Friday, April 19, 2019

Like Rats Jumping a Sinking Ship

My class had a great conversation the other day about discrimination and W.E.B. DuBois's "double consciousness." I discussed the theory and solicited for comments, but there were none, as I expected. This kind of thing needs to sit a little and gel before we can really address it. So I rambled on a bit about the history of the term and its origins in Freud's writing before I asked again for comments or connections. Then the hands started and a conversation developed. We can only talk about our own experiences with racism and sexism in a room where trust has been established. That is exponentially true when we start talking about our own racist or sexist thoughts and feelings and that time we threw our own group under the bus by letting someone's joke go by without mention or by joining in to feel like part of a group that openly disparages people that look like us, but have decided that, somehow, we're different.

There is no way that conversations like this will happen online. We need face-to-face interactions so we can read the room. We need to see that nodding head across the rows in order to be brave enough to tell our stories. And teachers need to catch any subtle eye-rolling or smirking with, "Let's look at the other side of the argument too," to get it out in the open to be addressed and gently (but firmly) dismantled. And there might not be a course like this at all if the new class size formula wipes out this elective.

If we want to create a society that is divisive and full of hatred and blame for one other, Ford's new education policies are right on the money. And it's starting already:
"The discussion between private and public schools appears to be growing, with several independent schools in the region seeing an increased demand. Teachers and students alike are more seriously considering going the private education route, a debate that seems to be intensifying following recent changes to public education. . . . the founder of St. Jude’s and Scholar’s Hall, Fred Gore, says registration is up 30 per cent."
We can see what happens when people with means move their kids out of public schools by looking next door. It's a mess. Some schools have the newest developments, while others scrounge for basic supplies. The wealthy compete against one another for places at the very best private schools, while public school kids have to take four busses to get clear across town to the last remaining building that offers knowledge for free.

If we want the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer, we elected the right man for the job. Brilliant! Once Scheer gets in this fall, we may as well just go ahead and eliminate that longest running border. Manifest destiny for the win!



Owen Gray said...

Thomas Jefferson was one of the patron saints at the School of Education I attended, Marie. He understood that democracy would die unless it was supported by public education. Clearly, Ford is about power, not about democracy.

Anonymous said...

The latest on charter schools in the US. Read it and weep. Like privatization, neoliberalism, treickle-down theory, non-interest in environmental destruction, just one more stupid idea from the empty-heads that mumble "free markets solve everything".

Marie Snyder said...

@ Owen - absolutely - we'll be lucky to have any sense of democracy left after this - particularly if we end up with a Conservative federal government and enough provincial backing to make serious constitutional changes.

@ Anon - thanks for the link - I can no longer believe they don't know what they're doing, but that the 'trickle down' story is just to appease the masses while that sell the country out from under us.