A new school year has begun, with all the excitement and feelings of overwhelmedness, and how can I juggle every thing. I’m very excited about my classes, both taken and teaching after a summer of rest.
My students at Hostos Community College are the best, though they sure complain and sometimes, sometimes sure suck their teeth!
I am taking a class called the Black Pacific which is based on Paul Gilroy’s most excellent book, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Our professor asks, is there a Black Pacific? I think there is, especially in Colombia – Choco, Cauca where there are huge thriving, resisting Afro Colombian communities. I am also taking a Globalization class, breaking down how this rapacious money grubbing system works throughout the world. And the third class I am taking is one called Space, Place and Experience with is in the Environmental Psychology field and I’m very excited to learn new things, so I can apply them to my work with communities.
In the Black Pacific class, after we read the Black Atlantic which breaks down racial purity and nationalism as not helpful to combat oppression and to release liberation, we just read Asia As Method by Kuan-Hsing Chen. Particularly in his analysis of the most excellent Franz Fanon, where he really lays out his contributions, he talks about people who were colonized giving up the politics of resentment. Um, sounds very interesting to give that up as a driving force to our lives, but I’m not sure that completely giving it up is possible, given that colonization/imperialism/oppressions still go on on the daily. But I can really appreciate Chen’s articulation as a way to talk about healing from oppression and being colonized and working towards a life where we are not controlled by our oppressive past.
My friend María also shared a beautiful story about her project where she is looking at archival testimony by women who were tortured, raped, sexually assaulted and other wise brutalized under el proceso in Argentina, paid and trained for by the CIA. Maria told me how these hermanas only talked about torture in their testimony, but otherwise they talk about how they created, resisted, created art, and supported each other in this most harrowing of times. That is so moving, that we are not condemned to get stuck in living and reliving our oppression, but that we are more complex, resisting, creating beings ruled by love and connection.
Now, if the NYPD and the CUNY system can be forced to respond to this pressure, that NO WAR COLLEGE!, no jobs for the War Criminal Petraus! And no criminalizing of our students, or any one else because we don’t believe in their política armamentista!