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Written Word

anak's picture

I wanted to write about our discussion on the trust we develop in our placements and how this is affected by our reflection writing and discussion.  I still feel like I am not able to process this information though so I am just going to stick to our previous discussion on Frederick Douglass. 

When discussing Frederick Douglass and his advanced ability to read and write, I thought about how oral stories and history play into knowledge as power.  There must involve a sort of trust for oral recollections to be seriously considered by the listener.  As Frederick Douglass explains, any “free” slave must have a written note proving them able to continue on his or her travels.  It is clear no spoken affirmation would suffice.  Is this a lack of trust on oral word in general?  Or is it just that slaves are not considered human beings so they specifically cannot be trusted?

While thinking about this, it is the act of oral storytelling that has kept much US history alive.  Why doesn’t this still matter as much as it used to?  On the other hand, there are many narratives like this one that are not in writing.  So is Frederick Douglass’ narrative only alive because he knew how to write?  I don’t think this entirely relates to our class, but I had these questions following our class.


RainQueen's picture

I was thinking- and maybe this bridges your two thoughts- that perhaps if narratives are needed (and keep storytelling alive) then our work can be regarded as narrative. Therefore, we can then consider what we're writing to be important; and also to have a responsibility to be accurate and fair (just as Douglass must have considered and put great care into). But I don't know if that makes it ethical- it simply makes a case for the use of writing to create conversation.