How power dynamics & cultural clashes stemming from whiteness work against young people of color in urban schools

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Excerpted from “For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education” by Christopher Emdin

“With the rumbling of a New York City commuter train above, and the Bronx skyline before me, I read Standing Bear [My People the Sioux, 1928] and became fascinated with the ways of the Sioux. His stories of Native American life and the unique traditions of his people reminded me of my youth in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and in the Bronx. As he described the distinct codes and rules of engagement of his people, I saw analogous images from the hip-hop generation…”

“In his book, Luther Standing Bear poignantly describes his experience as a student at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School—the first institution designed to “educate the Indian.” Established in 1879 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the school was founded by Richard Henry Pratt, a US Army officer who had served in the Indian Wars and believed that his experience with the Native peoples he had formerly captured and imprisoned equipped him to educate them. The white teachers he recruited sincerely believed in Pratt’s vision. For them, it was because of Pratt’s genuine concern for the Indigenous Americans that he had found it in his heart to give them a better life through education. It was this idealism that led educators to leave positions at other schools to be a part of the experiment to “tame the Wild Indian.”

The Carlisle School employed a militaristic approach to “helping” the Indigenous Americans assimilate to white norms. For students, the authoritarian “care” that was shown to them at school stripped them of their culture and traditions, considered primitive and inferior. Unfortunately, because many of these students were far from the support of their Native communities, they were forced to assimilate to the culture of the teachers and the school so as to avoid the harsh punishments that would otherwise be levied on them. As the teachers worked to “tame and train” students who were described as “savage beasts,” students struggled to maintain their authenticity amid the efforts to make them “as close to the White man as possible.” This tension between educators who saw themselves as kindhearted people who were doing right by the less fortunate, and students who struggled to maintain their culture and identity while being forced to be the type of student their teachers envisioned, played a part in the eventual recognition that the Carlisle School was a failed experiment.

The teachers who were recruited to the Carlisle School were in many ways like white folks who teach in the hood today. Written accounts from that era confirm that Carlisle teachers saw themselves as caring professionals, even though students described many of them as overly strict and mean-spirited disciplinarians. One teacher wrote in the school paper, The Red Man, that the students had “unevenly developed characters, strong idiosyncrasies and a lack of systematic home training.” His only praise for the indigenous students was their “native unconscious keenness.” Another teacher described a teaching culture in which “the students are under constant discipline from which there is no appeal.” This culture of unrelenting discipline was presented by educators as benefiting the Carlisle School’s challenging population. The Carlisle system had a goal to “make students better,” but this goal was predicated on the teachers’ understanding that the students came to the school lacking in socialization, intellect, and worth. The school celebrated teachers’ rigidity and strictness out of a belief that this was the type of training that would be successful in acculturating indigenous students to white society.”

Read more of the excerpt here.

 

A new black arts movement presents soul sessions: a world where many worlds fit…

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Le Space November 8 2015

Rue de la Clé 26, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

15:30 – welcome, start at 16:00 until 18:00

language: mix of French, Dutch and English, adapted to the needs of the participants.

€ 10 donation, youth free, no one will be turned away.

A new black arts movement is painting a new aesthetic, one in which we liberate ourselves from our oppressors. A new black arts movement supports all indigenous struggles for self-defense and self-determination.

Our soul sessions are community spaces where we connect, express, build and create this vision toward prefiguring a new society.

This soul session brings together collective voices of struggle to outline our various strategies and plans of action towards making another possible to actually happening. Join us in dialogue, debate and the deconstruction of the now to a new. Lend us your thoughts and allow us to borrow your imagination to move us as a community forward.

Joined by the following formations:

a new black arts movement
Azira’s way
commusaic
SuDiSoBe vzw
Lingua_Link
Labo vzw
Urban Woorden
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15h30 – accueil, soul session de 16h jusqu’à 18h

Langues: français, néerlandais et anglais, adapté aux besoins des participants.

€ 10 don suggéré, enfants gratuit, personne ne sera refusé.

A new black arts movement peint une nouvelle esthétique, pour nous libérer de nos oppresseurs. A new black arts movement soutient toutes les luttes autochtones pour des peuples de se défendre et de déterminer son propre destin.

Nos soul sessions sont des espaces communautaires où nous nous unissons, nous nous exprimons, nous créons et nous construisons une vision pour une nouvelle société.

Cette soul session réunit nos voix collectives de lutte pour expliquer nos diverses stratégies et plans d’action en vue de créer un autre possible qui se passera réellement. rejoignez-nous dans le dialogue, le débat et la déconstruction du présent pour le nouveau. Prêtez nous vos pensées et permettez nous d’emprunter votre imagination pour progresser ensemble en tant que communauté.

Rejoints par les formations suivantes:

a new black arts movement
Azira’s way
commusaic
SuDiSoBe vzw
Lingua_Link
Labo vzw
Urban Woorden

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15u30 – welkom, start om 16u tot 18u

taal: mix van Frans, Nederlands en Engels, aangepast aan de behoeften van de deelnemers.

€ 10 voorgestelde donatie, jeugd gratis, niemand wordt geweigerd.

A new black arts movement schildert een nieuwe esthetiek, waarin we onszelf bevrijden van onze onderdrukkers. A new black arts movement ondersteunt alle inheemse strijd voor zelfverdediging, zelfbevrijding en zelfbepaling.

Onze soul sessions zijn ruimtes waar we als gemeenschap samenkomen om ons uit te drukken, te creëren en samen te bouwen aan een visie voor een nieuwe samenleving.

Deze soul session brengt de collectieve stemmen van de strijd samen om onze verschillende strategieën en actieplannen te schetsen om een andere wijze van zijn en samenleven ook echt te beleven. Laten we samen de dialoog, het debat en deconstructie van het nu voor het nieuwe aangaan. Laten we onze gedachten en onze verbeelding aan elkaar uitlenen om samen de vooruitgang van onze gemeenschap te garanderen.

met de volgende formaties:

a new black arts movement
Azira’s way
commusaic
SuDiSoBe vzw
Lingua_Link
Labo vzw
Urban Woorden