Check out this article from Our Hen House highlighting a class I taught at George Mason University called Animal Rights and Humane Education. It was a fabulous experience!
Read about student uprising in Chile. Students are insisting on free public education. Youth activism is incredibly inspiring!
In a commentary piece for the Washington Post, Harold Meyerson details the way in which the GOP is, in fact, willing to raise taxes on the working and middle classes while holding firm on "no new taxes" for the wealthy.
Republicans like to complain that Democrats practice “class warfare” and “the politics of division,” as House GOP leader Eric Cantor argued on this page Monday. What the Republicans’ position on the payroll tax makes high-definitionally clear is their own class warfare on working- and middle-class Americans. Their double standard couldn’t be more obvious: Tax cuts for the wealthy are sacrosanct; tax cuts for everyone else don’t really matter. Norquist, Cantor, Ryan, Camp, the Journal editorialists and the whole Republican crew give hypocrisy a bad name.
It strikes me that the key to teaching economic justice is an examination, not only of this sort of hypocrisy, but also of how working class people are socialized to comply with it against our own personal interests.
According to a new study released by the American Sociological Association,
Elementary, middle, and high schools with large minority populations—but not necessarily higher crime rates—are far more likely than others to require students and visitors to pass through metal detectors, according to new research to be presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.
The report continues:
In elementary and middle schools, poverty is a significant predictor of the usage of all five security measures the researchers considered. This is particularly noteworthy because security mechanisms overall are less common in elementary and middle schools than in high schools.
Does that sound like justice to you?
The following list of “Ten Commitments” comes from my recent blog post for FEDCAN, which can be read in full here.
(1) I commit to working at intersections. Too often, those of us doing equity and justice work become so focused on a single identity or oppression – I have been focused largely on class and economic justice lately – that we fail to consider how identities and oppressions are intersectional. I cannot do anti-racism if I am not doing anti-heterosexism, anti-sexism, and so on. I commit to understanding more fully how issue-specific organizations are forced, even if implicitly, to compete for whatever little piece of pie (e.g., financial resources, media attention) we are afforded, perhaps in order to ensure that we do not organize ourselves and insist, instead, on a bigger piece of pie.
(2) I commit to understanding the “sociopolitical context” of schooling. What Sonia Nieto calls the “sociopolitical context” of schooling requires me to see the bigger picture, to understand multicultural work in the context of neoliberalism, corporatization, consumer culture, the other conditions which inform dominant ideologies regarding social and educational access and opportunity.
(3) I commit to refusing the master’s paradigms. I will not endorse neoliberal or corporate-centric principles by incorporating them, even if implicitly, into my multicultural work. I will not minimize educational inequity to test scores; refer to people as “at-risk” or families as “broken”; or discuss multicultural competencies as essential to “preparing us to compete in the global marketplace.” I will not call something an achievement gap when it more precisely can be described as an opportunity gap.
(4) I commit to never reducing multiculturalism to cultural activities or celebrations. I will transcend the “4 Ds” (dress, dance, diet and dialect). Although multicultural festivals and food fairs can be part of a bigger initiative toward multiculturalism, they do not, in and of themselves, make any school or organization or community more equitable and just. In fact, they more likely will strengthen stereotypes than unravel them.
(5) I commit to never confusing multiculturalism with universal validation. Multiculturalism is not about valuing every perspective equally. For example, multiculturalism does not value heteronormativity or male supremacy even when one explains that these views are grounded in her or his religion. A multicultural space – a school or classroom, for instance – cannot be both multicultural and hegemonic.
(6) I commit to resisting simple solutions to complex problems. While simple and practical solutions may be tempting they are a distraction from what needs to be done to resolve complex social problems and conditions. I commit to resisting the temptation to buy into models and paradigms that over-simplify complexities, regardless of how popular they are. That the town or school district next door endorses a person or an approach to multiculturalism is not enough; in fact, it might be the best evidence that the person or approach fits snugly into the status quo.
(7) I commit to being informed. I will do the work to find strategies for bolstering equity and social justice which are based on evidence of what works. I will look at this evidence in light of what I know about my own community. Moreover, I will not limit “evidence” to quantitative studies; I will seek the voices of local communities and stakeholders in the sorts of deep and narrative ways that cannot be captured in a quantitative survey.
(8) I commit to working with and in service to disenfranchised communities. I must practice the ethic of ‘working with’ rather than working on disenfranchised communities or on their behalf, particularly when I am in a position of privilege relative to them. I will apply my commitment to equity and social justice, not just in the content of my multicultural work, but also in my processes for doing that work.
(9) I commit to rejecting deficit ideology. I will refuse to identify the source of social problems and conditions by looking down rather than up power hierarchies. I reject the notion that people are disenfranchised due to their own “deficiencies.” I commit to challenging any suggestion that the way to fix an inequity is to fix the people most disenfranchised by it rather than by redressing the conditions which disenfranchise them.
(10) I commit to putting justice ahead of peace. Although conflict resolution and peer mediation programs can be useful in the face of some forms of conflict, they should not replace efforts to redress an injustice. Never, under any circumstance, should equity concerns be handled through processes which assume that parties occupy similar spaces along the privilege-oppression continuum. And in the end, peace without justice renders the privileged more privileged and the oppressed further oppressed; a condition which might be understood as the exact opposite of authentic multiculturalism.
A new study showing that the rich have less empathy, among other things, than the poor: