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.