AH! Due to my absence in class during Week 4, I had no idea that our community’s WordPress was up and running. Thankfully, I found Rick’s “Roll Call” e-mail and can now give some feeback on the readings.

Although I appreciate all the readings, by far my favorite its Bambara’s “The Lesson” as its themes of economic disparity and the choice to either rise above or submit to it can be seen in our own diverse community here at UCSB. One concept that we have touched upon in disucssion that is relevant to our campus culture is the idea that not every student at UCSB comes from the same background or has gone has faced the same adversities.

In “The Lesson”, we gain a little insight on what like to grow up in an economically disadvantaged community. After touring the FAO Schwartz Toy Store, many of the children left feeling cheated-out and upset about their situation. To cope with this, they begin to squabble over what to do with the change from the cab ride. These children’s behavior represents one option of coping with adveristy: submitting to it. Because the children see that their current quality of living is nowhere near the quality of those who could afford the expensive toys, they eventually settle with the few resources and money they do have and make do. On the other hand, Sylvia represents the other option in coping with adversity: using it as motivation. Instead of settling for less, Sylvia makes the promise to herself that “ain’t nobody gonna beat me at nuthin”. This statement suggests that Sylvia refuses to be defined by the conditions in which she was born into and is going to work to rise above them so her boundaries will not be defined by her enviornment or those more advantaged/priviledged than her, but by herself and her will to make a difference.

The concept of going against the grain and rising above one’s surroundings to achieve greater things is witnessed in our own campus as many Gauchos have had to do the same to attend UCSB. Because we are not from the same backgrounds and experiences, it is important to celebrate diversity and provide opportunities those who are working hard for their education.

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