Readings: 

  •  Franz Fanon, “The Fact of Blackness”
  • Beverly D. Tatum, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race – Part II: Understanding Blackness in a White Context

I think it is important to state why I took this class before I dive into my experience in it. I am on the Women’s Rowing team at SMC and part of our training requires that our JanTerm class is in the 9:15-11:50am time slot. Given this restriction, my class options were limited- so I had to really examine each topic and attempt to find one that I believed would be rewarding to me. I saw the Black Lives Matter course and immediately my interest was piqued. When the #BlackLivesMatter movement began I was quickly made aware of just how little I knew and understood about blackness. I have made it a personal goal of mine to make every JanTerm class something that I can look back on and say, “Wow, that profoundly changed me as an individual- for the better.” I knew that this class had the potential to open my eyes to a lot and quickly registered.

Fast forward to today. Of course, it was an introduction to the course and thus we didn’t necessarily dive deeply into all things blackness. I must admit, I was nervous entering the classroom. While I do not understand or relate to most black experiences, I do understand that often times well intentioned white people can offend or disrespect black culture. After entering the incredibly crowded room, I was immediately aware of how diverse the class would be! You see, initially after registering I was concerned about the lacking number of black students in the class. I was very much afraid of being a part of another group of white people talking about black problems so I was very much pleased to see the diverse group of students in the class!

The reading list is a bit intimidating, but I am excited to spend the next month reading eye-opening literature and watching thought-provoking films!

My favorite part of the day was when Scott had each person go around the room and explain what they were a resource for. Not only was this an original and refreshing form of introductions, it was educational and eye opening. I had no clue that there were so many resources open to me- from Ms. Corliss Watkins, the inspiring Director of SMC SEAS, to Jordan, who offered her discounts at Foot Locker. It was wonderful to see the faces that run the IC center and those who commonly spend their time there, as it had always been a bit of a mystery to me. I also learned about the BSU, which I had heard about multiple times but had never realized or appreciated just how meaningful it was to black students.

Another resource that is valuable to students of color (and women, of course) is the Women’s Resource Center. Also having been through the HP program at Saint Mary’s, I can say that that is a resource for students. It was definitely refreshing as well to hear how many students couldn’t necessarily think of ways in which they were “resources” however genuinely offered their ears and open minds and hearts to hear the thoughts and opinions of others.


Learning Objective #3 – Identify academic, social, and cultural resources available to black students (e.g. faculty, staff, other students, outside of SMC community members, academic support).

 

 

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