Dr. Tamura: Haikus
Dr. Robb: Slack on Adiche
Dr. Luis: History pertaining to Tenochtitlan
Dr. Bory: No Form Guitar Recording
Dr. Green: Slack on Fires in the Mirror
Dr. Fache: “The Fact of Blackness”
Dr. Wills: A Reaction Slack
Dr. Denham: A Reaction Slack
Dr. Tamura, Slack Haiku:
An Adoptee’s Path to Healing
An orphan: she hurts.
Found… Loved… Healed— scarred all over.
Resilient, she stands.
Dr. Tamura, Zoom chat Haiku:
Even in Davidson,
We are surrounded by others,
But feel quietly alone
Dr. Robb, Slack on Adiche:
In society today, many people are prone to confirmation bias – only looking at the facts that are relevant to them and support their worldly views. This is seen often in partisan groups in politics or in research when attempting to support a claim (and in other areas too). This TedTalk was beneficial in highlighting the risks to listening to, reading about, or researching with regard to one story. As a child, my parents always said, “it takes two to make an argument.” When my siblings and I were needing to discuss conflicts, we were always told to think of how whatever happened made the other person feel. We addressed that we had a way we thought it happened (and how we were somehow offended by the situation), but that the other person had a way they saw the situation too. Two stories to one moment. This TedTalk reminded me of those conversations and how every person forms their own story when they watch a situation unfold.
In Psychology, there is an impact to how someone views a situation because of their expectations; Adichie touches on something similar: if shown one thing (or idea) over and over again, then that’s what it or whomever/whatever becomes until we are given contrasting information. It becomes the story that we label it as and we are predisposed to assume whatever we were told. It makes me wonder how society could be changed – or at least more opened minded – if we always included some type of rebuttal. A second story ever time.
I liked when Adichie said that stories are power and that they can define a person. For instance, Adichie’s comment about the young poor boy she never thought could be anything but poor. That is a label given because of a story provided. So, I question, how does media impact our given story? If the media provides us with one look, and perhaps we have confirmation bias, how does this story shape us to be who we are? Take for example the murders of multiple Black community members. Particular society members expect something, they continue to portray those people through that lens, and since it aligns with some viewpoint society gave people, they accept it because of the one story they were provided. (Yet even when given background on how this person was just a person, they refuse it.) Another instance is how the media during 9/11 shaped our expectations and society as a whole? Society idiotically blamed every single Muslim in the country when they had virtually no early knowledge or impact on the event. We were given a story: that the terrorists were Muslim extremists and we took this one view on the religion and persecuted an entire religious population because of it. We stereotyped them and they limited our mindset, but really, they were just people. Like everyone else. Scared. How does society rely on media for a story and how does this story shape the entire mindset on groups of people? How can fake news of one story, read widely, completely mold the mindset of the people? We as people are so susceptible to what we read or hear, so fake news can shape entire viewpoints either directly or subtly, and often times people don’t attempt to expand their perspectives.
Dr. Luis, Slack on Two Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) Maps
Purposeful censorship or complete eradication of parts of history creates a slant in our historical documentation that leaves us lost in the past. When Townsend states that these historical conversations “are almost impossible to hear,” I think of the parts of history that have been lost due to active erasure or due to lack of chance to write. These stories, conversations, that are never revealed because of the subjective author of the work. I found it extremely interesting that Townsend notes the writings of Don Domingo (Chimalpahin) and his act of writing down these oral histories of the past. There were Natives acknowledging the importance of recording their histories so they would last; and yet, some schools still teach of the Aztecs disappearing. Has one ever thought that the ‘disappearance’ is perhaps due to the erasure of their histories? That they are not gone, but their written history practically wiped? Western voices often tell the stories of history, and society seems to accept it as enough, but in relying on these voices we lose the other side of history— the other conversationalist. In the United States today, Native Americans history is still missing. We’re told of colonialism and all of its facets, and yet nobody educates us on the deep and true struggles of Natives, for instance, Abraham Lincoln’s authorization of the mass-hanging of 38 Dakota Native Americans.
Although limited, there are accounts given from the indigenous point of view, and I think that those can help us approximate these lost conversations. Because of the limited writings, however, one must be more careful with how they take in the information they read— and how they apply it to the greater population. An importance in studying Native American history, as Townsend notes, is the difference in the peoples labeled “Aztec.” It is explained that there are a variety of groups that fall under the Western name “Aztec,” and so the stories given by Indigenous people can provide us insight, one cannot completely generalize the conversations, as each Indigenous group had to adapt to their environments and did so differently.
In the map of Tenochtitlan, it is interesting to see how the map centers around Calpolli, and seems to have more similar buildings surrounding the city, with direct lines into the center. This seems to convey an importance of their politics or religious powers during the time. The map of Mexico City, however, is built in a way that doesn’t appear to center around anything. It is interesting to see how the timeline discusses changes in power and then to see how the designs of the maps alter.
Dr. Bory, No Form Slack Submission — a musical take.
When I perform with my guitar, I’m usually most worried about missing a note when finger-picking or losing the rhythm in my head— and in turn, losing the prescribed strumming pattern for the song. Before performing, I always do a few “comfort songs” that ease my anxiety about singing and playing the guitar. I felt that this fell under no-form, since it isn’t about what I’m playing nor does the warm-up have any structure; rather, it’s whatever my brain feels will ease its angst, and whatever I care to play for however long I care to play it. Within the recording is Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car, a song I learned and perfected when I was in sixth grade and obsessed with Chapman’s music. I’ve since had this song memorized, and it’s my go-to when I’m nervous and have a guitar in my hands. The next is a part of Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud; I can’t remember when I learned this song, but I only recall parts of it. The particular part you hear within this audio is the section I know best (hence why I play it as a relief of worry). After those two songs (ones that people might actually know), I gravitate towards notes and chords I have put together for songs I’ve written, chord progressions I’ve ordered, or just random finger-picking motions that keep my hands busy. I capped the recording at three minutes, because most often, that is the extra time (on average) I have to be formless before playing in a structured arrangement with my youth band at my church or at other places. Please enjoy my pre-performance jitters in a recorded format.
Dr. Green Slack on Fires in the Mirror:
One particular usage of this was the juxtaposition of the Rabbi Joseph Speilman and the Anonymous Young Man #1. Each character tells the story of the incident between the Jewish driver and the young boy, Gavin Cato, that was run over. (It is to note that Anna Deavere Smith does define bias, racism, and discrimination in the beginning and also notes these words to be “lousy language.” That being said, I do believe these two characters had a bias, which led to the juxtaposing of the characters’ testimonies.) The Rabbi tells his viewpoint: how people were on the sidewalk drinking beer, seeing as it is “that type of neighborhood,” and further details how the Hasidic driver attempts to not hit any pedestrians, but “regretfully” one child ended up dead and another wounded. The scene then cuts to the Anonymous Young Man #1 who explains that they (the group on the sidewalk) were outside watching an older sister push her younger brother on a bike, and that the boy was wobbling around. Each of these perspectives emphasizes a context and scene that paints a different outlook of the violent event. As these two characters continue to give their perspective on the moment, you listen to the Anonymous Young Man #1 explain that he sensed the driver had been drinking, but the Rabbi offers a different idea, one in which the driver leaps from his place to try to help when he was suddenly beaten by others.
By placing these two characters next to each other, and intermingling each of their perspectives on the moment that instigated riots, Anna Deavere Smith is able to demonstrate how each moment is subjective. Psychology says we see what we expect to see— what we want to see. We are more likely to see a particular behavior if we expect to see it. In this instance, Anna Deavere Smith highlights this concept when she acts two different people, each with a contrasting bias to the situation. It illuminates how each group in this conflict, the Jewish population and the Black population, come to find themselves at odds: they see only their perspective— how they were victims. In doing so, she paves the way to further explanation on the actual impacts both the car accident and the stabbing have on each population group (and how their outlooks intensify these views). This made me further contemplate how we view moments in our own lives, and how those understandings and interpretations differ from others. It is this idea, how every moment is subjective, that makes it imperative to have open communication on complex (or contested) concepts to help others understand where a person is coming from, and then how to reach common ground (if needed).
Dr. Fache, “The Fact of Blackness”:
“The Fact of Blackness”
I previously noted a lasting concept of branding. In the past, slave owners were allowed by law to brand their slaves to physicalize the ownership of the human. This statement of inferiority has permeated society ever since. Fanon exemplifies this long-lasting branding that materializes through the conceptual schemes placed on Blacks. It is an epidermal schema that is left when the corporeal schema is lost. In the present day, we see that Black people not only must be Black, but they must be Black in relation to the white man. It is not about being yourself, but a third-person view on how to portray yourself to the public. Baker underwent this analysis of displaying oneself with this third person approach. It is said that Baker took the stereotypes placed on her race and gender and turned them into her own representation; she mocked the stereotypes. To do this, Baker had to accept the stereotypes and reflect on how her white audiences would see her Black, female body. Fanon notes that there is a need to understand and acknowledge the past to change the present. Baker does this. She turns these conceptual schemes of her race and culture and turns it into her own successful career. Yet, even as she attempts to change this representation, the white man still takes their conceptual scheme and sexualizes Baker and her dances. It is this, that Baker cannot just be “a dancer,” but it comes with the caveat that she is labeled “a Black dancer.”
One line that particularly stuck out to me was when Fanon said “[s]ince the other hesitated to recognize me, there remained only one solution: to make myself known” (87). Baker indeed did this. She took all the stereotypes and limitations and she turned them on their head as she gained fame and danced in the spotlight.
Dr. Wills, A Reaction Slack to D.N. Power’s “Eucharist in Contemporary Catholic Tradition”
On page 417 there is discussion on how “the Church lives from the life of Christ and the Spirit” but also how it “…expresses its own life and mystery” in its practice of the Eucharist. I ask: how do we see Scripture change in meaning and interpretation depending on the Church body? How do changes of local churches (of same denomination) or complete changes in denominations change particular Christian practices, and how do we see these differing interpretations interact? (Ex. Catholic perspectives different from Baptist and UMC divide over LGBT)
Throughout the work the author continued to use the word “mysterious” (or a variation of the root word ‘mystery’). I found it interesting that the author employed that particular word so often, and how it was frequently juxtaposed with this concept of figuring out the origin or genesis of the “mystery” that was being discussed in the particular section. It is often said that God works in beautiful and mysterious ways. This statement has a connotation that there is a beauty in that unknown; yet, when the author talks about mystery, it is about figuring it out.
Dr. Denham, A Reaction Slack on the German film Never Look Away
The nurse said “I like you too” to the woman with a disability right before the group murder… That exchange just hit differently. And the fact that women were taking part in the sterilization— murder— of other women to keep them from having children. Did they ever think of if they were in that position?
What if we all lived by this idea “I want to do it / I do it because I can”? Just because we can do something, does it mean we should? Also, I don’t understand the ending.