Because White Men Can’t Police Their Imaginations…

Part One in a Series. The following writing prompts were produced by student poets from Williams College, in a workshop co-led by Beth Loffreda and Claudia Rankine. Two prompts were given and then students were asked to give each other prompts.

Because white man cant police

Because white men can’t police their imagination—

—You get a lot of repetitive literature on race by white people.

—We all interpreted this sentence differently.

—others have to police theirs.

—certain officers are bad-tempered.

—Brazilians speak Portuguese.

—the gap gets bigger.

—I feel most female.

—I walk down the street a little faster.

—everyone is a suspect.

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I Use My Privilege To…

Part Two in a Series. The following writing prompts were produced by student poets from Williams College, in a workshop co-led by Beth Loffreda and Claudia Rankine. Two prompts were given and then students were asked to give each other prompts.

I use my privilege

I use my privilege to…

—do lots of things.

—get in car accidents.

—be insured.

—take the time to think about.

—study Literary theory (my) privilege.

—get away with speeding tickets.

—solve world hunger—>instagramming.

—the gays get gay marriage.

—not realize its realizing.

—get a job.

—choose when to be visible.

—only speak for myself.

When Against a Stark White Background … I’m just the diversity they are looking for.

Part Three in a Series. The following writing prompts were produced by student poets from Williams College, in a workshop co-led by Beth Loffreda and Claudia Rankine. Two prompts were given and then students were asked to give each other prompts.

Because I'm

Because I’m _____, people assume I’m ______…

—female; fighting stereotypes, stronger than I am

—young; unwise

—human; scared to be alone

—educated; uppity, self-righteous, going to change the world

—fair; not like them

—black; on the wrong side of town

—mixed; don’t belong, confused, traitorous

—angry; irrational

—confident; right

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Debating Ebola Fears on Race

Essay by Chuck Adams

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On Wednesday, Ebola took a different kind of leap — a psychological one — as concerns spiked nationally about how the threat of the virus might interfere with commerce, health and even daily routines.” (via Washington Post)

These “daily routines” is what drew me to the conversation on so-called “Ebola racism.” On the surface, we may not see a link between preventative measures to fight Ebola in the U.S. and racism or even nationalism. But in the unconscious mind, where we have not had to dwell on biological threats coming from the African continent since the AIDS epidemic in the ‘80s, our latent fears may indeed manifest in common areas of public interaction and discourse.

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Conversation #1

Beth: Claudia, hey, how are you? What exactly or not exactly are we doing with this blog? What do we want to think about?

Claudia: It’s not so much what we want to think about but what are we, you and I, as licensed members of our society, being asked to think about.

I was thinking of us as public responders, in a sense, to what comes up as it relates to supremacist positioning or mindless privilege—the kind

of stuff we talk about normally. Would it be too broad to say, everything is on the table, culturally, socially, politically and personally and open

for discussion? What do you think, Beth?

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