One of the most important things I learned last semester was put to our class by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot as the two most important statements of which a ethnographers should be mindful:
If this seems strange, I ask why. If this doesn’t seem strange, I ask why.
Give it the time and space it needs to sink in, and I think that couplet of statements will play the same havoc in your brain that it’s been playing in mine the last few months.
This will not become the sum of my treatise on how I evaluate the world. It has become an important lens through which I view those beliefs I hold and those I argue against.
The couplet invokes the eternal “Why?” and goes a step further to keep it always focused on the strangeness or lack thereof in any situation.
From where did normalcy arise and what makes me suppose it is absent?