Let the Sabbatical Begin!

Okay, perhaps it’s the sugar that made me do it but tonight, after dinner with “The Prayer Warriors”, I decided to have a little celebration of my own. Since I’d turned in the grades and was now free to enjoy the fruit of my labors, I took myself to McDonald’s, bought a sundae and ate it on the way across the parking lot where I was intent on making use of my 20% off coupon at Ulta. A surgical shopper at best, I asked for what I needed, an auburn shade of eyebrow powder, made my purchase and headed to Sports Authority. There, I treated myself to a trampoline. The sabbatical is after all devoted to reading, writing, and publishing so, knowing I will be sedentary, I took pre-emptive measures.

After the purchase, I settled in to enjoy the Legacies I had to read at a gallop and was humbled when I read the following comment from a student in the online African American Literature class that just ended. He identifies as a White Male pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice.

This class has opened my mind and broadened my thought process. I can now say I can perceive not only my thought, but how others may perceive theirs. I will never rid the world of racism and its biases, but I have been educated in the art of listening to different perspectives. Being able to listen completely and understanding the presenter’s life themes and why they are important to them, I no longer concern myself with having or being correct in my assumptions and thoughts.

I stopped myself from crying to share this post. Having burnt-out as a diversity consultant in higher education, I accepted the ‘race problem’ in this country as a faliure of the imagination and contented myself with doing what I could where I was planted – the classroom. I’d abandoned the diversity bandwagon realizing, after giving ‘mandatory trainings’ to more than a few criminal justice classes, that one can only guide those who want to learn in the arts of self-directed learning. I can’t think of a better gift than this student has afforded me at this juncture in my career. I know this kind of clarity is fleeting, that the pressures of this world, his profession, will press in and sometimes obscure the vision of himself that he had for these few weeks. I also know that it is no coincidence that this ‘revelation’ comes on the heels of the verdict in the Treyvon Martin case and the country’s conflicted response to President Barack Obama’s commentary on it. We have much to do. It has always been thus. Hope maketh not ashamed (Romans 5:5)

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