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Visiting Washington, D.C.
In Event: Regarding Blackness and Maleness Lovingly: Critically Conscious Reflections From Women Teachers, Teacher Educators, and School-Community Activists
As some of the state sanctioned violence and murders of Black and Brown people are currently being storied for the public, many people are asking what they can do to actively stop racial and gender injustice. We all have to find our own path and attend to it seriously. There are several ways to affect activist level change. One can participate in marches to voice rage and call out social inequities. One could lobby for revisions in legislation and public policies to shift culture. Or, one might speak out and write against media depictions to expose, and work to eliminate, racial and gender biases. Direct instruction is another way to do activism. It is one I pursue vigorously, and specifically, through an undergraduate course I designed and implement at Penn State. In this paper, I explore how I build my course to address directly, and dismantle, the ways my mainly white undergraduate students are taught to imagine Black boys and men in schools and society.
Framing, Techniques, and Modes of Inquiry
I employ a conscious, creative ethnographic framing that calls for deep description of my curricular and pedagogical approach to design and implementation. I lead deeply critical, emotionally taxing discussions on the most controversial topics in the field (racism and sexism). We take part in civic engagements with racially, economically, sexually, and linguistically diverse individuals who live in neighborhoods that are wildly different from those in which my students are growing up. And I mandate inquiry projects that intentionally invoke their cognitive dissonance. I push students to flesh out, in their written and digital assignments, how racist, sexist, and ableist beliefs manifest in their own consciousness and in that of society. I require that they clarify what they can do to intercept and challenge such ideologies lurking in their own souls and noticed in school policies and classroom curriculum. I insist that they explicate how these ideologies and systems impact the lives of marginalized youth and communities and explore ways to revise such ideologies and cripple such systems. I make them stretch intellectually and emotionally beyond what they think is possible or necessary. It is a difficult experience.
Assignments Sheets & Rubrics
Post-Class Session Surveys
Teacher Educator Participant Observation Journals
One Page Papers from white pre-service teachers
Digital Projects from white pre-service teachers
Results & Significance
The results of this course is the delivery of a pedagogical system for making apparent and breaking down the White Supremacist Patriarchy. I have arrived at 8 markers of its function in schools and society. These functions are taught in my course and the white pre-service teachers deal with their psychological and emotional fragility, perceptions of innocence, and tendency to centralize self and individualism in various conversations about race and gender, particularly in relation to Black boys and men. In summary, white pre-service teachers learn how White Supremacist Patriarchy is: systemic, tricky/subversive, enslaving of all people, adaptive, incomparably persistent, intersectional, and murderous.