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Equity over Equality: Racism around us

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Jensen Block

on 5 December 2013

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Transcript of Equity over Equality: Racism around us

Equity Over Equality: Racism Around Us
Racial Assumptions
The Other Side of Difference:
Naomi Norquay
-adding parts of self that were invisible to one up until now
-remembering what is forgettable is difficult - "not worth remembering" (The other side of difference, 9)
-As a child racism is hard to understand so some memories don't seem important and therefore are not remembered until you think back on a specific experience

Racist Jokes
-Some people use racist jokes as a way to fit in (Autobiography Article)
-The fact that people use racism as a way of fitting in solidifies how racism is a part of everyday life
-Racist jokes are a common way of spreading misconceptions about race
-We will look at some examples of racist jokes and then pick out the misconceptions about race within them....
-"individuals work themselves into social structures that they don't determine, but to which they subordinate themselves" (The other side of difference, 5)
-People want to fit into specific roles that society creates
What does "different" mean?
*Often racism is unknowingly occurring inside of classrooms*
-"Pass the skin coloured crayon"
-Us vs. them dichotomy
-Changing names if it is too difficult
-Unequal punishment
-Misrepresentation of minorities or Aboriginal peoples when being taught
White Advantages
In the Classroom
-white students considered "model students"
-Naomi Norquay was always asked what happened in situations teachers didn't see because she was the student they could trust
-"Schooling invalidates, and silences certain subject positions, so it reaffirms, justifies, and promotes certain others, such as mine." (The other side of difference, 248)
-often students are unaware of their advantages
Racism within the Classroom
What Would You Do?
Memory Work
-"retrieving, recording, and interrogating memories that allow them to uncover the hidden and the forgotten" (The other side of difference, 245)
-could be a tool that reveals how people construct themselves and are constructed by society
-determines what is worth remembering
-People try and fit a position and often forget details in order to maintain their "position" that society creates
*Ozlem Sensoy & Robin DiAngelo (2012). Is everyone really equal?. New York: Teachers College Press. Chapter 9.
*Naomi Norquay (1993). The other side of difference: memory-work in the mainstream. York University: 241-251.
*Singleton C.E & Linton C. (2006). Courageous conversations about race: A field guide for achieving equality in schools. 82-86. Thousand Oaks. Corwin Press.
-Curtis Linton grew up in Salt Lake City Utah
-He writes about his own experience in realizing the racism around him the he was unknowingly involved in.
-95% of the population was white, Mormon and middle class
-His first cultural experience was when one Latino family and one Polynesian family moved to his neighborhood
-"It was easy to associate their messy yards and ramshackle houses with their race" (Linton, 82).
-He moved to places where he felt like the minority
-"I would always be in majority because of my racial privilege" (Linton, 84)
-We NEED to start "seeing people as equal rather than simply treating them as equal" (Linton, 84).
Racial Autobiography: Curtis Linton
1. Where should you hide a black person's food stamps?
-Under his work boots
2. What is the difference between a native person and a picnic table?
-A picnic table can support a family
3. What do you call an empty box of Budweiser on the side of the road?
-An Indian Artifact
4. A Chinese person being good at math is one thing but doing it with their eyes closed...that's a bit cocky.
What are the Misconceptions/Stereotypes that these jokes promote?
Others assume that people of different races than their own will become offended from certain comments are said; whether it's towards them or a general statement
Is it fair to make assumptions of how someone is feeling?
Classroom Memory
Looking back at the experience that happened in her classroom, Naomi realized that she acted upon her own feelings
She didn't think to ask C what her feelings were: Was she embarrassed? Angry? Humiliated?
The actions were NOT based on C's feelings, but her own assumptions of C's feelings
Important to fully understand a situation before taking any actions
What Made This Experience Easy to Remember?
Questions to consider.....
How would the author have reacted if C and her were not friends?
If C was absent from school that day?
If there weren't any Black students at the school?
Would her memory of the experience be any different if these questions were true?
These questions are important to take into account
Remarks may go unchallenged
Difficult subject to talk about but needs to be done
Teachers need to be the ultimate role model
Singleton and Linton speak about the desire people have to learn about new cultures... but only cultures that are found overseas
It is easy to romanticize about a new culture that is located so far away as you don't know much information about them
Cultural Learning Experiences... Ignored
Canada and the United States are multicultural countries.. so why isn't anyone taking advantage of possible learning experiences?
The cultures that are present in the United States have been given negative images because of stereotypes
ex. Black and Brown cultures were seen as being involved in gangs, poverty, welfare, etc
The images of these cultures have all been made negative by the media and socialization
Minority? Not!
Linton lived in Koreatown for a period of time and felt as though he was the minority as there were not a lot of White people in the community
He realized that he will ALWAYS be the dominant race no matter where he lives because of Racial Privilege
Assumed that all they needed to do to be successful was to work hard and go for opportunities... isn't exactly that easy
After this realization, he decided that he would treat everyone he met EQUALLY
Ex. Locking his door if ANYONE walked by his car instead of a certain race
*We need to work towards equity over equality!*
-A common rebuttal is a statement showing or saying something is not true and a refusal to accept that it is true.
- Raising questions because you are working through an idea is important. However, rebuttals that function to block out, cut off, and negate explanations are counter to the goals of education.
- It is important to reflect on whether the goals of questions is a greater clarity or a greater protection of your existing worldviews

Common Rebuttals
Examples of Common Rebuttals
Claiming schools are politically neutral:
"Politics has no place in schools".
"Its not a school's place to teach values".
Citing exceptions to the rule:
"Barack Obama is president so racism has ended in the States".
"I have a friend who's Latina and she's CEO of the company".
Oppression is just human nature:
"Injustice exists in every society".
"somebody has to be on top"

Examples Continues
Appealing to a universalized humanity:
"Why cant we all just be humans?".
"Its focusing on difference that divides us".
Ignoring intersectionality:
"I am oppressed as a lesbian, so I might be white but I have no privilege".
"If we address class, all the other oppression will disappear".
Refusing to recognize structural institutional power:
" Women are just as sexist as men"
"I'm the only male in my group so I'm oppressed".
Invalidating claims of oppression as over sensitivity:
"People just need to lighten up"
"Why don't you people just get over it?".
"I didn't mean it that way; cant you take a joke?".

-Personal account of how Naomi began to take up the work of political anti-racism.
-Talks about her past experiences with racism and how her actions implicated her to be a "figure of dominance", as a mainstream white person.
-Talks about a personal memory titled, "The Rhodesian Situation".
- From a dual understanding of ourselves as oppressive and oppressors, we can begin to understand the ways in which we construct people as "others", as being powerless, as being invisible and also invalid. To change this we need to let go of our perceptions of others, our power positions in relation to others and some reconstruction of our memories.
-She explores memory work and what it means to integrate ones past with the purpose of finding ways to change how women experience difference.
-Talks about a more recent memory titled, " Racism in America".
- The use of reconstructing memories.

*Often students are viewed as different... but what does it really mean?*
-differences are socially constructed
-based on the "mythical norm" (white, middle class, heterosexual)
-creates good/bad, inferior/superior, insider/outsider, etc.
*We need to start viewing differences as creative!*
Full transcript