Thursday, December 21, 2017

What is storytelling?

Lately I’ve been hearing/reading the expression “telling the story” or “story telling to fight injustice,” “the narrative,” . . . as in  “young people can bring about social justice by simply telling the stories of who they are and what they have experienced.”

Really?  That’s all it takes? When I watched Christiane Amanpour interview the British woman last night, the Brit used the expression about “telling our story” several times.  I have no idea what that means other than entertainment value like the “moth porch stories” we’ve begun at Lakeside, or listening to learn more about family.
“The goal [of a non-profit for young people] is to creating programming that allows for young people to tell the story of “what it is to grow up economically poor, Black and brown in this country, to be educated in poor schools, to be in communities that are inundated with drugs and violence, but to overcome that.” That ability to take back the narrative of who they are develops a strong sense of empowerment within young people that allows them to “form a moral and ethical code – who they are as young people – helps them become leaders and social change makers” in a cycle that continues to fight poverty decade after decade. These youth then end up seeking out roles in their communities and abroad, continuing the narrative that young people can bring about social justice by simply telling the stories of who they are and what they have experienced."
Twenty five years ago I had prepared a family story and cook book for a Corbett reunion, and was chatting with my Aunt Lois who died two weeks ago at 92.  Different members had brought along old photographs to share, and there was one of her in the late 1930s, heighth of the Great Depression. She looked fabulous.   I made a comment about the family being poor, and she laughed (she had the greatest laugh in the whole family) and said—“We had no idea we were poor.  In the Depression everyone was poor.”
So I’m wondering how encouraging children to look at their homes, schools and neighborhoods as being victims of a cruel society helps them achieve, get good jobs, find the right life partner, and raise a family.

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