Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jon M. Chu: "Silent Beats"

This short film by Jon M. Chu is so powerful, I'm not even going to say anything about it. It's entitled "Silent Beats" and won the Princess Grace Award in 2006. Prepare to be made veeeery uncomfortable. Prepare to be forced to think long and hard about some of these images afterward.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

There's No Such Thing As Black History

When I was first asked to be the guest speaker tomorrow at the NAACP campus chapter Black History Month Kickoff (a well-attended annual affair), I didn't immediately answer. I wasn't sure it was appropriate. I'm a popular teacher among the Black students. I spend a fair amount of time working to help Black students bridge whatever obstacles they face to finishing college. When it comes to race relations, I get it. And I can certainly talk at the drop of a hat. Especially about race. Or gender. Or power relations of any kind, for that matter. But there are some great young Black speakers in this region who would do a fine job of bringing an inspiring message of hope to those in attendance. So I was afraid I'd be stepping up where I should step back.

Still, I didn't want to disrespect the students who opted to ask me. After all, they're not children. They have a right to choose for themselves (don't they?). I decided I wouldn't respond to the email until the morning after I was asked and I tried to go to bed and get some sleep. But sleep wouldn't come.

I thought about calling the organization faculty/staff advisor (who I know well) to ask what she thought I should do. But that felt as if I was patronizing the student leaders. I checked my ego to see if that was somehow mixed up in the game. But how do you know that for sure? Isn't ego always mixed up in the game? Finally, I called on the Universe to handle it: "If I should do this, tell me what I'm supposed to say." And from then until ninety minutes later, I didn't get a wink of sleep until the outline for the entire set of remarks was scrawled on a legal pad on the desk in my office.

To help me make sure I'll be solid on Monday, I've decided to write it all up as my Black History Month blog post. If you're interested in what I intend to say, read on. And if you want to help me tweak this, that would be great.