“One of the things that happens with race is that so much gets projected on us that we don’t get to actualize who we are. And I’m not just talking people of color, but I’m actually talking about white folks too. One of the things that racism prevents us from doing is from being fully human and fully creating our identities.”
—Eric K. Ward, civil rights strategist, philanthropist, and executive director of the Western States Center, at the November 2017 Think & Drink on race, power, and justice
“Sympathy helps no one and just leaves people feeling worse. In my life today when I meet people who are misfits like me, the best thing to do is help them get safe if they are not, give them a meal, and give them room to grow into who they need to be.”
—Mary J. Thompson, Portland writer and Humanity in Perspective graduate, quoted in The Misfit’s Manifesto by Lidia Yuknavitch (Simon & Schuster/ TED, 2017)
“I look around from my vantage point and wonder what kind of work this park’s name can do (or undo) in relation to that legacy? I am mostly skeptical that there is any real expectation of work. Maybe just a nod toward inclusion. Rhetorical multiculturalism. I acknowledge that this is a lot to ask of a name, of a park where people go to enjoy themselves and reduce or escape the stresses of their daily lives. But why else name a park this way unless there is an intention to make a statement, to concretely proclaim a set of values regarding the indigenous peoples of this land?”
—Natchee Blu Barnd, Corvallis writer and professor, in his book Native Space: Geographic Strategies to Unsettle Settler Colonialism (Oregon State University Press, 2017
“I spend hours on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook pretending to be tuned into the real world, while actually trying to escape my own reality. I have so many ‘friends’ following my social media accounts, but so few who actually know who I am. Perhaps this is because I have created a different version of myself on the Internet, a digital identity, one that is carefully crafted so that others view me in the best light.”
—Writer and high school student Marissa Levy, in her essay “Sixteen in America,” which was published as part of Beyond the Margins, an Oregon Humanities online essay series
- When you were six, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- How is that different from who you are now?
- What did you want your education to be like?
- Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger self?
—Questions asked by facilitator Paul Susi as part of his Conversation Project program, “Does Higher Education Matter?”
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