Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

A Contrarian Chimes In

3 Comments

I haven’t really known what to write for this first blog post, since I generally analyze literature for discussion papers, as opposed to non- fiction articles. So the next best thing for me to discuss is my reaction to things covered in our last two class discussions. The biggest thing that I reacted to, and what I want to focus on in this blog post, is the brainstorming session that we had on Monday. During the class, I liked that we were discussing actual ways to help bring about political and social changes, trying to figure out the logistics to bring awareness to this social issue still residing within our culture today.

Unfortunately, much of the ideas suggested seemed a bit idealistic in my experience. While holding panel discussions and lunch tables are really good ideas, they won’t help spread interest and awareness about the existence of these issues outside of the people already interested in them. Until we can bring outsiders in and make them feel like a part of the movement- as opposed to feeling attacked by it (re: Othering the majority)- the purpose of salons such as these will be moot, as there will be no one to attend them. They’re really great for bringing people together who are already interested in the issue, fostering discussion, exchanging ideas and brainstorming steps to be taken in order to bring about acceptance and reformation of the issue, but to get people there, we have to go to them. Acquaint them with the issues and why they’re important (Get people to care who might not be effected by the issues, or even harmed by them) on their own turf, in their own terms. If we can get that to happen, the rest of the suggestions in the brainstorming session will finally be able to have the effect they were intended to have.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “A Contrarian Chimes In

  1. …to get people there, we have to go to them. Acquaint them with the issues and why they’re important (Get people to care who might not be effected by the issues, or even harmed by them) on their own turf, in their own terms. If we can get that to happen, the rest of the suggestions in the brainstorming session will finally be able to have the effect they were intended to have.

    I’m with you 100%. Do you have any thoughts on how to go about doing this? I’m still wondering what this looks like, and how you get people to listen and engage. On our campus, for example, would it mean getting student government involved? Finding ways to engage with Greek organizations? Or, maybe something more organic?

    • I think a really important part of this would be to change the language that we use, and get people to understand why its important (Take the idea of being ‘politically correct’ a step further.) We can actually also bring in the idea of Paidea into this field, and look at ways that racism plays out in Biology, Chemistry, etc (Look at the ethnic, gendered, etc makeup of those who are successful in these fields; analyze the ways that race has been explained throughout the years, how the perception of race has altered the information related to the area, or possibly use the natural sciences equivalent of historiography and analyze how they have explained the information throughout the years.) And I do think that its a great idea to meet with the groups seen as being the ‘majority’ and having mixers/ ice breakers/ discussions with them, but its also very important to meet them on an individual level, see that there are people equally active in both spheres. Its important to meet them and see them as people, to put a face to this ambiguous mass entitled “The Majority”, and then have a one-on-one conversation with our perceived enemy. In order successfully get into the Majority and break it up, we need to break up our perception of it and not assume that its one uniform whole.

  2. The idea of “Othering the Majority” continues to strike me, particularly because it exposes my own tendencies.
    Othering the majority makes me feel both safe and distinguished, elite in my own knowledge of the racist/sexist/feminist movements.

    I think the idea of engaging with Greek organizations, even if just meeting with their officers or presidents, (as opposed to the entire collective) is a radical way of engaging with the other and meeting them “on their own turf”, as mentioned above. Meeting the majority is also helpful in combating our own otherness and tendencies to “other.”

    However, if we desire the support and acceptance of these bigger organizations and cliques, I think it is important that we support their events. Whether that’s going to bake sales, or attending a Basketball game, I think it is vital to our entire community for us to show up. For us to carry our voices outside our comfort zones and panels, and into their worlds.
    We must infiltrate the system in order to expose it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s