Though we live in the 21st century, we are beginning this class in the late 20th century with two important entities: Audre Lorde and Salt N Pepa, perhaps an unlikely pair but the inspiration for this class's opening sessions anyway. In a world where 83-year old Black women are kicked off of trains because they were laughing too loud with their African American women's reading group (#LaughingWhileBlack), it seems safe to say that not ALL people are allowed to express themselves within the hierarchal social arrangements of U.S. daily life. So we open this class with a 1989 classic from Salt N Pepa, "Expression," imploring you to EXPRESS yo self any way!
To further theorize a world where silence is imposed on marginalized groups and the need for those groups to TALK anyway, we will start this semester by reading Audre Lorde: "Uses of Anger" and "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action." Please read both essays. For an online version of "Uses of Anger," please click here. For an online version of "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action," please click here. Both essays are also available at the archive of course readings (you can click on the letter L and find Lorde).
Watch the video above for a fuller understanding of the politics of writing in this course
You have a rather simple writing for our very first assignment: a 600-word piece that details your personal reactions to: 1) any point Lorde makes in "The Uses of Anger"; 2) any point that Lorde makes in "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action." Notice that there are no expectations that you come up with a thesis statement, write the stock 5-paragraph essay, or perform some other version of school writing. You are being asked to respond, from your own TRUTH, to Lorde's points. The open-ended writing task here is intentional. This class is not asking you to become the type of academic feminist or gender theorist who writes perfect, Western essays and then not notice or intervene in the oppression of your brothas and sistas who are sitting right there beside you. The world does not need any more of that kind of writing and thinking.
College professors already produce and assign way more than enough of that kind of thing. So make your writing be about sumthin! Let your creative juices flow. Write in the way that Audre Lorde models for you: take a risk and put it all on the line! Express yourself!
Please create your account at johnjay.digication.com in order to access the class readings. Use your entire email JJay address (i.e., firstname.lastname@example.org and the password is your official CUNY password.