A Seat at the Table is Necessary

What I hoped to learn from this class is the importance of equality within an academic setting. To me, taking a course like “African-American Literature” seemed like an answer to dealing with a lack of representative classes one can take at Geneseo. Geneseo’s Learning Outcome for Baccalaureate Education (GLOBE) promises its students will develop broad and specialized knowledge, intellectual and practical skills, and integrative and applied learning appreciation. What stood out to me was the learning outcomes of each of these skill sets, more specifically, the learning outcomes for intellectual and practical skills. The seventh out of eight learning outcomes is ‘diversity and pluralism’; it reads, “to work effectively in a pluralistic society, recognizing and respecting diverse identities, beliefs, backgrounds, and life choices; to practice effective communication and collaboration across diverse communities and organizations; to critically reflect on the reasoning and impact of one’s personal beliefs and actions.” While it is great to see our college dedicated to incorporate these goals for students to take away after leaving Geneseo, I will admit that I’m still reluctant towards how much information and cultural understanding students take away from elective classes like this one. Continue reading “A Seat at the Table is Necessary”

Read, Discuss, Reflect, and Repeat

For my last blog post of the semester, I usually reflect on the growth I’ve seen within myself. More specifically, how I’ve grown in terms of my writing skills, how I analyze information as a student, and how I learn to appreciate literary works as an individual. However, for this blog post, I have decided to write about the course concepts and the lessons I’ve learned from them. Our class on “African-American Literature” may focus on writing from a different cultural perspective, but I also appreciate how the coursework could be related to one another and we could circle back our conversations to work we’ve done earlier.

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Doubt is the Big Machine

Big Machine by Victor LaValle has easily become one of my favorite books to read in my whole academic career. If it weren’t for all the analytical discussions we had in class, carefully examining every literary detail of the book, I would have never developed this deep appreciation or interest I have now. Even though I respect the book, that doesn’t mean I appreciate the theme behind it, which may be the intention. From what I theorized from the readings our class had so far, I think that the ‘big machine’ in question is institutions in our society that ordinary people have questioned. The skepticism citizens hold against the government, religion, and other organizations with huge support could be the driving force behind the very success of sustaining these institutions. If doubt is the big machine, then LaValle could be alluding to how institutions in our society operate and should be brought into question.

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Consent and Male Pregnancies in Black Science Fiction

As the semester nears the end, I am finally writing about the concept of consent illustrated in Octavia Butler’s fictional short-story, Bloodchild. This blog post is long overdue, but considering how this class consists of recursion and repeated themes, I think it’s safe to say that writing about consent in any area is always relevant. Also, considering how Ricky Rice in Victor LaValle’s Big Machine experiences nonconsensual conception shows the narrative of consent that science fiction, more specifically in Afro-Futurism portrays with men.

Image result for bloodchild

*Pictured: Assumed Illustration of Gan from Octavia Butler’s Bloodchild

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My Theory Between “Big Machine” and “Us”

During the “Into the Lungs of Hell” section in Big Machine, protagonist Ricky Rice is assigned by the Dean of Washburn Library to complete a mission in Garland, California. With the Gray Lady as his accomplice, Ricky was the chosen Unlikely Scholar to kill Solomon Clay, a former Scholar gone rogue. The Gray Lady informed Ricky that Solomon’s plan included assembling the homeless population to commit mayhem in society. I found it interesting that a Scholar picked a social class that is often disregarded in society to be his vengeful army to wreak havoc onto others. After reading this section, a light bulb went off for me, and that is how my theory of Jordan Peele’s Us relating to Big Machine came to be.

***Spoiler Alert: I will try my best not to spoil the movie for those of you who haven’t had the chance to see this movie yet. I will merely provide information from the film that relates to the book as an attempt to prevent revealing the ending. Continue reading “My Theory Between “Big Machine” and “Us””

My Newfound Appreciation of Claude McKay and Poetry as a Whole

When I read a work of literature in my downtime, I tend to stray away from poetry. Personally, I’ve always held the assumption of poetry being abstract and meant for modern philosophers who could waste their time on figuring out the meaning behind every other word that rhymed in a stanza. I am aware that this is a weird mentality to have, but I was ignorant and chose not to educate myself to appreciate the art behind poetry. After reading through the packet of poems Professor McCoy gave us in class, I’ve come to realize that poetry doesn’t have to follow the typical sonnet format or rhyme in order for a reader to appreciate the story for its worth. I had also learned more about my culture in the sense that Caribbean writers had a space to exist in during a period of history when many voices were ignored.

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What is Real Anymore?

In class on Friday, we were talking about the Momo Challenge and the damages this hoax has caused internationally. For the longest time, I just assumed that the creator of this character had evil intentions, when in actuality, it was another social media scam that people from the disturbing parts of the internet caught hold of. When Professor McCoy informed us that this horrifying phenomenon is fake, it really concerned me with the way information is spread throughout the world and what actually holds authenticity in our lives anymore.

Side note: The fictional character, Momo, is a terrifying image to look at (trust me, I had difficulty researching for this blog post). The link that I included is the same article that we read through in class, so if you feel like you’re missing out on additional information, you don’t need to open the link if the image is troubling for you to look at. I will provide a paragraph that summarizes these turn of events so you, as a reader of my blog post, won’t feel disconnected.

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Intersectionality 2.0

Joan Morgan’s interview for the Annual Hip Hop Symposium was genuine, organic, and a breath of fresh air. What was an extra credit opportunity for many turned out to be a moment of reassurance for me because I was able to hear myself represented on a platform that isn’t frequently offered here on campus. I have always been aware that the community and culture black people share inevitably leads to connections being made, but something about this intimate exchange of conversation and welcoming energy reached a new level of comfort for me. Continue reading “Intersectionality 2.0”

Labels: Necessary or a Nuisance?

When it comes to the human race, we have a tendency to create hierarchies amongst ourselves to get further ahead in society, so to speak. The etymology of the word label comes from Old French meaning “narrow band or strip of cloth,” or “lapp” in Germanic.” In our class discussion last week Monday, we talked about the difference between an author and a writer, then we went over Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (1781) which made we question, “what is the significance of labels, other than differentiating one thing from another?” I am well aware that I might not receive a concrete answer to this question, but at least I can put it out there for others to contemplate as well.

Side note: I will be discussing race and ethnicity with examples from Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia (1781). Even though I won’t be going that much into detail, I would like to forewarn what can be expected in this blog.

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I Do Belong in this Space and So Do You

Reading the epigraphs in the course’s syllabus, I felt somewhat empowered. The one that really stood out to me is Dionne Brand’s quote, “my job is to notice…and to notice that you can notice.” To me, this is a self-reassuring statement in the sense that I, as a non-English discipline of any sort, can exist in this space and that my experiences are relevant and valid to the discussions we have in class. Continue reading “I Do Belong in this Space and So Do You”