The Art and Science of How People Learn - Revised Edition
Edited By Greg S. Goodman
30. Relations Are Difficult
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Relations Are Difficult
There has been much attention recently to the resistance on the part of white or other majority students to anti-bias curriculum characterized as “(non) engagement” by Rudolfo Chavez Chavez, and James O’Donnell; the difficulties of bringing majority students into a fuller understanding of their privilege and their active ignorance of social divisions are a key obstacle to pulling white students out of their comfort with the world as they see it into the activity of challenging social inequities.1 At the base of these concerns over dominant students’ resistance is a realization that those students are not relating to the topic of bias. Perhaps because of their social status, some dominant students are disinterested in finding out how their passive acceptance of privilege means that their relationships with nondominant people will be difficult and always negotiated through the experience of power imbalance. In order to address the problem of dominant students opting out of forging relationships across the divides of race, gender, class, and sexuality, some multicultural and anti-bias educators have attempted to make the classroom a place apart from the world of social fractures, a place where dialogue across difference can happen outside the context of difficult relations. I will argue that the attempt to make relationships less difficult does a disservice to the abilities of students to thrash out the challenges that they face in a world rife with inequalities.
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