Friday, September 25, 2009

"Are You Saying That IM Being Racist?"

Sooooo...lately I have been pissing off my professors. Im that annoying black girl that wont stop bringing race into the conversation (cause it totally wasnt there before right?)

In my Graphic Design seminar, we are talking about careers in Graphic Design and the movements/principles that back them. We were going over the 20s when I noticed that all 20+ examples of posters were the same white mainstream themed. That kinda made me irritated. So after the class, I approached my teacher about maybe including slides of posters created by people who lived different (i.e. somebody who aint white). His response? "Well I dont have time to put more posters or examples in." which translates in my head to "The narratives of non-white people arent important and dont mean anything, at least not enough to include in a class that is supposed to be preparing us for life outside of school." So then I countered, "Well how about just keeping the themes that you are surrounding and just taking out posters and putting in ones that come from a different viewpoint but the same theme." So as he pondered that, I left for my next class.

So I thought I handled that pretty ok. Then, I had Sociology.

The way my sociology class is taught is very problematic to me. See the class itself is awesome because we are looking at the effects of capitalism on the individual human. However the whiteness of this human is implict if not stated. Oftentimes my teacher compares "Traditional Societies" with "Modern Societies", My problem isnt even necessarily that Modern societies are Western European based or influenced because hey, capitalism and "modern" themselves are (I think) Euro-created. What I have a real problem with though is how my teacher portrays "Traditional societies". When he talks about "traditional societies" that are European, he usually brings up slides of the Medieval times. However with non-western European societies, the same twentieth century depictions of "tribal life" (with loinclothes and spears galore) are always shown. Also we are always taught that those tribes and by extensions those countries who havent bought into "modernity" yet are underdeveloped and all run around chanting "Ai-yi-yi". We are never shown societies that are more "advanced" or at least live in a larger communities like the Mesopotamians or Egyptians. I mean, I dont see European Cavemen when he talks about traditional western european societies.

Also I have a problem with the way he polarized "traditional" and "modern" life because in all reality, there are many aspects of society that would be considered traditional and aspects of thought-to-be "traditional" societies that are "modern". I could talk about the invention of metal (not by Europeans either) or the highly sophisticated water systems developed by societies in West Africa (that Europeans societies copied and now are labeled "modern"). Anyway I raise my hand about these stereotyped and Eurocentric views all the time but usually he talks about how I cant take this personally or culturally or whatever and keeps going

So finally I approached him after class (after being blown off the first time) and asked him why European societies were portrayed this way and non-Western European societies other ways. (and then i accidentally went off on a tangent about how people of color's bodies are considered to be accessible to all via the tribal images but i didnt really mean to bring that up) anyways I got back on track and the breakdown of what he said is that this is what tribal and traditional societies are like and that he is just telling us the differences and such. and then he said how any "modern" qualities that I saw in traditional societies was most likely my wishful thinking. Then he started on the "Are you saying that Im being racist by showing these images?" and i knew at that point that he just wasnt listening. So I just left and ranted with a mentor of mine. But I am not sure what to do.

So Speech Communications has been interesting as well but at least in a good way. I have given 2 speeches so far and am giving on next wednesday. The first one was Self Introduction-themed so I gave my classmates a taste of what it is like being one of the few black females on campus and the questions I get ask and behaviors that are directed towards me. Then I gave a speech about whitewashing (or Racebending in this case) of the Last Airbender movie and the movement that is going on. Now my speech theme is based on Fascinating Issues and Concepts of Communication. My speech is on The Language of Cultural Racism. however my teacher is pretty cool and helps me with my structure and with delivering a speech in which the delivery is just as good as the content. So I like that class.

So those are some of the big issues that I have been dealing with so far this semester. On sunday I am taking a canoe trip so i can get some peace.

1 comment:

  1. This is incredible.

    Keep working out your issues.

    I am facing the same shit.

    Constantly asking myself, when to speak, when to shut up, and not beating myself up for not knowing when.

    Keep @ it Love.