Langston Hughes

African Americans have various impressions that are inscribed in people’s minds; however, which impression and expression are the right answers for them that can represent accurately? The answer is the poetry that belongs to Langston Hughes, who explores and initiated African American cultural revolution in the 1900s in Harlem, New York, and who also kindles the light of generations of African American spirituals. The poetry from Hughes can shape and express numerous African Americans’ life experiences during the 1900s, such as “Our Land,” “Shadows,” “I, Too, Am America,” and “I Dream A World” are impressive poems from him. Langston Hughes’ poems depict and represent an identical portrait of what African Americans had been through from the past two hundred-year of modern history to contemporary times.

The poem “Our Land” indicates the intuitive perception of African Americans’ experiences. Hughes refers to a realistic imaginary picture to deliver what African Americans’ lives were like. Hughes figuratively expresses his anger, despair, and hope. He metaphorically analogizes the land of the place where he is living as “cold” and “wrong.” He figuratively points out that the land is not a place where African Americans can live with their aspirations and dreams. Throughout his poem “Our Land,” he unambiguously condemns the unfair social racism ideology among blacks and whites during the 1900s in American land, where the hierarchy of white men treated African Americans unequally and inequitably. He entails:

We should have a land of sun

Of gorgeous sun,
And a land of fragrant water

Where the twilight. (1-4)

Hughes emphatically depicts and perceives what the land should be where he would love to spend time living. “a land of fragrant water” reflects that delightful and spectacular African American artistic culture should be allowed for them to spend their lives on them, which are the same rights that white people have. Later, he analogizes the land that does not have a way to be joyful. He pinpoints: “Ah, we should have a land of joy / Of love and joy and wine and song / And not this land where joy is wrong.” He connotes that there is no way to have human rights in the land where African Americans live because the government’s propaganda does not allow it. His aspiration of having joy is not permitted. Hughes demonstrates that institutional racism is an intruder who invades and takes away human rights from them. On the contrary, in Harlem, New York, the real intruders are those white genteel hierarchy people who interfere with their artistic performing clubs and invade their “New Negro” creatures. Racism existed in Harlem, where African Americans endeavored to inaugurate their peaceful space. The despair still strikes them, like a predator surveillant its prey. The phenomena of the images in the past, which exactly are happening in modernity, considering nowadays, ironically, people still have these experiences that happened to African Americans past historical events in the United States, but they are repented in other ways. We could think about the Lynch Law and the segregation would never have been ended; in another formation, they are implemented in our modern society. For instance, the enforcement of police officers’ indifferent arresting and execution of African American citizens and the biases between racial groups still exist. Those historical “Lynch Law” and “Segregation” are still embedded inside people’s minds, but our government’s propaganda attempts to make them invisible.

February Blog

My name is Lucas, and I am currently majoring in Computer Science at BMCC. This is the second year that I have spent my time at BMCC. Also, it will be my last year studying here. It has been a busy period since the Spring semester started, and the more I learned from my classes, the more substantial confidence and certainty I gained for my future career in my mind. For my field study, we need to have the skill in our hands and keep updating our knowledge to qualify for our position for our future work. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to pick up where I left off for my academic future in 2020. Everything was going smoothly, except sometimes I loaded too many things on my plate simultaneously; however, I enjoyed my busy and challenging life.

It is too early to say there is an inevitable future behind me after I graduate college because, in my field of study, I haven’t touched the deeper context of what we will do for our future job. Maybe when I am in a four year college, I will see the full of picture of my career. In the meantime, the open AI company just published Chatgpt, and it blows people’s minds. There is a predictable pattern of future for countless programmers that with the AI technology coming up, people will lose theirs jobs sooner or later.

So instead, of worrying about uncertainties, I will live in the moment and try to strive for my unpredictable future.

Opportunities are in our hands

After watching the event “From Classrooms to Careers” Listening Session, I found the impression of those students’ personal experiences. I admit that the path to our future career requires many dimensional preparations. However, the session made me realize that attaining an expected job after college also requires hard work. Students like me are not only desiring a good academic outstanding but also looking for an opportunity to find a future career for their later adulthood. In the meanwhile, not only do we train ourselves to be fully prepared for our future job in college, but we should also consider the incoming challenges for our future workplaces.

The students who talked about their work-hunting experiences and the faculties from the CUNY graduate center in the session shared countless advice and tips to help us prepare for our careers. The most impressive piece of advice from the session was establishing a connection with college faculty. It is because while we are still feeling insecure about our future careers, our school professionals and faculty will lead us to a proper path so that we do not get lost at those moments. Also, we could utilize the resources from the college we attend because they know what students need and want. Moreover, one of the students spoke about mentorship during the session, and I agree with her. She emphasized that students would need to communicate and share with peers consistently because the student from our classroom might get the same future position as we would apply for one. Communicating with professors, faculty, or even peers is the most significant way to obtain sufficient and efficient information for career opportunities. Seeking potential opportunities is the key to finding and building the option you want.

This listening session is an excellent opportunity to foresee the future that I might face. I am so grateful for this beautiful experience in our leadership program.

Embrace Uncertainty

We are asked about our life,
We strive for an answer;

It is supposed to be a mystery,
It is not meant to be a certainty;

We lose in certainty even do not tend to be,
We hope in uncertainty because it should be;

We trace, we breathe, we chase,
We laugh, we sob, we chase;
We screamed, we smiled, and we blessed,
We now, embraced mystery.

Life is a monster, we play with monster,
Life is a lover, we embrace our lover;

The Uncertainty of the Rest of My Life

Whenever people ask me what I want to do with the rest of my life, I would think, how could people really know what they want to do for their short lives? What if people know about their faiths for the past of their life, but suddenly, they do not know anymore at some point? Likewise, people often endeavor to strive for a great desired future, but how can the person know that is what they really want to do? Isn’t life should be a process of finding a goal? Or don’t we spend our whole life finding our anticipation and enthusiasm?

I watched a movie this year, and it is called My Own Private Idaho, which gives a piece of solid evidence to prove this idea. The leading actor is called Scott Favor, cast by Keanu Reeves. Scott comes from a wealthy mayor’s family. He loses his passion for life when he is twenty years old and wants to find a meaningful life before he turns twenty-one. He escapes from his family and becomes a vagrant on the streets. His other identification is as a sex worker before he inherited his father’s money. He experienced terrible but meaningful life while he was homeless. A future that is waiting for you might not be the one you like; however, you might want to seek a blurry but joyful future.

When I was a kid, I got influenced by my surroundings, like peers, family members, and maybe even the tendency of popularity during the time. So, for example, there was a period people around me wanted to be cooks because they thought cooks and chefs would never lose their jobs in restaurants, and many people were trying to go to skill-oriented institutions to learn how to be cooks. Therefore, those people triggered me, and I thought I should be a cook, too, so I went to one of the cooking training studios in my neighborhood before I went to college. However, I did not prefer being in the kitchen from daylight to nighttime, working and preparing food, working and preparing food. So after that, I reconsidered what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be in the future. Life wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for me, and things had replayed. I thought I would be an interior designer, but after three years of college study, I was not enjoying the major and the work. So I dropped out of school and took my time to think about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life after the years of break. During that time, I was working as an accountant and enjoyed it at the beginning of the three months; however, my hatred of the work slowly appeared again. Finally, I got my peers’ and friends’ suggestions and recommendations to major in computer science. Things are going smoothly so far in my academic life.
Life also is not black and white. Our lives and opportunities are vigorously shown to us. And even we are confident about the certainty of what we believe. So in terms of that, we should learn how to embrace our uncertainties to live unpredictable lives.

The Thoughts of “The New College Classroom”

Why Ungrade? Why Grade?

After watching the book launch event, “The New College Classroom,” I was intrigued by the book, “Why Ungrade? Why Grade”? by the author Susan Blum. During the event, Professor Cathy Davidson referenced the book to the audience, which I found interesting and appreciated. In addition, she asked questions about how and why we should change the dynamics of learning and teaching between teachers and students. She shared with her audience quite considerable research and phenomena that indicated traditional teaching methods had declined in our contemporary time. Thus, I started to think about how pedagogy can be changed even though it has been stabilized for decades in our educational system. 

When I was reading some of the chapters of the book “Why Ungrade? Why Grade”? I recognized that grading and ungrading for students do not always have an absolute answer of wrong or right. Blum quotes, “because we invented it, we can uninvent it. We can remove it. And many of us believe we should.” She explicitly points out that humans make rules, and we can revise the rules. Also, grading is not a standard for analyzing students’ learning outcomes because it could be subjective from different professors. Another point that resonated with me was when Blum explained, “This shows that it is common for grades to be inconsistent, subjective, random, arbitrary.” She demonstrates that in different scenarios from different professors and teachers who grade their students’ papers, it turns out that the grades range from low to high scores in the same assignment that was assigned to students. This concept reestablishes and refreshes my perspective on grading and the notion of grading in what that means to teachers and their students. Moreover, teachers and students are in a dynamic system, meaning they reflect on each other and achieve their mutual goals together. I believe teachers’ only goal is to teach and give feedback to their students, and students receive and gain the outcome of the learning process. 

In one of my classes, my professor discussed how every student should have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of learning objectives and that an A should be attainable by all, and his primary goal is to make his students realize that earning an A isn’t the goal, but rather learning the material is. He added that an A is just an alphabet letter for him, but what students actually learned from each assignment and reading piece is what he is really concerned about. I agree with his idea; grades are more like that they are inherently flawed and can stunt learning and overall growth. In school, students are responsible for studying and are required autonomy to be disciplined because teachers should only set them in their learning progress but not take advantage of them by manipulating them to do what they are not desired and ranking them with grades, which is not sustainable.

For this reason, students would maintain their lengthy period of studying for themselves, which is an example of self-determination, instead of enduring what they do not want and what they do not enjoy.

I would like to conclude with a concept from Deci and Rylan in the book: “Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior” that supports the claim that “the intrinsic motivation is maintained when individuals feel competent and self-determined.” According to Deci and Rylan’s belief about individual control among students, intrinsic motivation is acceleration for students to keep them motivated and self-directed so that they can strive on their own for competence. This concept of having an intrinsic ability to persevere is one I resonate with greatly and believe is essential to excelling in your studies but also within your life.