10.25.2008

two things New York:




Even in Wyoming I am still a bit addicted to the east coast news. I get Harpers and The New Yorker and try to remember to pick up a free copy of the New York Times on campus every weekday. However, today there was a connection of sorts. The cover of the Casper Tribune featured the Platon picture (above) from The New Yorker that Colin Powell says was the catalyst for his coming out for Obama. He said he stared at it for an hour thinking of the prejudices that have been proliferating about Muslims and how that is repeating wrongs. I remember getting that issue in the mail and being blown away by the "Service" series myself. 18 haunting pictures about U.S. military life today...
link here:
platon pictures

The other New York bit that is lurking in my head is an article that was part of a New York Times series on race and the election. This quote was especially stark:

“He’s neither-nor. He’s other. It’s in the Bible. Come as one. Don’t create other breeds.” RICKY THOMPSON, in Mobile, Ala., speaking about Barack Obama

go to article here:

nytimes halfbreed quote

I took the article to the class I teach, Mexican American Literature, since we have been doing a lot of work about identity and mestizos and hybridity. The class was pretty shocked by the statement. This worked to my advantage later when we were discussing Manuel Munoz's book (see post below) and I tried to get the students to make the connections between oppression for being different as a result of race/ethnicity/country of origin and oppression for choices of sexuality. I was cautious though because of some of the students' religious beliefs of which I am aware. But a student sort of called me on it as she was calling out her classmates on thier hypocrisy. I thanked her and admitted that I was trying to be more careful because, as a teacher, I want to keep from "turning students off." I then was able come back at the topic with more force by admitting my tip toeing and then connecting to the New York Times article from earlier in the class. I got to use good old Ricky Thompson's quote about mixing breeds and the Bible to talk about how the Bible for years has been quoted to justify all kinds of oppressions: slavery, racism, crusades, etc.
Every once and awhile it all comes together. Made for a really good class.

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