Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Panic Mode

It struck me today, as I was making arrangements to meet with a local librarian to try out the technology for a library series I'm doing, PANIC! Gulp! EEP!

The library series starts next Wednesday, so I have just over a week to be fully prepared. I'll be talking with some community folks about Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, focusing first on the General Prologue, then "The Miller's Tale," "The Nun's Priest's Tale," and "The Franklin's Tale." It's basically Bardiac's favorite short Chaucer. The first day we'll talk about the GP, a little about the three pilgrims, a bit about pilgrimage, and a bit about the quitting game. I'm going to bring in some sound files of reading, and that's something I need to put together quickly.

I stopped by the Fort today (since I was there for a discussion of anti-racism) to ask the admin assistant for guidance about a committee I'm chairing this semester, and had a weird (not unpleasant, just unexpected) interaction with one of the administrative biggies. I made an appointment to talk to a deanling about the committee, since the admin assistant is out for a family thing for next week (after another anti-racism discussion).

I'm teaching Shakespeare for the first time since spring '07. That's two and a half years, and feels way too long. I'm sort of psyched and psyched out. I asked our new writing specialist for help in designing some assignments for writing for the class, and she's wonderful and gave me great help.

And then I'm teaching Chaucer again, The Canterbury Tales. I think most of the assignments I used last time worked well, and will need some tweaking, but not full out tweaking.

So why was I suddenly overwhelmed?


The anti-racism discussion was really good. They mix folks up so we've got some very theoretically informed folks, some staff folks with less reading knowledge, some folks from here, some from far away. It's really helpful for me to get a sense of how it was to grow up here, and especially how very different from my experience growing up far from here.

As a white person in the upper midwest who cares to work against racism, I have to recognize that I've had way more opportunities to know people of color, and yet mostly I socialize with other white folks. I socialize with faculty of color, but not much with people of color in the city or local area (and there are plenty). So why should someone with less opportunity do better?

We were discussing the Harry Reid comment, and commentaries in the media that make it sound like new information that African Americans who are lighter in color experience less intense racism at times. Is that really new information to most white folks? I remember learning that in grammar school, having it articulated, even.


  1. The Harry Reid thing is ridiculous, and making a Big Deal of it is so typically Republican and hypocritical. It was miracle enough to get Obama elected; do you think it could have happened with a dark-skinned candidate with a drawl?

    We need to call the Republicans on these diversionary tactics every time. Speak truth to plutocrats.

  2. I agree that the Harry Reid thing is simply a diversionary tactic. Sure, what he said was somewhat insensitive, but ... seriously, whatever!

    I don't think you should be too hard about the socializing thing. Everybody tends to socialize more with the people they work with. White, black, or purple, you're more likely to have things in common with fellow faculty members than with a random person you run into in Blockbuster.