Shoutout this morning to cuzandyyoureastar for sending me an awesome message to wake up to. I haven’t been able to stop grinning all morning! Thank you lovely!
We live in a world where we so often quote figures of the number of the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan and Congo, until they become just that—figures. Each time I read these news articles, I find myself thinking, “What do they dream about in Congo?” “How do they fall in love in Afghanistan?” “How do they resolve family quarrels in Iraq?” “What do they like to eat?”
Of course we must know about the dead and the dying. And of course these figures and facts are essential. But they must, they should coexist with human stories. We should know how people die, but we should also know how they live.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Commonwealth Lecture 2012
On the tremendous importance of human stories and not just “facts.” Adichie is incredible.
Requiring students to learn about race is crucial… necessary even. But I also think it’s necessary that we tell students very directly that their coursework alone won’t earn them any social justice gold stars. We need to be more explicit when establishing safe spaces in classrooms where race is being discussed: ”safe spaces” should not mean spaces where students can say racist things and be absolved of blame. They should be safe spaces for marginalized voices. White guilt, white tears, and white saviorism have no place in these classrooms. We need to teach students not to just understand what the master’s tools and the master’s house are, but what they mean.
Most of all, we need to recognize the limitations of academics. We need to teach students to listen, to be vulnerable and admit fault. Academics can fuel action. I consider all of my friends to be fiercely intelligent. They’re thoughtful and well-educated, and profess to be progressive. But some of them are also the kind of people who remain silent over Israel’s attacks on Gaza, worried that speaking out could hurt their job prospects. Because American individualism seems to be one lesson universities struggle to unteach.
A degree can’t be used as proof that you “understand my struggle.” A degree can’t be used as a shield against criticism. Most of all, a degree can’t be used as a weapon to invalidate my lived experiences. How can a piece of paper on a wall weigh more than the burden I carry just for existing as a woman of color? Your degree counts for something, but it’s not enough."
— "I Have a Cultural Studies Degree" is the new "I Have Black Friends" by Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya (via queer-filam-artivism)