Sunday, October 26, 2014

"This Is Not a Test" Teacher Study Group

During the days of AIDS hysteria, my epic psoriasis  drew some attention at Sandy Hook.
My torso was splattered with dollar coin sized lesions that looked like raw hamburger,
and a couple of kids screamed "He's got AIDS!" 

Like Moses parting the Red Sea, families dragged their beach blanket fiefdoms
away from my clan, giving the four of us a clear path to the ocean's edge.

That is not what racism looks like....

Kids learn early on what to say when. I think they get their best practice in science class, where we teach a catechism, the kids repeat it, and then we leave each other alone until catechism class resumes the next day. What is true in science class (trees are mostly made from air) has nothing to do with their reality (trees are mostly made from dirt).

I'm going off script here.

Justice, occasionally blind, usually white
I do not spend every moment thinking about race, because I do not have to, but I live in a culture where race matters every moment.

I cannot know what it means to lives in a culture of us and them, where our minds see image after image after image that reflect our dominance in culture, even as we mouth the words "color blind" and "love" and "harmony" publicly, with different conversations when the doors are closed.

The closest thing I know to living in a parallel but utterly different world is my mild deafness. The hearing know it's there when I ask one to repeat something he just said, but otherwise, it's not something most folks would notice, yet I'm immersed in it, aware that may be missing part of the world, but unaware what that part may be.

Racism is only superficially similar--both deafness and race hold people in worlds the dominant culture rarely notices--but fairness is never the issue with deafness.

We're starting a teacher study group at Bloomfield High School in the next week or two, a school taught (mostly) by white folks to (mostly) kids of color. We're using Jose Vilson's words This Is Not a Test to help get the conversation started.

I figured I get this conversation started among those of us who need it most.....

Statue photo (Dublin Castle's Gates of Fortitude and Justice) by J.-H. Jan├čen via CC
Three Buddhas image from (and sold by) My Spirit and Success website

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