How Can We Build Anti-Racist White Educators?

One teacher reflects on what he and other white educators need to understand as they work to build anti-racist practices and identities.

Source: How Can We Build Anti-Racist White Educators?

This is a great, short piece from a periodical that I subscribe to online called Teaching Tolerance.  The title is a little misleading– or maybe it’s kind of a bait-and-switch. That is, I think the editors went with the word ‘tolerance’ because this more passe term gives you alliteration with ‘teaching.’  But don’t fooled, the contents is a much more robust anti-racism than the title would suggest.  However, the articles and hands-on, project-based, deeply reflective pieces in Teach Tolerance make it accessible across a broad spectrum of teachers, including those who may not be as well versed with the latest radical jargon etc., but teachers who are committed to making their teaching more just.

Also, this piece reminded me how much I really need to read more deeply in James Baldwin’s oeuvre.

Teachers donating sick days is a symptom of a wretched system

On July 24, Florida high school teacher Robert Goodman posted a picture of himself during chemo treatment. Having run short on sick days, Goodman appealed to fellow school employees, who donated enough days for him to take a semester off and complete treatment.
Goodman’s is one in a slew of stories about teachers and workers donating sick time or parental leave, a trend lauded earlier this summer by Good Morning America. But while it’s heartwarming to see the extent to which teachers support each other, part of the reason that’s true is that teachers have become so acutely economically vulnerable. As his students start school this week without him, lack of paid leave — for personal sickness like Goodman’s, the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a loved one — shows just how vulnerable teachers are, and how inhumane the system has become.

AP World History Is Worth Saving

Teachers are pushing back against proposed changes they say would reframe AP World History as Eurocentric. Teaching Tolerance stands with them.

Source: AP World History Is Worth Saving

The College Board, which makes these tests, should be coming out with a response to all of the teachers who have told them what a terrible, dishonest switcheroo this would be.

Also, one argument that I didn’t hear Teaching Tolerance making has to do with other existing AP history courses– namely AP European and US History (and to some extent AP Art History) which between them seem to duplicate most of the material that would be covered in an AP world history course from 1400 to the present.

Trump executive order called ‘disturbing’ by Duke University leaders, who say they won’t release student data without subpoena | News & Observer

Duke University President Richard Brodhead and Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth seek to reassure students and faculty, calling president’s executive order ‘confusing’ and ‘disturbing.’

Source: Trump executive order called ‘disturbing’ by Duke University leaders, who say they won’t release student data without subpoena | News & Observer

Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia!

Rob Brezsny’s Astrology Newsletter November 16, 2016

FreeWillAstrology.com

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Some readers seem surprised by the fact that I’m heartbroken and outraged about Trump’s victory.

“It’s not pronoiac to be so sad and angry,” one person said.

To correct that misunderstanding, here’s a relevant passage from my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia:

Pronoia is fueled by a drive to cultivate happiness and a determination to practice an aggressive form of gratitude that systematically identifies the things that are working well. But it is not a soothing diversion meant for timid Pollyannas strung out on optimistic delusions.

It’s not a feel-good New Age fantasy used to deny the harsh facts about existence. Those of us who perceive the world pronoiacally refuse to be polite shills for sentimental hopefulness.

On the contrary, we build our optimism not through a repression of  difficulty, but rather a vigorous engagement with it. We understand that the best way to attract blessings is to grapple with the knottiest enigmas.

Each fresh puzzle is a potential source of future bliss — an excitingteaching that may usher us to our next breakthrough.

Do you want to be a pronoiac player? Blend anarchistic rebelliousness with open-hearted exuberance. Root your insurrectionary fervor in expansive joy instead of withering hatred. Enjoy saying “no!” but don’t make it the wellspring of your vitality. Be fueled by blood-red yeses that rip against the grain of comfortable ugliness.

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“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”― Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light

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The wise Charles Eisenstein writes: “We are exiting an old story that explained to us the way of the world and our place in it. Some may cling to it all the more desperately as it dissolves, looking perhaps to Donald Trump to restore it, but their savior has not the power to bring back the dead.”

“Neither would Clinton have been able to preserve America as we’d known it for too much longer. We as a society are entering a space between stories, in which everything that had seemed so real, true, right, and permanent comes into doubt.”

“For a while, segments of society have remained insulated from this breakdown (whether by fortune, talent, or privilege), living in a bubble as the containing economic and ecological systems deteriorate. But not for much longer.”

“Not even the elites are immune to this doubt. They grasp at straws of past glories and obsolete strategies; they create perfunctory and unconvincing shibboleths (Putin!), wandering aimlessly from ‘doctrine’ to ‘doctrine’ – and they have no idea what to do.

“Their haplessness and half-heartedness was plain to see in this election, their disbelief in their own propaganda, their cynicism.”

“When even the custodians of the story no longer believe the story, you know its days are numbered. It is a shell with no engine, running on habit and momentum.”

Read Charles Eisenstein’s whole piece:

charleseisenstein.net/hategriefandanewstory/

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I’m not naïve. In my years on the planet, I have witnessed and experienced the atrocities of racism, misogyny, homophobia, militarism, nativism, plutocracy, hate-mongering, and bigotry of many stripes.

Since I was 16 years old, I have fought these evils. That’s why I have had knives brandished at me by bigots — bottles thrown at me and insults hurled at me. While participating in political protests, I have been tear-gassed and clubbed by police. I have felt the barrel of a cop’s gun against my head, and have been strip-searched and harassed by law enforcement officers.

And much, much more. I won’t mention here all the abuses I’ve seen directed at gay, female, black, Hispanic, or impoverished people I care about.

And yet I am finding it a challenge to fully integrate the fact that 60 million Americans just voted for a person whose own words have revealed him to be a racist, misogynist, homophobic, militaristic, plutocratic hate-mongerer. I’m heartbroken. My grief and anger are deep.

I’m open to the possibility that some redemption will ultimately emerge from this tragedy, even it takes decades. I will search for and work to create that redemption.

But for now it’s my duty to explore the teachings of this pain.

One thing that’s important to my process is to ask whether my perceptions of Trump’s dangerous intentions are real. Am I projecting my fears onto him? Have I been fooled into exaggerating his terror? So far, my answers to those questions is “No.” I invite you to send me good evidence to the contrary.

Here are compilations of the evidence Trump himself has provided:

tinyurl.com/gunpsq7

tinyurl.com/gu63a6k

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A voice in my dream said to me: “I believe redemption will come from this disaster — that the Trump election is a desperation move to preserve a dying paradigm. And I affirm that the work to birth the new paradigm requires me to steadfastly practice the seemingly impossible discipline of love.”

Here’s how I replied to the voice in my dream: I agree. But we also need the fuel of our anger. Which is why I’m meditating on these questions:

How do we summon the right blend of practical love and constructive anger?

How do we refrain from hating other people even as we fight fiercely against the hatred and danger they have helped unleash?

How do we cultivate cheerful buoyancy even as we neutralize the bigoted, autocratic poisons that are on the loose?

How can we be both wrathful insurrectionaries and exuberant lovers of life?

How can we stay in a good yet unruly mood as we overthrow the mass hallucinations that are metastasizing?

In the face of the danger, how do we remain intensely dedicated to building beauty and truth and justice and love even as we keep our imaginations wild and hungry and free?

Can our struggle also be a form of play?
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A reader who is upset about my outrage at the election results sent me this meme: “Believe there is good in the world.”

Here’s my response: For more than a decade, I have been a tireless advocate for the importance of believing there is good in the world. But if we believers in the world’s wonder and glory fail to identify and acknowledge the world’s suffering, our advocacy is empty and feeble; our credibility is zero.

To celebrate the good — indeed, to create and cultivate the good — we must deal regularly with the darkness.
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MORE PRONOIA RESOURCES:

In the California race to replace retiring Senator Barbara Boxer, Kamala Harris, daughter of Indian & Jamaican immigrants, was voted the nation’s first Indian-American and second black female Senator.

In Oregon, Kate Brown was the first openly LGBT person to be elected to a US governorship.

Lisa Blunt Rochester earned Delaware’s sole seat in the House of Representatives, becoming both the first woman and the first African-American to represent Delaware in Congress.

In Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, a former refugee, is the first Somali-American Muslim woman elected to a state legislature.

Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada is the first Latina elected to the Senate.

Tammy Duckworth took back Obama’s Senate seat in Illinois.

In Florida, Stephanie Murphy was the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress, defeating a 23-year Republican incumbent.

Pramila Jayapal will be the first female Indian-American Congressional Representative. An immigrant from India at 16, she was elected to represent the Seattle area on a Bernie-Sanders-style platform.

In NJ, Josh Gottheimer, first time Democratic candidate, beat Representative Scott Garrett, seven-term Republican incumbent and one of the most conservative Tea-Party-aligned members of Congress.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio was ousted in Arizona.

A woman handily won the popular vote for President of the United States.

(Note: I endorse these because I like them. They aren’t advertisements, and I get no kickbacks.)

Please tell me your own nominations for PRONOIA RESOURCES: Truthrooster@gmail.com.
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