RWD 1:

In hooks’ chapter eleven of her writing Language: Teaching New Worlds/ New Words, she discusses her belief that the English language should be challenged more often. She believes that English is the “language of the oppressor.” In the beginning of her chapter, Hooks talks about African Americans being shipped to America and having their naitive language being taken away from them. This heartbreaks her. She then moves on to talk about how the African Americans formed their own counter- language based off of English. Throughout the chapter, she brings light to the fact that even in today’s society, English is always the dominant language, which she ponders. She encourages students in her classroom to speak in their naitive tongue, to show that English is not the “superior language.” Overall, Hooks was trying to push people out of their comfort zones and make them think differently about language. 

The Assumptions about white privilege and what we can do about it discusses the obvious privilege that whites hold over minorities in America. In the article, it mentions the many cases of African Americans who have been harassed and or killed by white people. Ahmuad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Christian Cooper, and Omar Jimenez are all examples of this discrimination. The article demonstrates white privilege one way through Amy Cooper. Amy called the police on a black man simply because he asked her to put a leash on her dog. She then proceeded to scream at him and call the police. She used her race as an advantage and made up a story, framing the black man to look like he was harassing her. Even though he did not die, this very story proves a lot of things, especially that Amy thought her race would automatically allow police to believe whatever she wanted them to. The article continues on to discuss ways to fix this issue, the first being to recognize it, even if it is uncomfortable for white people. “Avoiding and sugarcoating this truth is killing people of color. Silence for the sake of making white people comfortable is a luxury we can no longer afford.”

RWD 2:

In her Language: Teaching New Worlds/ New Words, Bell Hooks argues that it is unfair to expect people to speak English when their naitive tongue differs. More specifically, she states that the English language is “the language of the oppressor.” For example, she talked about the history of African Americans being shipped to America for slavery and having no understanding of the dominant language. Years later, Hook explains that it is still looked down upon for their people to speak their own counter- language (a spin of English they created). In other words, Hook is saying that people should not judge other languages of minorities when it is their beautiful culture. In sum, then, she suggests that white people are the oppressors and the people holding judgement. 

In his Assumptions About White Privilege And What We Can Do About It, Bryan Massingale argues that people of the caucasion race have an automatic advantage over minorities. More specifically, that they ignore white privilege completely. For example, he writes “I know that bluntly stating that systemic racism benefits white people makes people — especially white people — uncomfortable.” In other words, Massingale is saying that although his statement is blunt, white people often ignore the very real problems because the topic is awkward for them to acknowledge. In sum, then, Massingale suggests that there needs to be a change in thinking. 

Boyle Essay:

While many people believe that you have to read the entire passage of a text in order to understand the material well, Casey Boyle argues that there are specific measures to be taken in order to read productively. 

Rorty Essay”

While many people believe that when you look at an object, you are seeing the actual presence of it, Richard Rorty argues that because of common sense the human eye processes their own illusion of the object, which differs from what it truly looks like in reality (outside of the human brain). 

RWD 3:

In his Living in a World of Argument, Dr. Fish argues that despite common belief, argumentation and contradiction are the same. 

In her Says Who? Teaching and Questioning the Rules of Grammar, Anne Curzan argues that it is unfair to ask students to critically question everything except the conventions in which they use to write. 

In both of the writings Living in a World of Argument and Says Who? Teaching and Questioning the Rules of Grammar, each compel an argument that is not often challenged in today’s society.

Dr. Fish, the author of Living in a World of Argument, states in his writings that argumentation is merely the same as contradiction. In his work, he uses a famous sketch, The Monty Argument, to prove his point. In which, the main character states, “An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a preposition, while a contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes” (Fish 3). Ordinarily, a person would agree with this statement, but Dr. Fish does not. To continue the sketch, the character replies back, “You say that contradiction can be cleanly distinguished from argument, but I refute your point—that is, argue against it— simply by denying it and thereby putting both of us in the position of having to give reasons; you now have to explain why contradiction has no place in the field of argument, and I have to explain why contradiction can be a move in the argument game.. (Fish 3). Dr. Fish demonstrates a unique perspective.

Another viewpoint that varies opinion in today’s world is from the author Anne Curzan. In her writing, Says Who? Teaching and Questioning the Rules of Grammar, she questions the social norms of the English language. Curzan believes that “it is unfair to encourage our students to critically question everything except the very conventions in which they are asked to write” (Curzan 871). For example, in her classroom, Anne received a lot of criticism from surrounding adults when her students were using plural nouns in place of singular ones. The adults came to her explaining how this was “terrible English” (Curzan 870). While most people believe there is only one way to speak the correct English language, Anne encourages her students to challenge the norm. 

To conclude, both of the writers, Dr. Fish and Anne Curzan, make compelling arguments in their own ways. Whether it is defining the laws of an argument or rewriting the English rules, each author brings to light interesting points.

RWD 4:

In her Teaching the Politics of Standard English, Anne Curzan argues that all languages and dialects should have equal merit. More specifically, the English language should not be taught strictly to traditional standards or looked at as “superior.” For example, she writes, “some dialects are still considered substandard because the relative worth of dialects is socially determined, and the linguistic and social prestige and stigma are intertwined.” In other words, different languages are often perceived as lesser than because of the stereotype they carry. For Curzan, then, she strives to break this stigma in her classroom. 

RWD 5:

(Group work)

RWD 6:

(Also group work but I will include) :

1) Generate as many questions as you can about the ideas each of these writers has raised. Try to ask at least two (but more if possible!) for each essay / chapter we’ve read so far this semester, including the ones from RWD 1. We’ll work with these questions later, so really attack these articles hard. Be obstinate about it. Push the texts as hard as you can from as many perspectives as you can. 

  • What do I have to do to get an A

If students are constantly trained to think only about the bottom line, what does that say about the way the education system works? Does it only exist to produce people that strive to participate in corporate America? Does it squash creativity?

How will a self-assessment form of grading help students improve? Will this perspective on grades work for all subjects?

  • Confronting racism

How can we, as a nation, make concrete and sustainable change regarding the issue of racism? Will there ever be a world where racism does not exist in some capacity?

As students, how do we work to combat racial injustice on an individual level?

Has Georgetown done enough to address their history with slavery? Is there anything they can do to rectify the harm they have caused?

  • White fragility

What role does racially coded language play in the education system? Does the use of this type of language serve to ostracize students of color?

Why is race, which is a social construct, seen as a binary between “us” and “them”? Is this inherent and unavoidable in human nature? How does this dichotomy affect people who are unaware of it?

  • Assumptions of white privilege

What role has technology played in raising awareness of racial injustice? Would the situation with Amy Cooper have ended in a different outcome if there was no recording?

What other assumptions are present in society regarding other societal issues such as the patriarchy? Do these assumptions intertwine with assumptions about race?

What does it take for white people to accept their white privilege? What is the turning point?

  • Project muse – appearance reality

If things do not actually exist in our minds until we have language, how did people know there was something to name with language? How did language begin to exist if that in itself would require language to come into being? Or would it? Or is like with the beavers that language began not to describe things that were already there, but to work together for construction and then this language was used to formulate abstract ideas? But how can beavers identify that there is something to construct if they didn’t have language, just noises?

What is it like for people who cannot speak? Do they have no reality? Or do they have a different kind of language? Is language then not something pronounceable? What is it then?

If one person sees an item before the other person, does the item exist just for the first person and not for the second person?

If someone is born on a desert island, how can they exist if there is nobody to perceive them.  

Are we like robots who need a special code to identify things?

  • Fish – What works and what doesn’t work in politics

If you are an antifoundationalist, are you therefore unable to say that some things are opinions and that some are facts? Does this undermine efforts to combat fake news?

Why aren’t politicians focusing more on changing people’s vision (i.e. conversion) rather than just trying to change people’s minds one policy at a time?

Is it true that there is no transcendent reference point for truth?

Is there a bounded-argument space for what you can use to determine a bounded-argument space?

Scalia is unsettled that important decisions are being made by judges and not via the democratic process. Is it a better idea to leave decisions in the hands of the people even though the people may be insufficiently educated to make legal decisions? Or is it better to have expert judges despite the risk of tyranny and elitism?

  • Fish – Legal Arguments

Can a person be obliged to follow the first amendment since the authors were the ones who gave themselves the authority to enact the constitution? Where does legal authority come from? 

Corbin says that there are “no objective meanings” but that the law should “not…be scorned” as we would have a “chaotic and guideless world”. Would a lack of objectivity cause chaos and if yes, what can we do about it? How can laws be enforced if their subjectivity is evident? Can subjectivity be morally enforced on citizens?

Liberty is used as a way of preventing other people’s morality from being legally imposed on another. Is the law therefore supposed to be secular to any specific form of morality? If so, how can it adequately function? 

  • Curzan- Says Who

Throughout her essay, Anne Curzan argues that the English language has concrete grammar rules that should be changed more often, such as the word they. (When referring to a singular noun/subject). In which, she explains how most often speaking and writing contradicts each other. Although I understand her points, I wonder what is the purpose for her arguing this? Is it purely because she is a linguist? Or does she want to see a change? 

Curzan also makes a point in which we follow these rules because someone told us to. But in a sense, if we were to hypothetically listen to her and make these changes, wouldn’t we be doing the same thing? Following someone else’s rules? 

  • Thomas Lewis- The Wonderful Mistake

In Lewis’ essay, he talks about how humans have evolved over time from a single molecule, but what proves his reasoning for believing in this?

If the “Wonderful Mistake” was not created, aka DNA, is Lewis implying that humans would not be here? If so, do you think we would be created later on/another way? 

2) Consolidate—with textual examples from essays we’ve read thus far—your answers to the 4 Ways to connect ICs. Hint: Three are punctuation marks, and one is a word type. 

  • IC. IC
    • All of today’s DNA, strung through all the cells of the earth, is simply an extension and elaboration of that first molecule. In a fundamental sense, we cannot claim to have made progress, since the method used for growth and replication is essentially unchanged.

3) Consolidate—with textual examples from essays we’ve read thus far—your answers to the 5 main comma patterns. Hint: One will come from the list above. 

  • Separate clauses (in the place of parentheses)
    • Failure, at least as a possibility, is a condition of argument
  • Fanboys
    • And that of course does happen, but not in a final way
  • Listing
    • Natural phenomena, political policies, urban landscapes, historical periods
  • In a quote
    • “Do not point to any… object,” all words that refer to abstractions rather than concrete things
  • To indicate a pause / shift
    • If everyone agreed on how a set of facts should be characterized, there would be no competing accounts and there would be nothing to argue about.

4) Discuss—and put into a group google doc—how the template changed your approach to the text (RWD 1 to the rewrite in RWD 2). 

  • We were able to think more critically about the author’s message and the evidence they used to support their argument. It also helped to summarize / simplify their points. 

5) Discuss—and put your thoughts in a group g doc—Casey Boyle’s point about Legere in his . . . something like a reading ethics . . .  What are the implications of legere in terms of “reading” 

and “writing” and “temporality.” The point isn’t to come up with a perfect answer; rather, the point is to thoughtfully speculate.

  • Finding a “point of entry” when reading a text can help a reader understand a portion of the text deeply, and this is still a valid method of reading.

6) Choose one of the essays in #applied_readings and try to apply it to an idea you’ve encountered so far in this class. 

  • In the essay we read about the relationship between language and science, we found that your mind knows how to fill in gaps in reality. An example of this is the activity we did with mad libs, as the words were inferred by our brains. Additionally, the activity we did where we had to guess the image from the ink blots is another example of this concept. While some people saw a bee/insect, others saw people holding hands, and a myriad of other images. This also supports the idea that interpretation is relative.

7) Discuss your answers in this exercise. how did you all know how to do what you did? And try to guess the point the exercises are trying to make.

  • Interpretation is a cornerstone of the human condition
  • Language is flexible, and gives meaning to things but only because humans give meaning to language 

RWD 7:


The Meanings of a Word

While Gloria Naylor, the author of “The Meanings of a Word”, discusses that humans give their own definitions to words, she demonstrates this through a story involving the derogatory n word. When she was in the third grade, a little boy called her this when he found out she received a higher score on her math test than him. Naylor explains that she did not know what this word meant, but judging by the way he used it, it could not be very good. As she writes this now, she realizes that because she lives in America, this term was not a word of endearment, as it was originally intended for in the African American culture, but now an insult created by the whites. People give words meaning. But, Naylor’s family did not let it bother them, “the people in my grandmother’s living room took a word that whites used to signify worthlessness or degradation and rendered it impotent” (Naylor 2).

Legal Arguments

While Stanley Fish points out the need for rules in a court of law in his essay Legal Arguments, he also breaks down each rule’s reasoning and why they’re important, such as the inability to judge a person’s character to determine the outcome of the current convicted crime. Fish explains that law has a language of its own, which is very difficult to interpret if you do not study it.


His soul swooned as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their end, upon all the living and the dead.

My Version: Their love overflowed as their canoe began to tip over in the ice cold lake, their laughs colliding together, drowning out the rest of the world’s pain. 

A silver-and-sable skybab squirrel sat sampling a cone on the back of a bench

My Version: A friendly whale rose to the surface spraying its water in the middle of the ocean. 

Intention: I feel as if these sentences both creatively depict an action occurring in the world, or a random scenario in my brain. The difference between my sentences and the original are obviously the nouns/ verbs being described. 
One thing I’ve done well in College/ One thing I need to improve: I have been good at staying persistent in my work and not giving up easily, but I could work on being more organized.

RWD 8:

  In his Plagiarism is Not a Big Moral Deal, Stanley Fish argues that plagiarism cannot be excused as acceptable, no matter what the reasoning behind it may be. He outlines his beliefs through his own personal experience with plagiarism, in which he picked up a book to read and read his own writing.

         Fish gives the main argument most commonly used for justifying plagiarism: “All texts are palimpsests of earlier texts; there’s been nothing new under the sun since Plato and Aristotle and they weren’t new either; everything belongs to everybody.” He disagrees with this, stating that the people who copy others work simply just do not take plagiarism as seriously as the people whose careers depend on it. For example, creativity and originality are crucial if you are a professional journalist, academic historian, or even a social scientist. To contrast, these factors may not be as important if you are a politician or musician.

         Fish ties all of his points together by stating, “Whether there is something called originality or not, the two scholars who began their concluding chapter by reproducing two of my pages are professionally culpable.” In other words, the two men who copied his work used it for their own personal profit, and that in no way can be justified by any philosophical backing, whether the person reading his article believes the term “originality” exists or not. In Fish’s view, plagiarism cannot and should not be excused under any circumstances.

RWD 9:

In his Universalist Grandeur and Analytic Philosophy, Rorty Richard argues that philosophy is studied and applied only when struggle encounters society. He defines philosophy as a whole by those who “reinterpret the past by reference to the future.” Through many examples in his writing, Rorty demonstrates reasoning for this theory.

According to Rorty, a couple of past world issues have led to the application of philosophy. A few examples he mentioned are the time period when prayer and priestcraft were viewed as suspicion, and when the democratic revolution and industrialization struck. In both scenarios, the world turned to philosophers, which he defines as “those whose suggestions prove most influential.” 

During the time period when prayer and priestcraft were viewed as suspicion, Rorty quotes, “Plato and Aristotle suggested ways in which we might hold on to the idea that human beings, unlike the the beasts that have perish, have a special relation to the ruling powers of the universe.” Furthering, another time period Rorty discusses is when the democratic revolution and industrialization occurred, Rorty quotes, “Marx and Mill stepped forward with some useful suggestions.” In both of these scenarios, society turned to great philosophers to explain the current problems happening. 

To conclude, these two examples prove Rorty’s theory that the universe turns to philosophy only when problems occur. Whether this is believed to be a good thing or not, Rorty demonstrates this factual evidence. Throughout his essay, he continues to explain the study of philosophy and the many approaches and common beliefs people modernly have. 

RWD 10:

Facts about Covid before listening:

  1. Very contagious disease, in which a person loses sense and taste
  2. Can be very deadly, worse for elderly 
  3. Young people can be carriers without even knowing
  4. Originated in China from person eating a bat that carried it

In his Planes, Trains, or Automobiles, Dr. Osterholm discusses the current statistics and situation of the Covid-19 pandemic. The host of the podcast, Chris Dall, asks many interesting and controversial questions about the present state of the virus. 

 When Dall asked Osterholm about the upcoming holidays and whether or not people should refrain from going to see their loved ones, Osterholm responded yes. He views the pandemic very seriously, and he does not think it is going away any time soon. Osterholm explained that because teenagers are not taking it seriously, Universities are allowing kids on campus’, people are traveling to sporting events, and any other social gatherings ignoring the guidelines is why there has been a spike in the number of Covid cases.

Dr. Osterholm also talked about his views on public transportation. Although he is against spreading the virus, he did have some pros to traveling. He mentioned that flying on an airplane is not all that bad. The ventilation in the cabins make it so oxygen is being reproduced throughout the airplane. This is better for prevention of the spread. In addition, Osterholm also brought up the fact that catching a virus from traveling could be from other factors. In other words, it could have been caught in the airport, in a taxi, the restroom, or anywhere else besides the actual airplane itself.

In conclusion, Dr. Osterholm conveys that people are not taking the virus as seriously as they should be. He believes it is not going away anytime soon, and that people need to continue to take precautions and remain sanitary. Covid 19 is a very serious and real thing. 

RWD 11:

(Group work)

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