Reflection of in class video

LJ's picture

The video we watched in class was interesting for me because at my school no one was criticized for being smart. We had a huge amount of diversity with kids from all over the world. Also, I believe it is because it was private schools were everyone was from the same socioeconomic class. Because of this, no one race was seen as less intelligent than the other. Therefore, this video, for me, for me brought to light the fact that no every school is as fortunate. Overall, I thought the video was an excellent way for this young woman to get her point across. I thought it was clever how she mixed very vulgar words with highly eloquent speech; it defiantly helped her to get her point across. Even though I thought it was clever however, one of my classmates stated that “it was just another black person complaining about the situation”, and since I am not black and I have not experienced this within my school, I feel that my opinion is insignificant.

Comments

Rae Hamilton's picture

Hypothetically speaking, I

Hypothetically speaking, I wonder how people would have reacted if a Black person had said the quote Laura talked about above. Would people have been offended then? Would the speaker be considered insensitive or is what that speaker said offensive regardless of race?

S. Yaeger's picture

Rae, that's an awesome

Rae, that's an awesome question (and one that has challenged me to examine some of my own assumptions).  

Hypothetically, I don't think that the race or ethnicity of the speaker changes how offensive the comment quoted above is.  My reasoning for this comes from several places.  First, I think that once thought is released out into the general atmosphere, it sort of belongs to the world, instead of belonging to the speaker.  In the case of Laura's post, the quoted thought realy stands alone in that we didn't get any surrounding conversation, or much context.  The context we do have is that the comment was a reaction to a woman asking not to have to speak for anyone but herself. Lumping her into a blanket statement and determining that she is "just another" anything is still pretty disrespectful to the work that she was presenting.  so, in that way, it still seems offensive to me to judge her in that way.

However, one of the things I hadn't considered was that I was making a lot of assumptions about who was speaking and what their background is like.  This, I think, is equally offensive.  Instead of taking a fluffed up poodle tone and lecturing this hypothetical speaker about how she should have approached the subject of a black woman expressing her particular frustration, I should have thought more about why I found the comment offensive, and what that says about me.  Instead, I took a position of authority, and may have shut down further conversation in the process.  That's definitely unproductive and kind of nearsighted.

Rae Hamilton's picture

Hypothetically speaking, I

Hypothetically speaking, I wonder how people would have reacted if a Black person had said the quote Laura talked about above. Would people have been offended then? Would the speaker be considered insensitive or is what that speaker said offensive regardless of race?

S. Yaeger's picture

Laura, I thought it was

Laura, I thought it was interesting that you contrasted vulgarity with eloquence.  I'm not sure that the two are mutually exclusive of one another.  I'm not even sure what counts for vulgarity and what counts for eloquence.  That said, I have to agree with the commenter above that your classmate's comment is offensive.  Just by being here, at Bryn Mawr, we are all priveleged in some way.  As such, what gives us the right to dictate how others express their frustration?  It's a hard thing to concepualize, but to be poor or black or poor and black in America is to endure endless pearl clutching and toungue wagging over what you ought to do, who you ought to be, how you ought to live, etc.  The privelge of self definition is one that starts with the rich and only trickles down to the middle.  

Serena's picture

Laura - I definitely see how

Laura -

I definitely see how it could be difficult for people in your situation (and perhaps the majority of people in our class) to empathise with the video, but I am shocked that someone who has been in our seminar for this long would classify it the way that you have described. I am frankly offended, having endured the situation on which the young woman in the video expounds and finding it not talked about enough.

I don't know who stated what you have quoted, but from the tone, I would assume that it is someone who has not felt the suffering associated with being caught in between the lower- and upperclasses. While I understand that it could be frustrating to be barraged by material victimising the lowerclass and all but wagging the finger at the privileged if you come from the latter background, I hope that this person can be a little more understanding and begin to contemplate why she signed up for the seminar in the first place, and definitely more sensitive to her peers.

- Sx

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