Breaking out of the classroom into the world....
I like what he writes, but I'm happy not having "the" before my name.
Dear John,A couple of things:1) He earned it--I had the same doubts, but read him and you'll get it.2) No way to be gentle about this--white folk got the "the" in front of our names, too.
I've been reading his blog ever since you added it to your blog roll. (Though I confess there was some jealousy in the fact that I didn't make the cut. I've gotten past that. Blogging isn't a social contract and it isn't a contest.) I don't mean it lightly when I say "I like what he writes." His blog is amazing - his poetry, his style, his tone, his arguments, his narratives, his persuasion. When I say that I'm happy not having a 'the' at the beginning of my name, it really isn't meant as a slam to him (though it probably came off that way). Everyone is different. I'm in a dangerous place the moment I claim a "the." I was born into enough privilege to know that claiming an added title makes it far to easy to engage in mental colonialism.
Dear Joh,This is embarrassing--I did not realize you were not on my blog list. Two of your books are all crinkled, sitting in the bathroom. Even my kids have read them.You have an implied "the"--Jose took a real chance when he put it to his name, no mean thing.And I'll fix the oversight.
No problem on the oversight. I knew that you enjoyed my books and I got past my insecurities pretty quickly. With regards to "the," I come from a power culture. My sense of normal, my "white noise" (and all the racial overtones to that term) place me at a place that I did not have to earn. I originally called my blog "musings from a not-so-master teacher" as a reminder (to myself more than anyone else) that I didn't have to have all the answers. My students are not white. I am. My students are not middle-class. I am. These realities make a difference. I can't be "The John Spencer." It wouldn't be safe for me. It would be downright toxic for my students.
Dear John,And the fact that we even can have this conversation, publicly, exemplifies our privilege. Your students do not (yet) share this. We know this--but many (maybe most) of "us" do not.
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