As a Diasporic educator, we have to realize that we’re fighting a huge war, on two fronts and at the same time. On one front, we’re fighting white supremacy and a curriculum that is centered on whiteness and anti-blackness and on the other front we’re fighting poor pedagogy.
I’m sure I could list some more battles, but for us at CREAD it comes down to these two. We are always asking, how do we decenter whiteness while engaging in strong pedagogical practices? One of my favorite theorists, Gloria Ladson Billings, has been showing us the way towards developing strong pedagogical practices with her groundbreaking paper, But, that’s just good teaching, which eventually morphed into her book, The Dreamkeepers.
We argue that the first step in winning this war is to see our children as genius right now, as they are, to recognize their talents, how they use language, music, rhythm, humor, various modes of expression, “hybritized identities” (as Dr. Chris Emdin describes them and us) and to recognize the genius, the sweetness and the creativity of our children. It’s to decolonize our eyes and ideas of genius and center our students, as they are.
The above graphic was floating around our fb page one day and when we saw it, we were blown away by it’s accuracy and it’s clarity in understanding the war we are battling as educators of the African Diaspora.
We’re living in a time where conversations about systemic racism, the acknowledgment of generational trauma stemming from chattel slavery, the white supremacy curriculum in our schools, the pre-school to prison pipeline, the failures of Brown and the centering of whiteness in our media, is common knowledge and becoming more common in conversation around how do we “fix” public education. This means, unlike anytime before, we have the power and the tools to dismantle our current education system and build it anew in an image of liberation for all. We as CREAD educators have the honor and duty to ensure that our students genius is seen as common and is celebrated.
The above infographic comes from a great organization we found on fb called Discrimonology. Their stated function is to, “document and publicize the mass racial inequalities that still exist in our education system. Through the use of descriptive statistics, public data portals & innovative social media work, we are empowering communities of color by making school data more transparent.”
CREAD Commandment #5 insists that you expand your repertoire of resources; textbooks can no longer be the only paces where we get our information. The world is our oyster and the internet and social media specifically, is the new textbook. Yes, yes, yes, I can hear you now saying, but not everything on the internet is factual. Very true, but it’s a start and we can’t afford not to use this tool, center this tool as we move towards a more equitable education for all.
Deep Thinkers Only!