Reflections of a Reflectionary
It has become obvious to me that I am truly obsessed with the idiocy that has taken over the news. What idiocy is that you say? The coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill has run me into a tizzy. I often think back to my time as a graduate student and end up asking myself the same question over and over again as I watch the coverage of foolish comments made by CEOs, expert panelists, advocates and the representatives responsible for keeping the corrupted system in check. I ask myself..
If I made this presentation or any of these statements in response to any question that a
professor may have asked on an exam, would I have passed the class or gotten the question
I find that the answer is not at all what I would like it to be. The answer is HELL AND NO!! It is in this that I think about my constant interaction with people throughout the world. Not just my physical interaction with the over all ecosystem but the interaction that occurs because of the simple things that I do in my life that have a global impact. I guess I began to think about this in the context of environmental justice and then began to expand my thought process outside of the narrow scope of the environment to all parts of arts, culture and anything else that I find interesting. This then lead to the impact that my values, actions and interactions have on those that I interact with as I travel from place to place.
This all makes me think of an experience I had while teaching a course on Environmental Health in Southern Africa. As I explained that the concept of the closed system and how gross inequities in race, power and class drive some to be disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards, we got into a discussion of how these systems play out within a cultural context. The questions I posed to the students were at first met with blank stares (which at first made me question my teaching ability). After a bit of thought one of my favorite students raised his hand and stated that he understood my question and stated that there was an international dump only kilometers away. When I asked about how this made the students feel they replied with another question.
How does it make you feel to know that you are teaching us all of this information but
your country is not practicing any of the knowledge that they are teaching?
I was then in the same position the students had been in only moments before. I sat back and paused to reflect on my thoughts. It was then that I realized something so important. I had to take time to think about how my actions and the actions of my country of origin impact the rest of the world. I am part of the closed system and if I do not take time to consider how my small contribution may impact someone thousands of miles away then I have allowed myself to enter a space that is not where I want to be.
With this in mind my answer was short and to the point.
Like many in my country I recognize that I contribute to these gross inequities. It is in this
that I work to understand how my impact can be lower and how I can use education as a
vehicle to influence and advocate for those that do not understand the implications of what seem
to be there very small actions.
It is with this that I wonder. If any of these CEOs, expert panelists, advocates and the representatives responsible for keeping the corrupted system in check have lost site of their ultimate purpose within our closed system. Do they recognize that we should all be working toward the benefit of humanity and those that are most vulnerable. When we step outside our own culture (whatever that may be). We will find that we should maybe ask ourselves a few questions about who we are accountable for and to before we end up orchestrating our own demise without recognizing that we have also doomed the entire SYSTEM.
Peace B. Still…
Tumi & the Volume, Unathi, Fela, Brenda Fassie, 2 Face Idibia, Hamoba, Zola…
The sites and sounds of the trip that changed my life constantly replay in my consciousness. As I replay the images that touched my life so much, I recognize the importance of writing, thinking and reflecting on my current life course. As I chat with my nurturing father about my place in the world, I become motivated to get my finances in order and begin working on the plans for my next trip. I just wanted to reflect shortly on music, purpose, reflection and the state of my weather confusion (as seen in the above pic) and how this all relates to my travels, trials and tribulations. I pose a few question to myself (…and hopefully to others that read this blog): how do we view ourselves in the world? How do our perceptions of ourselves influence our travel experience? How do the social and political icons that shape our consciousness impact our travel experiences? How do other culture’s perceptions of me as a Black Woman(ist) impact my experience? Just some food for thought….
Peace B. Still…