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So, I was erased in Sociology today!

FUN TIMES. What happened was this: she was talking about how suicide rates tend to increase in societies undergoing rapid/significant change. As an example, she mentioned the high rates in Aboriginal communities, and how First Nations culture in Canada (and the US) has been changing significantly pretty much ever since "we" came over and started interacting with "them". Do you see the problem here? I'll give you a minute.



I'm Métis. So in a very real sense, I am "them", at least partially. Which means that when she said that, she was totally ignoring (a) a big part of my heritage, (b) a big part of the heritage of other Métis or First Nations students in the class [I don't know if there are any or not], and (c), heck, the fact that there's a lot of people in the class who are descended from (or are) much more recent immigrants, from countries that do not have that same history with First Nations people. Not so much cool.

I didn't actually realize until today, actually, how much of an emotional investment I've made in my Métis identity. I only started thinking about it in any serious way relatively recently (<1 year ago), and I don't spend much time dwelling on it consciously. But when she ignored it...it hurt. It hurt a lot more than I would have expected it to, had you asked me before it happened. Huh.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, however. I called her out on it both right after it happened and in more detail after the lecture was over. And I think we had a good conversation. She was very respectful, and said that while she tries to be aware of the language she uses, it's sometimes easy to forget that people in your audience may be excluded by an "us". However, she said she'd try very hard to keep that in mind in future, and that she recognized how important it was.

I mean, if she does it again, I'm going to be extremely unimpressed. But she seemed sincere, and I feel good about our dialogue.

[This was originally posted on my Tumblr.]


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(Deleted comment)
Jan. 15th, 2010 12:43 pm (UTC)
I know, right? It's like, of all the classes that could have happened in, I'm mildly surprised that that was the one.
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