ERIC Number: ED382957
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar-23
Reference Count: N/A
"These People Are Weird and We Don't Like Them": Reacting to Regional Difference.
An instructor teaching a 20th-century fiction course was surprised by her students' response to a series of stories she asked them to read about the South. Apparently representing the feelings of many in the class, one student said, "These people are weird. And we don't like them." Though they were used to encountering differences in terms of race, gender and class, the students were unprepared for difference based on place or region. The multicultural favorites--race, class and gender--are a lens for both students and teachers to look through when considering the "other"; it screens out other analytical perspectives. Editors of anthologies choose stories to be representatively "African-American" or "female" or "working class" and present them to their readers neatly wrapped with editorial comments that explain the nature of the differences represented. Students become "accidental tourists"--unwilling travelers who want the different to resemble the familiar; and academics become academic tourists--thinkers who assess difference, and its value, in terms of how they can fit it into a schema, a way of looking at the world that they have designed. What the students were objecting to in the Southern stories by William Faulkner ("A Rose for Emily") and Flannery O'Connor ("A Good Man is Hard to Find") was not that the South was represented but that it was represented in a way that was totally unfamiliar to them--in a way that did not fit into their frame of reference. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: United States (South)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (46th, Washington, DC, March 23-25, 1995).