Hey, everyone! So, tonight’s post will be super short and sweet, partially because I don’t have a ton of time (I’ve been studying all day and still have hours to go) and partially because there are, after all, only a few things I want to discuss today. I mean, what’s the use in rambling on if I’ve already made my point?
Anyway, today I wanted to share some articles I read (and loved!) lately. I tend not to do very many of these posts except sometimes as link round-ups during Pride month, but my friend Mahima @ The Controversies does them occasionally and they’re always interesting to read because her commentary is so good. So, yeah. Gonna try this today.
The first article is from PBS Newshour: “What White Folks Who Teach In The Hood Get Wrong About Education.” One of my Facebook friends recently shared it and I just can’t stop thinking about it. (Which was the impetus for this post: When I think about something a lot, I can’t help wanting to share it with EVERYONE.)
This article is about the white savior narrative in education and, since both subjects have been points of discussion in the Black Fiction Now course I’m taking this semester, I found this piece fascinating and on point in its analysis.
Especially this passage:
“I think framing this hero teacher narrative, particularly for folks who are not from these communities, is problematic. The model of a hero going to save this savage other is a piece of a narrative that we can trace back to colonialism; it isn’t just relegated to teaching and learning. It’s a historical narrative and that’s why it still exists because, in many ways, it is part of the bones of America. It is part of the structure of this country. And unless we come to grips with the fact that even in our collective American history that’s problematic, we’re going to keep reinforcing it. Not only are we setting the kids up to fail and the educators up to fail, but most importantly, we are creating a societal model that positions young people as unable to be saved.
I always ask my teachers why do they want to teach and I can tell by their responses how closely the white savior narrative is imbued in who they are or who they want to be. I always say, if you’re coming into a place to save somebody then you’ve already lost because young people don’t need saving. They have brilliance, it’s just on their own terms. Once we get the narrative shifted then every teacher can be effective, including white folks who teach in the hood.”
And this part, too:
“I know that folks hear that title and get upset. I’ve got folks who say to me “that’s inherently racist.” But no, because it’s a reality. The overwhelming number of teachers in an urban setting are white, come from different communities and are of different socioeconomic classes. Why can’t we name that? If we don’t name that then we’ll continue to have this disconnect between teachers and students. I want white teachers to teach in the hood, believe or it not. I’m for that. But I want them to do it in a way that makes them effective and not burnt out. Or have them do it and not think negatively about young people. Too many are teaching in the hood for 2 or 3 years, having bad experiences teaching students of color, leaving, then ending up being a lawyer or policy maker who inherently has these biases against young people of color. That reinforces the flawed structures that we have in place already. I’m about teachers being trained to be effective regardless of race.”
And I’m just… yes! So much yes to all of this!
The second article, “Your Tumblr Makes Me Want To Study,” was written by a college student. As someone who got involved with the studyblr community within the past year or so, I found myself agreeing with just about every point the author made in her post.
In particular, I’ve been thinking about how the author calls studyblr both a “feminized space” and a “feminist space.” I’ve noticed that, too. (And I think I’ve actually read other articles about it before? But I don’t remember their titles anymore, so I wouldn’t be able to find them now.)
There are a LOT of female students in the studyblr community and it’s honestly so wonderful to see so many other young women so motivated about getting an education – especially when you remember that, in many parts of the world, being female and having access to education are still two mutually exclusive things.
I hope you enjoy reading – and thinking about – those articles as much as I have! What have you been up to lately? Read anything good I should know about?