Thursday, April 14, 2005

It's just that it seems as if the banality of this Administration's spin is infecting our language, our approach to reading texts).

Yesterday, one of the two African American students in my class stayed behind to talk to me about how the other students' attitudes are affecting her. Last week she walked out because she felt very offended by the way her classmates responded to the discussion on myths of black sexuality (we are reading Cornel West's Race Matters). I asked the students to make three lists: Myths of Black Sexuality, White Sexuality, and Asian Sexuality. They came back with a long list of black myths and Asian myths but couldn't come up with white myths. In spite of the word "myths," this student felt that the class believed them to be real and so she walked out before she could hear how we deconstructed the lists they came up with.

We talked about how unwilling students are to engage Cornel West; how entrenched their sense of entitlement and privilege are and how the campus climate overall doesn't lend itself to critical dialogue. (Last week, for 3days, pick-ups with large anti-gay banners patrolled the parking lots all day and a new independent conservative student newspaper has made its debut attacking multiculturalism and the Intercultural Center on campus).

To address this in class, she volunteered to do a presentation whereby she will talk about how she feels as the only female black student in class, how she feels that the students are not really taking race and ethnicity issues seriously and how they are shortchanging themselves for not doing so. I'm glad she's reading bell hooks on her own...i think she'll be a bomb.

Yes, people may be tired of identity politics but usually for all the wrong reasons or spins.

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