Hidden Messages

After reading over my autobiography again, I realized that I did leave out information that can be seen as a hidden message. I did not state my gender, my sexual orientation, or my cultural background. At the time, I did not think about the hidden message that could be seen by not including this. I did not include it for two reasons. The first reason was because in my mind, I did not think that information mattered for the assignment that I was completing. On my English essays I do not write that I am a female, so I did not on this assignment either. I also did not add the information because the person who I was handing the assignment into already knew who I was.

After talking about this in class, I realized that there can be different hidden messages seen from this. One that was discussed might be that who I am did not effect me in a strongly negative way, so I did not bring it up. If I had been a woman who originally did not have the right to join the education program because of my gender, but later gained access, that would probably be something I would include. Another hidden message is that I assumed the person receiving my assignment knew this information about me based on what they had seen. I assumed that she knew I am a female, that I identify as white, and that I am heterosexual, just based on seeing me in her classroom a few times. I had not thought of these things at the time, but I found it very interesting when it was brought up in class.

Personally, now that I have thought about it, I think this information does matter. Maybe it is not the most important information for the assignment, but it does matter. If I assigned an autobiography to my class, I want them to be able to open up and share all of this information with me so that I know who they are and what their background is. I think it is interesting to learn about. I also think that it can build strong relationships if my students feel comfortable enough to share information like this with me. This information may not be the most important to everyone, but it helps make who an individual is.

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4 thoughts on “Hidden Messages

  1. By reading your post, I saw some new things that I was not able to see when reviewing my autobiography for class. I agree with you that the information matters in some ways. We do want our students to be open and to share that kind of information with us, in order to know them better. So why couldn’t we? It is fair for us to share if we want others to share when the opportunity arises. Great response Jordan, keep up the good work!

  2. It is interesting how we don’t think about so many things. I also forget that people view me as a white male and all the ‘benefits’ that has. I think that when we come from the norm, we don’t have any real reason to differentiate. I mentioned sexuality because it is DIFFERENT from the norm and it is something that can often be brought up when talking about minorities. When discussing differences such as this, or an AfricanAmerican talking about skin colour – there is also a sense of pride that is taken. Not to say that we as the ‘norm’ (which has so many implications in saying that to begin with) don’t have pride – but by not really overcoming anything as a nation or culture or race, changes how we view each other and ourselves.
    I hope you understand what I am trying to say here! It is a difficult topic to put words to.

    • I do understand what you are saying! I love the comment. I think another reason we don’t talk about being the “norm” is because we do feel that it is wrong at times, as was mentioned in class. You do not want to say “I am a white, able bodied, straight, woman” because to some people this looks like you have the perfect life and have not gone through any struggles. So I do agree with what you are saying about a pride being shown when talking about minorities. Does this make sense?

  3. I did not include my gender, sexual orientation or race in my original autobiography because this is the “norm” and none of this information makes me truly unique. I haven’t felt oppression or did not feel this contributed to the “how I got to be here” aspect of the assignment. I’m from a family where my dad has a disability and it limits him physically. I grew up watching my mom really take the reins of the “power” figure who goes to work, feeds the family and takes on building and renovation projects typically expected of the male figure. I didn’t identify myself as being a female in my autobiography because how I was raised and the family role I had did not limit me in any way.
    I think it is important to understand how everyone’s lives shaped their opinions on these different “norms,” but if it doesn’t matter to others than this information feels a little unnecessary to state. I agree with Dalton, it’s really hard to explain!! Hope everyone tries to understand the point I’m trying to get across.

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