Throughout this semester, in the class The Risks and Rewards of Academic Partnerships we returned to the main themes of our course epigraph. This epigraph is from the short story “Bloodchild”, written by Octavia E. Butler, “If we’re not your animals, if these are adult things, accept the risk. There is a risk, Gatoi, in dealing with a partner.” I believe that is a great quote to outline what INTD 105 is all about.
Dr. Beth McCoy, separated this class into different modules, showing the different aspects of the class: Foundations in Good Faith, Implicit Bias, Rules for Partnership, and Harm, Repair, Care. Originally I did not notice that the class had these different modules, I did not really understand the point of a few of the lessons we had. For example, the discussion of rules for students, I was confused about why I needed to read the code of conduct originally, not understanding what this had to with the class. I realized that day that the whole class had these modules and this discussion was the first in the Rules for Partnership module. It made sense to me all of a sudden, The SUNY Geneseo code of conduct IS the rules for academic partnership. This discussion was there to show us the rules that we need to abide by when we are here taking classes at SUNY Geneseo. When we are taking a class where we discuss the risks and rewards of academic partnership, reading and learning the rules is a great way to discover more of the risks we have as a student. Having the different modules to show us the meaning of everything we learn is very helpful. These modules are the best way to prove that this class is really teaching us everything we need to know in regards to the syllabus and in reference to the epigraph.
The epigraph was another concept that I did not necessarily understand at first. While reading the syllabus originally and before reading “Bloodchild”, I did not understand what the quote meant. I thought to myself “what does Gatoi mean?”,and “what does ‘if we’re not your animals’ mean?” I kept these questions in my mind while reading the short story, I knew that eventually I would understand the concept.
Slowly, my questions started to become answered. I realized that Gatoi is a shortened version of the name of one of the main characters and that the concept of animals is to do with the different species in this book, the differences between the humans versus the tilc, meaning the alien race. When I got to the quote in “Bloodchild” that is the course epigraph, I was really excited, this was the quote, finally. I will now understand what is so important about this quote, a quote that Dr. McCoy believed was important enough to be a reflection of this course as a whole. Immediately, I underlined it and wrote on a sticky note the things that I found so important about it.
My initial thought was that the quote has the name of the class in it. It specifically says “There is a risk Gatoi, in dealing with a partner”, that is really the whole point of a class that is called The Risks and Rewards of Academic partnership, highlighting the risks side of things. This quote emphasises the point that there will be risks in having a partner and we have to decide whether to take the risk or not. I also like the part that says “if these are adult things”, to me this shows that as we grow up, and become adults, we need to take these risks and do the things that may seem risky at first, but also have a pay off.
This course epigraph did an amazing job at outlining the content that is provided in this class. Each module represents a new message that Dr. McCoy is trying to convey to us, the students, about the epigraph and about the risks and rewards of academic partnership. The first module, foundations in good faith, was there for us to learn about others intentions. When working with a partner, knowing their intentions is a very important thing. Both parties need to mutually have good faith and good intentions. The good faith is what makes the risks seem less scary. You both need to trust each other and listen to each other. This is shown in the story “Bloodchild”. Both T’Gatoi and Gan have to trust that the other has good faith. Gan has to trust that he is not in danger when carrying T’Gatoi’s eggs and T’Gatoi has to trust that Gan will not shoot her with the gun that he is not allowed to have in the first place. The next module is Implicit Bias, which means different stereotypes that affect the way we see other people and is mostly subconscious. I believe that we had this module because we need to understand our implicit biases and try our best to fight them when we notice them, or actively try to get rid of them. This is important in the risk of dealing with a partner because both parties may have an implicit bias about the other and it may affect how they work together. When you learn about your implicit biases, it can help you recognize your own and maybe eliminate them all together, getting rid of that risk. The next module that Dr. McCoy added is Rules for Partnership. This module helped us recognize the rules that us, as students, have when attending SUNY Geneseo. Adding to the list of risks that we face when dealing with a partner, rules are a big one. Both parties have to have rules in order for the rewards to have the greatest impact. Rules are ways to set limitations and boundaries so you can have a greater trust in each other and relly insure that both parties have good faith. In many situations, rules are important for structure and security. The last module is Harm, Repair, Care. This module focused mainly on the Novel From Here to Equality, Written by William A. Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen. This novel shows the difficulties that Black Americans have faced from salvery to the present. This novel does an amazing job showing the harm that these people have had to go through for thousands of years and what we need to do to repair all of that harm. I found this to show the partnership between people of color and white people in america, and what the abuse of power caused. This showed me that with harm comes much repair and care to fix what has been done, and in the case of black americans, we still need more repair everyday.
The course epigraph was a perfect quote to go along with this class. Dr. McCoy used all of the modules to ensure that her students understood the meaning of this class and of the risks and rewards of academic partnership, and any other partnership.