Thursday, March 29, 2012

You're Going to Get Angry

Last night in Intro to Social Research, our professor, MNF, said to us, after a lecture on surveying the previous week, that she had now permanently corrupted us and we could never take a survey again without being annoyed. It made me think back to my first sociology class ever (well it was actually a Women's Studies class, but as far as I'm concerned that is just a specific genre of sociology). Professor Jill Shultz said to our motley group of 18, night-class, community college women, "At some point in the class things will click, and you're going to get angry, and once you're angry, you'll never be not angry again." Now, I have always considered myself a feminist and pretty up on GLBTA issues, so I sort of passed it off at the time thinking I had already experienced that. Over the last year it has been less of a click and more of a simmer, so maybe it had already clicked and is now just intensifying, but I find it increasingly hard not to be angry and the ridiculous injustice I see in the world around me. From SB1070, to Shaima Al Awadhi's murder, to human trafficking, to Rick Santorum's misogyny, to rape culture, to the extreme poverty that still exists in America: I am mad. And I am mad so often. I presume people often think I take myself to seriously, but I don't know how to feel any other way anymore. I don't know how to look at something horrible, know I can barely make a dent in it, and be okay with that. I expressed this to MNF last semester during her office hours and she seemed put off. You're young, she said, tackle what you can and just be happy that you did that. "You don't have to save the world right now," she said. But, the thing is, I always feel like I do. I find it incredibly hard to let it go when people  say "That's so gay!" on their Facebook pages (yes, I have been known to message them and ask them to revise their language). Because if I can't change the world the only thing left in my power is to make little changes in the world around me. I suppose I'm just going to have to accept the anger, and accept that no one gets it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Children are Colorblind

We often hear people say that children are colorblind. That children make friends without consideration of race and ethnicity. The moment when the world fills with color must be the most depressing moment of a child's life, even though they do not know it yet. I have long since lost my colorblind lens. And sociology has made color even more pervasive in my life. Rarely can I look at an issue and not see it undeniably framed by race. But I had a moment the other day, when I lost another tiny piece of colorblind. Now, admittedly, if I had ever paid much attention or thought about it, I would have seen the colors in this story a long time ago, but I never had any reason to think about it. In my Writing for Communication class we had the producer of the Kojo Nnamdi come in as a guest speaker. She pulled up the website for the show and I realized, for the first time, that Nnamdi is black. Now, my mom and I have listened to Kojo in the car for years and I suppose I never definitively decided he was white, but I was distinctly surprised when he wasn't. I doubt I'll get that feeling again, but I wish I could. It's simultaneously glorious to realize you never noticed and depressing to realize you just lost that spark of innocence. I remember my mom telling me when I was about 12 and going to a NAACP meeting that it would be a good experience for me. I didn't really understand that at the time, but I went to a multicultural event at school last week and was one of about 10 caucasians in a room with about 200 people. It is a very strange feeling to be a minority. It feels so awkward, you don't belong. And I only had to feel like that for three hours.