Have you ever felt invisible?
I don’t think there has ever been a time where I felt invisible in a group setting. If anything, I have always felt that I painfully stand out. I remember my second semester at RIC we watched a film and one of the questions was “ What did you think about the culture in the film?” I answered the question honestly, without hesitation. By the time I was done answering the question, the room was in an up roar, and everyone in the class had their hand up eager to disagree. I immediately realized two things, I was the only “Spanish” girl in the class, and I had just made all the “ White” people mad.
Do Hobson or Nayyrah Waheed help you think about visibility in any new ways? Be specific in naming and explaining their arguments, and then relate their words to your own life history.
Due to my very many years at RIC, I have been able to whiteness a shift in the way conversations around race, and diversity have changed. I am extremely grateful for professors on campus who are color brave and are willing to host discussions around race and personal experience associated with race in their classrooms. Hobson and Waheed didn’t help me think of visibility in a new way, but Hobson did a great job in explaining why it is important to be proactive, and the long-term consequences of our actions. Referring to my example above, just as the students in the classroom didn’t understand my point of view based on my culture and personal experiences, color blindness tolerates that separation. Color blindness allows people to see you as human but does not accept your experiences as real, relevant, or of value.
How might a youth space like YIA — where youth “share their stories, practice leadership and create change in their communities” — be an antidote to invisibility?
A youth setting like YIA is an antidote to invisibility in many ways. Hobson mentions talking issues around race head on, YIA does that through hosting conversations around difficult topics, putting youth in the forefront to advocate for themselves and what they believe, and by simply raising awareness amongst their peers and in the community. YIA creates individual change agents.