some of us are brave
It has been a big week.
Thank you to everyone who read and shared my thoughts on status, poverty, and culture. As with my thoughts on gender, race, and Miley Cyrus, I thought the piece a narrow meditation with very limited readership potential. Just goes to show that I do not have much of an ear for the market. I can live with that.
As readership increases so does reader response. I would really like to thank all the people who sought me out across multiple platforms to talk about their experience of poverty and modeling respectability for mobility. I continue to try to respond to all the direct mail. Across race and gender, there are a lot of similarities. I could have shared stories from my bilingual friends who, as children barely old enough to ride the school bus, were translating big adult issues for their non-English speaking parents. They learned early on how to perform respectable adult through language, tone, and dress. I could talk about the white girlfriend I once had who could not watch a certain hit TV show because she couldn’t see anything funny about living in a trailer as she had growing up. Perfecting her performance of not-poor had been difficult and she did not need a primetime television reminder that was played for jokes.
I also want to thank the readers who made a point of telling me how they had to re-think something they thought they understood. There is nothing comfortable about confronting our own assumptions. That is why people resist doing it so mightily. When this happens with students I feel like I’m fulfilling the formal education bargain. When it happens with readers I have never met and who did not sign up for Transformation(tm) it speaks as much to your willingness to challenge yourself as it does anything I wrote.
Writer and teacher are two of my primary identities. There is significant overlap. In fact, I think the only real point of deviation is that for one I am required to wear pants. I approach the activities of both pretty similarly. It is nice when readers do, too.
I will be joining HuffPo Live tomorrow to talk a bit about status and mobility. Noon EST, which is Early PST. I make no promises about lucidity. Maybe some of you can join in.
Thank you for reading and sharing and teaching.