In looking back on the first day of class I can’t help but feel excited, although I’m definitely a little apprehensive about maintaining a high level of focus for three hours on a Wednesday afternoon. The story telling activity we did was pretty incredible; I am going to be surrounded by some incredible people this semester, and that is beyond exciting. Hearing the stories of my classmates was so powerful and was a good indicator of the diversity of backgrounds represented in the class, which makes me believe that we will have some riveting discussions in the coming weeks.
The readings I found to be the most interesting were “Facing Down The Spooks” by Angela Mae Kupenda and “A Wha’ Dem A Go On Wid?” by Annette Henry. I found myself shockingly unsurprised yet still disgusted after reading “Facing Down The Spooks.” Kupenda’s retelling of her personal narrative reveals pertinent issues that face Black women in professional settings. Through her discussion of “Ghosts,” Kupenda highlighted a multitude of issues, and one that I found particularly unsettling was the false sense of unity White women tried to share with Kupenda. On page twenty-four in the section entitled “Flying with the White Female Ghosts and Their Disappearing Acts” Kupenda quotes one of her White colleagues as saying “I know everything you go through because I am a woman, too.” The audacity to make such a statement is horrible, yet she highlights the larger issue of a White tendency to try to ignore race, by playing as though it doesn’t exist. Annette Henry’s piece was way more fun to read, while still relevant to issues of sexism and racism. Through her use of (what I believe to be) Jamaican Patois, Henry conveys issues with students in a classroom setting. The stanza I find most poignant is the second, in which Henry is compared to a White male professor and is deemed the more demanding. Henry’s response, “come like me haffi prove me can do di job” is indicative of a systemic problem—Black women have to out perform their White colleagues to be granted level status, and even then that may not be enough. These readings were hard to get through at times, but were able to be highly impactful in a small amount of text.