Posts

Why I Left The CWPA (Council of Writing Program Administrators)

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The full title of this post could be: "Why I Left The CWPA And What Others Might Learn From It." Know that, and know there's antiracist lessons for everyone in this post.  Recently, I severed all my ties and professional associations with the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA). I had to. It was the only thing I could do, and I want to tell you about it.  I've been an active member of the CWPA for about 15 years. I haven't always been able to attend their summer conference, but I have kept up with its journal ( WPA: Writing Program Administration ), the people in organization, the statements and other work of the organization, and the good work its members have done over the years. Also I was until recently a member of its celebrated Consultant Evaluator Service, which offers a valuable service to the discipline and institutions by reviewing and offering recommendations to colleges and universities concerning their writing programs.  Up until recentl

Blogbook -- An Equation for Racist Discourse

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Entry 14 So if racism is really racist discourse, at least as we might study it in a literacy or language classroom, then that field is made up of things we might identify and define. Things we can look for in and around texts with students. This will help us understand the racial politics of the languages and literatures we teach, and how those politics afford meaning and significance to those texts and their ideas. It can help us keep thinking about the racist discourses that any text participate in.   What are the elements? You likely already know them, or could guess. Goldberg says that racist discourse has two aspects. The first aspect is a collection of “discursive representations.” He means “styles of reference,” “figures of speech,” and “metaphors” ( note 88 ). Basically, one part of racism is the language we use to express it or enact it. It’s the tropes and styles of racism in language, like the raven as a symbol of Blacks and slavery, the “Yellow Peril” and Asians as dirty a

Blogbook -- "Reasonable Suspicion" and Literacy Classroom

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Entry 13  In this discussion of racist discourse and its function in literacy classrooms, let’s consider something that seems far removed from that classroom: the legal standard for “reasonable suspicion.” Police officers are supposed to use reasonable suspicion as a way to determine if they should detain someone temporarily in order to figure out if a crime has been committed. This could include stopping someone and frisking the outside of their clothing for a weapon. This legal definition produces an orientation and set of habitual behaviors that police officers use in order to do their jobs. The non-profit organization, Flex Your Rights , explains: “the reasonable suspicion standard requires facts or circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a suspect has, is, or will commit a crime” ( note 79 ).  But what does “reasonable” mean in this instance? The Supreme Court decision of Terry v. Ohio (1968) established the standard for “reasonable suspicion.” In his ma

Blogbook -- Racializing the Raven

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Chapter 1 (continued) Entry 12 So let me now return to Poe’s poem, sort of (see "Racism Is A Boat" part 2 of 2 ). In a literacy course, it may help us understand not just the stuff from which a show like “Raven’s Home” is made but also why we may react to either artifact in the ways we do. We have been conditioned by racist discourse. And this conditioning started long before we were born. The conditioning isn’t just crafting individuals’ habits and desires. It’s shaping the systems around us and their habits and goals. The racist discourse before our time created the range of choices, ideas, and actions we engage in today. What this means is that if we are not consciously trying not to participate in racist discourse, we will be default. It’s how everything is made.   Now, Poe didn’t invent the associations around ravens. There are many long-standing myths, stories, and lore around ravens. And it's easy to see how other associations with race, ones apart from ravens, lik

Blogbook -- Chapter 1: Anti-Asian Racist Discourse As A Long Pattern in History

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Entry 11 Racist discourse like Orientalism takes many forms today beyond just representing the Arab and Middle Eastern world. For instance, many have thought that Asians in the U.S. today are unaffected by racism. But as recent high-profile events reveal, such as the Atlanta mass shooting of eight people, six of them Asian women, have shown, this is not true ( note 70 ). NBC reported recently that there have been over 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents in the past year alone, with 68% of those committed against women -- and these are just the incidents reported ( note 71 ). And this isn’t just a North American phenomenon, it appears to be more global. In New Zealand, surveys show that anti-Asian racism has risen 54% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In England, that same figure is 300%. Similar rises in anti-Asian incidences have been tracked in Australia ( note 72 ).  Anti-Asian Racism isn’t just because of unwarranted blame for the pandemic on Asians. Its causes today are hist