Blog

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /var/www/vhosts/ulliryder.com/httpdocs/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

The Meaning of the 4th of July, 2011

Also available on The Feminist Wire


Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them . . . your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery. . . a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.


Gender-Neutral or Wishful Thinking?

Also available on The Feminist Wire

Can we raise gender-neutral children? A Toronto couple is attempting to do just that. Kathy Witterick and David Stocker have decided to allow their third child, Storm, to decide which gender he or she identifies with. This has caused some confusion. It is a basic impulse for people to approach the parents of babies and ask “So, is it a boy or girl?” It is very unusual for the parents to reply, as this couple does, “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now…” Many people applaud their decision and support the belief – gender equality – underlying the decision. A Facebook page has been created in support of the family. On the other hand, many people have expressed outrage over their decision and believe withholding this information is akin to child abuse. One man is so upset that he has created a Facebook page in opposition to this couple and has threatened to report them to child abuse investigators. At this time, the support page has twice as many “friends” as the opposition page.



Mahler B. Ryder, Jr.: Art, Technology and a Daughter’s Memory

Also available on The Cultural Weekly


This is the 19th Father’s Day since my father’s death. Most people remember my father as a visual artist. Some also remember him as a jazz pianist. One professor and his wife at Brown University remember him as the neighbor who called the fire department in the middle of the night and saved their home (and the professor) from burning to the ground. I remember him as an amateur historian, a lover of knowledge, a man who always wished his own education had been more complete.



Becoming Chaz, Remaking Oprah

Also available on Cultural Weekly


I like being female, at least most of the time. But even on days when it might be easier to be male (like when I have to walk several blocks in heels), I don’t really want to be a man. I just want to be wearing comfortable shoes and am jealous that men’s shoes (usually) don’t come with the risk of a twisted ankle, sore toes or blisters. I have no idea what it would be like to want to surgically remove my breasts, take hormone injections and otherwise alter my body (and life) completely.



Gender-Neutral or Wishful Thinking?

Also available on The Feminist Wire



Can we raise gender-neutral children? A Toronto couple is attempting to do just that. Kathy Witterick and David Stocker have decided to allow their third child, Storm, to decide which gender he or she identifies with. This has caused some confusion. It is a basic impulse for people to approach the parents of babies and ask “So, is it a boy or girl?” It is very unusual for the parents to reply, as this couple does, “We’ve decided not to share Storm’s sex for now…” Many people applaud their decision and support the belief – gender equality – underlying the decision. A Facebook page has been created in support of the family. On the other hand, many people have expressed outrage over their decision and believe withholding this information is akin to child abuse. One man is so upset that he has created a Facebook page in opposition to this couple and has threatened to report them to child abuse investigators. At this time, the support page has twice as many “friends” as the opposition page.



Girls Gone? Wild.


Also available on Cultural Weekly


Just for the record: I am not a slut and I would be offended if anyone called me a slut. But not everyone feels this way. Some women are trying to reclaim the term, like gays have reclaimed the term “queer.” I’m not sure I agree with this mission but, like it or not, sluts are coming out of the dark bars and nightclubs and taking to the streets. Nearly 2,000 “sluts” marched through Boston Common this weekend. Some wore jeans and t-shirts; some were dressed in nothing more than a bra and a micro-mini. All of them protested the idea that women who dress a certain way are “asking for it.”



“Love that Girl” but Hate “those” Boys?

Also available on thefeministwire.com


“Love that Girl” is a new show on TVOne, starring Tatyana Ali who is best known for her role as Ashley on the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Actor Phil Morris appears as the father. Both Morris and Ali have been nominated for NAACP Image awards based on “Love that Girl.” The show is written and directed by Bentley Kyle Evans, whose previous work includes “Martin” and “The Jamie Foxx Show.” Executive Producers include Martin Lawrence and Jeff Franklin (“Full House”). With this list of accomplished actors, writers, directors and producers it is unfortunate that “Love that Girl” resorts to sophomoric jokes, particularly at the expense of gays.



Fort Sumpter's Legacy

Also available on OpenSalon.com



The Civil War began at 4:30am on April 12, 1861. From the distance of 150 years, we should reflect on the meaning of the War Between the States and evaluate whether or not we have lived up to the legacy of all those who fought and died to preserve the union.



Enter the Classroom: 21st Century Education

Also available on The Chronicle of Higher Education


Though intriguing, the article, “Actually Going to Class, for a Specific Course? How 20th-Century,” in the Chronicle of Higher Education begins with a false premise. Dekunle Somade assumes that access to a podcast or video of a lecture and PowerPoint slides is equal to engaging in meaningful discussion with fellow students and faculty. This is only true if when we say “education” we mean the accumulation of facts that can be regurgitated on command. Perhaps this is how some professors view education. Certainly I have had professors who simply stood in front of a class, spilled out information and then tested students to make sure they could reproduce the same information on an exam. I learned almost nothing from these professors. On the other hand, other professors – true educators – ask students to take in information, make meaningful connections between that information and their own lives and then creatively use that information to gain a deeper understanding of the world we inhabit.


Forget books, carry a gun!

I am an educator, a college professor to be exact. I have taught at eight schools in three different states. I do not carry a gun. My students (I hope) do not carry guns. The biggest problems I face in the classroom are web-surfing and text messaging. This is easily solved – laptops are banned and texters reprimanded and marked “absent.” What would happen if I – or my students – carried concealed weapons?