"However, in the midst of this routine, I urge you to remember that in every course, every department, every major, we are all searching for truth. Truth may be revealed to us in a chi-square table with a p value of .05 or less or in a metaphor in a poem written by someone who lives in the tundra or the tropics. It may appear to us in an argument written originally in Latin more than two thousand years ago or in the words of an acquaintance in a chance encounter in a dormitory hallway. We may find truth in a discourse that presents to us a perspective very different from the ones to which we are accustomed, whether that perspective draws from a different political consciousness, a different way of seeing our local community, or a different language or culture. Truth challenges us, outrages us, inspires us, and changes us, but we must be open to the encounter. Sometimes we may be reading or listening to the words of someone whose background is so different from ours we may be tempted to dismiss the message as not relevant to the way we see the world. I urge you to be mindful and present, because the unexpected message may actually find resonance in you: As the narrator of Ralph Ellison’s novel, The Invisible Man, explained: “Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you?"
The Dean of Culture and Society at TCNJ, Benjamin Rifkin