“The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you will learn, the more places you’ll go”
- Make a list of twelve countries that I have never heard about
- Research the countries to learn more about the culture and people
- Find books that are centered around humanization from those twelve countries
- Read the twelve books, one a month
- Reflect and address on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation and look at who the people are when the stereotypes and prejudices are wiped away
This semester has provided me with many opportunities to grow as an individual. Specifically, this class has pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to discover things about myself and others that I had not known. My 21st birthday is this Saturday, May 20th. Since I am about to be the legal drinking age, I think it is more than appropriate to expand my literary pallet as well. I might even import a glass of wine or a can of beer from every country I read, who knows?
My goal is to read one novel a month for twelve months that humanizes individuals from twelve countries I have never heard of. I want to learn more about individuals in other countries and be open to their experiences. My goal is to recognized my preconceived biases and check my own privilege. I am an onion, I have layers and walls that people need to peel to see the real me. Hopefully I can peel those layers of the authors from the twelve unknown (to me) countries by reading between the lines. I want to go places.
My grandfather survived the Holocaust. He made it through eight different concentration camps, came to America, and had a family. Unfortunately, I never got to meet him because his heart was too weak. He passed away when my dad was 16, the same year my dad got hit by a drunk driver. I got to know my grandfather through the stories I learned from my family and through studying the Holocaust. The butterfly is located near Auschwitz and serves as a reminder to never forget. Never forget your humanity. Never forget that we were all created equally, difference is socially constructed.
Below are ten poems that I wrote about my experience with the Holocaust. It was the most difficult, but most rewarding experience of my life. Enjoy.
When I began this course, I had no idea what I was getting into. I have learned so much throughout my inquiry process and the things we have read have contributed to my understanding of how to approach writing diverse cultures. I am in a very different place now than I was before I started the course. I had no idea how complex writing about cultures could become. I learned that I am a very systematic writer and I don’t love to be pushed outside of my comfort. I thought that it wasn’t okay to write from perspectives that I could not understand myself, but through the readings we have completed I have found ways that could accurately represent other cultures.
I fell in love with Adiche and the things she has to say about the role of females in our society. She says, “show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again and that is what they become.” This quote inspired me and I reference it every time I think about the danger of a single story. The perspective brought forth in On Black Sister’s Street opened my eyes and helped me develop what I believe to be the most important human trait, empathy. I have spent much of my time on this earth trying to see people for who they are, rather than as the labels society has branded them with. Maya Angelou says, “prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” I have constantly checked my privilege throughout this process and made sure that I was not tokenizing or misrepresenting cultures I didn’t understand.
I think I have done a really good job of pulling the reader in by using personal experience to guide my writing. I have found my voice through my writing and really learned a lot about myself throughout the process. I have written with a purpose because all of the prompts and assignments required me to establish a purpose. I think I accomplished many of my self-set goals because I did go out of my comfort zone and created work that I am genuinely proud of. I thought that I would learn more descriptive language and how to portray my thoughts better, but I’m still struggling with that area.