a brief history of my activism

Image via flickr user chad davis, under a Creative Commons license.

Today, in class, while discussing the Black Arts movement and the fact that the revolution they hoped for never happened, and the fact that many of them went on to mainstream jobs in academia and renounced black nationalism, my (fabulous) professor told us a story about one of her former students.  As an undergrad, this young man had a long ponytail and carried around a copy of Thoreau everywhere he went.  He was an idealist, sure the world needed changing and sure this changing had to start with him.  He distrusted student government and formed his own organizations.  He taught kids to read and organized street cleanups.  And then he graduated, and, as you do, had to get a job, which he got, on campus.  He still works on campus, and my professor described going out to lunch with him, seeing him wearing a suit and tie for the first time, the ponytail gone, and remarking that he seemed all grown up.  He said to her, “You know, I have friends who are going without shoes in solidarity with people who have no shoes, but I’m not sure that’s working.  Sometimes you have to put on a tie and go to the meeting.”

In some ways, I think I identify with both the shoeless idealist and the guy in a tie at the meeting.  Either way, I think I’ve always been an activist. Continue reading “a brief history of my activism”

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