Being Female, Being Black: What Switching Places Demonstrates

Debbie says:

Anyone who has given any thought to privilege and oppression knows that the situation of a black man in America is different from the situation of a white woman. However, trying to examine that difference carefully can be … difficult. Comparisons of privilege all too often turn into size wars, “mine is worse than yours” arguments, and other oversimplifications.

That’s one reason why I was so taken by “Lost Voices,” a slam poetry performance in which Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley of Eastern Michigan University found a unique way to talk about their own experience of oppression … by telling each other’s stories.

For a poetry slam challenge at Virginia Commonwealth University, they created a joint piece in which they illuminate their personal experience of oppression by switching their spots at the microphones … and changing voices when they make the switch.

The rhythm of individual stories and reactions in unison is a stunning demonstration of the ways in which our experience of oppression is simultaneously similar and different, familiar and alien. In three short minutes, Simpson and Bostley make a point which would be difficult to convey in an entire class session or workshop … and they provide a memorable experience which will help us remember what we learned.

Thanks to FaithGardner at Daily Kos for the pointer.