Showing posts from 2021

Blogbook -- Chapter 1: Race As An Organizing Principle

Entry 4 (Mon, 01 Mar 2021) Race organizes how we understand people, their languaging, and our histories. Take for instance any travel book or travel show, which if done right should arguably be what we might call “multicultural,” a show that values a multitude of cultures, places, people, and languages. That is, traveling around the world to learn about different people, places, cultures, and foods seems like a project that values and respects a wide array of people and places.  But how is such traveling, places, people, and languages organized for consumption by a viewing audience? And I use that term, “consumption,” consciously since our society mostly produces things for consumption only, even education. Who is that audience imagined to be? What are their dispositions toward things? How might such a show or book be a racial project, one that does race making, or even produces racist outcomes?  At its face, a show like the late Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown would not be Eurocentr

Blogbook -- Chapter 1: Race As An Evolving Concept

Entry 3 (Fri, 26 Feb 2021) Obviously, race is still used today to reference groups of people, and it offers us analytical value in understanding differences and problems that arise through various social dimensions of people. This is to say, once we start looking at things like language practices, wealth and job statistics, where groups of people live, access to opportunities, and cultural practices, we find that race is a powerful way to understand how societies and the world are organized, even as it is incomplete in its ability to explain differences. The concept, however, can reveal how our world is structured. It helps us see how society is organized in unfair ways, uneven ways that lead to keeping opportunities, wealth, jobs, education, and other things from some groups of people while allowing much greater access to such things to other groups.  It also can provide ways to understand patterns of experiences in society, what Du Bois described as, “common history, traditions and i

Blogbook - Chapter 1: What Is Race?

Entry 2 (Wed, 24 Feb 24) What it means to be an antiracist literacy or language teacher starts with a deep, historical, and political understanding of the relationship between race and language. That is, you have to know how race has shaped languages, literatures, and all that those things mean in our society, and of course, in our classrooms, and in schools and colleges. So, an antiracist orientation as a teacher of language and literacy begins with a deep understanding of the history of race. Throughout this blogchapter, I’ll have to speak broadly, but of course, race and language are always intersectional, specific, location-based, and dynamic -- they are constantly changing, as Omi and Winant explain so well in their book, Racial Formation in the United States .  To inhabit an antiracist orientation and be an antiracist teacher, we need to have a vocabulary. This vocabulary gives us a set of assumptions and understandings about race, racism, Whiteness, and White supremacy in our so

BlogBook - Introduction to the Project

  Entry 1 (Sunday, Feb 21, 2021) During 2020, I wrote a book for high school English Language Arts (ELA) teachers. Its title is, What It Means To Be An Antiracist Teacher: Cultivating Antiracist Orientations in The ELA Classroom . I was asked by a publisher to write such a book because they’d seen a Zoom keynote I did for “ Mosaic 2020: The Unofficial AP Literature and Language Slow conference ,” which was co-developed by a friend and colleague, Brandon Abdon . I thought writing a book based on the keynote was a good idea for that audience. In the middle of writing the book, I realized I wasn’t sure that I had the audience right -- that is, I’ve never written a book for a high school teacher audience. So I feared that I was really writing to a college writing teacher audience, a First-Year Writing (FYW) teacher audience. I think what ended up happening is that I wrote for both audiences. I think the book offers something for all language and literacy teachers whether they teach in hig

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 class

Not White Supremacist Preparation, but Linguistic Reparations

So I woke up last night at about 1:30 am. I was dreaming about students, adults, and rooms, and a university. I was making arguments and talking with all these students, who were also writing teachers. They were leaving and coming into rooms. I was leaving and coming into rooms.  Someone asked me about preparation, about how first-year writing courses prepare students for their tomorrows. How do we prepare students if we are doing all this antiracist stuff, if we don't have our standards, our rigor?  At one point, in response to these questions, I said: "It ain't about preparation. It's about linguistic reparations. Our work should be about giving back, about making linguistic reparations."  I woke up saying not White supremacist preparation, but linguistic reparations .  I was wide awake at this point. And I wondered, what would linguistic reparations look like? What would they be in a first-year writing course at ASU or any other college or university?  I did a