The Personal Growth I Have Been Looking For

I look at the blank screen in front of me and frown. I feel my ears grow hotter and hotter as I stare at the blank word document. On the bottom right screen, the digital clock read: 8:30pm. It was originally 5:00pm and before that, it was 11:00am but it managed to get this late.

I look back at the blank word document and let out an audible sigh. It was Lytton Smith’s Afrofuturism course.  I was confident. I was assured I knew what I was talking about. We were talking about what could be considered Afrofuturism. Afrofuturism could explicitly showcase futuristic themes such as a technologically advanced society with black people at its focus. For example, the 2018 film Black Panther, recently won the Art Directors Guild Award for best fantasy film of 2018. Furthermore, Black Panther is being shown for free across the country in AMC theaters to celebrate Black History Month. However, Black Panther represents one portion of Afro-futurism, whereas media such as Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer, Octavia Butler’s Beloved, or Sun Ra’s Space is the Place can also be considered afrofuturist. Yet while I had loads of examples and content I could talk about, I still struggled with the assignment.

Now looking back at the struggle, I realize my fault. I could not see how woefully ignorant I was with the topic. Through INTD 288, I want to become more honest with how little I know and be more self-retrospective. The focus of the class is on Steve Prince’s artwork and the community art piece  “Urban Garden” was about reflection and self-retrospect. In fact, it was largely about how we turn the negative and/or painful aspects of humanity into positive change. That methodology that lives within the “Urban Garden” is what I want to better apply to myself and this course is helping me with that process.

This academic goal will be difficult because it is not tangible nor is it directly related to dual major as geography and black studies dual major. In fact, my original purpose for taking INTD 288 was to fulfill my black studies major, however, the article on intellectual humility, strongly shifted my focus. It was not only about furthering my knowledge on the black experience but furthering my own growth as a multitude of experiences and identities.

Thus this class is more so for personal growth than academic growth. Albeit, a cyclical adventure.

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