I really enjoyed the sharing exercise we did in class today, although I wish that I knew how deep we were going with those because I would have shared a different story. It was interesting to hear Kelly tell my story, but more interesting, I think, is hearing what parts she remembered or thought were important enough to repeat. Overall I think this was a really thought provoking exercise and a great way to explain empathy. It was a great way to start off class and set a comfortable “safe-space” zone for everyone. Seeing the emotional responses of the person retelling the story was incredibly powerful, as was watching the face of the person whose story it was. I was impressed at how much some people opened up during the activity considering everyone was paired with someone they didn’t know very well.
I enjoyed the readings for today, in particular “Womanist,” by Alice Walker, and “Facing Down the Spooks,” by Angela Mae Kupenda. Kupenda did a good job of showing how women of color and white women struggle against oppression, but in radically different way. While Black women had no privacy for their own bodies, white women’s bodies were “oppressively” protected; it is radical for a Black female academic to protect her private life, while revealing private aspects of one’s life is radical for a white woman (p. 21). I think this is particularly relevant given the story that Prof. Haley shared with us today. I also wonder whether or not this might have something to do with one of the myths we talked about today: that the Black woman is already liberated. If the white woman feminist is concerned with making sure that women can express themselves, and a Black woman is expected to share her private life, than the white woman could misinterpret the Black woman as already being afforded this privilege as opposed to recognizing this as different but equally damaging oppression. Given our discussion of intersectionality today, I was reminded of another Kupenda quote: “How am I to know whether my oppression is because of my race or my gender?” (p. 25).