comment 1

I’m taking this class because _______.

I’m in an African history class. I’m taking it because it’s required to graduate – not necessarily the particular African history, but a non-Western history class. But more importantly, I’m taking it because I’ve been there. I’ve witnessed part of the African lifestyle. I’ve experienced things other students in the class have not and I feel like I could actually have something meaningful to contribute to the class.

The first day of class we had to go through the typical pleasantries of saying our names, where we are from, what year we are, what major we’ve decided on, and why we are taking the class – and then going through the syllabus. And after a while, doing that for every class for two days straight can seem slightly repetitive – especially when you’re in a class where you know almost everyone. But, truth be told I actually kind of enjoy it. It’s nice to ease into a class (even if you already know most of the people).

Anyway, about this African history class – it’s perfect. It’s perfect in good ways and bad ways you could say. When we went around the room, most students said that they were taking the class to fulfill a core requirement, which is to be expected in this case. The majority of the students also said that they were taking the class because it sounded interesting. Ok…what? Of course it sounds interesting. There were like five or six non-Western history classes to choose from – of course you’re going to pick the one that sounds the most interesting. I’m not sure why it bothered me so much that such responses just didn’t seem good enough. Seriously, maybe it’s just me, but couldn’t you come up with something that has a little more substance?

Then I heard the guy next to me mutter to his friend that he was going to say he’s taking the class because he saw the Kony video, which is pretty much the only thing he knows about Africa. So watching a video about people suffering makes you want to learn about the history of an entire continent?

The only redemption I found for such a comment was that there were other students who actually had reasons why they were taking the class – other than the fact that it sounded interesting.

Having recently been to Uganda, I’ve been finding it difficult to help others understand Africa, African culture since they have not experienced it. Most of the students laugh at the crazy African dances on the YouTube music videos Dr. Jallow plays at the end of class. Little do they know that those dances aren’t crazy – they are a way of life. They have meaning that consoles the terrible past a vast majority of the people have suffered through. It’s part of learning about history – you have to understand the culture.


1 Comment so far

  1. This is really the fourth blog, of yours I personally went through.
    But I actually enjoy this one, “Im taking this class
    because _______. theheidihoffman” the best.

    Thanks -Marylyn

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