My writing journey for this composition class has been a difficult and rewarding journey. It’s a love / hate relationship with my writing because hate the writing process however, when I read the finished essay, I feel very accomplished. In the first phase we were asked to write a “Multimodal Language and Literacy Narrative,” I decided to write my narrative on “Urban English” ebonics to be exact. I particularly enjoyed writing this essay the most because I can relate, I was born and raised in the Bronx. There’s no way to escape it, “IT’S EVERYWHERE” in the hood the dialect is easy to learn albeit the vocabulary is constantly evolving the language of urban decay. Writing this essay, I was able to utilize idioms, ethos, and pathos techniques in my rhetorical analysis in addition to presenting it orally to audience of my peers adding a Power Point to illustrate my narrative effectively .
The second phase of my writing journey is elevated in difficulty and a different writing perspective is introduced. This phase called “The Rhetorical Analysis” I wrote a rhetorical analysis on a peer’s language and literacy narrative. I interviewed my appointed partner to compose an analysis and cover page. Which briefly summarizes my peer’s text and describe which rhetorical strategies he used. “Piece of cake” lol… Although a challenging topic, I realized how important selecting the perfect descriptive text for your essay to persuade and inform an audience. I was fortunate enough to have an articulate peer who was able to captivate my imagination to ancient Arabia in Minaj’s journey learning the Arabic language and his pilgrimage to Islam. Minaj used “Pathos”, “Ethos” and idioms strategies to inform and engage his audience (me) about the language of his religion and his experience of his journey. I feel the professor’s strategy in this phase was to pair us up with writers who can help each other in the writing process with techniques as well as exchanging views on the diversity of language and culture. This eased the writing process of this essay because most of the information in the essay was provided by your peer. By the end of this phase I started noticing the improvement in my writing process and reading but still lacked the ability to extend the length of my paper
“The Researched Essay” was the most difficult of all the phases because it targeted areas of my biggest weaknesses, content extension and citation. I was required to propose, introduce, and synthesize 2 sources in my draft. Location of the Citation has always been tricky for me because I get confused in where to insert. Extending the content of my essays is an ongoing struggle of mine however, I feel I been making progress. I identified in this process has helped me re-examine and revise my essays before and after submission. I selected a social injustice issue of the only existing colony in the world today Puerto Rico and how the United States affects women’s reproduction there. In my essay I identified through colonial and documented history how the United States deliberately orchestrated a sterilization champaign especially targeting Puerto Rican women in poverty-stricken areas through the use of powerful propaganda champaigns which propagated solutions of fertility control to improve social and economics issues. I feel while working on this project although I had excellent resources and I had good content in my essay it was lacking content, and I was at a loss on creativity. I submitted the assignment but dissatisfied with my submission nevertheless I look forward on the professor’s feedback and making the necessary edits to make it an exceptional reading material.
The final phase of my writing journey “The Digital Portfolio and Self-Assessment Essay” was the easiest to write, however I had some issues creating my digital portfolio. In this phase I noticed a significant improvement in my writing, vocabulary, and creativity. Now I just need to improve on target dates lol. The reading materials provided by Professor Buchanan had techniques on source gathering as well citing tips that were extremely helpful tools. This final phase as well as the previous phases has assisted in revisions of the previous papers on each phase assisted the prior leading to the final which for me was the easiest to write because it’s a reflective collaboration of everything learned and written utilized to improve writing, reading and vocabulary techniques.
The take aways of this class were more than I anticipated. One of them being the materials provided by Professor Buchanan were definitely big factor in aiding the improvement of my creativity, vocabulary brainstorming and writing. I felt a little exploited throughout the process with the heavy amount of reading and writing required by this class but in retrospect the outcome were exactly my intentions. To be a better writer communicator and furthermore to improve my vocabulary, attributes that I will definitely need going forward in life.
How did the United States affect women’s reproduction in Puerto Rico?
Forced sterilization in Puerto Rico was a somber chapter in the history of the island. This essay discusses how the United States executed a deliberate campaign to sterilize Puerto Rican women, leaving behind a legacy of pain, and oppression, and a lasting impact on the island’s population since the late 1920’s. My essay delves into the historical context, methods, motives, and consequences of this mass sterilization program. In addition, why the United States decided it was best to sterilize the Puerto Ricans.
1 Historical Context: A Legacy of Colonialism and Imperialism
The origins of Puerto Rico’s sterilization campaign can be traced back to the island’s colonial past. The late 1920s marked a period of economic hardships as a rapidly growing population and the lack of jobs, the island was in dire poverty. Puerto Rico’s status as a US colony made it susceptible to the influence of American ideologies and policies such as birth control and sterilization. How women became the primary targets of this invasive and unjust practice.
2. Methods and influence: Propaganda, Advertisements and Politics
The methods used to execute the sterilization program were multifaceted. A powerful propaganda campaign for contraception was a solution to the island’s economic and social challenges. Advertisements painted sterilization as a means of family planning subtly coercing women to undergo the procedure.
Political influences also played a significant role. Policies enforced by both local and federal governments in collaboration with institutions such as the Puerto Rican Health Department which facilitated propaganda and encouraged the procedure.
3. The Emotional and Psychological Toll on Puerto Rican Women
For the women who underwent forced sterilization, the consequences were not limited to physical changes. The emotional and psychological scars ran deep. Many women face the despair of not being able to bear additional children or in some cases any at all. This loss of reproduction left women in a state of hopelessness with no prospects for future generations.
4. The Ongoing Impact: Birth Control and Continued U.S. Influence
The legacy of fertility control in Puerto Rico remains in effect. Birth control and reproductive rights continue to be subjects of debate and contention. The island’s colonial status, economic dependency, and political vulnerability have allowed the United States to control the key aspects of Puerto Rico’s governance and public policies.
How did the United States affect women’s reproduction in Puerto Rico?
Since the acquisition of Puerto Rico in 1869, the American government has played a vital role in Puerto Rico’s birth control movement. U.S. officials called the excess population the root cause of the island’s poverty crisis. To improve Puerto Rican civilization and society the United States tried several strategies to control overpopulation by methods of sterilization, and birth control. My essay examines the ways that Puerto Rican women’s fertility was manipulated over time, and the conflicting feelings about the birth control movement in Puerto Rico. Officials believe that it helped reduce the island’s population and improved its economy, while feminist and social justice groups argue that the mass sterilization was a violation of women’s reproductive rights, amid the feelings of the women who were sterilized.
After the acquisition, the United States identified the economic and living conditions there were already dire. Jobs were scarce, there was overpopulation, starvation was common, and disease ran rampant on the island. The government was looking for solutions to the problems in Puerto Rico, their solution was to apply Malthusian and eugenic philosophies which originated in 17th and 18th century Europe. A philosophy recognized and practiced in Nazi Germany. Malthusian philosophies were theorized by Thomas Malthus also known as the father of population control. Malthus, a British aristocrat, and clergyman who lived in England during the second half of the Industrial Revolution argued that poverty was caused by overpopulation and that world population would rapidly supersede the earth’s capacity for food production unless preventive measures were put in place. In 1937 Law 116 was introduced in Puerto Rico allowing eugenic-based sterilization, which mainly targeted poor marginalized women of color. With the support of U.S. eugenicist Clarence Gamble, an heir to the Procter & Gamble Company used his facilities in the 1930s to test contraceptives that had not yet been approved by the FDA like the diaphragm, foam powder, sponge, and spermicidal jelly to approximately 1500 women. “La Operacion” as many Puerto Ricans called the procedure that sterilized women either by hysterectomy or tubal ligation was aimed at women who had difficulty controlling their fertility. By the 1940s island studies revealed that 7% of Puerto Rican women were sterilized. Six years later another study conducted exposed that percentages had risen to 16% albeit it did not decrease fertilization in women (Presser, (1969).
Starting In the 1950 Dr. Gregory Pincus and Dr. John Rock used Puerto Rican women as test subjects in addition to sterilization. The pair conducted several trials in poverty-stricken neighborhoods, especially at a housing project in Río Piedras. The women who participated knew the drugs prevented pregnancy, however, they were not aware that the medication contained much higher levels of hormones than modern-day birth control pills and was in an experimental stage or that it had negative side effects. Some of the side effects included nausea, dizziness, headaches, stomach pain, and vomiting, while three participants died. The deaths of the 3 women were not investigated, and Pincus and Rock dismissed the complaints as psychosomatic.
Historically, it is estimated that between 1947-1948, 7% of Puerto Rican women were sterilized, and by 1956, one out of three women had undergone sterilization. The opinions of Puerto Rican women who were more likely to choose sterilization, were poor. (Lopez. (1993). Agency And Constraint: Sterilization and Reproductive Freedom Among Puerto Rican Women In New York City. Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development) Sterilization and birth control became a popular choice amongst poor and colored women either because of work opportunities domestically or in the U.S. to help their families economically. Others made the choice not to become pregnant from their abusive husband or spouse which is common amongst men on the island even in present times. Initially, men were not excluded, however, they were reluctant to perform the procedure and were not enforced by officials which eventually excluded men from sterilization emphasizing the gender-specific nature of this injustice.
The government of Puerto Rico along with mainland governments used various propaganda and pressure tactics to persuade and coerce many Puerto Rican women into undergoing sterilization procedures from the 1930s to 1970s. Pamphlets, radio programs, and door-to-door visits promoting sterilization as empowering, modern, and a means of economic stability. This orchestrated the procedure positively. Employers were paid incentives for every woman sterilized, so they made it mandatory for them upon hire. Leveraging government financial aid programs to bribe women to undergo sterilization in exchange for poverty relief. In addition to allowing illiterate women to “sign” consent forms with a thumbprint, providing doubtful legal authorization. On the mainland, governments improved the public image of Puerto Ricans, as they were an important source of cheap labor for American corporations. The media began portraying Puerto Rican migrants as hard workers who should be accepted into the United States society, causing Americans to view Puerto Ricans as valuable only because of the labor they provided. Puerto Rican women were expected to go to work to provide for their families while on the mainland, which meant that they could no longer have large families. Many Puerto Rican women at this time chose to be sterilized either before they left for the mainland, or shortly after arriving so that they would be better able to enter the workforce.
When Puerto Rico was colonized by the United States in 1898, The problem seemed obvious, overpopulation. Puerto Rico is a small island, with a population growing at a rate faster than the land could keep up with. The mainland government’s immediate solution was an increase in migration to the mainland with programs like “Operation Bootstraps and a long-term solution was to lower the birth rate through family planning programs. The most popular form of contraception on the island was sterilization, which was promoted by the United States government through Puerto Rican public health institutions. In 1965, it was estimated that one-third of Puerto Rican women of child-bearing age had been sterilized, a rate ten times higher than that of white women. In the United States Puerto Rican women had a higher sterilization rate overall in the country however, mainland rates were lower than in Puerto Rico itself. In addition, the timing of the sterilization differed in Puerto Rico where women were sterilized early in their reproductive stages, and in the mainland, it was after completing childbearing.
The feminist and social justice views on Puerto Rican sterilization are multifaceted and diverse. Some feminist perspectives view sterilization as a form of colonial genocide, while others argue that it was not a genocidal project carried out by the government It is important to note that Puerto Rican nationalism and pronatalism are also factors considered by socialist feminists in their analysis of sterilization practice. The YouTube video “La Operacion” (as it was popularly called) interviews women who underwent the procedure about their thoughts and feelings regarding the procedure some confessed they wanted a choice to decide and felt like their human rights were violated, and many were remorseful of their decision to operate, while others were ok with the procedure and had no regrets. Essentially, a mix of positive spin, racist ideology, health threats, economic pressure, and coercion was used to drive high sterilization rates, often without full consent. This video highlights the unethical manipulation of marginalized women by governments.
The legacy of fertility control in Puerto Rico remains in effect 154 years later. Birth control and reproductive rights continue to be subjects of debate and contention. Present-day views on birth control have broader discussions about healthcare, gender equality, and social justice. It is imperative to recognize that Puerto Ricans, like any population, are not homogenous in their perspectives and public opinions. They evolve over time shaped by changing political and social movements. The island’s colonial status, economic dependency, and political vulnerability have allowed the United States to exert control over the key aspects of Puerto Rico’s governance and public policies. Many Puerto Ricans want more autonomy in determining their laws and policies, including those related to birth control. They argue that decisions regarding reproductive rights should be made locally, considering the specific cultural and social context of Puerto Rico. They consider the U.S. control over local laws to be a remnant of colonialism.
The forced sterilization of Puerto Rican women is a distressing history of exploitation, oppression, and the enduring effects of colonialism. This dark chapter serves as a reminder of the consequences of unchecked power and the importance of respecting the reproductive autonomy and human rights of all individuals, regardless of their geographical location or socio-economic status. It is a story that should be told, acknowledged, and learned from, for the sake of justice and the preservation of human dignity.
English Composition 110
Love for a Non-Native
Love for a Non-Native CCNY student writer Minhajul Khan gives a descriptive unfeigned process of learning to speak Arabic and the embracement of its culture. His perseverance and resilience to learn a difficult culture have paved the way for him to pursue additional knowledge of other languages. Minhajul recounts how he was initially introduced to and captivated by the Arabic language and then by its history. How it has helped him with his religion, family, and life. To further bolster his claim the writer, employs several rhetorical strategies. The first is his elaborate vivid description of the Arabic culture and the encouragement it has given him to conquer his fears by learning diverse languages and exploring cultures. Moreover, the pinnacle of his spiritual journey was the embarkment to the Iraqi mosque. The pilgrimage that would pave the way for his future endeavors.
Minhajul an electrical engineering major and minoring in Arabic studies at City College per his parent’s wishes. He hopes to someday acquire a position within an engineering firm at a supervisory level. Additionally, he enjoys reading holy texts such as the Quran, New Testament, and Vedas furthermore he enjoys the various ideologies and their history. Minhajul also engages in peer envision writing exercises in class that have helped refine his writing techniques and approaches. In his five-year long-term goals, Minhajul sees himself married with kids, lots of them., a degree in electrical engineering and a minor in history and Arabic studies or even maybe comparative religious studies and ambitions successful in life from all aspects, from being a great father, a great husband, a great son, a great engineer.
Minhajul is an inspiring engineering student at City College who has always been captivated by the exotic language of Arabic. In a recent insightful interview, he shared his enthusiasm for the language recollecting his fondest memories were the quiet evenings in Bangladesh struggling to compose sentences, “feeling overwhelmed by the unfamiliar script and complicated grammar”. Just when frustration begins to consume him, his tutor, Ahmed, smiles warmly and says, “Keep in mind that every word in Arabic has meaning and history”. A testament to his unwavering dedication to refining his craft. Despite his initial uncertainty about his abilities to learn Arabic, Minhajul recognized the value of honing his communication skills to grow spiritually, personally, and professionally. His approach to writing is characterized by a candid and introspective narrative style, where he seamlessly intertwines his personal experiences with his professional endeavors. In his essay, ” Love for A Non-Native” he tactfully employs evocative and descriptive language that reflects his keen writing skills in addition to the capacity to transform his experiences into vivid and engaging essays. In his essay, Minhajul’s intense description of his journey into the world of Arabia is marked by a profound sense of fervor and enthusiasm, evident in his use of phrases like ” the beautiful tongue of Arabic ” and ” Arabic was a life-changing event that exposed my heart and mind to a world of richness ” This rhetorical choice effectively captures the reader’s attention, inviting them to embark on his crusade and share in his exploration of new cultural experiences.
Minhajul employs a strategic use of imagery and metaphor to illustrate his Arabic journey. He introduces the language in his narrative as a “beautiful tongue” describing the “lovely language” as “life changing that filled his heart with richness and depth”. His pilgrimage to the Iraqi Mosque was emphasized as a moment of significance and the peak of his Arabic crusade. Idioms such as “melodic tones of faithful worshippers’ recitation of the Quran’” including “As I stood in the middle of a breathtaking architectural giant” not only showcase his keen sensitivity to the subtleties of language but also highlight his expressive nuances and intricacies of language and culture.
Throughout his narrative, Minhajul masterfully weaves the theme of spirituality and language. His use of phrases ” where the sands speaks of warmth during the day and wet during the nights” and recounts the Arabian peninsula is where stories of Aladin take place. The ability to engage in meaningful conversations in Arabic opened doors to friendships and cultural exchanges I could have never imagined. Reflects his innate ability to foster a sense of solidarity emphasizing the significance of mutual support and camaraderie in his spiritual and linguistic endeavors.
In his concluding reflections, Minhajul eloquently emphasizes the transformative power of language and the profound impact it has had on his personal growth. By acknowledging his grasp of Arabic, he emphasizes the lasting connections and empathetic bonds he has formed, transcending the limitations of linguistic proficiency and cultural differences. This profound sense of empathy and unity showcases his innate ability to weave personal experiences with broader themes of human connection. His strong connection to religion and his dedication to supersede any life challenges, there is no question in my mind that Minhajul will succeed in future endeavors. All the best to him!!
English Comp 110
Love for Non- Native
In his essay titled Love for A Non-Native published in 2023, CCNY student author, Minhajul Khan asserts his profoundness of the Arabic language by addressing his life-changing experience on his journey learning the language and how it has enriched his life. By supplying his audience with information about the Arabic language and culture Minhajul Khan builds his claim about learning to speak and write Arabic including how it helped in his religion. He introduces the audience with feelings of awe and love for the language and religion as he creates a spiritual and enlightening environment for the reader with information about his favorite places to study, and his instructor’s patience including the significance of every Arab word and the history behind its meaning, solidifying his claim about his love for the language. Minhajul wishes to convey to his readers the importance of his journey to learn Arabic and the struggles and rewards of learning another language and culture. The author’s audience likely consists of those interested in speaking Arabic or of the Muslim faith as is evident through his reference to his visit to Iraq to visit the mosque in addition to listening to the melodic recitation of the Quran. He addresses the reader with a tone that is informative and heartfelt.
English Comp / Prof. Buchanan
Title: Urban English
Hip hop can be defined as dance, music genre, fashion, and a culture. Hip hop originated in New York City in the late 1970’s and is divided into elements. There was Dj-ing. DJs like Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grand Wizard Theodore, and Grandmaster Flash were the first pioneers to introduce turn table cutting, scratching, and electro tracking. The second element was MC-ing. The initial innovator MC’s were Sugar Hill Gang, KRS One, Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, and Rakim are equivalent to current day rap legends like LL Kool J and Dr. Dre. The third element was B boyin/girlin. It was the first form of hip-hop dance. Dancers like Crazy Legs, Rokafella, and Kwikstep were some of the popular original hip-hop dancers. The fourth element of Hip Hop was art better known as graffiti. Lady Pink and the Tats Cru were fundamental to the incorporate art of the hip hop culture. The Fifth element of Hip Hop is fashion. The Kangol hat, and Adidas sneakers were synonymous with Hip Hop as is Russell Simmons with Phat Pharm. Over the decades the Hip Hop genre, fashion, art, and dance have evolved, however it’s a way of life for the marginalized of New York City and every city where there is urban decay.
I am a first generation American in my family, both my parents were born in Puerto Rico and migrated from Puerto Rico during the Puerto Rican diaspora. They settled in the Bronx before it became the origins of Hip hop music which was home to many diasporic minorities, predominately Blacks and Latinos. Hip hop music was my influence growing up and was inevitable not to adapt to the language when it was the language of the youth. The genre did not only influence music but, it impacted fashion, language, and eventually American culture. I remember how adidas sneakers, hoodies and Levis were a must have. Phrases like “What’s up” and “What’s good” it is urban English for “How are you?” The word “fresh” was not used to describe food but to something nice. “Your bugging” meant you’re crazy and the term “bad” meant something good. Urban English was the language for areas with “urban decay ”aka “the hood” and only peoples from there could understand these phrases which continue to evolve today. Although we go to school to learn the standard and proper English, the minute we were out of school it was back to Ebonics. I didn’t even realize how it consumed me until I started working in a corporate environment where my Hip hop accent was evident. Once my workplace became my dominate environment, my business vocabulary became noticeable with my friends and family. Don’t get it twisted now because I can switch it like a light now Lol. I’ve learned over the years that Hip hop urban English will always be a part of me it also lets me identify with my surroundings and the people within my community. Living in a big city like New York it helps to be savvy in all aspects of language.
Growing up in the South Bronx in the midst of the Hip hop explosion adapting the language is inevitable. The language has become part of my identity in addition to being a staple part of New York City, in addition to becoming a part of American society and pop culture. Today, the Hip hop language is a hot topic in academia . Sociolinguist have been interested in how Hip-hop language relates to Afro American English as well as its innovation in terms of grammar and vocabulary and because here I am writing this essay about it. Personally find it amazing how the music genre transformed into a multi -faceted conglomerate that continues re-innovating.
Hip hop continues to evolve and has become more mainstream and part of today’s pop culture. The was once associated with drugs crime and violent ghettos is now being assimilated by youths worldwide, I can truly say that Urban English has established its place in modern society. I feel that the Black Lives Matter Movement assisted in the Black / Indigenous Culture Movement and Ebonics is a part of that liberation which in my opinion was way overdue. Hip Hop English took 5 decades in the making and will be here for generation to come.