After participating in the activity we did in class today, it give me a visual of what straddling really is. As mentioned in class, all of us took on the activity in a different way. Some of us were born naturally with longer legs, making it a little easier to straddle the two lines, whereas, others struggled more since they were born with shorter legs. Unfortunately, we cannot choose how short or how long our legs are, giving us all a different experience. Others focused too much on how they appeared to others, making it more difficult and others embraced how ridiculous it looked, making it easier. When there was an obstacle put in our way, some of us just stopped, some of us went right around it and continued straddling which shows how differently everybody handles straddling these two worlds. At the end of the day, I believe that we are all straddling and trying to balance these two worlds regardless of what they might be.
There is a song called Homecoming by Kanye West that for some reason I could not get out of my head when we were on the topic of straddling and reading “There Are Those of Us Who Straddle.” In the song, West speaks on behalf of his home city, Chicago. He says how Chicago will always be where his heart is but he had no choice but to move onto bigger and better things. People question his loyalty to Chicago because he left it as soon as he had the opportunity to become more successful. Entertainers like West often leave smaller cities like Chicago to go on to bigger and better like New York and Los Angeles. People say to him “But if you really care for her [Chicago] then you would have never hit the airport to follow your dreams” once again questioning his loyalty. Throughout the song the chorus, “Do you think about me now and then?” repeats making it seem as if West has forgot about his roots and where he came from. Oftentimes times you will hear people say “Don’t forget your roots” and I believe in this song, West is describing the two worlds he is straddling, fame and where he came from. He credits Chicago for raising him and making him into the person he is, however, he is at a different place now in his life.
I have chosen the epigraph, “My job is to notice…and to notice that you can notice”. Personally, this means that our jobs as human beings is to notice the people around us and recognize that we all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences that have contributed to the person we are today. Some of the goals I have set for this course include always having an open mind. Just as Bernice Johnson Reagon said, “there are those of us who straddle” and in order to learn from someone, we must listen.