First Meeting Discussion Summary
(Editors Note: Next Meeting! Wednesday, July 29th, 6:15-7:45pm- it's never too late to join in. No reading required, though it may help!)
We mostly discussed the introduction to the book "Yes, Diane. I'm still Angry" and posed the question to the group, "Are You Angry?" and connected it to the Helen Gym's outcry "If you're not angry, you're not paying attention!"
Frustration over how the public, who engages in teacher-blaming, doesn't actually understand our ANGER and how it comes from passion.
Anger about the position teachers are put in when working in high-needs schools, when "Caring for" over-takes the balance with "Instruction of" children.
Importance of being a "cultural ally" and finding points of solidarity with students who don't look like us. Also mentioned was Delpit's (and others) debunking of Ruby Payne's "Culture of Poverty" backed by old and recent research that supported childhood development before-school-age is comparable between white and African American children. But we discussed that Factors of Poverty cannot be eliminated from the equation of how students perform in school, and branched into a short thread about school culture and climate.
Disgust over the "good school and bad school" labels and how teachers get praised when they have finally "climbed their way into a good school." Also charter schools were mentioned briefly in this thread.
Awareness of being different from the student population and observing teachers who some how achieved a level of "solidarity" with the students for a variety of reasons: same-race, gender, rapport, experience etc..
Questions about whether teachers are products of "lack of cultural awareness, cultural responsiveness" or "by-products of a structurally-racist system"?
Shared the definition of "Structural Racism" from ItAG:
According to Lawrence and Keleher (2004) Structural Racism is the normalization and legitimization of an array of entrenched dynamics – historical, cultural, institutional and interpersonal – that advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color which reinforce existent racially developed societal structures. It identifies dimensions of our history and culture that have allowed privileges associated with “whiteness” and disadvantages associated with “color” to endure and adapt over time. This definition reflects the distribution of material and symbolic advantage and disadvantage along racial lines while acknowledging the realignment of socio-political institutions developed throughout time to maintain continuity of racialized power systems.
Citation: Lawrence, K., & Keleher, T. (2004). Chronic Disparity: Strong and Pervasive Evidence of Racial Inequalities/POVERTY OUTCOMES/Structural Racism. Lecture presented at Race and Public Policy Conference in Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation., Berkeley.