Sunday, August 5, 2018

Identity and Social Justice Links

"Ironically, when my students and I read Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, we discuss how schools were often used as one of the most effective tools of colonizers. Control what people think, I remind them, and you can control what they do—and what they can’t.  What I didn’t recognize was my own complicity in such a system. In the words of anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko, “the most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” This is why we must disrupt texts, disrupt our pedagogy."

"In more than twenty years of running diversity-training and cultural-competency workshops for American companies, the academic and educator Robin DiAngelo has noticed that white people are sensationally, histrionically bad at discussing racism. Like waves on sand, their reactions form predictable patterns: they will insist that they “were taught to treat everyone the same,” that they are “color-blind,” that they “don’t care if you are pink, purple, or polka-dotted.” They will point to friends and family members of color, a history of civil-rights activism, or a more “salient” issue, such as class or gender. They will shout and bluster. They will cry. In 2011, DiAngelo coined the term “white fragility” to describe the disbelieving defensiveness that white people exhibit when their ideas about race and racism are challenged—and particularly when they feel implicated in white supremacy. Why, she wondered, did her feedback prompt such resistance, as if the mention of racism were more offensive than the fact or practice of it?"

"The National Association of Independent Schools advises that when white parents avoid helping younger children understand how to talk about race and racism, it can affect the children’s ability to have effective and productive conversations about race as an adult. It also perpetuates the harmful notion that race is just another topic that “nice” people avoid. We would all like our children to remain innocent as long as possible, but it’s never too soon to start having these difficult discussions."

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