+

Identity in Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced”

In the last post, I talked some more about about Isabel Wilkerson’s statement from Caste when she says, “None of us are ourselves.” I looked at that statement in relation to Long Vahn in Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s The Land South of the Clouds. Today, I want to look at Wilkerson’s statement and my own assertion that we can never know our “true” selves in relation to another text I taught this semester, Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Disgraced (2013). At its core, Disgraced deals with the ways that individuals navigate their identities when those identities do not originate from within but originate from outside of the person.

Continue reading “Identity in Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced””
+

Identity in Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s “The Land South of the Clouds”: Part III

Over the last couple of posts, I have written about issues of identity in Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s The Land South of the Clouds. Today, I want to conclude the discussion that I started last post and look at the rest of “Beautiful,” the chapter where Long Vanh details his relationships with women, focusing on the white woman Melanie first then his relationship with his cousin, Phương. From the outset, Melanie positions Long Vanh as a “beautiful,” “exotic” individual that, while challenging her ideals of white beauty does not obliterate them. She attended California Arts Institute with Long Vanh, and one day, he says, “She approached me one day after class and asked me what I was.” Melanie’s question presents Long Vanh not as a person but rather as an entity, an entity that Melanie cannot define.

Continue reading “Identity in Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s “The Land South of the Clouds”: Part III”
+

The Need for Critical Thinking and Literacy: Part II

In the last post, I started talking about the importance of critical thinking and literacy skills, especially now. Today, I want to continue that discussion by looking at a few more examples and specifically looking at some ways I teach these skills in the classroom. Again, these examples are not exhaustive, but I believe they highlight the importance of analyzing everything we encounter with a critical eye, engaging with it, talking back to it, and not just taking what we ingest at face value. When we do the latter, we fall into the precipice of always listening to things that reinforce our already entrenched ideas and feelings; in this way, we create nothing more than a feedback, a snake devouring its own tail, not growing but dying.

Continue reading “The Need for Critical Thinking and Literacy: Part II”
+

The Need for Critical Thinking and Literacy: Part I

As I, like millions and millions of others, waited for the election results to trickle in last week, I came across this video of Trump supporters dancing to a song in Philadelphia as they protested for officials to stop counting votes. The video shows a woman in a MAGA hat, a flag shit, silver pants, and a blue lives matter flag worn as a cape. The man on the right has similar attire and waves a Trump flag vigorously in the air. The woman raps along with the song, pointing at the gathered crowd around her. As an educator, this video caught my attention, not for the reasons you might expect. It caught my attention because the song that the people are rapping and waving flags to is Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name,” a song that directly runs counter to the imagery and message the protestors want to convey.

Continue reading “The Need for Critical Thinking and Literacy: Part I”
+

Identity in Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s “The Land South of the Clouds”: Part II

In the last post, I started writing about the ways that Long Vanh navigates the perceptions that others place upon him as he searches for his own identity in Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s The Land South of the Clouds. Today, I want to continue that discussion by looking at “Beautiful,” a chapter in the novel where Long Vanh talks about his relationships with white women, specifically Melanie, and the ways that those relationships compounded his thoughts about himself. Throughout the chapter, the theme of Long Vanh’s fractured identity, in the eyes of others, comes to the forefront.

Continue reading “Identity in Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith’s “The Land South of the Clouds”: Part II”