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Good intentions/don't know how to feel about our field trip.

Sarah's picture

As I have been reading my classmates posts about our field trip yesterday, I find myself agreeing with everyone and all the comments on their postings- the problem is a lot of what people are saying are in someway contradictory, so it is hard for me to understand how I agree with everyone.  I keep reminding myself that nothing is black and white and that my mixed feelings are reasonable. While we were on the tour, it reminded me of when I was in Kenya and would see white people going on slum tours and how upset it made me feel; part of me feels the two situations are very different, given that the level of disparity is so much less, but part of my knows it would not have come to mind if the similarities were not there.  Our guide was an especially interesting person to me.  I believe he and the organization he represents are extremely well intentioned, however sometimes good intentions go awry.  For example, when we were looking at the victim mural and someone drove by blasting loud music our guide said "someone needs to get that guy a paint brush!"   I believe this tour guide cared deeply for the community, and really wanted the best for the people living there.  However, I wonder if his method, and the methods of this Mural Arts organization are constraining and restricting to some.  Who is to say if loudly playing music is more or less helpful than painting a mural.  Who is to say that murals are better than street art?  Also, I wonder why he wanted us to wave at everyone? In the moment I felt okay about waving back and smiling at those who waves at me, especially children.  But way message does this convey? 

Thinking of good intentions gone awry, it was interesting to hear about the origins of solitary confinement and how it was not intended to be inhumane.  Although it surprised me and made me a little uncomfortable to hear our guide to excitedly talking about the history of E.S.P, I think I am left with same general question from both our tours.  How do we as people, try to make the world a better place/help people/help ourselves (...all these phrases might be problematic), without getting tunnel vision around the methods of our plans? How do we make sure our good intentions end in good results?



Michaela's picture

I'm feeling exactly the same

I'm feeling exactly the same way about a lot of what we've discussed in all 3 classes--how do I turn my interest and privilege in trying to understand places where the world could be improved into actually doing something, in an inoffensive and thoughtful way? How could we have gone through those neighborhoods on a trolley and displayed less privilege/disparity with the actual residents of those communities? Would walking instead of the spectacle of a trolley have made it better? Or is it a group-based thing, that, with 24 of us, we were never going to be anything other than the listeners/watchers in our fishbowl exercise, taking everything in as though those in the fishbowl are to be made a spectacle of?