Seeing the Water

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Seeing the water

The structures around us encourage all of us to overestimate white people and underestimate Black people. Join the 2022 Swarthmore Lecturer for a session where we look to see the water we’re swimming in.


The title of the 2022 Swarthmore Lecture comes from a metaphor by David Foster Wallace: an old fish is swimming through the water and he encounters two younger fish.  “Hi guys”, he says, “hope you’re enjoying the water today”.  The two younger fish chorus “what is water”?  Black and brown people are usually the “older fish” because they are constantly forced to take stock of their place within their surroundings.  Meanwhile our caste system means that white people continue to be blinded by the comfort of the water, through no fault of their own: it is hard to perceive the temperature of the water if it was set to be exactly right for you even before you were born.  In this session Helen Minnis and Rhiannon Grant will explore ways of “swimming into chillier water” – i.e. getting out of our comfort zones – and the joys and benefits of doing so.

This course will involve:

DiscussionWorkshopZoom Session

Accessibility info:

On the booking form, there is a chance for you to let us know about any accessibility or communication adjustments that will enable you to participate more fully in the course. Automated Zoom closed captions are available for all live sessions but if you feel you require more accurate closed captioning please email us directly in addition to booking.

See more courses in this category: Peace & Social Justice

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