“A student in Music 5 (an alternative to Music I) asked his instructor why the African and Afro-American traditions were not taught since they obviously influenced American music and so much of modern music throughout the world? He was told, “We only consider serious music in this course” (14)
Reading Bambara’s chapter, I think about how the Black University will be more inclusive of the international student, particularly students from the Caribbean. In the suggested courses, the Caribbean is included in terms of nutrition and root courses among others. I see the Caribbean in this sense being recognized for its link or contribution to African American culture which is sometimes overlooked when looking at American history. Incorporating the Caribbean in terms of what is taught is one thing but how can the Black University create a much-needed link for Caribbean immigrant and international students – a link of continuity and acceptance of their educational background?
Keshia, thanks for this post! I think about this a lot because many of my students in the Queens College Education program are Caribbean or Caribbean origin, either Black or Indo-Caribbean, and when we talk about their experiences in schools, they often name that they have never studied their language, culture, or arts (for instance, specifically Jamaican or Guyanese) in K-12 schooling or perhaps not even in college. Bambara’s piece, and your comment here, reminds us that a “Black” university can’t essentialize Blackness but must attend to the nuances of colonialism, immigration, and enslavement that have produced a range of Black identities and cultures.
I want to note a key move you make in your response. You agree with our source text (Bambara), and then you extend her good idea into a more expansive one by thinking through your own experience. Not only that, you’re clearly linking back to previous class discussions about which kinds of knowledge get privileged and what kinds of institutional troubles Caribbean immigrant students face in the U.S. university. I see you building a project.
Keshia, I think your reflection raises important questions of specificity/distinction as well as connection (as Karen notes as well). These questions in turn point to matters of individuality, belonging, assumed shared identity, unknown connections, and more. I’ll look forward to talking more in class about this.