A List of Words I Can’t Use in my Writing Class

Regular
Standard
Normal
Common
Traditional
Expected
Minority” as defined “I was among the minority” (as a white man in a class of non-white women)
Soul” as defined “it has soul,” i.e. It has character, depth, spirit. I am the wrong skin color to use this word.
Native American (even though we are referring to tribes that identify themselves as such)
Indian (even though we were referring to one of Indiana’s Native cultures that explicitly identifies as such), but can use Native Indian
Generalized as defined “I feel generalized” – because I can’t.
Marginalized as defined “I feel marginalized” – because I can’t.

I feel trapped and oddly policed. lol As if I’m being shoved into a blanket statement narration of who I am and what I’ve been through in my life.

Yet the words I use, I feel I use for the professor to continue independent research for her own work. Why else would she expect me, a middle-class, straight, white, cis male to create a magazine that focuses on specific social issues while simultaneously making us read stories about how colonial it is for people of my “station,” as she put it, to be running those things? We have talked about marginalized women, POC, First Peoples, the Black Panther movement, Gay Rights movements, many Handicapped Awareness movements, Transgender perspectives and awareness studies, and I’m expected to pick one of these and lead a magazine proposal about it. Like, WTF?

Does that strike anyone as strange? Again, I feel trapped and oddly policed. According to those in power, I don’t have a place in this discussion except to feel uncomfortable. Even though I’m diabetic, and even though I survived abuse in many forms in my life, no, I can’t write about these social justice issues. Why? They aren’t on the list. I need to feel uncomfortable. To write about any of these things with the semblance of authority is to be disrespectful to those actually involved with these issues, actually surviving them, actually living them. I’ll support it until the day I die, but I won’t run something I have no business running. Period.

I’m not on the list. I’m too regular standard normal common traditional expected. Generalized. Marginalized. Strikethrough.

Chris

(P.S.-End of the semester stress has me tense as fuuuuuu-)

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2 thoughts on “A List of Words I Can’t Use in my Writing Class

  1. Definitely strange. You can’t write about someone elses experience unless you are going to report on it like a journalist. Magazines tend to be more personalised than that. Maybe her list needs expanding unless you’re able to do some kind of interview. Good luck with the end of semester stuff!

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