Wednesday, April 27, 2011

...To you all

Hi kids -- in the spirit of Phylicia's post here is my ode to you all.

I will admit that I am often really critical of Rhodes, and that my own relationship with this place is very, and perhaps, unjustly harsh. Much of that, I think, emerges from coming to grips with the way in which this place screams PRIVILEGE. Part of my struggle with recognizing the degree to which I am involved and benefit from the privilege of going here, and the privileges which allowed me to come here, is finding a way to stop letting it Rhodes be a privilege which I am ashamed of and rather have it be a force which motivates me.

In light of this, I think that the discussions that we have had this semester have not only brought to light many of the contours and realities of this privilege, but have also have really reaffirmed my belief in the quality and power of our education. Frankly, on very few occasions have I encountered an open, and lively discourse which not only challenged so many of my assumptions about race, but as importantly, about the sorts of unfounded assumptions about the types of things that people care about in this community. Basically, I had allowed cynicism to blind me to the reasons why I came here, and to the reasons why I love my education, my professors, and the fellows students here.

Also, I really appreciate the humor and grace with which everyone received criticism and challenges to their ideas. Especially when talking about issues which touch off so many known and unknown injuries, like race, it can be easy to come to an impasse. I hope to channel the same spirit of openness and willingness to assess myself critically in the conversations that I have now that I have to pretend like I am an adult. But mostly, it has been utterly refreshing to sit down with a group of people, most of whom I don't know or don't know well, and transform the way I think about race not through reading a text, but through conversation. It's been a strange and (dare I say) fun four months.

peace & <3


  1. I definitely agree that this has been a "refreshing" semester. Race is not an easy topic to discuss, and yet I feel as though we all have been able to embrace conversation with an open state of mind. I especially enjoyed how people did not shy away from their instinctual reactions, for example, when we kept saying, "I disagree but I'm not sure why!" Such reactions demonstrate that we each have individual interpretations of race and how society should tackle the issue of race. I'm glad that we have been able to discuss both our agreements and disagreements together, and consequently, learn from one another. You all have definitely influenced me for the better, and I truly appreciate it!

  2. Kimberly,

    I'm in complete agreement that Rhodes is a school which screams privilege. I too have often been discouraged and put off by this, but I really like what you suggest: turning this privilege into a force that motivates rather than disheartens. This class has opened my eyes more than any other, revealing privileges that I never thought I had. Furthermore, thanks to everyone's openness our class discussions have made me far more comfortable discussing race than I was before. Thank you to everyone!



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