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DE April 20th Family Unvalues

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In this class we frequently address the language or rhetoric that is correlated to feminism and feminist discourse. For example, it was brought up that "family values" is a concept that is in the cloud shared with the nuclear family, Christian heterosexual privileges, and the American Dream. We discussed that "family values" can be simply just words that mean different things to different race, class, genders, religions, etc. When reading Family Unvalued, I took close notice to the Glossary. I found myself wanting to make flashcards of these terms (one of my ways I can guarantee I will remember vocabulary). Many of the words in the Glossary were not familiar to me; unless I'm just an unacknowledged U.S. 21 year-old girl, which completely could be the case, I would expect that these words are unfamiliar to many people in the United States. For example, I can guarantee that out of my three roommates, no one could describe the different types of visa or maybe even the difference between several gender identities; to be honest I would guess that they would never know how to use these terms because they wouldn't want to offend someone - I guess I just don't know or I don't trust certain websites to give me a direct yes or no answer. But is that just ignorance? Should everyone know these words and how to use them in the correct context? It could be, and I believe that it is in some situations. I wish I could have said I knew these terms before I took BIO 1003 the Biology of Sex or even this class, but I willingly put myself in those classes to learn more about the topics that I truly didn't cross paths with in my daily life.

I digress, but I feel that the play on words is what is discussed many times in "Family Unvalued." The same-sex couples that wrote about expiring visas for their loved ones had to state, "'I am very proud to be an AMERICAN...'" (Family Unvalued, 8) or bring up "'I am also a veteran of the United States Navy and have done my time and service to my country,'" in attempt to sway the judge's opinion on keeping her partner from New Zealand in the U.S. (Family Unvalued, 9).

I don't know how to sum up my confusion, but the power of words is used for people to defend the "marriage is between a man and a woman," or it can be used to promote the famous statement that Harvey Milk said in one of his speeches, "All men are created equal. No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words."

DE April 20

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Chavez discusses the use of normalizing rhetoric used by immigrant and LGBT communities. We saw examples of this in Maid in America when the domestic worker's union talked about how they obeyed laws and paid their taxes.

According to Chavez, these communities imitate heteronormativity in order to gain legitimacy. Chavez talks about this with a sort of contempt, putting "family values" and similar terms in quotes.

Yet Chavez also recognizes that to act differently is very difficult, and highlights the class aspect of behaving differently.

I'm still kind of confused about the central argument of the piece. Chavez doesn't seem to be making suggestions about whether or not to adopt heteronormative family values; there seems to be a more subtle point about legislation and coalitions.

Direct Engagement April 20th

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Reading Family Unvalued the family setting/dynamic that is being primarily discussed is that of a same-sex relationship in which one of the partners is of immigrant status. Border (In) Securities highlighted problems within the Family Unvalued of classism, homonormativity, and privilege. Prevailing themes discussed in the articles regarding family values were:

*heteronormativity/homonormativity
*recognition/rejection
*rights/ acknowledgment
*happiness/fear/harassment
*belonging/exiled/displaced
*normal/deviant
*marriage/partnerships
*freedom/entrapment
*citizen/immigrant
*good/bad citizen
*civil marriage/gay marriage


The articles both touch on a lack of recognition of entire family units and individuals within the families. Specifically addressed were same sex family units that were dealing with immigration. Chavez mentions a conforming of same sex couples to "traditional" family values rather than challenging the various systems of oppression. Both articles address problems of marginalization and belonging, which both effect immigrants and individuals who "deviate" from societal norms. The "deviation" of these people is what causes "threat" to the nation via a number of things including race, class, gender, sexuality, citizenship, families, etc.

DE- April 20th

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Within "Border (In)Securities" as well as "Families, Unvalued", the authors spend a great deal of time reconstructing the breadth of family values, and in the case of the Chavez reading critically analyzing the ways in which those values are framed and problematized. "Families, Unvalued" seeks to revolutionize the ways in which marriage has become an exclusively heterosexual privilege in spite of the fact that historically the institution was fought for as a right for all people. This piece further seeks to expand our understanding of family values by uprooting the nuclear family construct and providing examples of "non-normative" family structures (particularly gay and lesbian, and bi-national couples), and spaces such as South Africa in which these family structures are supported in their own right.
While ultimately both of these readings seek to critically engage with the idea of family values and the restrictions placed upon individuals due to the enforcement of these "values", the Chavez takes a more radical stance at doing so. "Border (In)Securities" looks at the ways in which the systems seeking change oftentimes create exclusions by attempting to work within the system they are trying to uproot. Chavez continually reminds us of the push and pull between assimilation and revolution, particularly as it is framed within works such as "Families, Unvalued." Within this framework, we are forced to examine who is left out of the picture when "Families, Unvalued" constructs narratives around seemingly "non-normative" family values and family structures. Chavez highlights the ways in which organizations frequently attempt to assimilate non-conforming individuals and couples into normative frameworks in working towards equality for these individuals. "Border (In)Securities" was eye opening in that it forces us to grapple with the was in which we create further exclusions as we try to create inclusive spaces within a system already fraught with oppression.

DE for april 20

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Group C should post their DE entries by Monday evening and Groups A and D should post their comments by Wednesday at noon.

This week (4/18 and 4/20), we are reading Chávez's essay, "Border (In)Securities" and parts of Families, Unvalued (note: Read 7-18, 135-144 and closely skim 46-91). For this DE, reflect on the following questions:

  1. How do the authors discuss family values in these readings?
  2. Any terms/concepts/ideas that are confusing for you?
BONUS EXTRA CREDIT: Earn 15 extra points for your total grade by attending one of the following events and posting a 200-300 entry about it by April 22. File your post under the category, "extra credit":