Why blog?

After 2 decades of playing Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, my first role as a Korean-American. photo by Jeanne Modderman

After 2 decades of playing Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, my first role as a Korean-American. photo by Jeanne Modderman

I’ve started this blog for a number of reasons.

  1. I like to share stuff. Like good poems. And avocado recipes.
  2. After years of collecting internet bits and bobs, it will be helpful for my research for me to have them all in one place.
  3. Talking about race, identity, and privilege is hard. There is still an outdated belief that if you bring these things up, you are racist yourself. So instead, as educators and those working in the theatre industry, we stay silent, we don’t engage. If we are teaching our students to use their literal and figurative voices, shouldn’t we be using ours to pursue our epistemological curiosities?
  4. I’ve found that teachers and those in the creative arts can actually be the most resistant to examining privilege in their own practice. Working in theatre or working in higher education can give someone a grand sense of progressiveness that can convince us that we are the ‘good guys’ when it comes to horrible things like cultural marginalization. After all, we are smart and we are artsy! I’ve been guilty of this in the past, myself. This can be incredibly insidious and therefore, much harder to address and examine. I hope that some readers will be able to reflect on their own practice within some of the contexts I present or in light of some of the questions I raise. And I invite you to engage and call me on my own bullshit. Because this is still a process for me, and I openly and happily admit that I know very, very little.
  5. If I am to support and nurture my students in a way that encourages them to use their own voices in a truthful way, I find it difficult to reconcile the fact that I must assimilate my own figurative voice for a still very conservative academic context. If I want to write for a journal or give a presentation, I often need to adhere to specific guidelines in order to legitimize myself academically (there are some enclaves of academics and creatives who are getting together to revolutionize this! More on that soon!) I know I’ll need to assimilate at times, but this blog allows me to write in a way that is free from such constrictions. And perhaps there I will be able to experiment with other ways to legitimately express oneself academically while still being creative, unconventional, and myself.
  6. bell hooks was devastated when her White teachers told her that people who looked like her didn’t have much to offer when it came to good writing. I hope to post lots of amazing text, voicework, and poetry from all over the world. This begs the question, however, of cultural appropriation in our classrooms and when/how it is okay to use something from another place. I’m looking forward to this discussion!

You will probably dig this blog if you:

  • are a voice teacher. Or if you just are interested in the voice. Or sociolinguistics. Or accents. I  will post loads of voicey things and good poems to use in your classes that are hopefully not mostly written by White, dead, men (maybe some, though. I do love me some Jack Gilbert. And he is newly dead, so).
  • are interested in exploring your own identity and relationship to privilege.
  • are an English language teacher and are concerned with your role within an international context. Are you empowering or disempowering your students by continuing to teach English as a tool for success?
  • are someone with a pluralistic background and are interested to see how identity and voice intersect. I’m interested in this myself. It’s pretty much my jam.
  • like interculturalism. Or if you really hate the term ‘interculturalism’ because it connotes that cultures can manifest some sort of authentic essentialism and borders (pssst: I don’t think they can).
  • are a pedagogue who is interested in ways to be more inclusive to diverse student bodies.
  • aren’t too easily offended. My household is full of New York/Glasgwegian cussin’.
  • like avocados as much as me. If that’s the case, we’re pretty much BFFs already.

Soooooo enjoy. And engage. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

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