1. A levitating mood effect that comes from finally wrapping
one’s head around an idea that was once invisible and unfathomable.
2. An infinite well of gratitude conjured for those who’ve
documented Knowledge in the first place. A large enough drink
from this well ensures one immortality.
3. The multiplicable craft of alchemist writers, educators, and artists
to whom that Knowledge is entrusted, for the purpose of transforming it into
books, lessons, and objects who All may experience.
Videos, Race, and Magic
Guess who is embarking on a journey to learn how to use an iPhone, GarageBand and iMovie to make her first documentary?
Oh! With what time? But oh, with what relish!
Between moving, reading and finals for my history class, and getting started on this documentary over the last two weeks, I’m afraid little else has gotten my attention. This week my thoughts are where all these things come together with the very nature of this website, which is to Discover and Share.
From choosing to read and think critically about De La Chorra al Mundo, to writing a term paper on multi-national identity, to recording interviews and doing research for a little movie about multiculturalism, my discoveries have all been centered on ideas of cultural sameness and division, and on the nature of the sense of self. It’s a journey that’s been both rough and easy. These discoveries can be like a Tsunami when they come, but more often they are like an incessant drizzle on your sense of self and place in the world.
A recent challenge in my exploration of race was co-facilitating a discussion on The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison in History Through Fiction. Morrison’s first novel is a psychological murder of a young black woman in Ohio in the 1940s. The weapon is internalized racism. I was all mixed feelings and sinking stomach. When I was in front of the classroom, some students frowned and challenged what I presented, while those who where nodding along remained allies but silent. It was scary to stand in front of a 4000/5000 level university classroom and go on talking about a topic that I struggle with both emotionally and intellectually. I wanted to hide back down in my seat in the safe position of the student following along.
But it wasn’t all bad. I tend to judge the success of a presentation or structured conversation by who took the time to say something to me one-on-one afterwards, and what they had to say. In that sense, it was a roaring success, sparking several quality discussions in the hallways, and much to my surprise, one email. That classmate left the discussion with a desire to dig deeper into the ideas I presented and cared enough to really follow up with her thoughts and questions.
I was left both shocked and inspired.
The heated response to my groups’ presentation was proof of the power of words and knowledge. Those who did get something out of the discussion were overwhelmingly thankful for the information. The ones who gave the most push back were perhaps the most interesting for me to consider.
I wonder who, if any of them, still think about what they said that day and why they felt as powerfully as they did. I know that when I’ve expanded my understanding of something big and scary, the seed for change was often my angry response to the topic. That *spark* of emotion travels on adrenaline and burrows into the psyche (fact!). It may or may not grow, but it at least has a better chance.
This reminded me of why I chose teaching as a profession. Even tough experiences like this one have left me thinking that this is where the magic happens, you know?
Learning how to make videos is just one more way to transform knowledge and deliver it freshly bottled into Vimeo for all online to see!
The video will be an exploration of multiculturalism as identity, ethos, default, goal, and pipe dream. The main one will be about 15 minutes long and present a glimpse into the minds of people grappling with the issue of race and ethnic identity.
Additional clips and bits that didn’t fit into the video will also be posted here.
Look forward to hearing from:
Carri Currier, my good friend and amateur genealogist who’ll shed light on the multiculturalism of whiteness and talk about her socio-economic identity.
[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/53792854" params="auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&color=00bdff" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]
Saladin Thomas, AKA local Denver rapper JM Blackfriend, who’ll talk about his mission as a musician, his experience as a person of mixed heritage in our “us” v “them” culture, and his rejection of the very idea of race.
[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/53794478" params="auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&color=00bdff" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]
Vanessa Cleaver, who’ll be discussing her poetry, religious identity, “The Model Minority,” and her experiences as a woman of mixed race.
Caitlin Kline, a teacher in Boulder whose special interests include bilingual education, observing how cultural divisions play out in her classroom, and working on classroom management methods that may dilute those barriers.