California Educator

December 2018 / January 2019

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Critical Questions O N E O F T H E sessions at the SCTA symposium examined white supremacy culture through the history of the United States, ask- ing participants to think critically about their own experiences related to race, power and privi- lege. Participants discussed the following questions: • Where did you grow up? • How would you describe the cul- ture/racial/ethnic groups in your neighborhood? Was it mostly the same/different? • Who were considered "different" by your family? By your commu- nity? (religion, class, etc.) • How was difference treated? Who determined this? • Who taught in school? Who cre- ated the rules? • Who were in positions of authority in your community? Who created the rules? • What were the rules and what did that look like? How is this connected to white supremacy culture? • Who were in positions of authority locally, statewide and nationally? Who created the rules? • Who were in positions of authority in the media? What was the impact of the stories that were reported in the media? What did that look like? • Looking at your close circle of friends, did you talk about race? What did that look like? • What is the impact of the above on your definitions of you? " G R O W I N G U P, N O R M A L WA S A LWAYS W H I T E . I T ' S S O I M PO R TA N T A S A N E D U C ATO R TO B R E A K A PA R T T H AT I D E A O F N O R M A L V S. D I F F E R E N T A N D M A K E S U R E A L L O F O U R S T U D E N T S A R E T R E AT E D E Q U A L LY." — S I R I P E D U R U, U C DAV I S S T U D E N T résumé: the S in Jose, turning his name into Joe. Again, the reac- tion went from shock to disgust and then to action, as the students considered what fighting white supremacy culture might look like in their future classrooms. "We thought we were taught the truth before," said Rachel Immer- man , NE A Student Chairp erson . "Is it enough to just t each our students the truth as we know it, or do we teach them how to chal- lenge the system?" A room full of heads nodded in agreement, as these future educators considered the concerted effort it will take to unteach hundreds of years of white supremacy and systemic inequality. With this awareness of the discrepancy between what's in books and what actually happened, many of them emerged ready to do their part. "I'm falling into the same pattern of teaching from the textbook," said L aura Ensb erg, a student from San D iego Stat e University. " I w a n t t o kn o w h o w I c a n n o t d o th a t a n d st a r t t e a c h i n g my fourth-graders the truth." For more information about Student CTA, visit or SCTA board member John Brasfield talks about the experiences of inner-city L.A. kids. 55 D E C E M B E R 2 018 / J A N U A R Y 2 019

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