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Fighting Academic Repression and Neoliberal Education

Resistance, Reclaiming, Organizing, and Black Lives Matter in Education

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Edited By Anthony J. Nocella II and Erik Juergensmeyer

Fighting Academic Repression and Neoliberal Education is a cutting-edge investigation of the alarming state of education today. This practical how-to handbook gives readers tactics and strategies to organize and challenge forces that threaten liberatory critical education. Drawn from scholars and activists from across the world, the fifteen chapters guide readers through a strategic method of understanding the academic industrial complex and corporate education in the twenty-first century. Education is being hijacked by banks and corporations that are tearing apart the foundational fabric of academic freedom, resulting in mass standardized education and debt for all students and furthering racial inequity. This is a must-read for anyone interested in democracy, education, social justice, critical pedagogy, and Black Lives Matter.

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14. On Academic Repression, Blackness, and Storytelling as Resistance (Kelly Limes-Taylor Henderson)

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CHAPTER  FOURTEEN

On Academic Repression, Blackness, and Storytelling as Resistance

KELLY LIMES-TAYLOR HENDERSON

 

INTRODUCTION: WHAT WE SEE AND DON’T SEE IN SCHOOL

There is something about a student’s sitting in a classroom and seeing all of her classmates’ experiences and histories reflected in both text and visual media, but never seeing her own culture and knowledge reflected there. It’s possible to take this even further: how would a student feel if he shared skin tone, vernacular, socioeconomic status, or any other social identifier with an entire school population, but was still subjected to curriculum and pedagogical practices that labeled him as “other,” “minority,” and “deficient,” despite even the best of intentions?

This problem does not disappear once these students reach the university level: course catalogs, while perhaps in a more specific manner than what is found in secondary schools, feature nonwhiteness as a classification or defining feature in a way that whiteness is not. This framing of whites’ histories, cultures, and experiences as “normal” within educational institutions has its foundation in white supremacy and makes nonwhites the perpetual “other.” This framing means that anything related to nonwhiteness, rather ever being perceived as normal or valuable in its own right, will only be understood from the perspective of and in relation to whiteness (Dwyer & Jones, 2000; Welcome, 2004). Such othering is devastating when it occurs within the academy, our knowledge-making and -perpetuating institutions. As...

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