Readings: 

  • 13th, Ava Duvernay
  • Ted
  • Tatum

In Class Discussion: 

  • How has Obama’s election affected blackness in America?
  • Underrepresentation of successful blacks on TV
  • Paradigm of politics // Could Obama have been elected with Trump’s level of political experience?
  • History is passed down by the people who win // Seminar at SMC
  • Dogwhistle politics and 13th
  • ALEC
  • Support black businesses

Today’s class was definitely a game changer for me in the sense that I now understand how to be actively engaged in class without worrying about constantly overstepping boundaries. One girl in class brought up the point that most people worry about appearing racist more than they worry about doing things that are racist. After hearing this, I thought, “Okay, I’ve definitely been doing it wrong.”

I was surprised to witness just how easily and organically the conversation flowed amongst students, but much of the smoothness can be attributed to Ms. Corliss Watkins. I was impressed with her ability to demand transparency and honesty from students without coming across harshly. I felt comfortable asking clarifying questions and can already feel a sense of familiarity and trust amongst my fellow students in the class.

There were multiple moments in today’s class that evoked unique emotions from me- some sad, some happy. Much of my time was spent feeling constantly enlightened and I found myself constantly saying, “Wow, how have I not noticed this before?” I am embarrassed that I had to be a junior in college before I learned anything I’m learning in this class! One huge component of both our smaller group discussion and larger class discussion was ALEC, the American Legislative Economic Council. I quickly caught onto the dangers of this group through Ava Duvernay’s thought provoking documentary, 13th, but I had no clue just who was involved.

One of the many outstanding examples Corliss gave during the discussion was how many of the resources Saint Mary’s supplies the campus with that support ALEC. For example, the carpet we walk on and the toilet paper we wipe with come from companies associated with ALEC. I found this surprising as SMC has been under speculation about racial diversity and discrimination on campus. This is something that definitely needs attention and I am eager to find more and more at the school that truly goes against its desire for diversity. (LO1)

Additionally, I felt like I learned SO much information from Ava Duvernay’s 13th. During the documentary, I felt a wide range of emotions. After the documentary, however, I felt inspired! I think in this way the video was effective in implementing social change. It explained multiple examples of social change in history- like the Civil Rights movement and the Black Fathers organization. Both of which utilized education and community in order to gather and unite individuals in a minority group. In the worlds of Michelle Obama, these people embodied the quote, “When they go low, we go high.” In my opinion, the sense of community is nearly as important as the movement itself.

One thing I’ve noticed in this class in particular is the fact that Scott is always quick to acknowledge his privilege and, rather than let ego get in the way, is always the first to ask for assistance or guidance from people of color. In this way, the social change that is implemented from his lessons is the direct result of the experiences of those who are directly affected rather than the perception of these experiences by white people. It is frustrating now to see and hear some of the “solutions” proposed by white people for racism and inequality, as they are all based on speculation.

Learning Objective #7 – Identify and critique the multiple and varied strategies people use to implement social change. 

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