming into terms with writing and beginning to feel more comfortable with it.

If there is one important thing I’ve learned about the presentation of my paper, it will be “less is more.” When I need to write long papers, I realized I tend to be redundant, writing more just to fill the page requirements. However, in repeating myself, my writing becomes all over the place. Not only do I confuse my readers, but also I don’t convey my arguments in a coherent manner.  Throughout these past months, I’ve tried to aim for quality rather than quantity. I try not to think about whether I’m how to write four pages, but instead focus on how to successfully get my points through.

During the research process, I’ve realized it’s a lot of trial-and-error. While researching on hate crimes and hate-crime laws, I’ve found multiple resources but many were not suitable. For Paper #2, I originally cited an online blog post about problems with hate-crime laws. However, because this post was written by an anonymous blogger with minimal experience in the judicial field, I realized this wouldn’t be a credible source. I eventually found an opinion piece from the New York Times Debate column that was credible and fitted well into my paper.

In my earlier papers, I overuse quotations. I would think I’m quoting important information when, in fact, I’m not pinpointing the key ideas. However, as I continue writing research summaries, I found that it became easier for me to identify what I need to quote. In addition, for earlier research summaries, I have repeatedly used the three-paragraph format. By research summary four, I found that my writing is clearer if I break down the points into more sections rather than three.

Because writing is not something that comes to me naturally, I find ways to make it so the process becomes easier for me. After researching and looking over the prompts, I like to organize my ideas using outlines. This way, I have a breakdown of what I want to write and how I’m going to write it. When making outlines don’t work, I tend to type profusely on a Microsoft Word document, just writing down any ideas that come into mind. They do not necessary make sense but it allows me to write down any thoughts that I have. I would then organize these points into coherent and structured paragraphs.

I think the greatest skill I’ve acquired throughout this writing course is learning how to formulate a workable thesis and how to support my arguments. In my first reflection, I’ve addressed my problem of coming up with an argumentative sentence. However, as I continued through this course, I’ve learned how to not only assert a claim but also how to support this with evidence. With what I’ve learned about rhetorical analysis, I’m able to provide evidences for my arguments and analyze these evidences.

Although my writing has improved, I still continue to struggle with word choice and grammar. Throughout the one-on-one conferences, I’ve been told some word choices are confusing or problems with my subject-verb agreements. While I say I’ve been making these mistakes less frequently, these are still problems I have to improve on.

I decided to take this course in hopes to improve my writing. This class has helped me achieve that goal. I can’t say my writings are error-free, because they certainly aren’t. However, I can say that I’m beginning to become more confident in my writing. Throughout these months, I’ve acquired the skills needed to formulate a thesis statement, to research and provide evidences, and to critically analyze evidences I’ve provided. It has certainly helped me in my other courses where I have to write argumentative papers as well. While I’m still improving on my writing, I believe this course has prepared me well for college writing.

 

Hate Crime Laws: A Need For Change

Hate Crime Laws: A Need For Change

            The phrase hate crime might be self-explanatory. These crimes are motivated by strong dislike towards certain individuals. Hate crimes stir up many issues regarding the law enforcements of these crimes. While much debate is about what constitutes as hate crimes, there has also been debates about whether there should be hate-crime laws and penalty enhancement for hate crime offenders. However, there is no doubt that hate crimes are still prevalent in today’s society. According to the FBI’s annual report on hate crime statistics for 2012, although the number of hate crimes has decreased from the previous year, the numbers are still relatively high. The report states that there were 7,164 hate crime victims reported as opposed to the 7,713 reported in 2011. It further investigates the motivations behind these crimes and it shows of the 5,790 single-bias incidents, approximately 48.3 percent were racially motivated. In addition, about 19.6 percent of these incidents were motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation, 19.0 percent were religion biased, 11.5 percent were ethnicity and or national origin biased, and 1.6 percent was disability biased (FBI). Although the number of hate crimes have decreased from 2011 to 2012, there is still a need to enforce greater hate-crime laws to ensure there continues to be a downwards trend in the number of hate crimes committed. However, many argue against enforcing greater hate-crime laws, stating these laws are ambiguous and interferes with one’s natural right of freedom of speech. But, the benefits of properly enforced hate-crime laws outweigh the arguments made against them. Hate-crime laws are essential in order to decrease the number of hate-motivated crimes but they must be enforced in an impartial manner to ensure fairness of those being accused and the victims.

One of the strongly held beliefs against hate-crime laws is that it interferes with the First Amendment. The First Amendment is people’s right to freedom of speech, allowing them to express their beliefs on issues. Those arguing against hate-crime laws are stating these laws are taking away their basic rights to express themselves for they will be charged if they condemn or speak out against a certain group of people. However, that is a misconception. Hate-crime laws are not ways to limit a person’s freedom of speech. Rather, it only punishes those that act upon their hate. Understanding people’s concerns about the issue of these laws and people’s constitutional rights, the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled hate-crime laws will not punish people’ verbal dislike towards others. “The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in the 1993 case, Wisconsin v. Mitchell, that well-drafted hate crime laws are constitutional and do not punish speech. Rather they enhance the penalties only for acts that are already considered crimes” (Levin and McDevitt). In this ruling, the Supreme Court clearly states hate-crime laws will only penalize actions, not speech. Furthermore, Senator Chuck Robb stated, “This legislation does not allow individuals to be prosecuted for their hateful thoughts, rather it allows them to be punished for their hateful acts. Willfully inflicting harm on another human being based on hate is not protected free speech” (qtd. Religious Tolerance). Senator Chuck Robb further stresses hateful actions will be the only reasons people are charged under hate-crime laws. The argument of hate-crime laws stripping people of their basic rights is invalid because this legislation emphasizes people will not be penalize for their thoughts or beliefs.

Another argument against hate-crime laws is that these laws are creating unequal protection for different groups of people. People argue that implementing hate-crime laws is saying one group of people deserves extra protection than others. Robert H. Knight, the director of cultural studies at the Family Research Council, an educational organization that promotes the traditional family, states “It sets up special classes of victims, who are afforded a higher level of government protection than others victimized by similar crimes violating the concept of equal protection.”  As a promoter of traditional families, it is implied that Knight does not agree with homosexual relations. In saying the laws protect one group more than another, Knight infers groups such as homosexual are getting greater protection. However, this argument is flawed. All groups are protected under hate-crime laws. However, certain groups, such as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), do experience greater chances of attacks. “The SPLC’s [Southern Poverty Law Center] analysis of 14 years of hate crime data found that gays and lesbians, or those perceived to be gay, are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks; more than four times as likely as Muslims; and 14 times as likely as Latinos” (SPLC). This finding illustrates that the LGBT group are greater targets for hate-based attacks. The law does not state it gives extra protection to people in the LGBT category, as implied by Knight, or just minority groups. It is because certain groups experience greater chances of attacks it seems that hate-crime laws are targeted to protect certain groups over others.

Some people try to explain why others oppose of hate-crime laws. Dr. Joe Wenke states, “Lately a lot of the opposition to hate crime laws is directed at the fact that these laws protect people from being victimized because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The people who oppose these laws don’t want gay or transgender people to be protected as a minority.” He supports his assertion by giving an example of an article by Dr. Robert Gagnon, an associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Basing his beliefs on the Bible, he opposes of homosexual acts (Wenke). In “25 Reasons to Oppose Hate Crime Legislation,” Dr. Gagnon claims that bad things will happen “in homosexuals and transgender people are protected by hate crime laws” (Wenke). Dr. Gagnon’s reasoning against hate-crime laws is subjective because he bases arguments on only certain groups when hate-crime laws do not apply exclusively to homosexuals and transgender people. His argument is a logical flaw, because hate-crime laws do not just apply to a particular group. In his reasoning against hate-crime laws, Dr. Gagnon only focuses on homosexuals and transgender people. His opinions show his dislike towards homosexuals and transgender people and apply it to his argument against hate-crime laws, making his argument a logical flaw.

There are many arguments against hate-crime laws. However, when put into perspective, many of these arguments are flawed. Hate-crimes are serious problems that need to be addressed. In order to promote greater tolerance towards all people, hate-crime laws are needed. However, these laws must be enforced in a manner that guarantees fairness. Because hate-crimes do not target just an individual but also communities the victim identifies with, this type of crime becomes a societal issue. If not addressed properly, the number of hate-motivated crimes will only continue to rise. These laws are not made to protect only certain groups; it is proposed to ensure people of all identities are accepted. By implementing hate-crime laws, policy makers and law enforcers are emphasizing intolerance is unacceptable if acted upon. In a society that promotes peace, the first step is to be tolerant of diversity. Hate-crime laws are to ensure people are treated equally.

Works Cited

“2012 Hate Crime Statistics: Incidents and Offense.” FBI. FBI, 05 Nov. 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.

Knight, Robert H. “Hate Crime Laws Are Unnecessary.” Homosexuality. Ed. Helen Cothran. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2003. Current Controversies. Rpt. from “testimony before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Regarding the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999.” 1999. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 2 Dec. 2013

“Southern Poverty Law Center.” SPLC’s Intelligence Report: Gays Targeted for Hate Crimes Far More Than Any Other Minority in America. N.p., 22 Nov. 2010. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.

Robinson, B.A. “Analysis of Article by James Williamson,a Lawyer and Former State Senator from OK.” Conservative Reaction to U.S. Hate Crime Legislation. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 4 Sept. 2009. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.

Wenke, Dr. Joe. “Haters of Hate Crime Laws.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 27 Sept. 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.

Faith In Humanity

From Kate Nash’s Pink Limo Ride http://myignorantyouth.tumblr.com/page/2

The number of hate-motivated crimes being reported on the news seems to continue rising. Because of the increase in hate crimes, people are now focusing on what should be done. While some people support the need for hate-crime laws and penalty-enhancement statutes, others argue those additions will hinder the First Amendment, people’s freedom of speech. However, there is another side that compromises the two arguments and suggests there should be hate-crime laws but they must be enforced properly to avoid interference with people’s basic rights. Regardless of an individual’s stance on the issue, undoubtedly hate crimes are problems that affect victims and their loved ones in a tremendous way. In her song “Pink Limo Ride,” Kate Nash shows her position on the issue of hate crimes: it’s time for people to stand up to hate crimes and change things.

Kate Nash is an award-winning British singer as well as songwriter, musician, and actress. In 2008, she was acclaimed with the Best Female Artist award at the BRIT Awards. Nash has shown concern on various societal problems, such as using an auction on eBay to help donate money to a five-year-old girl with meningococcal disease. In addition she volunteered to set up and collected donations for people made homeless in the 2011 England riots. Her song “Pink Limo Ride” is written for her friend, Mika, who was a victim of a hate crime. To demonstrate her stance on the issue of hate crimes and show support towards her friend, Nash dedicates “Pink Limo Ride” to bring awareness to the hate crimes and prejudice present in our today’s society.

In a blog post about her song “Pink Limo Ride,” Kate Nash reveals the story behind the attack and her initial reaction upon hearing the news of Mika’s attack. She starts her blog post with, “This is a song I wrote for my friend that got beaten up defending his friend. It was a hate crime.” She continues,

“On the 13th July, Mika went out with one of his best friends, Bonnie, a beautiful girl who dresses alternatively & has a lot of tattoos. They were in a chicken shop in soho when a couple of guys took a disliking towards her alternative look. They threatened to stab her because of the way she was dressed, she was bottled, and Mika stood in & was beaten so badly he now has a fracture in his face. When I looked on facebook and saw a picture of him I cried…This next part of this piece is harder to write than describing to you how awesome my friend is. I want to say a thousand things, about how I am angry, disgusted, and how sad and sick it makes me seeing people being treated like this…I’m concerned as to how these 2 will get their confidence back after this. I can’t even imagine how they both feel. All I can do is be there for him.”

Nash uncovers her frustration and questions the reasoning behind the attack. In this post, she describes how she wanted to convey all her emotions in a piece of music and her concerns towards the issue of hate crimes. To the best of her abilities, she can only do so much to show her support towards her friends but she is determined to make change.

Kate Nash demonstrates her logical argument against hate crimes through the careful sequencing of her lyrics. The song begins by addressing the effects the hate crime has on Mika, both physically and mentally. Next, Nash encourages Mika by telling him what she will do to help him restore his confidence. She then continues to talk about the night of the incident but urges Mika not to succumb to the attack. Nash ends the song by repeatedly telling Mika what she loves about him and will help him through his recovery. Through this logical sequence, Nash not only refers to the hate attack but also shows her support for her friend. It evokes the audience to connect to how she feels towards her friend and enables them to relate to the emotions she conveys.

To effectively deliver her message, Kate Nash varies the song’s pace. Starting out mellow, the slow paced rhythm puts emphasis on the severity the effects of the hate crime. It makes the audience listen more attentively to the lyrics. However, whenever she addresses Mika, the pace speeds up to a more upbeat pace. This uplifting pace during her message to Mika in effect shows her support and encouragement towards him. It then slows down once again, almost as if she was having a conversation with the audience, when she begins to address the hate crime itself again. However, she decides to end the song in the same uplifting manner she used when she addresses Mika to bring a more positive energy to Mika and the audience.

Using slow, mellow tempo and strong lyrics, Kate Nash combines the two elements to deliver powerful messages about the effects of hate crimes. Beginning the song with, “Sometimes, sometime it’s hard to keep your head up/Yeah you’ve been hurt before/ You lost your faith in humanity/ And it’s taken it’s [sic] turn/ Don’t know for how long,” Nash demonstrates that victims lose faith in humanity in the aftermath of hate-motivated attacks. In a society where they are supposed to feel safe, these targeted victims no only lose confidence in themselves, but also in mankind. When she continues recalling back to the hate crime, Nash continues to use a mellow approach. This time, she nearly narrates her lyrics, “That faithful night may have changed your life/The [sic] came down on you/When you felt the force, but now you must look to the light/And find the strength to keep on/And fight the good fight.” In nearly reciting these song lyrics, she is almost telling a story. In telling rather than singing these lyrics, she is emphasizing how Mika’s life will not be the same but he must have the strength to stand up and fight against the prejudice.

Kate Nash uses a faster and more upbeat tempo when the lyrics directly address Mika. With this beat and the lyrics alongside of it, Nash is encouraging Mika and telling him she will constantly remind him that there are people that love and support him. In her lyrics, “Mika, I’ll never give up/I’ll bring you pizza every day/I’ll bake you cakes cause you can’t bake…/If it will help you smile again,” Nash shows her affections by telling him what she’ll do for him and even adds a small joke, putting humor in her reassurance towards her friend. She continues to remind Mika about all the things she loves about him in order for him to gain his confidence, “Mika, you are so cute/ Even tho you can be pretty gross/ Yeah I really love you somehow/ You are so sweet/ Even when you’re acting crazy.” She ends the song in powerful message, “You’ll get to the top, fulfill you goals/Be…screw the rest [sic]/ We’ll fight the prejudice,/This bull-sh*t I contest.” These lines have a dual effect, giving strength to the victims and speaking out against hate crimes. With strong language, she demonstrates her strong opposition to prejudice and determination to fight for change.

Hate crime continues to be a prevalent problem in today’s society. It is not something that can be changed overnight. Effort and time must be invested in order for change to occur. Even though people have different opinions about these changes within the judicial system, people continue to express their concerns about the issue of hate crimes. From personal experience, Kate Nash expresses her message about hate crimes through the use of music and lyrics. She also describes the reasoning behind her song “Pink Limo Ride” in a blog post. In that post, she expresses her emotions of anger, frustration, and disappoint to her audience through the use of her personal blog and music. She uses these media forms to tell a personal story about a hate crime and advocate for people to stand up against prejudice and intolerance.

Works Cited

Myignorantyouth [Kate Nash]. “ “Pink Limo Ride” – Wake the Fuck Up – Kate Nash.” Tumblr. Tumblr, 18 Jul. 2013. Web. 14 Nov. 2013

Nash, Kate. “Pink Limo Ride.” 2013. Web. 1 Nov. 2013

Pink Limo Ride. Perf. Kate Nash. YouTube. YouTube, 18 Jul. 2013. Web. 1 Nov. 2013