rickythunder's blog

Almost forgot...

I mentioned last week at the end of class that I didn't like Williams' book. Let me rephrase that–it's more of a style issue that I have. The personal insertion of the author is something I've long detested, and this goes way beyond my discomfort with personal narratives. This is a matter of "how much is too much"–where does it end? Can I talk about my bowel movements and how they were related to my writing process in my thesis? How about the time I threw up when I was 4 upon eating spaghetti for the first time?

Will and Need

I feel pulled apart by this text. On the one hand, there is more than an implied thread of a Horatio Algier myth (as much as Rose wants to say otherwise) in "Lives on the Boundary". His pedagogical and administrative approach, as Adam pointed out, does betray a very classically Greek influence, which poses some very big problems.

Freedom isn't free...

I find it interesting how hooks found solace in the theories of Freire while she was a grad student (and after). In fact, it's more than obvious that the title "Teaching to Transgress" was a next step, or natural offspring of Freire's pedagogy and ethos. I think there is something to be said about the powerful message that hooks is putting forth: it is the duty of the instructor to, at the very least, give students the choice to take advantage of rhetorical tools in order to liberate themselves or not. Emancipation through the classroom is a very noble idea.

How it was then

I don't know what I was expecting from Smitherman's text. Maybe it's because of the structure of all of the previous texts we've read so far, but this one felt different. It's the first time the text doesn't immediately start from the author's perspective. Not that this is a bad thing by any means. I just find it interesting that, until now, we've been pretty much reading auto/biographies of one sort or another. Looking at the cultural context of the development of Black English is an interesting perspective to take. In a sense, it allows for a space where the language tells its own story.

At times harrowing, insightful at others

I think one of the reasons I have a problem with autobiography/personal narrative is the fact that the word "I" forces me into the perspective of the author. I get very uncomfortable during those scenes where Gilyard is being beaten by his mother, he's getting sliced in the face by his sister, etc. But one thing that I noticed was the more unconscious portion of the narrative where he theorizes in hindsight; particularly where he talks about telling his white classmates to call him "Raymond" instead of "Keith". "The point was to have a plot. To keep a part of myself I could trust.

Plurality of voices

I believe that one of the reasons that I became immediately attached to Bootstraps was the multiple voices that Villanueva's native Brooklyn allowed hom to encounter. Unlike Rodriguez's antagonistically conflicted reaction to the sound of black teenagers on the bus, Villanueva grew up surrounded by those, and other, voices and came to learn the rhythms of each dialect. Perhaps part of the reason is that when I first read this, it was on the tail end of my visceral reaction to Anzaldua's Borderlands and for so long, I had those two texts diametrically opposed to each other.

Something to think about (this isn't my official blog entry)...

just a link that I thought was relevant:


Blunder of Memory

I was born, a second generation Mexican-American, in South Texas (specifically the Rio Grande Valley). Both my parents grew up as migrant workers: my dad picking tomatoes, onions and citrus, my mom the same in addition to working at the pickle factory in Michigan (I think Vlassic, if I'm not mistaken). My dad used to tell me stories about he and his 6 other siblings growing up as migrant workers. Their "payment" for helping out the family (they started working the fields from age 8 sometimes) was to be able to choose the cereal they bought at the store.

A plaintive defense of Garvey...

...by Garvey himself.

East vs. West video:

Can't embed, so here's the link:


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