This week, the prompt for my weekly contemplative writing classes started "I first knew I was different when..." or "I first knew he was different when..."
The quote at the bottom of the prompt:
“But even though we may not have been fully conscious of the racism of our games, we did understand that racial stereotyping was titillating and a little bit taboo. And as a half, my understanding went deeper.”I had considered making race the prompt - "I first became aware of race when..." and then, decided to broaden it, while still keeping it specific. Race definitely came up - currently, all of my students are caucasian, white people who can, if they choose to, ignore race. As I know working more and more with us white folks on race, though, just because someone is white doesn't mean they ignore race. So for those who wrote about race, it was powerful enough to make me want to do an entire day retreat on race. What a significant and important topic for especially white people to write spontaneously about and share - mainly with each other. If people of color choose to, they can witness it and share, too - but we can be mighty messy as we figure things out out loud.
-Ruth Ozeki, The Face: A Time Code
However, because of the broadened but still specific prompt, two things came up in the majority of writings, things I hadn't expected but am not surprised by.