Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NaNo Updates AND an Election Day Plea

I promise not to get all political with this post.  GO VOTE pretty much sums it up.

But an email that we got today at my school - an email that reminded everyone to be civil to each other no matter what the results are - got me thinking.  About things.  Which can be a terrible, terrible idea.

I promised I wouldn't get political.  And I won't.

So here's me not getting political.
And here's me revealing a bit more about my NaNo project, which is VERY DIFFICULT because I'm the type of person that likes to keep their secrets a secret.

One of the big things I wanted to address in this new story is racism.  And, along with that, both perceived and overt prejudice and the effects it has on people.  

Which people?
People of color, bi-racial or multi-racial individuals (like myself), every kind of socio-economic status, political affiliations, (and, since it's in a boarding school) prejudice in different cliques/circles.

There's more to it than that, obviously.  I still have a Shakespearean play to work in, and of course, it's a ghost story, so I would be remiss to not mention any ghosts.

But at the heart of it all, my MC is a bi-racial girl struggling to figure out where she belongs - or whether or not she should belong to any one category.  

I think it's a struggle we all face.

This struggle is also something I'm very passionate about researching.  To get my Masters, I'm going to examine students of color and their experiences at predominantly white colleges and universities.  The lens I'm using to narrow this topic (because it's a broad, broad topic) is involvement in student organizations.

Essentially, I want to see if being involved in an org that is based on one's culture, like the Asian American Association or the Native American Student Association makes a student of color feel like they belong more to an institution than if they were in something non-culturally based, like a Residence Hall Association.

I've already written a few papers on perceived prejudice, and currently work in an office that promotes and supports multicultural student life.  I pretty much love this stuff, and find issues that revolve around prejudice quite fascinating. 

So I guess I figured I would try to put those interests into a story.  We'll see how it goes :)

Right. Now that you know more than you ever wanted to about my research interests, I leave you with this parting thought (in a terrible attempt at tying everything together).

Whatever happens with the election tonight, please, PLEASE, treat everyone with the dignity and respect that they deserve as human beings.  DO NOT go out of your way to make someone uncomfortable, or feel threatened for their safety because of their beliefs, the color of their skin, their religion, etc.

It's ok to agree to disagree.
It's ok to be disappointed with a result that you didn't like.
It's ok to be mad.

But don't take it out on anyone else. 
No matter what, just remember that we're all entitled to our own beliefs.  We're all entitled to feel safe.

Just remember that we're all people.  We all have hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities.  We're all more fragile than we'd like others to know, but strong and resilient when we have to be.  To paraphrase Shakespeare (a different play from the one I'm using),

If you prick us, we bleed.
If you tickle us, we laugh.
If you poison us, we die.
We're hurt by the same weapons, fed by the same food, subject to the same diseases.

See?  Even in Shakespeare's time, he was trying to make the case that we're all the same.  I'm going to over-look the rest of that speech, where Shylock talks about getting revenge, 'cause that totally messes with the point I want to make.

I'm also over-looking it because Shylock in Merchant of Venice warrants his own blog post.

But I digress.

In summation:
Although the email I received initially made me a little worried about tonight, I hope, I HOPE that the students at this school, and everyone in our community, takes the message to heart.

Actually, I hope the whole country takes that message to heart.


And then play nice.


  1. Hiya - came here from Twitter! Your research sounds FASC-IN-A-TING. Seriously. Right up my alley. (Soc major here and I am "biting my tongue" or fingers? to keep from saying any more than that. But suffice it to say I'd love to chat!)

    "...or whether or not she should belong to any one category." - THIS. Coming from a Black American and therefore multiracial family, this is the reality of our experience. Sounds like the makings of a great story!

    1. Aww thanks :) I was a psych major in undergrad, so hello from the *other* side of the people sciences haha :P

      We should totally chat! And I'm glad I'm not the only one trying to figure out the "belonging to one category" thing - I'm pretty excited about tackling it in this story :) It's such an interesting dilemma that we all face in one way or another...