I had an interesting “racialized” moment in class yesterday. One of the students figured out that everyone in class had brown eyes except me. I have green eyes. He asked me why. How does one answer that question? I flippantly told him “magic” without thinking about the implications of the answer. He asked me to magic his eyes and make them green too. It made me reflect on issues of white privilege in a classroom of students of color. Why did I answer that way? Teaching the children with Teach Baton Rouge this month was fun. I am not weathering this transition well though. WhenRead More →

Today, as an ice breaker to Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies, we did Beverly Daniel Tatum‘s “I am From” poem activity. Tatum, President of Spelman University, wrote the book Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria. I learned about this activity when I attended the POD Conference in 2002 with Dr. Saundra McGuire. I don’t remember the specifics of the activity, but I generally do it like this: 1. Write “I am from” and list the sights, sounds, and smells of your home. 2. Write “I am from” and list your family foods. 3. Write “I am from” and listRead More →

I decided to supplement how Julia Wood’s handles race in her textbook for Gender and Comm. I’m asking the students to read Peggy MacIntosh’s article, “White Privilege.” It’s very old, but still useful. Some links: WMST-L‘s discussion list archive on the article. If you want the whole paper, you can buy it from Wellesley.Read More →

I have half the football team in my class. They greet each other with Sugarbowl-infused respect knuckles. Ten percent of the population is football players, twenty percent is black (which I believe is higher than the college population), and forty percent is male. It’s a difficult demographic for teaching a course topic in a state that denigrates black folk, valorizes football players, and barely acknowledges that women’s destiny can be something other than marriage. As Arsenio said some ten years ago, “hmmmmmm.” Well, this brings up a whole thicket of issues that I don’t know how to address: I wonder how many of them willRead More →