Today we engaged in some great dialogue as a small group analyzing “Education as a Critical Practice” in the Beyond Heroes and Holidays reading. For the lesson itself, I enjoyed the set-up and it’s ability to engage everyone in the dialogue and give them a voice and a chance to respond (this was so culturally relevant for me as a Tlingit where our words and responses are always balanced between Ravens and Eagles, and even acknowledged and responded to while we are speaking).
The quotes we each chose all related to the same themes and powerful statements the author was making about institutionalized racism and socialization of individual blame and how to guide students through a critical analysis of how to understand its role in their own lives. This article was written towards educating college students in social services and its value for educators to read to understand that we are social service providers.
I felt like we all agreed with the article and its perspectives, as well as the need to speak up and have this conversations that critique our institutions – to quit negotiated our agendas and to be proactive and start pushing them forward as a group. That being one of the only ways to make change at the macro level collaboratively and effectively. It was nice to share these view points, but we also acknowledged how easy, and acceptable, it is for people to back away/tip-toe/butter down and blame down when trying to critically analyze and remove the racism embedded in education. It can be so frustrating that you want to give up or just go with the status quo, we have to realize that the system, and socialization, is designed to perpetuate these feelings and help those in power maintain their status quo.
As someone who has worked for a social services employer (Federally recognized tribe) within the school system I appreciated the empowerment and the idea to continue the work of building alliances across the systems and services we provide to make institutional change. This couldn’t be more true and something I have actively sought out in my job… and it’s so exciting to think about actually moving towards “big picture” change – however slow it might be.