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Class Discussion Reflection

kwilkinson's picture

After our class discussion, I reflected quite a bit about what people said.  I can totally empathize/sympathize with feeling uncomfortable to speak, fear of misinterpretation, wanting approval and acceptance of your ideas from your peers (I feel like that all the time).  I definitely think that our learning environment should be a safe space that allows for growth, but how can we grow if we DO NOT speak?

I guess from our conversation I felt that the responsibility to fix this problem was very one-sided.  Of course the people who talk alot should create space for others to speak freely, but the people who don't talk have to work on speaking up more too.  I don't think it's fair to expect others to self-censor or limit their voice for the benefit of others.  

I guess for me it is more personal, because as a Black-American woman my voice is limited and censored in society by way of stereotypes and fixed roles.  For many people of color on campus there is a constant (at times sporadic) internal battle of self-censorship for one's own personal well-being, or if something is offensive saying something for the great good of the space by providing another perspective.  For myself, trying to figure out if the space is literally SAFE enough for one to speak, am I going to be marginalized as the angry black women or too sensitive/aggressive if I give the "Race" perspective, etc?   

I think it's important to keep that in mind when you are in class.  The reality is that most people in our society have no voice, they are often times invisible, in addition to stereotypes and fixed roles being placed upon them.  We have the opportunity to cultivate our own identities, voices, and opinions in this space.  If someone says something you don't agree with--TELL THEM.  That is a learning moment for everyone, most of the time when I think about the most influential moments in my life it was through a conversation--seeing the other side.

I guess the point is that I think we all need to check our privilege a bit.  Of course not everyone needs to be talking all of the time, but remember that historically for WOMYN our voices are not as celebrated in the American public sphere.  I know it's scary, but take a risk and put yourself out there.  Your voice is powerful, and you are in control of that.  Never let anyone (yourself included) take that away from you because it is the most powerful tool that you are ever going to have.