Introduction


Greeted to the class with some quotes:

  • “Utopia also entails refusal, the refusal to accept that living beyond the present is delusional, the refusal to take at face value current judgments of the good or claims that there is no alternative” (Levitas 17)
  • “This is painful, and it will be for a long time” (HRC 11/9/16)
  • “misogyny sexism” was on the board and left since it was apt for the discussion at hand

We took a pause today compared to our usual discussions to relate more to the real world and with recent events; but to still be productive we reflected it back to certain topics we discussed, such as comparing it to Utopian thinking and science-fiction.

We focused on talking about difficult things and did it in the spirit of dialog and critical engagement; we wrote and reflective personally at first and then shared ideas collectively.

Writing/Discussion


First question to reflect on: “Ask yourself, how are you feeling? Describe, if there is anything, what’s blocking you from writing today.”

Extended from the initial question: “What questions or thoughts are on your mind?”

Some of the captured responses:

”Try to bring levity to a situation; couldn’t sleep, no one discussed it (avoidance); we should unite; put this behind us; like a Catch-22, there should be a response although a response would divide us further; we need to accept it, but it feels wrong to do so”

”Also agree; government talks about the peaceful transfer (sanctity of democracy); we can’t be destroying our government, but be prepared and willing if things go wrong; my fear is that a lot of people are afraid, illegal immigrants; hardworking people, on the path to citizenship, their efforts are going to waste; don’t be violent, but be prepared for protest and peaceful opposition”

”It was inspired by fear and bigotry; lose faith in people”

”Responding to bad things is not a downer”

”It’s an apt time to be a down; have a friend in New Mexico who was a journalist, covering elections and it took it out of him, Trump supporter threw a rod in his leg; try to make the best of this, acceptance shouldn’t be what we should do; he represents some faction of the nation, but not my interest; didn’t talk to my friends; minorities have a target on their path, fear monger”

”Confused; didn’t trust either candidate, but lesser of evil was Clinton; not sure if it’s a good thing or not that Trump won though”

“This election shows the true character of our country; it’s the divided states; this division gave a platform for Trump to talk from; appealed to people that felt ignored by the rest of us”

”Had no plans; just said ‘there will be jobs, not a crooked politician’ and such; won the election through violence/fear; will inspire people, but unfortunately in a negative way”

”Reminiscent of Hitler; blaming minorities akin to what Hitler did to win support through scapegoats”

”One of the worst things is that he’s going to be in our history books; in the future people will think ‘wow, we picked that guy?’”

”Played off fear and showed the ignorance of America; poor kids who are Muslim and Black are targeted because the president would back up this hate; makes you lose so much faith in people”

”Most people who supported Trump did it for ‘threat of terrorism’, meanwhile NY voted against him; we’re the ones who have and are more prone to terrorist attacks and yet we knew not to go with Trump; makes no sense”

”Trump wins no matter what happens in office; nothing he does in office, will affect his business or his contacts and still benefits even if he has a bad term”

”52% of white women voted Trump, terrifying; misogyny seems to be internalized; 94% black women voted for Clinton; I don’t feel angry, I’m actually sad; large percent of population felt like they were the ‘other’; it also seems like words have no connection to reality because you can say things without consequences”

”Hate of electoral college and wish that it would get reformed or altered for a modern America that can easily evaluate what the majority of the nation believes is the right candidate to lead the country”

”It’s like a ‘grievance’; the process of grief partly talks about re-imagining what your life would’ve looked like; unsure of the future, with not platform”

”Feels like an ‘alternate’ time-line; like Back to the Future, where Biff becomes the Mayor of Marty’s town”

”Obama had the most amount of people to vote for him; but Trump brought out a different crowd of people that did not vote before as well; people are being malicious for no reason”

”Forums are talking about legitimately and seriously saying ‘do be safe’; there are counter-movements of ‘white lives matter’ which brings out racist people in new forms and faces”

”Being someone who is young and of colour, I should be and feel worried for my safety”

”On the topic of ‘stop and frisk’, pence says there isn’t institutional racism and doesn’t acknowledge it; during the debate, Trump said ‘stop & frisk’ benefited NY; but I knew a guy who missed school 3 times a week in high school because he got stopped consistently by the same police officer every week; we were making progress by starting to talk about this institutional racism, but now we’re going backwards”

”Deportation, cutting services, attack on women’s rights are what Trump ran on; take those on their word, it’s scary to think he’ll be pushing for these ideas; there’s a cultural shift represented by this decision; watch Michelle Obama’s speech during the Democratic National Party, very powerful and speaks volumes; talking about ’empathy’, we can relate to one another with these fears, despite what I feel can’t be under sieged as much as others; we all fear for the worst though”

Light Break from Writing


Novel to note that is reminiscent of the results of the election: It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (1935)

  • Written during European fascism, demagogue wins the election, etc.

First quote (“Utopia also entails…”, Ruth Levitas):

  • Close connection to alternative ways of being

Second quote (“ This is painful…”, Hillary R. Clinton):

  • The concession speech and pretty much reflects how most of us are feeling, especially in the states that objectively disagrees with Trump

Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity by Esteban Muñoz

  • About Utopian thinking and queer mentality, in regards to the ‘other’
  • “The present is not enough. It is impoverished and toxic for queers and other people who do not feel the privilege of majoritarian belonging, normative tastes, and “rational” expectations….Let me be clear that the idea is not simply to turn away from the present. One cannot afford such a maneuver, and if one thinks one can, one has resisted the present in favor of folly. The present must be known in relation to the alternative temporal and spatial maps provided by a perception of past and future affective worlds.”
  • Critically engage with what’s happening, don’t just accept it.

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements by Walidah Imarisha

  • About future black movements through Science-Fiction
  • “Whenever we envision a world without war, without prisons, without capitalism, we are producing speculative fiction. Organizers and activists envision, and try to create, such worlds all the time. Walidah Imarisha and Adrienne Maree Brown have brought twenty of them together in the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. The visionary tales of Octavia’s Brood span genres—sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magical realism—but all are united by an attempt to inject a healthy dose of imagination and innovation into our political practice and to try on new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be.”
  • Trying to re-imagine through movements, like with the opposition that’s happening right now (in NY and other states that voted against Trump)
  • Maintain hope even when it may seem hopeless

Writing/Discussion (Cont.)


Second question to reflect on: “Write down what your hopes are (although difficult) in the coming days/years. What are you fearful of?”

Extended from the initial question: “Think about anything that you can draw on from what we read in our class to use as a resource to think about what happened critically.”

Some of the captured responses (Fear):

”I’m afraid for my little sister getting bullied because of her skin colour; being an African American woman goes against me when people are approaching me”

”I’m afraid for people who are not legal immigrants”

”I’m afraid of the nuclear apocalypse, like in DADoES?”

”I want to hope that he is better than we have seen, but I’m afraid that it won’t come true”

”I’m afraid of being enlisted in the military”

”Obama was blocked because of republican control in the House and Senate, but now I’m afraid since Trump is a Republican and has a lot of power because of a majority in the other branches”

”This sounds a bit silly, but I’m afraid that America will turn out like the Galactic Empire from Star Wars, democracy goes away and an autocracy comes into power”

”This is a bit of a selfish fear, but I’m afraid that I’ll go back to thinking that I can ‘trust no one’; I want to go back to having faith in people but feel like I’ll go back to that mentality”

”I’m afraid for my brothers and sisters because of their colour; Trump is perpetuating mental slavery ‘no one takes the time out to learn and understand’ and thus creates ignorance; one of my biggest fears is in the people who believes in his ideas, they don’t educate themselves on the reality of things; ‘make America great again’ talks about reverting back to old times, when segregation and inequality was the norm”

”One of my biggest fears is that we’ll stop fighting and just accept everything; don’t be violent, but learn everything that Trump is trying to do in order to be involved and monitor whatever he tries to do”

”I’m afraid of mostly controlled Republican branches, since they’ll do everything in his interests; it’s ridiculous that corporations get even more rights; corporations are treated and get the same rights like an actual person, but people are getting less rights; they can do anything; full-on extremist ideas are a possibility”

”I’m afraid of student protests and the violence that comes with it; I’m also afraid if I have to pick a rifle for the second time in my life, but against out own fellow Americans”

”I’m afraid for the planet and the affects it will have from this”

Some of the captured responses (Hope):

”I hope that we learn how to be more involved; identify these bigot leaders and their influences”

”I hope for impeachment or removal of the president in some form”

”I hope for more unity, even with the disenfranchised that were with Trump; they need it more than we think since they felt like they were outed”

“Bernard, Helmholtz, and John’s banishment comes to mind when we talk about hope; even though it looks like a punishment, it’s oddly invigorating to improve myself like Helmholtz did when he went to an ill-fitted environment”

”I hope that he does a good job and that things won’t escalate to war (civil war in particular); just do a good job in 4 years and that we realize he was a mistake and go with a different person”

”I hope he was lying about everything he said”

”I’m hopeful that people will continue to talk about these issues; don’t cover up problems”

”I hope he doesn’t act as a puppet for other people’s interests; ironically, hoping that he continues to be a little kid interested in money and not to ruin the country”

”I hope he does a good job because hoping he does a terrible job is like hoping the pilot of the plane you’re on crashes; hoping for this is hard to do, but he’s in charge now and we need to to feel better about the situation”

”I hope that younger people stay engaged in politics; don’t just pop up in the next 4 years to elect someone but constantly be involved in politics”

Closing


Thanks to everyone for sharing and self-care is important at a time like this…

Back to logistics, Essay #2 is due on Tuesday

  • Ernest Hemingway said “the first draft of anything is shit”, so revise, revise, revise…
  • Remember to submit to Dropbox, make your cover letters, and follow the guidelines when making your next essay (it won’t be graded as laxly as the first essay)

Also, today marks the Last Day to Withdraw (although I uploaded the notes late, so you can’t drop with a W at this point anyway…)