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Last week's post, Point/Counterpoint, generated some interesting comments--and some of you HAD seen the post before it was pulled. Aunt Snow's comment was so spot-on that I want to highlight it.
I commented early in the life of that post, then went back to see the traffic and it was gone.
I think the credibility of the main point that A made - that poor parenting choices affect the ability of their kids to learn - was damaged by A's use of cultural stereotypes to characterize the parents. The point that some parents selfishly place their own personal priorities over those of their kids' best interest is an issue for generational poverty in all cultures.
Another thing too often overlooked is that this parental selfishness is not limited to poor people. A parent who indulges in personal grooming but neglects their kid's diet? Plenty of examples of that in affluent homes. The kids may not be starving, but they may be stuffed with fast food instead of nutritional food.
It was a useful discussion marred by the discourse of bigotry - whether that bigotry was intended or not.
She is so right--parents from all cultures and of all socioeconomic statuses sometimes make choices that are not in a child's best interests.
The lesson from this is not that we shouldn't have these discussions--we must have these discussions, but we need to be aware of our language and our own biases at all times. Acknowledging our biases is as important step in self-awareness, I think. All of us--by virtue of being imperfect human beings and human nature being what it is--have biases, but the more we explore them and the reasons behind them, the better we can deal with them.
To that end, I urge you to check out Project Implicit. This project uses scientific techniques to help us uncover the messages our subconscious is giving us when it comes to matters of bias. It's truly fascinating. If you have a bit of time to noodle around on it, I would love to hear what you think. It's been an eye-opener for me, for sure.
Also, LeahPeah just did an interview with Mocha Momma that is worth reading if you, like me, are eager to be part of the conversation.
Posted at 10:05 PM in In The Classroom, Reflections, Thoughtful Thursdays | Permalink
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Does this relate? NPR was just talking about cultural differences, as in, financial means and backup plans, and how that effects whole groups of people, making it harder for some to climb out of poverty. No safety net, no expectation of going to college. Basically, the point I would emphasize is, many of us are luckier than others and need to keep that in mind, and be careful not to judge too quickly.
gary rith |
September 15, 2011 at 08:00 AM
As someone who has worked on both ends of the spectrum, with low income families in Head Start, and with wealthy families as a nanny, I can tell you that there are some appalling parental choices being made by everyone! My heart aches for children so much of the time.
September 15, 2011 at 08:05 AM
Her comment is SO right!!!! I will go check out the links now.
Busy Bee Suz |
September 15, 2011 at 12:40 PM
The reasons some parents don't provide adequately for their children are myriad, and not just limited to the choices we can all see from two feet away. There are cultural, societal, economic and psychological factors at play, and to say that someone has no right to "get a weave" (whether said on a blog or in a real life conversation) is not only a remark based in racism, but an absurd over-simplification of an evermore insurmountable problem in our country, one that those with the power (i.e. white people) do not care to address. It is a comment of privilege with little to no historical- or self-awareness.
Aunt Snow's comment here (as well as on the original post at DWM) is eloquent and clear and begins to get at the issues. I said as much over at DW manor on the now-removed post, when I countered both Commentor A and the anonymous person who later used the n-word (you can read my take on it hereif you want). Yes, I am Commentor B and as always, I commented using my real name, as I always do. I have nothing to hide.
To be clear, I did not fling any accusations, nor did I comment anonymously. I just called a spade a spade. I pointed out what was so egregiously wrong with the arguments put forth by both Commentor A and the n-word using woman, both teachers. But when you point out that a comment has tinges of racism, many people shut down, and this is part of the problem. We all have our biases and prejudices, and it is a lifelong process to unlearn them, but we must talk about them and be painfully honest with ourselves in order to do the unlearning.
Certainly, teachers need to be unlearning their biases yesterday. Children do not have the luxury of time to be in a system with teachers who are biased---consciously or subconsciously---against them (take 50 minutes and watch this).
And, too, while teachers are under tremendous amounts of pressure, they should not be taking to the internet to denigrate their students or their parents, as Commentor A was doing on her own personal blog, which I visited after the whole kerfuffle. A teacher doing such a thing is betraying those in her care, and is as unacceptable as if a psychiatrist or a lawyer did that with clients.
aaryn b. |
September 15, 2011 at 01:39 PM
I was going to post on the TP but it's gone so I'll post that here
I think it's funny :) We've had it done to us once (in retaliation) but my daughter had to clean it up since it was her fault ;)
mom taxi julie |
September 15, 2011 at 02:50 PM
Jenn, I missed seeing you quote me until today!!
Aunt Snow |
September 17, 2011 at 08:30 PM
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