I know better than to write about this topic. I typically only get myself in trouble.
But I have this congenital inability to leave well-enough alone.
And there are lots of things about race issues I still don't get.
(Part of this is that I try to apply my own experiences as a woman, perhaps where they are not as analagous as they seem to be to me.)
So here goes:
I read someplace that the Seattle Public Schools have established a rather comprehensive definition of racism.
The part that stuck out the most for me was:
Those aspects of society that overtly and covertly attribute value and normality to white people and Whiteness, and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as “other”, different, less than, or render them invisible. Examples of these norms include defining white skin tones as nude or flesh colored, having a future time orientation, emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology, defining one form of English as standard, and identifying only Whites as great writers or composers.
And I find myself wanting to unpack that paragraph.
OK, I understand the issue with "nude" crayons and such and how only giving white examples of writers and composers. And I agree.
"Defining one form of English is standard" is in the middle. At least I understand what they mean. I tend to disagree with teaching ebonics on the grounds that it cripples the people we would be teaching. You can speak more than one kind of English if you want, but one form of English is used for cover letters that will help you get a job that doesn't suck. I guess I would be OK with Ebonics taught as bilingual education, but to straight up deny, as this seems to, that one form of the language is likely to help you succeed professionally in a way other forms likely will not, is at best naive IMHO.
(Right now, on America's Next Top Model, Tyra Banks continues to give Danielle all sorts of crap because Danielle talks like she's fron Arkansas. Though real celebrities hire accent coaches, Danielle is apparently supposed to be fixing this on her own. Next season, the girls have to do their own dental work. Ok, I'm getting off track here, but I just wanted to point out that you can't even have a job LOOKING BEAUTIFUL WHILE PEOPLE TAKE PICTURES OF YOU without people giving you crap about not speaking standard American English. In the case of modeling, I'll be the first to admit that it isn't very fair. But it's the way things are and I favor incremental change where no one generation's kids get sacrificed.)
Languages do change. Widely used but technically incorrect terms like "alot" and "Y'all" will eventually join the language. A good source for how this process has occurred (and a source gauranteed to bitch about every change) is Fowler's. (Try to score the second edition in a used book store. It's all snarky and Britishy.)
But the language is not changing fast enough for the idea that there is no one correct way to speak English to be anything more than a handicap to the students who are taught that way.
OK, now the other two as racism I don't think I understand:
"Having a future time orientation," When we talked about "future time orientation" in Psych class half a decade ago, I think I remember it was all about whether you saw any point in planning for the future. Not having a future time orientation was a sign of depression. (I'm recalling here how my friend Margaret, even when in the hospice, insisted that she was there to recover and get strong enough for chemotherapy. She was going to go back to Mexico and dig pots. She was going to see me get novels published. She knew damn well she was dying, as did we, but her sisters made it clear that Margaret had said the focus of the conversation was to remain on her recovery.)
Anyway, is that what we're talking about? It can't be the whole of it, I don't think?
Emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology Now this is the sort of idea the ChaliceRelative is into. Indeed, I know lots of white liberals who like it. My general impression is that most of these ideas work best on paper.
I don't agree with viewing things this way, though I know a lot of fine people do. I don't even object to teaching kids to look at things this way. I do object to the idea that to value individualism is inherently racist.
Is that what they're saying here?