I devoted Monday to being sure that I read up on all of my class materials.
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Today was full and still quite good. My first class was the “Queer Theory” seminar. Today, thankfully, I didn’t have to present anything, so I found a full desk that was positioned against a wall and used it during class. The instructor noted it. Again, it’s funny that the instructor is so into this idea of “de-colonization” or whatever, but when I start to talk, s/he always makes a funny, threatened face. It’s like it’s still difficult for many people to imagine, accept and embrace an unapologetically smart man of color. Maybe I’m making it up in my mind, but of course, I’m not, because the world wouldn’t be where it is if so many “men” weren’t threatened by things. And many men are threatened, these days, be they chauvinist or religious fundamentalists all over the world. The Queer Theory class itself has really long readings, and the instructor really struggles to pretend as if s/he wants lots of class discussion (at the heart, this is true) and still guide the talk in the way that is desired.
My next class — directly after Queer Theory — was my “Critical Issues” class. The instructor this semester is a gentleman. For that, I give him respect, but he also finds it difficult to take control of the class. Two weeks ago, he sat silently while other students in my class harangued the designated “presenter” for that week. The presenter, a “white” guy with long red hair, argued that Trump supporters needed to be understood and opened to a conversation. Many in the class took that to be sympathy with their position, which I personally don’t think is the same issue.
The beginning of the class consisted of a virtual “panel discussion” between two or three of the more vocal students in the class. They seem to dominate the discussion and always have something to say, often in protracted statements. One of them I truly like and appreciate her comments. After an hour of this singular conversation, I stood up and started erasing the whiteboard in the room. Finally, after wresting attention, I began to write terms on the board, most notably, “De-Colonization,” and genuinely asked my peers for their help in defining this term. I noted that I wanted not to fall asleep nor be distracted by thoughts of food or the Internet, so I hoped to “wake” people up, which I seem to have succeeded in doing. Silly me, I should have taken a picture of the board. With any luck, the writings will still be up there, so I can memorialize the conversation that took place. It was engaging, at least. After class, a number of my classmates commended me on the conversation and debate that was sparked, and I was pleased. I tried to keep things balanced and allow everyone the chance to have a voice in the discussion. I’d probably make a fine academician, but I still want to be at the center of culture making, which is at the same time, admirable, brave, and stupid.