For my last blog post, I wanted to write a short reflection on what I’ve enjoyed in this class, what I’ve learned, and what I will carry with me moving forward.
I am grateful for my classmates’ willingness to be vulnerable and to be honest during the difficult discussions we have about race, violence, and discrimination in America. There were often moments in class where Professor Kinyon would pose a question and I couldn’t even begin to come up with a semblance of an answer, but there was always someone who was open to sharing their own experiences, and I learned a lot from them.
On that note, I am grateful for Professor Kinyon for asking us difficult questions and pushing the boundaries of our perspectives on these topics. Thank you for always encouraging us to think about the nuances of every issue and giving us the opportunity to share them with each other in the classroom.
Coming into the class, I knew nothing else about James Baldwin besides the fact that he was a Black writer who “moved” to Paris. Now, at the end of the class, I definitely agree that Baldwin’s life and work gave us a rich and complex lens to explore transatlantic discourses on nationality, sexuality, race, gender, and religion. In each unit, I found that there was always a narrative that I had not considered, or at least shied away from: whether it be the difficult discourse of purity culture in Christianity, internalised racial discrimination, queerness and migration, or the purpose of vulnerability in activism. These perspectives not only enriched my understanding of civil rights history in America, but also of race relations and connected issues across the world.
Moving forward, I would like to apply the same nature of purposeful and honest inquiry in the future classrooms that I might teach. I want to encourage students to dig deep to look at the real root of social issues, and examine how that affects the way we live our lives today. In the same way this class has fostered open dialogue, I want to create the same atmosphere of trust and mutual respect so that my future students can learn from each other, and I from them.