Please play the song ABOVE while, before, or after reading this subpage. Please also begin to conisder embedding soundcloud music to your own ePortfolio. Here is the corresponding video (notice that all other music files came from soundcloud while this page features an embedded mp3 that we do not have the rights to... hence we are embedding the video to show the source. Keep these things in mind for your own ePortfolio.)
In the background, you hear “Sweet Honey in the Rock” performing Ella’s song. It is a song for Ella Baker and the activist voice she carried forward during the Civil Rights Movement. They wrote this song because Ella Baker influenced many of them, a woman has often been omitted from the historical memory about the Civil Rights Movement, a story where men are usually offered as the lead characters. Nothing could be further from the truth. This song ignites this webpage and asks that we always look at the ways that genders and sexualities frame who is regarded as important, what you must look like/be/do to be socially accepted or acceptable, and how power gets maintained both publicly and privately. We are delving specifically into gender binaries, homophobia, transphobia, and violence against women as functions of patriarchy and misogyny.
Let me bring it home now (the usual third person voice of this website is shifting… this is Carmen talking now). For the past two years, I start every semester with a personal story based on my own experiences as a director of a college program. In my previous job, I was a program administrator. This means that I received constant emails DAILY from other college administrators and staff across the nation as well as many requests from other offices on campus, all of whom might need my help with a variety of staffing or resource issues. With the exception of those folk who knew me personally, there was NO single instance where one of these people ever emailed me directly. Never once. On each occasion, these people either: 1) emailed a white male above me in rank OR side-by-side rather than reach out to me at all; or 2) they emailed me but CCed or referenced a whole posse of white men so that they did not need to really speak directly with ONLY me. IN FIVE YEARS, I never interacted with any national or local professional needing the help of my program who had the ability to see me as a person of authority. NOT ONCE. They all needed to authorize a man beforehand or while they talked with me. Neither the multiple websites with me listed as the director, photo included, nor the big sign on my door seemed to make a difference. In the case of upper-level managers, my male colleagues replied to these emails by CCing me and answering the emailer’s queries, oftentimes with misinformation. There is a special expression for this latter foolishness: all up in the kool-aid but don’t know the flava. On the flip side, there was never any moment when someone contacted me in error from assuming I was directing or administering a program outside of my area. The only mistaken identity I ever got was when someone thought I was the secretary.
I tell you this small story to show and why I identify as a woman who has something to say about racism, sexism, and college campuses. I also tell you this story as a way to talk about rhetoric, identity, and writing— these experiences profoundly shape how I understand myself; how I understand the time and place in which I live; how I experience people’s perception of my person and body; how I navigate my world and work; and who I trust and who stays suspect for me. My very gumption to be public about this story— to do the truthtelling— is informed by feminist thought. My point is that rhetoric and writing are all about relationships: the relationships between your experiences in the world and, therefore, how you write/act/think/speak in and on that world. This module asks you to understand genders, sexuality, and patriarchy as a central part of these relationships. So what do YOU really think here? Let’s start the dialogue from there. Choose any ONE article or video below and comment to it using your homework/syllabus guidelines.
|Choose any ANY ONE of the links below. Click the title.|
|Click here for a playlist called "Smurfette and Other Problems Representing Women." This playlist has many videos. Choose any ONE video.|
|Click here for a playlist related to Bayard Rustin's life--- "Black, Gay, and Pacifist." This playlist has many videos. Choose any ONE video.|
Choose any ONE video below...