Our knapsack … aaron

As I finish the anthology of 20th century genocides for our course tomorrow I begin to feel beaten, tired and feel sorry for myself.  Sometimes working on Genocide and refugee issues is numbing, overwhelming and enraging. Then I realize the insane privilege and selfishness of those feelings …

We have a knapsack.  We take for advantage the contents of that knapsack.  Our knapsack creates these questions.  It is too much for us to consider or too easy for us to tune out   Important questions must be considered when we journey into service learning.  What is the nature of service learning?  Why is it useful?  Is it useful?  What are the risks associated with this type of engagement?  Why are we engaged in this service?  How can we collaborate?  How do we use service learning for freedom (hooks, freire) instead of as a form of dominance?

Whiteness theory provides a useful frame for examining these questions.  It also provides a great critique of solutions born out of pure frustration.  We must be critical in our discourse about genocide, in engaging with refugees and in intervention.  We must also not forget, people, at a very base level, have a right to life.




One thought on “Our knapsack … aaron

  1. Aaron,
    Taking this class does bring up overwhelming feelings that at this point I hadn’t opened my mind up to….that is until I entered your class room. However, I don’t feel sad about it, I feel empowered by it, and as silly as it may sound, feel more at one with the world because I’m immersing myself into different subject matter, into subject matter that actually means something to me and is creating feelings and emotions not otherwise brought to the table.

    When I woke up the other day, I thought of all the mundane tasks I simply take for granted on a day to day basis— brushing my teeth with toothpaste, not using shaving gel as deodorant…. silly issues that arose in the video you showed to us last Tuesday, of the lost boys trying to adjust to their new lives. How could our invisible knapsack also be so filled with these little things? It’s got to be overflowing with privileges (even if most people don’t see it as a privilege to be able to wake up in a comfy bed, and brush their teeth with toothpaste)

    Through some of the service learning readings, I’ve developed a fear that our service learning project won’t be enough, that the things we do will fill no void for the losses the lost boys have suffered. I hope to work through this, and hope we really can make a small difference in their lives. Looking forward to the trip more with each week passing.


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