At the beginning of this semester, I posted a blog post “The Power of Sound” about Toni Morrison’s epigraph “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” Through this epigraph, I talked about how important it is to use the sound of our voices to portray messages. An example I used was of Fannie Lou Hamer, she was an activist who tried to register to vote and she got fired from her farming job for doing this. So, by using her sound and her language she became an activist and was able to extend her message to the world; through this, she became a role model for many people. This goes along perfectly with what we have been doing this whole semester in Dr. McCoy’s class. All of our voices matter and if we use them to spread the messages about what we believe in we can have the possibility to change someone’s world. One idea that I brought up in my past blog post is that “Just by using our sound, our voices can go a long way and we could inspire other people too.” This is still very true, when writing my blog posts, I always try to write in a way that I use my voice/ language to convey a message to whoever wants to read it, with the possibility of bringing a new idea to someone.
As I was trying to find inspiration for my last blog post I started thinking about all the things that we have been doing in class and what would be best fit to end my last blog post. In class we have been talking about Big Machine by Victor LaValle and the class was asked to each come up with one question that we think the book seems to be raising. There was a whole range of questions; a lot of the class thought of questions that included doubt and I thought mine went along with this topic. My question was “Who can you trust in the world, or are you alone?” A lot of people seemed to rephrase this question, focusing on the word doubt instead of trust, but fundamentally asking the same concept. I feel that doubt is the exact word that I could use that would go along with my question, if I rephrased it. So far, we have only read up to chapter 78 of the 81 that is in this book and we have seen multiple characters talk about trust and doubt in a way that links them.
A few weeks ago, I attended the Steve Prince lecture “Kitchen Talk: The Art of Steve Prince” in the Doty Recital Hall. I’ve been to other events of Steve Prince’s like his “Urban Garden” Community Project and I really enjoyed the way he incorporated the students of Geneseo into his artwork. He wanted us to work on the art project with him and be a part of the experience. I’ve never experienced anything like that, and it really spoke to me.
For the past week in Dr. McCoy’s class we have been doing a collaborative group blog post in small groups of around 5-7. I have also been getting a variety of assignments with group work over the past semester in other classes as well. This led me to have many different experiences while working in multiple group assignments. Over the past semester I have had some good and bad experiences with group collaboration, and it got me thinking about the idea if this is really beneficial for students. I decided to look more into this idea of group work and if it’s effective or not and why.
Over break, I re-read a prompt that Dr. McCoy provided for us that talks about culture and how it relates to property. I’ve talked before about Bernice Johnson Reagon and her ideas about how church is the black community’s property. Recently in class, we have been talking about how the concept of culture can be a kind of property. In Pat Parker’s poem, “For the white person who wants to be my friend”, she expresses how blackness can be seen as a property, but not just property as an object, rather property as an idea.
In class this week, Dr. McCoy introduced us to some of her favorite poems in Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American poetry by Charles H. Rowell. This anthology is more focused on post-1960’s poetry. Before class, I browsed through the book and a few things jumped out at me that we also were curious about in class. Why did Rowell choose these certain poems to go into the book when there are millions in the world to choose from? While reading some of the poems throughout the book I have noticed that every poem has a strong and/or moving meaning or story behind it. The anthology description of the book describes it as “not just another poetry anthology. It is a gathering of poems that demonstrate what happens when writers in a marginalized community collectively turn from dedicating their writing to political, social, and economic struggles, and instead devote themselves to the art of their poems and to the ideas they embody.” Every poem in this anthology is touching on some sort of problem.
In the past two years that I have been a student at Geneseo I have not talked about consent as much as we did in Dr. McCoy’s class the other week. I found it helpful to talk about what consent is and how it is more than just sexual consent. Growing up I never talked about consent. When I started college at SUNY Geneseo, they show all their freshman and sports teams a video about sexual consent. The video compares consent to offering someone a cup of tea, and shows us how we should think about sexual consent in this way (if someone does not want a cup of tea, do not force it down their throat, etc).
The past few classes we have talked a lot about how we are all vulnerable to the language of the day. This has made me start thinking about how everyone is growing and learning through the changes that the world is going through. Have you ever made a statement, or wrote a paper, or a tweet, or anything public and now you look back at it years later and you don’t completely agree with what you wrote? I know that I have. This is due to the fact that the world is always changing and through these changes we adapt to them and learn from them.
Continue reading “Adapting to the Ever-Changing World”
Throughout the past few classes of Dr. McCoy’s African American Literature class, we have been talking a lot about authority, originality, and voice. This has gotten me to start thinking about Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass’ stories in Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of the African American Literary Tradition. Jacobs and Douglass both told their stories about their own lives through slavery, and how they may have changed their story to grab a certain audience’s attention. Douglass and Jacobs use their voices to show their audiences about their own experiences and what happened during their lives as slaves by telling their stories.
After reading through the syllabus and looking at the epigraphs provided. Toni Morrison’s epigraph “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives” really stood out for me. Right away by reading this I thought about sounds and more specifically our voices. When I think of someone using their voice in a way that measures our lives, I think of people using their voices to make an impact on the world and using it in order to help other people. When I read this epigraph, I see it as there is more to life than just living. You will be known when you die and the way you want to be known is a powerful idea. Morrison is saying that our legacy lives on when we do something greater without lives by use your voice and make an impact. Continue reading “The Power of Sound”