Sunday, April 24, 2016

Embedded #Whiteness: A Legacy of Brutality

[This is the last installment of a three part series on Whiteness.]

  Whiteness is a concept that describes the cultural, lingual, institutional beliefs, practices and behavior that maintains access to power and reinforces power for White people and people of lighter skin tones.  
This colonial system was created for and by Europeans for the benefit of Europeans. Everything was in relation to the European--this is a hallmark of the concept of Whiteness--that everything is judged in relation to Whiteness and not something else.  
Whiteness is embedded in the fabric of everyday life in the US

The use of patrols to capture runaway slaves was one of the precursors of formal police forces, especially in the South.

Slave patrols were organized groups of three to six white men who enforced discipline upon black slaves during the antebellum U.S. southern states.

The police are still seen by many people to be racial enforcers, they are seen as the colonial strong arm in black and brown neighborhoods--they are most often occupiers--not public servants.

Mistreatment, beatings, rapes, robbing, bribe demands and other behavior is expected by many communities of color when they encounter the police.

I worry that I will be pulled over and shot by a police officer on my daily commute far more than

Famous image of African American flood victims lined up to get food & clothing fr. Red Cross relief station in front of billboard ironically extolling WORLD'S HIGHEST STANDARD OF LIVING/ THERE'S NO WAY LIKE THE AMERICAN WAY. Location: Louisville, KY, US Date taken: February 1937 Photographer: Margaret Bourke-White

African Americans have never been accepted as White.  

They  have been ostracized from the American Way of life for the most part.  

They are colonized subjects within the colony.  

Segregation, lack of educational resources, lack of opportunities are all hallmarks of being Black  in the US.

It behooves those who don’t want these hallmarks to adhere to Whiteness as much as possible.  We see this exemplified in too many POC who have achieved ‘success’ in this society.

This is a screenshot I took from an article on Slate.

What is the implicit message here?

How does it relate to the previous image?

South Bronx 1970’s/slaves quarters,  Colbert Co. AL

Things don’t change much in a society based on Whiteness.

Please think about these images for a moment.

Baltimore or

Contemporary racial disparity based on Whiteness in  Baltimore on the left.

Contemporary racial disparity based on Whiteness in Saskatoon on the right.

Please think about these images for a moment.


This is how Black and brown kids are often treated at school.

Our kids are ‘over disciplined’ from an early age--sometimes from preschool on…

Even after Brown Versus Education schools are still segregated.

Black and Brown schools are patrolled by police and brutality occurs often to students of color.

This can take the form of detentions, or suspensions or other academic marginalization ‘consequences.’

Or it can take the form of violence.  As in the case above (Spring Valley HS in SC), or as seen in several other recent videos of police officers brutalizing students of color.  

This cop was fired. 

Schools should be a place where everyone is welcome.

Schools should and must be supportive of people.

Schools should be accepting, edifying and challenging for ALL students.

Schools need to have disciplinary actions that are non-violent.

Schools should not hold up Whiteness as an ideal of education.

Adheres to and believes in Whiteness.

One other thing about Whiteness is that it can be adhered to by non-white people.  

Many people of color and those who purport to want to help people of color adhere to the system of Whiteness that the educational system upholds, supports and requires of POC who want to succeed.  

I say that this is why we have made little to no progress in equity, diversity and inclusion in our school systems and our society. 
Embedded Whiteness

The brutalities that were used to enforce the racial hierarchies of yesterday are still with us today.They used to come in the form of lynchings--back in the days of Jim Crow....

Now they come in the forms of Police shootings of unarmed African Americans and Latinos in far greater numbers than Whites.  

They come in vigilante shootings of unarmed African Americans, for example--the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

 So, what does this have to do with Education? 

Please think about these questions:

·       How do you see Whiteness relating to Education?
·       Can you think of some examples of Whiteness in Education that you have seen?
·       How can we mitigate Whiteness in Education?
·       Should we mitigate Whiteness in Education?
·       How does Whiteness impact Educational Technology?
·       Does Whiteness come in between the truth and investigators?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Ghazals for Foley...

What is a Ghazal?

Get this book now!

I had no idea (other than it is a poetic form from the middle east) until I read the introduction to this wonderful work.  I didn't look it up because I was enthralled with the content of this beatific book!  I didn't know James Foley, but my friend Yago Cura was his good friend.  Hinchas press (Yago Cura publisher) just recently published a book of Poetry entitled Ghazals for Foley.  This is a striking collection of poems written by people to James Foley posthumously.   The book also includes a short story written by Foley that is utterly fascinating, intriguing and beautiful.  I feel like I got to know Jim Foley via these poems and his short story.  The intensity of a life so well lived is reason for a celebration. 

The poems vary in quality according to my taste, but there are some really striking and personal words here.  They are all beautiful and in deeply personal.  The poets range from well-known writers, to other war correspondents, to writing teachers and students of James Foley.

I've got a bad Sufi feeling, Jim.
That road-those trees-
The light shifting in the Mountains-

Don't go, Jim.
Please-don't go.
It was a Thursday, 
And you were on your way home.

Jim, I have a bad Sufi feeling.
Bad Sufi Feeling by Claire Morgana Gillis

Even if you aren't much of a poetry fan, the emotion of these poems is striking and hits home.

Through these poems I learned that James Foley was a Journalist, a Friend, A Lover, a Student, A Teacher, an artist and a great American among many other things.  

What does it mean to be American?
What does it mean to be human?

What did it mean to be James Foley?

This works gives you just a bit of an insight into this brave soul.
These poems are ALL full of love for humanity and for James Foley.     

This collection is describes the real man, not the man who was used to manipulate world hatred against Islam.  It seems like every political, religious and other faction wanted to use James Foley’s death for his or her own benefit.  This work helps mitigate that in my mind.    It humanizes and reclaims Mr. Foley for his friends, his family and for people, like me, who didn't even know him.  

James Foley: Writer
The short story at the end of this book was the best thing about it for me.  I had never really read anything by Mr. Foley and his work does not fail to impress.  The story is artistic in the sense that it touches on human emotions like love, loneliness, fear, adventure and respect.  It also gives one a snapshot into what life is like in a "green zone."  I often wonder what people do in such places, what people think while behind these walls and how they interact with locals.  This story satisfies and piques many of my curiosities.   I don't know many people who have been to the wars in the Middle East, and have not asked those who have what it was like. 

 I was going to write more about this book, but you will get much more from it by ordering it and reading it here:


ISBN: 978-0-9845398-7-1

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