Monday, July 19, 2010

Another Fun, Busy Day

We started out the day by discussing the weekend's readings. We began in small groups and moved on to a discussion with the entire group. Kisa asked for a volunteer to facilitate the entire group, but I didn't raise my hand because I had just run our small group meeting. Just my luck - since nobody raised their hand at all, Kisa immediately chose me. I grinned and went up to the front of the class. The discussion went extremely well; I asked several open-ended questions and just directed the flow of conversation towards people who hadn't spoken up much before. Kisa stopped us when we ran out of time, and later she joked that I should be the one running the class!

Later we watched a short film in which young black children were shown two dolls - one black, one white - and asked to choose which one was better behaved, smarter, and prettier. In 15 out of 21 cases, the children picked the white doll. The clip illustrated how stereotypes become internalized both by those who are stereotyped and the rest of society.

The rest of class time was spent at the computer stations about a block away from our classroom. I finished all of my monologue, and I only have to rehearse to make sure that it's smooth. I learned a lot more about Rigoberta Menchu. I never knew that Spanish wasn't actually her first language, though she lived in Guatemala. She was Mayan, so she learned an indigenous dialect before Spanish. It shows that even if you have language barriers, you should still believe in yourself and your dreams. It was very nice to be able to use the practically new computers just by logging in with my Brown ID. I also quickly met with Kisa in order to go over my Action Plan once again. She thought it was a great idea, and I can't wait to present my idea to the panel on Friday. The whole process of research, preparation, and presentation will be exciting!

The evening activity consisted of watching a movie called "Iron Jawed Angels" about the women's suffrage movement. The pictures above show us getting ready to walk to the movie.

The movie was lots of fun. The soundtrack didn't seem to go with the movie, but it really brought my attention to how much the early women's rights pioneers truly struggled to gain what we have now. It's striking that only about 60-70% of women now utilize those rights to actually vote. I think that everyone who can should try to participate fully in our democracy.
When I was about to take a shower, I realized that I was almost out of clean clothes. I didn't want to forget to do laundry tomorrow, so I went down to the basement with Selene so that we could combine our loads. Unfortunately, the card reader connected to the washing machines was broken. We tried going into other dorms to do our laundry there, but we couldn't get in, and anyways the people who lived there said that their card readers were broken too. So we scrounged and exchanged money with people to finally get enough change to wash and dry two loads.

Today was a very productive yet enjoyable day. I hope tomorrow is just as good.


  1. (from Irene's Mom):

    Wow, you sound really transformed. So confident! Facilitating discussion is not easy. We are very proud of you. And I wish I'd been able to take this course about thirty years ago. I've had to learn it all through trial and error -- that works too, but it takes a lot longer!

  2. Thank you! This class has been an amazing resource. I wish everyone could take it.

  3. Irene,

    When you described your difficulties with doing your laundry I kept focusing on the differences between men and women. Of course, I can’t speak for the entire male gender but I’m not sure that we would have gone through as much trouble as you and Selene did trying to get your laundry cleaned.

    Of course, I probably would have brought enough clothes to last the full three weeks so I wouldn’t even need to do laundry.

    Yes, I know that I come across as a pig but you’ll rarely find me wearing a shirt more than once before getting it laundered. Being a sandal wearer, I don’t need to wash many socks.

    Oh well, I had better quit writing before readers get the incorrect impression that I’m a pig.