Equity and Inclusion: You Are the Binder
When it comes to ensuing your classroom or school is equitable and inclusive, many educators look outside of themselves to find the resources to ensure they are doing it correctly. This method may work in the short term, but in order to become an equitable and inclusive educator, you need to put in the work necessary to become an equitable and inclusive person, then you can simply teach naturally. In this session we will take a look at some ways to create inclusion and community in any classroom or school and then examine our own identities to determine how who we are effects institutional inequalities that contribute to the predictability of who succeeds and fails on our schools. “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou.
Dismantling Racism in Education
This podcast really inspired me to do more to encourage teachers that they are capable of leading change around social just in the classroom. It is this comment from Sonja Cherry-Paul that inspired the title of this session.
" In terms of the quick fixes, I feel like I'm seeing that a lot where teachers, they want to skip that work that, Tricia and Tiana, that you were just talking about, that really reflective get in there and recognize that I have been raised in this racist educational system in a racist country and I need to get in there and do some dismantling of my own thoughts. Instead, they want the binder. I keep saying to teachers, no, you have to do the work and then you become the binder. You are the binder that you're looking for once you get in there and do that work."
6:45 into the podcast
Understand Your Why . . .
"Now the crucial paradox which confronts us here is that the whole process of education occurs within a social framework and is designed to perpetuate the aims of society. Thus, for example, the boys and girls who were born during the era of the Third Reich, when educated to the purposes of the Third Reich, became barbarians. The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated."
"The concept of identity is a complex one, shaped by individual characteristics, family dynamics, historical factors, and social and political context. Who am I? The answer depends in large part on who the world around me says I am. Who do my parents say I am? Who do my peers say I am? What message is reflected back to me in the faces and voices of my teachers, my neighbor's, store clerks? What do I learn from the media about myself? How am I represented in the cultural images around me? Or am I missing from the picture altogether? As social scientist Charles Cooley pointed out long ago, other people are the mirror in which we see ourselves."
Courageous Conversations About Race: Four Agreements (Glenn Singleton)
1. Stay engaged: Staying engaged means “remaining morally, emotionally, intellectually, and socially involved in the dialogue” (p.59)
2. Experience discomfort: This norm acknowledges that discomfort is inevitable, especially, in dialogue about race, and that participants make a commitment to bring issues into the open. It is not talking about these issues that create divisiveness. The divisiveness already exists in the society and in our schools. It is through dialogue, even when uncomfortable, the healing and change begin.
3. Speak your truth: This means being open about thoughts and feelings and not just saying what you think others want to hear.
4. Expect and accept non-closure: This agreement asks participants to “hang out in uncertainty” and not rush to quick solutions, especially in relation to racial understanding, which requires ongoing dialogue (pp.5865).
Some Definitions to guide the reading
Race - A socially constructed characterization of individuals based on skin color, culture, etc.
Racism - Any act that even unwittingly tolerates, accepts or reinforces racially unequal opportunities or outcomes for children to learn and thrive.
Prejudice- a judgment or opinion formed before considering or without knowing the facts.
Privilege - A right or advantage that is given to some people and not others. As professor of social work Rich Vodde states, “If privilege is defined as a legitimization of one’s entitlement to resources, it can also be defined as permission to escape or avoid any challenges to this entitlement.”
“Whiteness” - The component of each and every one of ourselves that expects assimilation to the dominant culture.
White Fragility - a state in which a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable triggering a range of defensive behaviors exhibited by white people. These defensive behaviors include emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
"While there may be countless ways one might be defined as exceptional, there are at least seven categories of “otherness” commonly experienced in U.S. society. People are commonly defined as other on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, and physical or mental ability. Each of these categories has a form of oppression associated with it: racism, sexism, religious oppression/anti-Semitism, heterosexism, classism, ageism, and abelism, respectively. In each case, there is a group considered dominant (systematically advantaged by the society because of group membership) and a group considered subordinate or targeted (systematically disadvantaged). When we think about our multiple identities, most of us will find that we are both dominant and targeted at the same time. But it is the targeted identities that hold our attention and in dominant identities that often go unexamined."
*I will add language as number eight.
Becoming the Binder
Use the slide deck (File>Make a Copy) to take a look at your personal Identity. You will be interacting with the text and talking with your peers. Please ensure you are following the Four Agreements in your group discussions.
After discussing the Reflection Questions with your group around the issue of dominance and subordination in the major categories of US society tied to identity (the isms), please contribute privileges of the dominant groups to the Padlet. While it may not be true that every member of the category benefits from the privilege, it is still something that has a profound effect on the majority of people.
Please examine the following activities and think about why activities like these would help you build community and contribute to an equitable learning space in your classroom or school.
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