Friday, April 7th 8pm (3 hours)
As an extra credit opportunity, we were given the chance to listen to a presentation about Roman, Greek, and Egyptian frescos. We began to discuss how these pieces of art are being manipulated through the years by people who think they are preserving them. Conservators have made it their mission to maintain the beauty of the frescos; unfortunately, their efforts are just making the situation worse. Our presenter further elaborated on the topic after the crowd asked her the questions below.
Do you think restoring art can be a bad thing? Does time add or decrease the value of the art?
She explained how yes, restoring art can be a bad thing. Though it is not intentional, the conservators who restore different art forms are taking away from the originality of the art. Initially, the first people to restore these frescos were able to see its original state so they did not make any drastic changes to the product. However, with time the new conservators were just modifying what had been restored from before. She explained how people from the Byzantine empire went down to the bottle of the Nile river to gather information artifacts from the Egyptians. These same pieces of work have been restored a countless number of times and lost their value. Eventually, the frescos lost their luster and originality. The unfortunate part about restorations is that the sentimental value and meaning behind the frescos are lost overtime. In these areas, tourism is a huge part of the economy which is almost a slap in the citizens face. It is insulting that people come from all around the world to view these art pieces that they believe symbolize your community and history when in reality they have been modified so much that they are just slabs of vandelism.
How did you become involved in the arts?
When asked how she become so interested in the arts she replied quite candidly actually by saying, “on accident actually”. While on a trip to Egypt she was a huge fan of the art that they viewed and her love for the topic just kind of blossomed from there. Originally, she was upset with the fact that antiquity and ancient art was overlook and belittled as an art form. However, she found it interesting to figure out how the art from the ancient times related to us in modern times and how we related to those living in times of antiquity. A picture can tell a better story than a few lines in a textbook. I connected to that statement on almost a spiritual level. Personally, I am not a huge fan of history, in fact, I have a strong dislike for it. The reason behind my feelings is that it irritates me that we learn history in hopes to learn from the mistakes and successful momnets of those in the past with hopes of not repeating their wrongoings. The irony is that we still end up making the same mistakes that we were trying to avoid. With that being said, I was always a strong advoacate of the arts. Whether that was through music, sculpures and paintings, or written works art is able to speak a thousand words in such a subtle way. The true beauty of art is that there is no right or wrong interpretation of it. Art can evoke different emotions and memories in different individuals depending on how they interpret it. It was not until I visited a history museum until I saw how beautiful history can really be. I prefer viewing the history and seeing how they portrayed a specific time period through art. Art can show the pain, sadness, happiness, joy, fear, or frustration that was circulated during this moment of history. It is so much easier for me to relate to people of the past when I can feel their emotions.
Tuesday, April 11th 4:30pm (4 hours)
As class began today, Dr. S began by drawing our attention to his shirt. Unlike the remainder of our class, he does not buy “thrasher” or team shirts simply because he appreciates its appearance but he makes sure that each shirt has a meaning that he stands for. His shirt read “B S T N” which symbolize the Boston Marathon taking place this upcoming weekend. As one of the few Howard students from Boston, I am a huge fan of the marathon. Growing up, my family would religiously watch the race on TV as we cleaned the house and listened to old Nigerian gospels. My siblings and I would make bets on who we thought would win and make jokes about how we would train to run the race. Unfortunately, I am not a huge advocate of running or physical activity in any form so I am not sure how likely it would be for me to even walk the entirety of the race. Dr. S, however, has accomplished running this race. As he shared his different preparation methods I realized that there is actually more to winning a race than constantly running faster than your competitors. He told us that in order to win any race, you must pace yourself, timing is everything. Back in 2013, Rita Jeptoo, the women’s winner, won by a mere few seconds. Considering the fact that the race is over 20miles long, winning the race by only a few seconds is an insane thought. The key is that Jepetoo did not begin to exert all her energu and sprint to her fullest until the final few miles of the race. This resinated with me. I believe in life this same tactic can be used. A lot of times people say that it’s not about how fast you run the race as long as you finish. I believe that as a leader, and as a young adult growing up in the 21st century at that, it is important to keep both this tactic in mind. Many times, we stuble and have a few setbacks in life that seem detrimental to our goals and aspirations in life. However, as long as we use these instances as learning experiences and motivation to propel ourselves forward than we can not only finish but win the race.
Today in class we introduced the concept of civility. The concept of civility is quite complex once you get deep enough into the different forms of it. When talking about civility, we brought up the word praotes, or gentleness. In order to truly be civil you must have a sense of gentleness.
What are your views on civility?
When we were asked this question I immediately thought of two instances where my civility was put to the test. Last semester I took an introduction philosophy course. In this class we were given the liberty to express our minds and discuss our thoughts in a philosophical manner. There was one student in the class who always had to play devil’s advocate and say the most outlandish and ridiculous comments ever. I am a naturally quite argumentative and am always up for a good debate, the problem with conversing with him was nearly impossible. The class period after Trump made it into office, I knew he was going to unbelievable comments. As soon as we sat down in the class, he rose his hand, and without being called on, just proceeded to discuss how he felt Trump was the right winner for the position. He proceeded to say that anyone who thought Hilary should be in office is an, and I quote, “ignoramous”. Usually, hearsh words do not offend me too much; however, in this case I was already annoyed with his endless commentary so this additional comment set me off the edge. I then brought to his attention that I was a Hilary supporter so I would greatly appreciate if he could elaborate on how I was ignorant. I tried to exchange viewpoints with him and realized that it was nearly impossible to talk to people who are so stuck in their ways. The second instance happened during the summer of my senior year of high school when I worked in the department of public works as a receptionists. Essentially, I worked the phones as customer service and had to address any questions, comments, or concerns the city’s residents had. The difficult part of this job is trying to keep my composure while trying to communicate with people who completely disregard civility as a whole.
After reflecting on my past examples of civility, I was able to answer the question. I believe civility is related to emotions, morals, and respect. What makes being civil so hard is trying to keep control of your emotions. In most instances where someone disregards the rules of civility when their emotions get involved with the topic of conversation. It is hard to defend something you are passionate about without getting stirred up and flustered.
Over the years, I feel as if our society has made it nearly impossible to truly express your views on a topic and be understood by someone with an opposing view. It is almost as if we have all adopted the “you’re entitled to your wrong opinion” mentality in a sense that though they may entertain you and listen to your viewpoints, when you are finished they will either say your opinion is worng or right depending on what the social norm is. For example, a huge topic that I have seen recurring today is homosexuality and transgenders. I am all here for acceptance and the assimilation of different sexual orientations into society; however, I do not feel that it is appropriate to shove these concepts down our throats. Today, it is either you are a supporter of the movement or stay silent because any views that do not correlate with the norm are frowned upon. Recently, media has been introducing this topic to younger and younger audiences. I am personally not a fan
We then merged the conversation to Heather Mac Donald, a political commentator, and discussed racism in America. Going to an HBCU has caused me to be able to notice the different act of racism more than I did before. Living in a predominately White and Latino community kind of blinded me from how cruel the world truly is.
What does it mean to be racist?
It’s disheartening how much people overlook racism in today’s society. We assume that because Blacks are not chained to one another like wild bores than we have reached a just and equal society, which is completely false. In some senses, I feel as if people just choose to turn a blind eye to the numerous instances of racism in the United States. Others are honestly just ignorant to the fact that such horrid act are actually taking place. In my Afro-Am Studies course, I learned that there are two different forms of racism: covert and overt. Covert means to not openly acknowledge or display something. Unfortunately, this form of racism is so discrete that it can be missed by many. Overt means something that is done or shown openly. This is the form of racism that most people are aware of, in today’s society this would be how we categorize the various police brutality instances. The issue is that if the act of racism is not overt then nobody will show it any attention or act as if the issue of racism has completely disappeared. As a Nigerian-American in the United States during the 21st century, I would love to admit that the forms of racism that we are experiencing now are not be as gruesome and inhumane as the ones performed back during slavery. However, I can not honestly sit here and say such a thing, racism is still as prevalent as it was before the only difference is that the racists will refuse to openly accept their actions. I relate to Dr. S when he said “to ignore racial issues is to be racist”. The issue with non-Blacks is that they assume that since they do not openly walk around calling Blacks the N-word or that they have one Black friend they are down for the cause and not racist. The person throwing racial slurs and performing racial acts is just as guilty as the person who just sits there, fully aware that such things are happening, and remains silent. I commend those who do try their best to defend Blacks and stand against racists, your efforts are appreciated. With that being said, if you are not Black in America you will never be able to fully understand the hurdles that are placed in our lives because of our skin. As a community, we have endless amounts of trials and tribulations that we must overcome simply because our melanin is more apparent. People have the misconception that things will be alright once we stop looking at people for the color of their skin. What they fail to realize is that is not fixing the problem just playing ignorant to it. The day we need to look for is when we are able to see and appreciate someone’s skin and still treat them as you would with someone who has the complete opposite complexion and genetic makeup. It is a cruel reality that we are living but we must remain hopeful and wish for a better and brighter tomorrow.