The Role of Cultural Introspection in College Teaching
Edited By Susan Diana Longerbeam and Alicia Fedelina Chávez
Chapter Fifteen: Transformed by the Learners
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Transformed BY THE Learners
Academic Professional and Organizational Learning University of New Mexico
On the first day out of Cape Town, South Africa, my father looked toward me across the sedan roof and said, “If we were in the United States, we’d probably get back in the car and keep on driving, wouldn’t we?”
What prompted his statement? We had not seen another White person since we entered the town. The sidewalks were crowded with people, mostly Black men sitting against the building walls and carrying on conversations—mostly with jovial gesturing, touching, laughing. My father was not racist. He possessed, and instilled in my brother and me, a Christian sense of fairness and a strong regret for how African Americans and other minorities are treated in America. However, his disdain for inequity didn’t keep my father from associating the view on that South African street with the anxiety he would feel if driving into and parking in an all-Black neighborhood in the United States—very unlike his European-descendent farming community hometown or the affluent and virtually all-White Cincinnati suburb where I grew up.
And, yet, this thought that my father voiced was not in my mind. What I saw was a lively group of people who, while clearly different from me in at least one obvious way, posed no threat to me. I was simply enjoying the experience...
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