Claudine Michel is professor of black studies at UC Santa Barbara who was born and raised in Haiti. Before participating in a panel on how much good celebrity aid does in her native country, she sat down in the Zócalo green room to profess her admiration for cats, the ocean, and the writer Edwidge Danticat.
How do you like your eggs?
I don’t eat eggs.
If you could be any animal, which would you choose?
A cat. Reflective, independent—yet loving.
When did you last break a sweat?
What are you keeping in your closet that you should have thrown out already?
Too many shoes.
Do you have a favorite pair?
Sandals. Flat, Haitian beads.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Sleeping—that’s connected with [why I’d be a] cat.
What question do you wish your students would ask more?
What do you consider beautiful?
What’s your favorite word?
Whose talent would you like to have?
Edwidge Danticat. She’s of the people. And knows how to express it with simplicity yet power.