The Power of Circles (weeks 8)

As I watched Ted Talk’s guest speaker Elfi Shafak, she says that if we consistently surround ourselves in our cultural cocoons, we only see mirrored images of ourselves. Then see goes on to say that it is not healthy to stare too long at our reflections. I strongly agree with Elfi Shafak ideas and I love the metaphors that she uses to describe her thought process. Taking this class is helping me realize a lot about myself. For example, I am a traveler. No, I haven’t traveled as much as I liked, but I do not like to stare at my “reflection” for too long. I want to see different and new things. I feel like this experience gives me a difference glance at myself. However, in the literature world, my view on life is taken away from me because of the “representers” of my culture.

My culture is supposed to lay in the cracks somewhere in America. Like I’ve said in past blog post, I have no idea where this place exists. But, politics have applied images and stories to what my culture is supposed to look and sound like. I’ve had conversations with professors about why the canon decided it was important to separate African American literature from American literature. What is the difference? Is there a difference? To me, I see known but evidently, it’s there. From what I’m noticing, African American literature is not supposed to be funny. It’s not supposed to be imaginary. It’s supposed to reveal the pains of the black society. However, there are numerous things that go own that somehow are always overlooked. In addition, these authors are supposed to represent the culture. This brings me back to the danger of a single story.

Because some people never walk away from their own reflections, all the know is what they look at day to day. They interact with the same like minded people and that doesn’t help the growth of the individual or culture. If we focus on gender and what Shafak was saying about representation, patriarchy is seen as being a major issue for middle eastern worlds. American society makes it seem as if middle eastern men do not value their women (which is not true) and that women are not their equals. I’m just curious what American society thinks about American men? To me, it’s all the same just in different forms. Dr. Clemens spoke about 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, she was shot in the head because she believed in educating females. I am kind of ashamed because this is the first time that I’ve heard this story. However, I’m not surprised. Just look at how the media covered the missing children from DC area over the years (by the way, the majority are minorities). Dr. Clemens also brought up another good point, women empowerment is supposed to not matter but men are so quick to dismantle anything positive that women are doing to better themselves. Why is that?

Oyeronke Oyewumi, author of “Colonizing Bodies and Minds”  believe that “the histories of both the colonized and colonizer have been written from the male point of view– women are peripheral if they appear at all” (339). Reading this sentence and thinking back to the title, we know that colonization traps the mind of the colonized. However, I think the bodies are free to roam but, colonization has imprinted its ideals on the body in which it is trying to colonize. It seems that in this age, colonization is still holding its effects on women. I see that women in “foreign” countries are being colonized more in this modern age because their so many resources to go to. However, “the very process in which females were categorized and reduced to “women” made them ineligible for leadership roles” (342). We see women everywhere unable to reach leadership roles simply because they are women. Some can’t even attend school without fear of being killed. If people would remove themselves from the circles they are afraid to leave and peer into various mirrors, maybe the colonized female form would be dismantled in this “post-modern,” “post-racial” world.” I personally do not think we have arrived at a point where we can begin to call “post” anything. It still feels like we are trapped in a world full of people too afraid to try different things. However, this is mostly likely because we are.

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