Clutching the Vacuum
A scholarship recipient within a private upper/middle-class and primarily white space, Coffee experienced high school as a process of unlearning and regulating herself and her social class embodied literacies (Jones and Vagle, Educational Researcher 42(3):318–339, 2013; Jones, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 56(7):525–529, 2013). In this chapter, Coffee describes a moment when she was cleaning a classroom as part of her work-study responsibilities. Coffee examines this flashpoint attuned toward the histories that orient bodies to objects and spaces in particular ways, meritocratic educational narratives and hierarchies that rely on particular labors becoming background, and the powerful resistance and wisdom that resides within the body. In this moment, braced, mind racing, clutching the vacuum, her body knew and struggled within the impossible contradiction it was tasked to inhabit.