Frederick Douglas and Frankie Mae were similar in that they suffered from an outside oppression; or in other words, that it came from beyond their innermost circles. Imagine an oppression that your mother, father, friends, and contemporaries agree with and furthermore, insists that you go along with them. I speak, of the ever confining world of ultra-orthodox Jewish women.

Completely opposite of Frankie Mae and Frederick Douglas, the oppression spoken of here is invisible, and apparently non-existent. There is no twitter, facebook, or even a Harry Potter book permitted into the lives of these women. There is no contact with the outside world, save for the professions they must acquire in order to support a husband. Usually, these professions are part time, so as also to be able to run a family. The husband, goes to an ultra orthodox yeshivah to learn. Such is the life of a married woman, and the emotional and physical strains are instantly apparent. Of course, while juggling all of this, she is forbidden from socializing with men, and in literally and figuratively told to use thee back door to many areas of life. Women are always in the back, and out of sight; maintaining the ultra-orthodox level of tsnius, or modesty.

For a very scarce few, there are holes in this system of living. These people leave the fold and are ostracized. Most are to afraid to speak out because if they do, the futures of extended family and close friends would assuredly be in jeopardy. Everyone knows, of course, that no yeshivah boy would want to marry a girl with a shifty relative. The girls are frightened into obedience with the prospect of not having a future, and are thus kept down. In some ways, they remind me of Frankie Mae, resigned and beaten into place. It is my hope that more will come to resemble the courage of Frederick Douglas, and will have the courage to be the oddball cousin.


Parachute cut. Baggy cut. Straight cut. Skinny cut. Super skinny cut. For the past 2 decades of my existence, this has been the development of denim. The more fashion develops, the slimmer denim becomes. I remember that when I was little, jeans we’re ONLY for hanging out. God forbid I wear jeans to church, or to a funeral, or to a wedding, my mother would rip them off of me and strangle me to death. She thought of them as tacky, and disrespectful in an elegant environment. Truth is, most of that generation had the same mindset as my mother. Many of my elders would agree and also hang me with a denim noose.

I think of all of my denim as a “genie in a bottle”. They are my go-to pairs of bottoms. If I am lazy, I throw on my jeans. If I am running to the store, I throw on my jeans. If I am hanging out in the city, I throw on my jeans. They are just so comfortable. Especially after they break in, it feels like I’m running around bottomless! (Sorry for the image).

Time and trends are respecters of no one. In the past few years, denim has grown on people. It seems as if literally over night, denim became dressy. In my teenage super rebellious years I decided to wear jeans to church. (I know, I know. I was a real rebel). But it seemed that everyone else was doing the same. People started to wear jeans with graphic tees and threw on a blazer over it. BAM! DRESSY! Men wore button downs with jeans and shoes. BAM! DRESSY! Women wore jeans, a blouse and heels. BAM! DRESSY! I didn’t start anything. Society changed together. We collectively and sub-consciously permitted denim to enter the category of “dressy”. The funny thing is, the lower and working class have been doing it since jeans we’re invented. It always seems to take forever for the upper class to catch up.

Abraham Ariel Vazquez

This picture, in my opinion, is a reflection of “access and interpretation”. The book on the left is the Qu’ran, and the book on the right is the Bible. It is interesting to not that these books are both the same width, size, and thickness. It seems as these books are “butting heads” with each other.

The way this represents access and interpretation is that today, these two books are highly accessible. Anyone with money, or with no money, can get access to the books. The difference between these two books are their interpretation. Each book claim’s to be the verbatim words of God. Not only does religion interpret God’s words differently, but the reader also make their own interpretation as well. People interpret their readings in a way which reflects their circumstance.


I believe that this picture represent paradigm. The reason why is because the quotes under the picture gave me little hints that helped me come to that conclusion.  In addition if you look really closely at the picture you are able to see a shift from a young woman to an old lady woman and vice versa. The word paradigm is defined as something that serves a pattern or model and the image was able to depict that with the shifting from a young woman to an old woman.

   Rohene D

Nothing has changed. For centuries, history repeats itself again and again. Though there are different characters, scenarios, and environments, the plot, the outcome, and the effects are still the same. In reading “Learning to Read and Growing in Knowledge”, “The Readers’ Strike”, and  “Frankie Mae,  I realized that these people all experienced the same story, but with different circumstances and environments. At on point in all of our lives, events  happens that can alters how we approach different situations. For example, growing up with parents verbally or physically abusing a child, that child can grow up to resent anyone who tries to harm them. It changes their perspective on love, relationship, and friendship causing them to receive communication in pessimistic way. In different cases, those children can grow up to be better than their parents were and develop a tenderhearted character. And yet again in other cases, children can grow up to be anti-social and avoid anymore hurt. In each of these articles, we see each character reflect at least one of these oppressed children.

Fredrick Douglas is a rare find. Born into slavery, and living most of his life as a slave, Douglas chose the path of stepping out over his contenders and oppressors and proving himself as an educated human being. His turning point began when his Master, Hugh Auld, “proceeded to unfold to his wife the true philosophy of the slave system, and the peculiar rules necessary in the nature of the case to be observed in the management of human chattels”. “If you give a nigger an inch, he will take an ell” continues, Mr. Hugh Auld. These words, “stirred up within [Douglas] a rebellion not soon to be allayed”. I believe from this point forward, Douglas used this encounter as fuel for his life long campaign of advocating for slaves. He would forever be proof that “knowledge is the pathway from slavery to freedom”.

José Yglesias, a cigar maker of Ybor City, the barrio of the city of Tampa, was one who decided to live with what they were used to. José and the rest of the cigar makers decided to go on strike for 3 months because they believed they we’re being oppressed by their superiors. This was more than just owners feeling as if

it was not right that these men…

should seem so to enjoy the ideas in the words of

Zola, Dickens, Cervantes, Tolstoy…so that

this very delicate labor of rolling fine cigars

might seem less tedious there in the hot sun

in the middle of a depression…

This was an attempt to censor these very absorbent minds. Minds that could come together and think together, and revolt together, and actually make change. The 3 month strike wasn’t to get paid more or to fix working conditions. It was to prove that the work has been done. The words they heard has already helped shape their minds and helped them think for themselves. However in the end, they went back to work without anyone reading to them. Their knowledge was caped out.

Frankie Mae is like those who completely shut themselves out from society after oppression. She found an outlet which was education and thinking. But one statement would forever change her drive for learning and her drive for living. “Long as you live, bitch, I’, gonna be right and you gonna be wrong. Now get your black ass outta here.” Mr. White Junior had succeeded in his version of censorship. He completely controlled her life by planting in her head nothing will change. I can just picture Frankie Mae, replaying those words day after day. Living according to what her boss had said. Her turning point turned her backwards.

The Cost of Education has created a huge gap between the wealthy class and the middle/lower class. With the increasing costs of tuition in public universities, the middle class is struggling to put their children through higher education.

This hits the middle and working classes particularly hard. Struggling families often face rough patches during which they don’t have enough cash on hand to make such payments, and so have to go to their credit cards — and pay the fees. Meanwhile, wealthy families that can afford to simply write a check upfront each month avoid both credit card fees and interest payments.

To be fair, monthly payment plans intend to help lower-income families afford college. But they have also had the unintentional consequence of creating bonuses for the wealthy and added impediments to the less well-off.

The New York Times

Who gets to go to college? The wealthy? So they can continue to produce wealthy, educated offspring? The New York Times says it the best:

Our institutions of higher learning cannot continue to offer their best deals to a privileged few. Our country needs colleges and universities to recruit and cultivate talented young people from diverse backgrounds. To do so, we must ensure that children from working families have the mechanisms not only to obtain college admission and afford to attend without compromising their studies, but also to be free to enter the economy relatively unburdened by debt.

The New York Times

The wealthy politicians and decision makers are wedging a form of censorship in front of the middle/lower class. Education is slowly becoming something that is difficult to get a hold of. Don’t we have the right to learn? Why should my future career be in jeopardy because I don’t have the funds to properly gain the knowledge necessary for that field. I am a young American. I am the future of America. One day I will decide what is necessary for the next generation. I need to be properly trained in order to make those decisions. If not, this country will rot as it is already doing. I must change was Douglas said to this, Knowledge is the pathway between today and tomorrow.

Sit back and let the media take control? No!

I no longer want to let the invisible hands of society

be the hand that decides which step I take

which outfit i buy, or what food I eat

I want to be my own person, I want to be my own.

I am being swallowed up by the pressures of this world and

I am being spit out into the bowl of “status quo”

Well there is an escape button no one pays attention to

Media infects our vision, our hearing, our thinking

It causes us to think according to its perception

But its enemy, is its friend.

We can think on our own, we can see for ourselves, we can hear on our own.

That my friend, is how we conform no more.