Our Honeymoon 9-17-10

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Silenced Dialogue: Power & Pedagogy in Educating other People's Children (argument talking points)

                                                                                    Lisa Delpit

         I wasn't sure at first whether I wanted to quote Delpits words, make connections, hyperlink what I found, or the argument of her writing. In my writing, I used several different approaches, but I focused on the authors argument. The authors argument is so powerful that she had me tossed between how I felt about this matter. This author, Lisa Delpit, argues that white people just don't understand people of color. She said,  "When you're talking to white people they still want it to be their way. They listen, but they just don't hear. It becomes futile because they think they know everything about everybody. They don't really want to hear what you have to say. They wear blinders and earplugs."
         I did have to take a step back while reading Delpit's article and take her writing lightly. I had to really think about what she was trying to prove and bring to the table. It seems like she is a very dedicated person who just wants white people to understand people of color and what would be best in teaching children of color, but at times I felt like she was pointing the finger at the "white race/people".  It could have been the wording she used. I understand her point of view and some of the points she brought up through her article. Thinking about her points, the stories she has encountered, and her five aspects of power, I try to understand that there are white people who are rascist and there are white people who just may not be aware of the language they are using or not using. In one way or another everyone is rascist, even people of color. As a teacher and a white middle class women , I am becoming aware of these issues. I became more aware of social issues at Rhode Island College while taking my education classes. I know I am trying to make these issues less controversial in my classroom, and I am one less teacher who is trying. I am more opened to discussing the different cultures of students in my classroom and the usage of terminology that other teachers may not feel comfortable using. Racisim will always be an issue. It has been better, but I can't see it ever going away.  So it must start in our classrooms. That's where people can make a difference.
             I like Delpits five aspects of power. She calls them, "the culture of power."  For the first one, "Issues of power in the classrooms" is honestly true. It is the power of the textbook, the curriculum, and the teacher. Teachers have the power over students. For her second, "There are codes or rules for particpating in power, "culture of power." It's about how we talk, how we write things, how we dress, and how we interact with our students. What we say to our students is so crucial and meaningful. They are like sponges and what we say and how we say it can be a leading factor to causing racisim or not. How we write things is so important as well, so that's when we need to remember the different cultures in the classroom and use it, but use it in the right way. Delpit's third point, "The rules of culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power," was something that I knew, but I guess I didn't admit it. Delpit says that children who are not in the middle or higher class do not have the same success rate of children who are. Thinking back to Johnson's article, it's a combination of poverty and race. I agree with both points, also environmental factors as well. You do see a better success in education and in work places with white middle to upper class people. In her fourth statement, "Particpate in culture of power, why can't people just say what they mean." I think people are so careful because they don't want any hard feelings and they don't want there to be more problems. I do think about how I say things to my students, especially if it is a senstive subject about culture or rascism, but any teacher should be careful to how they word things. That's Delpits second point.  Lastly, "Those with power are frequently least aware of and least willing to acknowledge of it's existence." I thought about this point and it's sadly true. I never thought of myself as having "power", but I wasn't aware of the amount of power white people actually had. I think about her point about the earplugs and blinders. I guess in my argument, it just wasn't brought up from people of color. It would be a great experience to have a conversation with people who think that racism is a big problem because of white people. I would just like to hear what they have to say, but in person. It's just difficult to say that I understand when I haven't had this type of conversation. It's almost like, if you don't hear or see it, then it can't actaully exist. Maybe this could be a class experience with Rhode Island College students? I'm sure I am not the only teacher who says that they know it's a problem, but they actually haven't heard it from another teacher, co-worker, friend, or college student.  
         Overall, this was a great article to read. I like to hear about these issues, so I as a teacher can try to help to create a better education for all students. I am looking forward to the next article.

1 comment:

  1. Stacey, I also was taken aback at the beginning of this reading. I felt defensive as a result of the language at the beginning. However, I also thought that perhaps this type of language was exactly what is needed to get the attention of the culture of power.

    P.S. cute pictures :)