After the interns' late night talk yesterday, I woke up at 6:40am feeling a bit sleepy, but Heba, Siqi, and I made it in time for our 6:50am staff meeting. (And nothing that a beautiful nap following English tutoring couldn't solve!)
It was RIDICULOUSLY chilly and rainy today. Gabs isn't supposed to get rain in the winter, and so it helped a little bit to see that everyone else was as surprised (and horrified) as we were. Luckily, I had a light jacket with a hood, but even so I was soaked through every time I walked from one building to another. Ugh ugh ugh.
Lunch was meat and a bean/starch mixture, which I skipped in favor of a plate of salad. Then, in the afternoon, I received my assignment from the Communications department to photograph SPEs on behalf of MaP Journalists, discussed cultural appropriation versus appreciation in African Philosophy, and shot some more footage for the MaP Mega Bowl promo video.
The most interesting parts of African Philosophy were, for me, the following questions:
- Is it cultural appropriation for 1) a white South African to get braids/cornrows/twists in her hair? 2) Angelina Jolie to wear a hijab while visiting Afghanistan? 3) a Mauritian to wear a sari? 4) a black woman to straighten her hair?
- 1. What's the distinction when it comes to race and culture in appropriation/appreciation?
- 2. When is it appropriation and when is it respect?
- 3. How do we account for histories of colonialism and slavery (when people were forcibly removed from their cultures) in deciding whether something is appropriation?
- 4. What role do beauty standards imposed by Westerners play in how people use the appearances/traditions of others to try and shape their own? E.g. black women may feel pressure to relax her hair in order to get a job, whereas Kylie Jenner was hailed as a "trend-setter" for plumping her lips and braiding her hair to look good.
- Why do clowns wear afros?
- Does cultural appropriation lead to globalization?
- Does capitalism cause cultural appropriation? (since it's so commercialized)
- When is it cultural appropriation versus assimilation?
- How may cultural appropriation/appreciation be perceived differently for multiracial individuals, generational immigrants, third culture kids, etc.?
- What is the relationship between race, culture of origin, the history of one's ancestors, etc. in determining whether something is cultural appropriation?
Much food for thought. I also didn't expect the students to insist upon discussing the Orlando Shooting or Brock Turner. I'm impressed by how up-to-date they are on current affairs, especially those that may seem so distant from their lives.
The shoot was the main adventure of the day, and the first time I've broken out my big camera in front of the students. I got some decent footage of students "training" for the Mega Bowl by reading books while doing sit-ups, and the Harvard team leaders flipping tables when their students got questions wrong. Hopefully this will incorporate nicely into the more hype part of the intense music we picked out for the teaser, which we'll screen at assembly on Thursday. For the Tuesday and Wednesday assemblies, we filmed short, silly interviews with students about their impressions of the Mega Bowl. I think they turned out medium funny, and Jack and I went through and sequenced these interview clips while the Roxbury Latin boys and Jazil watched the Hunger Games this evening. One of the RL boys miraculously supplied a HUGE bag of chocolate he brought from home, and munching on mini Hershey's bars absolutely made my day. Hoping the video will get a few laughs tomorrow!