Bryan’s Question Corner #5

Here is a question for the end of Racecraft:

  1. In “What One Cannot Remember Mistakenly,” Fields writes about how when she stopped searching for information in her Grandmother’s memoir, “[w]hat I discovered was far more interesting. It opened out instead of pining down Gram’s story.” This reminded me of the way Thursday afternoon at the sit-in, it would have been totally inappropriate to fact-check or verify the stories we heard. Instead, each story triggered an outburst of more stories until all these words and feelings piled and piled into an uprising. What I’m struggling with right now is how to write about Amherst Uprising in a way that is generative rather than confining. How can we speak, think, and write about the thick layer of energy and emotion you could feel in Frost library all weekend without reducing all that life into dead information?
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2 thoughts on “Bryan’s Question Corner #5

  1. I too struggle to write about Amherst Uprising. I find it impossible to accurately capture the emotional impact the movement has had on practically every student, faculty and staff at the college. In discussing the uprising, it is all to easy to confine it to its 11 demands. However, this fails to accentuate the flooding of emotional turmoil it was built upon. I believe that the best way to talk about the uprising isn’t by trying to summarize the event. The best way to capture the significance of the movement is by ascertaining its relevance in your own personal life. Specifically, what did the movement mean to you and how did it bring about such meaning? By making the movement personal, I argue that we can avoid relaying it as dead information; we can make it that something impacted our perception of our social environment and urges us to find ways to make Amherst College a more racially inclusive academic institution.

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    • Hey thanks for responding! I agree with you that “the best way to capture the significance of the movement is by ascertaining its relevance in your own personal life.” When I came home for break, I was really frustrated with my parents at first because I felt like their questions about the Uprising were judgmental. In retrospect I think that my parents were mostly just curious and that I was frustrated because I didn’t really know how to articulate why this protest was so important for our campus and how it had changed me. I was only really able to talk with my parents when I held off from talking about the demands, and instead talked about what had changed inside me during those first few hours of the sit-in. For me, this was the “generative story” that could lead to a more full, productive conversation.

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