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Latest update: December 3, 2000
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Proud: jeanne's imaginary on forgiveness and reconciliation discourse



Proud of Us

On Thursday, November 30, 2000, Leslie Hendricks wrote:

Hi Jeanne,

I have to tell you that class this past Tuesday was so invigorating. Really! I wanted to say so much, but I didn't know what I wanted to say. It's funny how quick we are to judge people by their appearance, myself included. Jaime is the perfect example. When I first saw him I got the impression that he was just another (field mouse) student who rarely came to class and probably didn't even know what class this was. I admit this is very shallow, but sometimes it's hard not to form an opinion of someone or something.

Anyway, Tuesday was the turning point of that opinion. When he spoke, (I know it sounds funny, but) he made me proud. I was proud that he proved me wrong. His words were so articulate and inspiring. I never would have thought that he was so intelligent, not to mention an elementary school teacher. That took the cake. I swear I wanted to give him a huge bear hug, right there in the middle of class. As he spoke, a lump formed in my throat. You know, the kind you get when you feel yourself about to burst into tears. His words really touched me. And I dont think it was actually what he was saying, as much as it was how he said it. I love to see people (especially black men) passionate about something.

What was really interesting to me was the fact that I was able to, maybe not relate, but understand what my other classmate's opinions were. I saw people thinking. I felt it. It was wonderful. I understood, but disagreed, with Mary's opinion that we as people should accept punishment and stop trying to create a scape goat or excuses for our own mis-doings. Don't get me wrong, I do believe in being punished for your actions, but I also think it is very easy for us to point the finger and blame, rather than accept responsibility. This is where I agree with Jaime. He basically said that children and youth in general, learn to act in certain ways. Because the father isn't in the house, the mother has two jobs and is rarely home, and because of other negative influences and surroundings, children are forced to depend on themselves to do for themselves. Adreana, I believe is her name, also had an opinion, which I didnt agree with. Her perspective was the opposite of rehabilitation. She used the example of, "if someone killed your son, wouldn't you want justice by way of imprisonment. The last thing on your mind would be to rehabilitate and give opportunities for this offender." I understood her point 100%. However, I disagreed with her thoughts, as did Jaime. Jaime's example was Coretta Scott King and her beliefs against capital punishment. Coretta's interests were for the benefit of the world as a whole. This was a decision based on a thought-out ideal, rather than Adreana's "emotional" solution.

I have been thinking a lot about these topics, and hopefully, I will be able to share my feelings and opinions next Tuesday.

Til then,
Leslie Hendricks

On Friday, December 1, 2000, jeanne responded:

Leslie, you are a talented writer. I almost shared your tears with you. I hope that your work will inspire others to voice their feelings as well as their arguments in plain English. How much we learn from each other in sharing such discourse!

I was touched by the fact that you, too, had learned the names of others in the class. Names respect the fact that we are not fungible. As I read your comments, I found it pleasant that real faces with real names came to mind. And I felt good that we could share that.

Please keep writing. You have talent. jeanne



We Were Using Dominant Discourse!

Michael Planck: "Well, now wait a minute! Aren't we assuming the position of dominant discourse?"

On Saturday, December 2, 2000, Caroline Ibekwe wrote:

Hello Jeanne,

Our last class was very interesting. We engaged in a heated debate about dominant discourse. My understanding of dominant discourse is socializing influences that affect the way the majority of the people react to certain situations. The minority of the people with different views or different behaviors are seen as "odd group" or "outcasts". The dominant discourse has an effect in the work place, home, school, gatherings, etc.

From my observations in our last class I noticed that dominant discourse was not only debated upon but shown as well. An example of dominant discourse was when one of the students announced that she was a republican (making her the "minority"), and the "majority" of the students who are democrats pounced on her. Making it as if she is abnormal because she is one of few blacks who are apart of the republican party. Another example that arose during our class discussion was prejudices. For example, heterosexuals vs homosexuals, whites vs blacks, and males vs females.

I really learned a lot from your lecture and our debate on dominant discourse. I now use dominant discourse as a part of my daily observations. Seeing as how I am not only from Nigeria a country in West Africa, but I am also a light skinned African, with a family that has begun a business, making dominant discourse even stronger in a broader perspective towards me.

On Sunday, December 3, 2000, jeanne responded:

Caroline, What an insightful observation! Yes, we were showing dominant discourse as we were debating it. And we were exhibiting "local" dominant discourse as well as the more general normative expectations of the population as a whole.

Remember that agency and structural context are interdependent. That means, in praxis, that there is going to be a lot of affect in such discussions, because there are a lot of out-of-awareness unstated assumptions operating through the socialization into dominant discourse. Edward T. Hall reminds us that there is more affect attached to the informal, out-of-awareness level than to the formal and technical levels of learning and discourse.

More to come . . . jeanne



How Can I Not Understand Dominant Discourse?

On Tuesday, December 5, 2000, Armond McDaniels wrote:

<>If I can understand the fact that I am the way I am, not because I said I was going to be this way, but because of culture, environment, education, and all the other elements involved in the development of a human being, then I can understand what Dominant Discourse is. Norms or shared beliefs, and expectations that all people share within their own social groups, whether itís a country, state, city, or even a nuclear family. The rules and guidelines set forth by you parents while you were living in their home, I believe, are perfect examples of what I trying to articulate. The Other (child) doesnít have say over how he/she feels the rules and guidelines should be. Many times the Dominant Discourse in a home can be Structurally Violent and routed in If I can understand the fact that I am the way I am, not because I said I was going to be this way, but because of culture, environment, education, and all the other elements involved in the development of a human being, then I can understand what Dominant Discourse is. Norms or shared beliefs, and expectations that all people share within their own social groups, weather itís a country, state, city, or even a nuclear family. The rules and guidelines set forth by you parents while you were living in their home, I believe, are perfect examples of what I trying to articulate. The Other (child) doesnít have say over how he/she feels the rules and guidelines should be. Many times the Dominant Discourse in a home can be, Structurally Violent, and routed in Adversarialism, however, it also tends to build and raise bright-educated young individuals. Some might disagree, but let me explain: Being raised in the type of household or environment with unyielding rules will allow the child to experience the do's and do not's of life, preparing the child for the complex world ahead. Without Dominant Discourse how would a new born child or immigrant know where to begin their new life in the new place they have now encountered.

On Tuesday, December 5, jeanne responded:

Armand, you have done an excellent job of making us face squarely the choices we have to make in "structural violence." Rules that do not take account of the situatedness of the Other do harm. An obvious example is the forcing of young children to write with the right hand in the days before we discovered that some of us are actually left-handed. Yet socialization, by restricting the young, or the uninitiated, to the "dominant discourse" requires that we pass on the normative expectations of our society or social group. This is the constant struggle of the interdependence of "agency" and "structural context."