Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Let's Play "Who's The Racist Ideologue?"

If teaching is a political act, as some claim, how should I teach?  My politics are most assuredly not the same as those who claim teaching is a political act; I don't think they'd like it very much if I forced politics down my students' throats.

Having said that, though, how can any sane person think this way?
The session was facilitated by Kim Radersma, a former high school English teacher in California and Colorado. Radersma is currently working toward her Ph. D. in critical whiteness studies at Brock University in Ontario, Canada.

Radersma argued that teachers must fight against the oppressive structure in education and society. She said anyone who is going into teaching and education must be a political figure.

"Teaching is a political act, and you can't choose to be neutral. You are either a pawn used to perpetuate a system of oppression or you are fighting against it," Radersma said during the session. "And if you think you are neutral, you are a pawn."

She said educators need to challenge the system, otherwise they are giving in to white supremacy. Radersma also argued the first step is realizing that all white people are carrying the signs of oppression.

"Being a white person who does anti-racist work is like being an alcoholic. I will never be recovered by my alcoholism, to use the metaphor," Radersma said. "I have to everyday wake up and acknowledge that I am so deeply imbedded with racist thoughts and notions and actions in my body that I have to choose everyday to do anti-racist work and think in an anti-racist way."

She argued that until white people admit they have a problem, they will not be able to fight against white privilege.

"We've been raised to be good. 'I'm a good white person,' and yet to realize I carry within me these dark, horrible thoughts and perceptions is hard to admit. And yet like the alcoholic, what's the first step? Admitting you have a problem," she told the session attendees.
Without any exaggeration I have to say that this is a very sick person who needs help.


Ellen K said...

I would be curious to know if she has other self-loathing issues like anorexia, bulimia or cutting?

pseudotsuga said...

Critical Whiteness Studies?!!? Who's paying for that steaming pile of hoopsie degree? *eye roll*
Is she a self-hating Caucasian?
This person needs to step away from that ivory tower (get it? white? ivory? yuk yuk!) and work in the real world instead of the hive mind of her peers.

maxutils said...

As someone who is well informed about the condition of alcoholism, a diseases that is both physical, mental, debilitative, progressive, and chronic I find this comparison exceptionally offensive. Racism/Sexism/ anythingism is nothing more than hating and/or thinking less of someone due to a preconceived notion of what a person will be like, based on stereotypes. It isn't addictive; it won't kill you if you stop suddenly; it's not genetic .etc. That said ... there are classes where race and politics should play a part. Sciences, math, Pe, Fine Arts ... not so much (well maybe fine arts, if you want to add in jazz and blues, two of the finest contributions (at least in my opinion) of African Americans to American culture). But it does have it's place elsewhere. It sickens me that there are now English classes that use a Huck Finn that has been redacted to use "Slave Jim" instead of "Nigger Jim" ...Mark Twain used the n word, which I will use only the once PRECISELY because he was trying to show how ugly racism is ... it's an issue to talk about in class. Darren, I believe it was you who suggested the book "Lies my Teacher Told Me" that attacked a bunch of commonly held historical myths, and I found it fascinating I did my alternative history class at Sac state ... where I was the contrarian foil to my excellent professor with whom I disagreed about everything. Teaching economics? (and I haven't, but I'm sure Government classes have the same issue) That's the acid test. Because it's purely political. And, rather than Ms. Radersma who claims that I need to get up every day and fight against racism, actively...Sooooooo wrong. What I need to do is get up every morning, present the material of the class as factually and impartially as I can, and allow and encourage free discussion of those ideas. THAT is non racist, non political class... where your grade is determined by the content of your argument, not the color of your skin or the politics of your teacher. I was bouncing some ideas for a book I'm starting to write with a former student of mine (A in class, double 5s on AP econ, probably about 150 degrees off me, politically) and I was delighted to know that his opinion of how I thought taxes should be structured was almost opposite his ... despite the fact that we are really close. To me ... that's how you teach without race or politics... all opinions should be open, and the teacher shoul'dn't attempt to bias it. Bad arguments are still bad arguments ... but I',m certainly not going to try to figure out a non-racist way to do long division.

Jerry Doctor said...

"critical whiteness studies"

Amazing that just three words not only tells me everything I need to know about this woman, but also everything I need to know about Brock University.

Anonymous said...

She and her ilk are mentally ill, in my opinion. Ellen's question about self-loathing occurred to me as well. What's even more sick is that she is allowed to have anything to do with anyone else' education. The people that allow/support this are equally ill. Absolutely appalling.

PeggyU said...

Well, the (no doubt) white person who invented "Critical Whiteness Studies" has a problem and has turned it into a lucrative scam.

Vulcan Archer said...

As a high school teacher of Asian descent, I am highly offended by Radersma's condescension towards minority students. Those students are best served when they are treated and held to the same expectations as everyone else.

Besides, aren't we supposed to be living in a "post-racial" world?

KauaiMark said...

PHD in critical whiteness?? Is that a real thing? Naaaahhh!