Saturday, June 24, 2006

Someone's schooling, Lord, Kumbaya....

Bigfella and I are heading back to school next week. I am signed up for a 3 credit course on Multicultural Education that meets all day for the next week. I am also signed up for Part Two the week after the week of the 4th. (I may not take that one, thanks to the gallbladder surgery). Bigfella gets to come with me, so we are armed with all sorts of things to keep him quiet during the discussions. Because the course is very participatory, I wanted to offer you all a window into my experience. Throughout the week, I am supposed to write a one page reflection paper each night, as well as complete two assignments this weekend.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am very cynical about this type of course. Too often, I have seen that the goal of these programs seems to be that everyone will hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Dyke Two has been involved in the course for many years, and has admitted that there is a Kumbaya aspect to the experience. I have told her that I can tune up the old vocal cords if the singing is a step toward the greater goal, but that I might lose my shit if all we accomplish by the end of the week is a rousing rendition of "Someone's crying, Lord, Kumbaya." I hate, hate, hate when these experiences become an opportunity for is privileged white folks to cry about our unearned privilege, express our guilt and then go about our daily life with no real resolution or plans for changing anything. I know that acknowledging our shit is the first step toward change, but I have yet to experience facilitators who push us to change. They all seem happy just getting folks to the stage of admitting. In my mind, stopping there is the easy way out.

So, this weekend, if anyone wants to play along at home, the first assignment is to:

Write a story about your name. It can be in any format you choose from poetry to essay. It should be 1 to 2 pages long. Be as creative as you like.

Assignment Number 2 is:

Write your personal definitions for the following terms: prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Now, look the words up in a dictionary of your choice and write those definitions. Note the publisher and the publication date for the dictionary you used.

My name story and definitions are posted below. Feel free to add your own in the comment sections or on your blogs. Check back throughout the week and read and comment on my reflections as they get posted.


At 1:55 PM, Blogger Mo said...

I've always felt this way about multicultural classes too, at least the ones I have taken. One thing that always bothers me is that most of the white students say something like "I don't see color. We're all just people." It just seems like they're trying to sweep racism under the rug and pretend it doesn't exist. I hope Bigfella can tolerate the class!

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Lo said...

I second your thoughts, Dyke One (and mo)....hope it turns out to to be The One That's Different.


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