An Offer: A Free Book on What it MEANS to BE an Antiracist Teacher?

I've spent the last seven months writing a book meant for high school ELA teachers. They are not an audience I've written for much, so I didn't feel comfortable throughout the drafting process. The book-length manuscript is done and it's called, What does It Mean To Be An Antiracist Teacher: Cultivating Antiracist Orientations in the ELA Classroom. In my heart of hearts, I'm not really happy with it. 

I've sent a full ms to several publishers. I got a really thoughtful and encouraging reply from an acquisitions editor from Teachers College Press, and the publisher who urged me to write it, Corwin, was excited about it, but they never saw the finished draft. I wrote the book because I was urged to do so for a high school teacher audience, mostly ELA. I still want to reach that audience, but I don't think that book publishing industry will go for the kind of book this is. It is not a "how to" and it has no lesson plans or "do this in your classroom" examples. I don't find that to be a good way to do antiracist work if you are new. The best way is to study racism, study race, study antiracism. This learning about will open up how to teach, how to change, how to dismantle our own teacher practices. So The book, as it stands, resists a "how to" approach, but does have examples.   

And of course, I'm not an ELA teacher. I've never been one. This was my biggest concern while writing. 


On top of this, my goal was not to make money for myself or even write a book. 


I don't take money from any of my books (that's a different post). I wanted this book to help me fund a project I'm working on, one I just starting really. The project is building an antiracist teaching endowment that will help develop antiracist teaching and teachers. I'm starting it through my alma mater, the place I began as a writing teacher, Oregon State University. I'm working with the OSU Foundation to create the endowment. I wanted all the profits, and perhaps even more donations from interested readers, from this book to go to this endowment. 

After thinking on this a few days, I have a question: If I just published this book in small sections over time (say 12 to 16 months) here on my blog, would you find that valuable and useable? Would you read it if I put up a section each week? Would you rather access it another way? I might be able to read it in a youtube video and provide the text with it. Maybe. That could be too much labor on my part to do each week, not sure.  

I realized that I don't really need to sell a book like this if folks are willing to read it here. The point is to help teachers and classrooms, the point is to open up antiracist work in classrooms, not sell books. And if enough readers are willing to donate $10 or even $20 to the fund directly. I'm pretty sure the good folks at the OSU Foundation will work with me on this and I can provide a separate page on this site that directs people to ways to donate to the antiracist teaching fund. I figured, if you read, and like what you read, then I would encourage you to donate to the antiracist teaching endowment. 

What would the antiracist teaching endowment do with all this money? Well, before it can do anything the endowment needs enough in the bank to be able to be self-perpetuating and produce interest each year that can be used for antiracist educational projects. That lowest magic number appears to be $50,000. I'm hoping that within 3-5 years, the endowment would actually have more like $250K or more. 

This amount could allow the endowment to sponsor an event, a conference, or a few medium-sized scholarships each year. At some point, I'd like it to fund full scholarships for 2-3 literacy teachers in training who wish to develop and enact antiracist teaching, whatever the level (college and secondary), and offer a conference on what it means to be an antiracist teacher once a year. That goal (2-3 full scholarships and an annual conference) may be pretty lofty at the moment, and it may require something closer to $1M. 

The good news is that all the royalties for my newest book, which will come out sometime in the summer or fall of this year, will also go into this antiracist teaching endowment. I'm hopeful about that book too. Its title is Above the Well: An Antiracist Literacy Argument from A Boy of Color, which will be published by the WAC Clearinghouse, and either or both Utah State University Press and the University Press of Colorado. It's part my literacy narrative and part argument for why we have White language supremacy in society. 

The point is, if I offered the book What does It Mean To Be An Antiracist Teacher: Cultivating Antiracist Orientations in the ELA Classroom here on this blog for free over the next 12-16 months, would you read it and would you offer donations to the antiracist teaching endowment? 

Send me a Tweet (@AsaoBInoue) or a comment in this blog to let me know your response to this question. Thanks. 

Comments

  1. I would read it and donate. It seems like a really important text for future educators (and current educators). The donation sounds like a great idea, and perhaps could be “written in” to the intro/conclusion of the book encouraging people who read it and see the value to help support the work of the foundation. Or if you do it as posts, each post could obviously encourage folks to donate.

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  2. Yes! Great idea and so needed.

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  3. I would absolutely read it, and I would help circulate it to colleagues and friends. This is such an important conversation that needs to be widely distributed, discussed, and enacted. Thank you for all of your publications.

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  4. I would definitely read and circulate this important conversation. Thank you for all you do!

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  5. I'm interested and willing, but 16 months seems like a long time. I'd suggest 12 months, max. It could be a "Year of Teaching Anti-racistly" or something. I was going to suggest having a premium for the impatient--if you donate X amount, you can read it all now--but that would create a tiered system of haves and have-nots, which is precisely part of the problem.

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    1. Yeah, I think I'd feel like I was selling something, and I don't want to. Thanks for the ideas.

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    1. Some folks on Twitter suggested I use Pressbooks, which could allow me to put the whole thing together in one book (printed and ebook) for inexpensive. I'm still thinking of the best way to do this.

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  7. I believe I tried to comment right when my internet shorted out, so sorry if this is a repeated message:

    But I wanted to say I'd be interested in reading, donating money, and teaching this! I'm actually going to be working with ELA instructors in an M. Ed. program, and something like this would be *such* an asset (the courses run between FA21-SU22).

    I do agree 16 months seems kind of long...and I wonder if the book/writing could have its own space, either on a separate website or ebook? (something that you could easily add too). I know Pressbooks has some options for that but I'm not sure about fees for the service for this platform. Thanks for all your inspiring work!

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    1. I replied to your earlier post. Pressbooks seems very reasonable option. I'm gonna confer with the good folks I'm working with at OSU Foundation. They may have done things like this in the past.

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  8. I teach grade 8 ELA and do my best to deliver anti-racist lessons and practice critical pedagogy within a system that constrains my efforts. I am willing to donate and am looking forward to reading your words on the subject.
    Thanks,
    Justin

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  9. I would read it and donate. I think the point you make that "the best way is to study racism, study race, study antiracism. This learning about will open up how to teach, how to change, how to dismantle our own teacher practices," is the absolutely critical first step for anyone doing this work and it's the step I think most people rush through or skip. The book sounds like something we all need to be reading.

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  10. I would read it and donate. I think the point you make that "the best way is to study racism, study race, study antiracism. This learning about will open up how to teach, how to change, how to dismantle our own teacher practices," is the absolutely critical first step for anyone doing this work and it's the step I think most people rush through or skip. The book sounds like something we all need to be reading.

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    1. Yeah, right? That's exactly what motivated me when I was asked originally to write the book for high school ELA teachers. In our rush to DO antiracism, many forget that you have to know ABOUT and WHY you're doing what you do. Thanks, Bernice!

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  11. I would absolutely read and enthusiastically donate. I love the idea and the spirit that animates it. Thank you.

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  12. Yes, 100%! I would read and donate!

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  13. Sorry, late to this conversation. But YES, I would read every word, and YES take my money!

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