Preserving a More Honest History from Teaching Tolerance.org

Here’s another great, practical piece from Teaching Tolerance, which I was just reminded is affiliated with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The big thing that caught my attention and got me excited about this is the suggestion at the end that teachers should consider making their own classrooms historic sites:

Making Your Classroom the Historic Site

Funding, geography or lack of institutional support may prevent educators from taking students to an exemplary historic site—but you can still bring the best practices of historic sites into your classroom.

I think the author here was attempting to include teachers for whom field trips may not be an option, but actually, why shouldn’t ALL teachers make their classrooms historic sites?  It is an invitation to students to think critically about the institution they attend, the curriculum they study, the habits and routines they engage in.  This is actually a great way for teachers to think about their classrooms too– by deconstructing the phenomenon of the “field trip” altogether and engaging students historical minds daily in this fashion.

Source: Preserving a More Honest History

The High School Course Beijing Accuses of Radicalizing Hong Kong (NYTimes.com)

Pro-Beijing officials say a course that teaches critical thinking has created a generation of rebels. Students and teachers say it has made them more engaged with society.

Source: The High School Course Beijing Accuses of Radicalizing Hong Kong

I am just beginning to dive in to some of the details of this ongoing series of actions in Hong Kong.  But I am excited to have been able to use a bilingual interview with an activist (Agnes Chow Ting) spokesperson for the “Scholarism” group in Hong Kong for one of my English expression classes.  Scholarism eventually merged into the Demosisto group which is I believe at the center of the current actions.  It was a bit of a sensitive issue in class because there is one student who is Chinese in that class and I wasn’t sure how she would react.  Japanese media (and as a result, my students) tend to focus on the unrest as a means to criticize the Chinese government in a kind of superior jingoistic fashion.  And my Chinese student has often But I think I made it clear that the reason why I brought this text into the class was out of respect for the Chinese student activists and their connecting politics with their education in a meaningful and powerful way.

Exactly what is the connection between education and radical politics in this situation is still something I want to investigate.  Obviously the connection that this NYTimes headline suggests of a 1-to-1 process of “radicalization,” doesn’t ring true because it ignores the underlying contexts of that education as it takes place.  Anyway, more soon…

Exiting the Vampire Castle by Mark Fisher

We need to learn, or re-learn, how to build comradeship and solidarity instead of doing capital’s work for it by condemning and abusing each other. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we must always agree – on the contrary, we must create conditions where disagreement can take place without fear of exclusion and excommunication.

Source: Exiting the Vampire Castle

I kept hearing again and again about this 2013 essay on some of the socialist podcasts I subscribe to– The Majority Report family of podcasts, but also Chapo Trap House, and Best of the Left too.  The Antifada podcast has aparently created a vampire-centric spin-off inspired, in part, by this article as well.  I’m glad I finally got a chance to read it.  Though I am unfamiliar with the particular comedian and the imbroglio that was the impetus for the article, it certainly seems to ring true.  The final caution about how social media ought to be used for revolutionary aims is particularly clarifying.  And Mark Fisher’s call to resist the erasure of class in whatever form that erasure may take is essential.

10 TV Shows That Depicted Japanese American Incarceration, For Better or For Worse

Actress Arden Cho wails in horror at the numerous historical inaccuracies in an episode of Teen Wolf set in a fictitious Japanese American concentration camp (Densho Blog)

Densho Blog is so good– entertaining, woke, and rewarding with deep pop-culture dives like this one!  Wonder Woman, Magnum, P.I., Teen Wolf!

Source: 10 TV Shows That Depicted Japanese American Incarceration, For Better or For Worse

Know Your Enemy Podcast

Wanted to take note of this new podcast from Dissent magazine, Know Your Enemy. I’ve been having trouble subscribing to it through the app I usually use due to a problem I don’t understand with the RSS feed. But the content looks pretty good– basically opposition research, or histories of some of the individuals and organizations that have populated the political right of the United States since the end of World War 2.

Perhaps I’ll follow up on this after I’ve had time to digest more of the show itself. Right now there are only about 7 episodes available. But if the quality of Dissents other podcast, Belabored, is any indication, this one will be a good one to follow as well.

八月六日 And America’s Cult of (Military) Superiority

August 6— It’s an overcast and windy morning. There was an occasional drizzle on my way into work.  The school and the city just observed the anniversary of the first nuclear carpet bombing.  74 years ago today this city was reduced to smoldering, irradiated rubble in carpet-bombing targeting civilians, designed to strike terror and hopelessness into the hearts of the Japanese population and win the Pacific War ahead of a Russian invasion of the Japanese mainland.  It was a unique bombing only in terms of the type of weapon used.  Otherwise, it is I think fair to say that bombings like these continue into the present day, initiated by the American Executive, left unchecked by the Congress and largely ignored by the American populace.  These bombings still target civilians and kill tens of thousands of innocent people every year in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Somalia.  End the American Capitalist Death Cult!

Portrait of Sadako Sasaki - a young girl who became the symbol of the innocent lives lost in the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and to the brutalities of World War II.  Artwork by Joëlle Jones.

Portrait of Sadako Sasaki – a young girl who became the symbol of the innocent lives lost in the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and to the brutalities of World War II. Artwork by Joëlle Jones. From Red Flag Magazine: https://redflag.org/magazine/issue-6/wish-upon-a-crane/

 

***

 

This piece I found on consortiumnews.com was written in June by William J. Astore. It’s a great summary of America’s obsession with “air supremacy.”  Astore calls the American Military Industrial Complex a “cult,” as do the authors of the “Eyes Left” podcast, which I highly recommend.

 

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/06/10/the-american-cult-of-bombing/

 

The Subscribed Classroom: Using Podcasts to Teach About Social Justice | Teaching Tolerance

Great article from the online version of Teaching Tolerance.  The “Uncivil” podcast that the article recommends is fantastic.  I have listened to all of the episodes, and I’m hungry for more.  Podcasts as a medium or vehicle specifically for historical research holds particular value/ promise/ energy for precisely the reason that this article proposes in its opening lines: “Radio has the best pictures.”  Listening to an audio program like a podcast– particularly if it is well produced, with music and the occasional sound effect– is such and effective communicative tool.  Propagandists beware.  Propagandists take note.  Podcasts, when accompanied by appropriate notations and references (=hyperlinks), are the antidote for corporate fake news.

Source: The Subscribed Classroom: Using Podcasts to Teach About Social Justice

No No Boy by John Okada (Introduction)

Just started reading No-No Boy by John Okada. From the Introduction I was hooked. I mean, I was expecting it to be a powerful book, but Lawson Fusao Inada and the other researchers involved in the Combined Asian American Resources Project (CARP!) which re-published the novel in 1979 were obviously hugely affected when they discovered this book. Actually, the introduction mentions a few others as well, that I wanted to list up here, so I can keep following this thread in the future.

Frank Chin “Chickencoop Chinaman”– first Asian-American drama produced by “legitimate theater”

David Ishii (Seattle “landmark” Asian-Americana bookstore)– what is it called? Does it still exist?

Shawn Wong, Inada, Ishii and Chin, “Aiiieeeee!” Literary Magazine dedicated to John Okada and Louis Chu.

George Takei’s performance of Chin’s “The Year of the Dragon” televised nationally

Franklin Odo– Asian-American Studies Teacher at UCLA.

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Carlos Bulosan’s America is in the Heart (1946, 1973)

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Louis Chu’s Eat a Bowl of Tea (1961)

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Toshio Mori’s Yokohama, California (1949)

Love Like Hate: A Novel by Linh Dinh

7809399Have a look at the review I just posted of this book by Vietnamese-American Author Linh Dinh.

Source: Love Like Hate: A Novel by Linh Dinh | Goodreads

I was surprised to find this title in the small English language section of the used books chain store near Hiroshima University. I wonder if it had been assigned for a class. Previous owner’s marginalia gave hints about their English reading level. Without getting too personal, a big part of the reason I was drawn to this book is that I recognized the author from the Carrboro International Poetry Festival (back in 2005 was it?) organized by Patrick Herron in the heyday of the Lucifer Poetics Group in North Carolina. The serendipity of reconnecting with this author’s work after more than a decade, having moved from the U.S. to Asia myself, felt somehow congruent to this novel’s particular sweeping historic and moral (satirical) power.

It is a novel that manages to capture the aftermath of the Vietnam War– the poverty, cultural and political upheaval, sweat, shrimp paste, inter-generational drama, and prostitution. The author does a great job of drawing out these gamey bits of sinew and collagen from the main loaf. A nod to the allure of dog meat, a pathetic ex-pat’s headache-inducing English “lessons,” the rightful owner of a wad of cash at the bottom of a jar of shrimp paste, the where-is-she-now moment with the Trang Bang napalm girl Phan Thi Kim Phuc (parenthetically demystified), the disdain for the embrace of superstition, and the embrace of superstition. It’s a hypnotic novel in all of its grotesque particulars. But it is gorgeous as well in its depicting an overarching transgressive humanity that extends across national borders and backward and forward in time.