Last Friday the X humanities section went on a field trip to Dudley Square in Boston. We are studying the American course this year in groups 4-5, so the purpose of this field trip was to go to a different part of America that is close to us but that we don’t get to see very often. We went to Dudley Dough (a place where ex convicts can work to get stable and back on their feet), and discussed our humanities reading from the book “Beloved” . We had split up into groups earlier, one of them went to City on a Hill Charter School ii. We went to watch their school town hall style debate. Afterwards we were able to talk to some of the kids that went to the school. This is Bobby Malley’s writing piece on his experience with one of the girls from City on a Hill.
“Have you guys read the book Beloved?”
Sherri’s words shook me to the core. Here it was: the moment of fulfillment, of resonance, when culture and politics and history and real genuine human interaction and connection coalesce and collide, when education and experience mirror and imitate each other. When language and literature draw invisible tethers between disparate entities and bind them somehow to each other. “Yes.” I said. “Yes, I have read Beloved. I LOVE Beloved.”
“Ugh, I hated it. It’s so confusing. Sethe’s a sick person.”
And just like that my dream came crumbling down, leaving chaos and destruction in its wake. Chaos, destruction, and something that looked a lot like truth staring me point blank in the eyes and laughing at my naïveté. Nothing is that easy, or that poetic, or that conclusive. Building connections with people despite hundreds of years of enslavement, oppression, abuse, and marginalization is a messy process, and most of the time it is inelegant, sloppy, and fumbling. Hopefully, we find a way to fumble towards each other.