Mike

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I met Mike at the library as a high school student. But back then, I was more cautious than anything, especially in the library.  I was always in my ‘New York Mode’. So, if he or anyone (didn’t matter the age) spoke to me, I really didn’t speak back.

Forward years later, we are in  the same writing class at the library. Come to find out, he is an incredible writer. I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.

He is also full of creativity and ideas. He encourages everyone who attend the class to write, write, write and while he is not the one who teaches the class, everyone respects him as one of the teachers.

He is genuine and I am glad for the opportunity to learn from him as an adult.

Cazona De Flores

Cazona De Flores

 

Today we went to a lecture by Ezequiel Adamovsky. (nice name right?)

The place where we went is called La Cazona De Flores and while I don’t understand fully why it’s so significant I do know that  it is where a lot of learning takes place and many educators such as writers and authors give speeches there.

To welcome us into the place was an anthropologist named Nicolas Fernadez. He sat us down and told us a little history about La Cazona De Flores. It was an upper class house full of paintings owned by a rich family. However,  when the city begin to grow, the neighborhood swallowed up the smaller rich neighborhood.

Now it’s an open space used for studies.  He told us that It connects study courses with employment. I guess that’s the equivalent to an internship. “The house has achieved prestige among the intellectuals, he commented, and the neighborhood of Flores is associated with Afro-Argentine families.”  I think this means a lot, but currently I am not sure why I think this.

Fernadez switched the topic to race in Argentina and I jotted down some of his quotes that I thought were intriguing:

The meaning of race has been a challenged  myth of the country since the beginning

The problem with the stereotypes is not that they are false but incomplete.

Education and violence is what constructed the nation and the false ideas that race doesn’t exist 

If you want to evolve, leave your ethnicities behind

The difference is the resistance of the people and how change comes (his comment in regards to other nations and their response to inequalities)

During the discussion, we spoke about how the government is in control of maintaining the history of Argentina and telling the history of Argentina. He then showed us the 100 peso. There are currently two circulating. One of them, the older one, has the father of the disappearance on it, Julio Argentino Roca (we spoke a little bit about him at the Recoleta Cemetery) and the other peso has Maria Eva Duarte De Peron picture’s on it.

 

Hats off to James McBride!

Yesterday I had the joy of meeting acclaim writer James McBride, the author of The Color of Water.

Despite the embarrassment I received while taking a video of him, I thought that what he delivered to us was very interesting and encouraging. He had a way of telling stories not too many people have. He is the kind of person who you would not mind listening to. I wonder if he was shy or nervous while talking or if he felt completely comfortable talking to us. Sometimes the speaker would mention that they are nervous or anxious but he didn’t.

He started by telling us about our shared history in America. “Whites and Blacks have a shared history and the best thing that we can do is learn to appreciate our respective history”. I think our history is more than shared, I think it is the same if we are to look past color. It is one history. I am an American before I am African- American. Isn’t the founding fathers of this country, founding fathers of my country as it is any white person?

He continued by telling us that we know how to succeed but now we should learn how to fail. “You have to give yourself the right to fail” he said.  Of all the things I have heard as something encouraging I have to say I was at first surprised. Learn how to fail? What could he possibly mean? And what I took away is not to be afraid to fail. Failure will come and is going to come but do not give up. He continued saying When you fail, you attack what ever you are doing or trying to do, harder. He said more but I am dwelling on that for right now. At this moment in my life I have to accept and I have been accepting my failures. I’ve been greeting them and smiling through them and continuing on.

Anyways, let me tell you how he embarrassed me and how somehow right there I connected to his speech. So, here he is  talking and here I am video taping him. And towards the end of his speech he said to me: Are you video taping this? Please don’t do that. And instead of feeling embarrassed, I felt great. Number one, I was the only one who was there  video taping James McBride- the only one with a camera and using it. I also was the only one who got called out. And was not afraid to fail right there. I put his philosophy into practice. I stopped because he asked me to but the thought did cross my mind to continue. What could he or what would he had done IF I dared to continued. That would have been some story!  But I wanted him to sign my book and journal and take a picture with me so I stopped.

He is in my Hats or  Hatsnot series because he had a cool swagger about him. I promised him- well didn’t promise- but told him I would not put the video on Youtube  so you can’t see it however, it doesn’t mean I can’t put it on my blog. But his poise was very together. Very calm, cool and collected.

He did all of this with a hat and an ear ring. It was like he was the definition of coolness! He even said ‘this cat’ to describe someone. And his word choice? out of this world!Lilly and James McBride