When my now-husband, Anthony, first told me he’d majored in American Studies, I was tickled. I couldn’t fathom such a choice, which seemed so … indulgent.
Why study history when we live in the present? Why study culture when the world simply is the way it is? Far better, I thought, to dedicate time and energy to building skills critical to navigating now.
A few years ago, my husband introduced me to Neil Postman. As I read book after Postman book, I began to see some of the many ways the present is a byproduct of processes in the past. The future, in turn, will be a byproduct of processes in motion now.
Different processes, different product.
I began to grasp why two of my siblings are historians, and why my husband would be interested in American Studies.
In one particular conversation, my husband explained that he’d majored in American Studies to find words for his experiences as a Black man in America.
I was incredulous. He already had words. Why did he need a program of study to give him words, available en masse in dictionaries and thesauri everywhere?!
Recently I’ve been eating humble pie here, too.
In mid-June, someone I trust suggested I watch Brené Brown’s Netflix special. I did so, and my mind was blown. The world Brown described was so different than the world I was used to seeing.
I liked her vision of the world better than my own; there was so much possibility in hers! I watched others of her videos. Having watched those I could find, I then bought and read each of her books, enjoying them in visual and audio formats.
It took me a little while to pinpoint what I found in Brown that I didn’t find elsewhere.
After I’d pinpointed it, I couldn’t help but laugh: Continue reading “The possibility in a word”