Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box

My legs have been getting a great workout these past two days.  While we already walked around all day yesterday for the 4th of July festivities, we went on a field trip today and walked even more!  It was super fun though as we visited the Eastern State Penitentiary and the Liberty Museum.  Before the day even started I was already excited because I love visiting such informative and historical sites like these two.
Throughout the day, Prof. Lamas wanted us to really focus on and hone into the feelings we had when we arrived at each destination and our emotional response to it afterwards.  In regard to the penitentiary, I saw the enormous stone walls and felt that this place was a giant pit of isolation.  When we ventured inside the prison, we learned in fact that keeping the prisoners completely separate from one another was the prime solution to "fixing them."  I don't agree with their method because I believe that it must have had serious psychological side effects on these individuals.  Even though the prisoners had the chance to learn a trade and prepare to enter back into the real world, I cannot even imagine how difficult it must have been to go from 2-8 years of solitary confinement to working a construction job with a large number of people.  Thinking about that I understood that this system had to fall apart sooner or later, which did happen in 1971 due to a number of reasons.  
Old Prisoner Cell
Looming Hallways
When we arrived at the Liberty Museum, Prof. Lamas, wanted us to pay attention to how the tour guide presented the information in order to see if there was more to the display than she may lead on, or if the setup of the museum did not explicitly state some information. We, as a group, actually talked to her a little bit about our intentions prior to the tour and she let us know that there are many omissions that she must make due to the time crunch, however much she wishes to dig deeper into some topics.  I really enjoyed my time at this museum because Prof. Lamas had us thinking about the exhibits with such an awareness that we were able to see beyond the displays and identify what else the pieces had to say.  Instead of noticing how pretty the work of art was or only paying attention to the pictures of famous faces we've all seen before, we all took that next step and recognized the work that was put into that piece of art and the photographers who took the pictures of those people on display.  I greatly appreciate that our professor gave us this opportunity because I often do not even think about the history behind the museum itself, but rather I simply take in the information presented to me.  This is a wonderful new way of internalizing new information and I will definitely carry that with me wherever I go from now on.
So far this program has turned out to be absolutely wonderful and completely engaging.  I feel like I am discovering more about myself every day and learning how to open my mind even wider.  I have had really fun conversations with my classmates and I feel very comfortable with them already.  I only hope that this continues, which I know it will, because the vibe in the group is great!  I love that I am so excited to go to class everyday because that is such a big contrast to my feeling throughout my years in high school, where I don't always look forward to my next class.  Hopefully after this class is over, which I was wish was never, I'll come back to my high school with a more optimistic mindset that I can carry on throughout the year. 
On the Way to the Museum

1 comment:

  1. Chloe,

    From these words and pictures it’s obvious you’re all having much too good of a time. This is school--it’s supposed to be boring, it’s supposed to be tedious and it’s not supposed to be fun! No? Okay, maybe I got it wrong.

    Something each generation needs to understand about previous generations is the mindset of the time. When you look at how cruel that prison was you have to understand that during that time frame the idea wasn’t to rehabilitate prisoners--the idea was to punish them. The idea was to make prison the kind of place that NO ONE would ever want to go to and certainly wouldn’t want to go back to.

    Of course, you had consequences of penal policies with what you mentioned only being the tip of the iceberg.

    Google the prison/jail policies of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, AZ and read about the way he treats prisoners. While liberals may demand he be charged with crimes against humanity, his constituents in Maricopa County--who would never be confused with being liberal--support him to the max. There’s a philosophy in some circles that if we made prisons a bad place to be, perhaps we would n;t have so many evildoers who don’t fear the consequences of their actions.

    What are your thoughts, Chloe? Now that you’re attending the Academy of Social Justice, how do you balance the needs of the public with the demands of those that are the recipients of those “needs of the public”?