Lemon-Scented Bivouac  

Fatherly and, eventually, teacherly blather. Also: graphic design, baseball, synthetic fabrics, jug band music and, lord help us, the occasional politics.

Thursday, September 04, 2003  

I am a student again. Scrambling to write one-page papers in the morning before class; evaluating which textbooks I have to buy and which I can afford to sneak a look at in the bookstore; it's all there.

My "cohort" (my classmates; everyone outside of Education programs just blinks at me when I use that word) seems very decent, has a bit of personality, has some real intelligence, and is white. Well, I should say there's a fair number of Asians and a sprinkling of Else, but for the most part we are very white. And today we discuss race, which never works among white people. We don't know how to do it and we get all crossed up and defensive.

Yesterday I had the great good fortune to wind up in a group with a woman who grew up in a Mexican immigrant farmworkers' family, an Native woman of mixed Ojibwe-somethingelse blood, and an entomologist (not a race, but it will do). They told me a lot. If you come from a community of large, close families; if you feel born with the duty to greet everyone, even strangers; if you're used to talking and learning not to get ahead but just to talk and learn; if you assume physical closeness and emotions are not dangerous -- then the world of white people looks awfully strange. There was lots else to say. Good conversation; we talked for a long time; couldn't tell how long.

Then some dude joined our group, listening for about ten seconds, and said: "HEY! You guys hear about the JOCK that, I guess on this campus they have like these STEAM VENTS, and this was like a year and a HALF ago, the guy FELL IN, I don't know how, and it took like a WEEK before they found him and pulled his body out -- HE WAS JUST SKIN AND BONES and nothing else. He weighed like FORTY POUNDS."

Conversation over.

  posted by Andy @ 7:12 AM §

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