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serious mug of tea


my classmate Nicole Pampanin took this photo at the Sit Out
students signed an anti-racism statement in one of the academic buildings on Wednesdaythe mountain has been out a lot lately, hi Mt Hood!Claire preparing to dye Adrian’s hairwe dyed Adrian’s hair last weekendMel had never ever dyed her hair before, can you tell?awyeah, check out that bleach actionI put together a BBQ program for the Superbowl, and I heard that tons of people showed upDad and I made crepes for breakfast for mom’s birthdaymy favourite botanical discovery during the Alemeda walkof course I had to climb this steep surface with my dogsFebruary is Black History Month, which usually gets little more than an acknowledging nod from me. This year, things were different. I kicked off the month with some serious contemplation and discussion about racism. A couple of weeks ago, a handful of fliers depicting racist imagery bubbled up around campus, and while this type of occurrence very rarely happens at LC, it’s still extremely unsettling when it does. The fliers were ripped down as soon as they were discovered, but they had already damaged our sense of community. Rather than hushing it up and pretending the fliers had never been posted, the students and the administration organised several events to address racism. There were two student forums: one specifically for students of colour who felt most targeted by the fliers, and a general forum which I attended. There was also a peaceful Sit Out Against Racism on Wednesday afternoon, complete with signs and bullhorn speeches about solidarity. I’m incredibly proud of the way the LC community handled this unfortunate incident of racism. I believe that the only way to prevent instances of hate speech and racism is to fully address it when it does arise, to call it out, to talk it out, to sit it out. Through the Sit Out and the Forum, I have been able to examine my own (white) privilege, investigate the line between intent and impact, and recognise the shortcomings of attempts at anonymous satire. There was a very well-balanced article in the Piolog this week, including some words from the student who was responsible for the racist fliers, if you’re interested in a more detailed and nuanced account of the incident.

My first essay of the semester was due this morning! Its deadline ensured that I had a very non-celebratory Friday and Saturday. I managed to roll out all five pages in a reasonable amount of time, so no coffee-fueled late night paper sprints this time round. My paper examined four different historians’ accounts of witch trials in Puritan New England. Since I love defying gender norms, I wrote about how women who transgressed expectations of feminine behaviour in the 17th century were more likely to be accused of witchcraft than their gender role-conforming counterparts.

I spent Saturday afternoon frantically scribbling notes about Resident Advisor (RA) applicants’ performance during Group Process. Having now experienced Group Process from both sides of the table, I can pretty confidently say that it’s way more stressful on the evaluators’ side. I basically sat in a tiny room for two and a half hours and listened to groups of six to nine hopeful potential RAs yell at each other. That’s what happens when you stick eight leader-types around a table and give them four minutes to come to a group consensus about how to prioritize a list of situations that all seem to require immediate attention. Oh man. It was intense. I’m so glad it’s over. Some applicants actually did really well, but I still needed a serious mug of tea at the end.

Then I escaped campus for a low-key 24 hours at home. We watched a biopic about Amelia Earheart – oh man, I love biopics – and then we spent most of Sunday dogwalking around the Alameda district on the outskirts of Portland. In the evening, we (including my Nani and Grandpa, my godfamily, and Mel) went out to dinner at Thai Peacock to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Thai Peacock, a block from everyone’s favourite Powell’s Bookstore, is an LC favourite. Every single time I’ve eaten there, there has been at least one other table of LC students. It’s delicious and almost within empty-pocketed college students’ budgets.

Dear Prospective Students: Email me your questions at maisha@lclark.edu. Thanks.

8 February 2010