Fear and deceit
I've written and deleted a couple of posts regarding the Virginia Tech tragedy. Angry Asian Man has some notes on the possibility/fear of a backlash against Asian Americans—and arggh, even the name of that exemplary site takes on unwanted resonance today. I'll leave it at that for now.
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On a lighter note—how's that for a transition?—last week, Team Dizzies member Chrita Marri sent me an anecdote from his life as a teacher:
The other day, before school had actively begun, I was talking to an eighth-grader named Paulamarie (one word, no waiting). I forget the immediate context, I but I used the word "deceitful," which stymied her."Mister"—which is what she and most of her peers called all male teachers, so I didn't take the lack of specificity personally—"what's deceitful?" It wasn't so much a question as a statement of her immediate ignorance.
I wasn't sure what was going on, whether she was toying with me, which would have been within character; or just being cognitively unambitious, unwilling to dig through the effluvia of her brain to unearth the meaning; or if she honestly had never heard, or registered, the word. I decided to proceed with the third possibilty, erring on the side of something.
"Paula, it's when you're full of deceit."
She was further frustrated, as if I was the one with a severe misunderstanding."Yeah, but what's deceit?"
It was early, and I was bored with and saddened by the conversation, so I decided to go for it: "Paula, it's where you put de butt."