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Revolutionary STEM Education

Critical-Reality Pedagogy and Social Justice in STEM for Black Males

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Jeremiah J. Sims

Revolutionary STEM Education: Critical-Reality Pedagogy and Social Justice in STEM for Black Males by Jeremiah J. Sims, an educator, researcher, and administrator from Richmond, California, is calling for a revolutionary, paradigm shift in the STEM education of and for Black boys. STEM education has been reliant on axioms and purported facts that for far too long have been delivered in a banking or absorption model that is, arguably, anti-critical. Unsurprisingly, this pedagogical approach to STEM education has failed large segments of students; and, this is especially true of African American males. Revolutionary STEM Education highlights, chronicles, and investigates the potential inroads and vistas of a Saturday Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program, Male Aptitudes Nurtured for Unlimited Potential (MAN UP), which was designed to foster interest and competence in STEM by middle school Black boys. This program was impelled by a critical-reality based pedagogical approach, which was formulated to arrive at socio-academic synergy, that is, a thoughtful conjoining of students’ real life concerns, joys, ways of being, and socio-cultural identities and the curricular material covered in the courses offered at MAN UP.

Sims’ lived-experiences as an inner-city, low-income Black male are interspersed throughout Revolutionary STEM Education; however, the heartbeat of this book is, undoubtedly, the stories of the positive transformation that the MAN UP scholars experienced while becoming more competent in STEM, developing positive STEM identities, and learning to use their STEM knowledge for social justice.

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Chapter 2: Cutting straight the truth: Interrogating White supremacist-based racism’s role in perceptions of Black maleness

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Cutting straight the truth

Interrogating White supremacist-based racism’s role in perceptions of Black maleness

Racism, which is predicated on a delusional and perverse notion of white supremacy (Roberts, 2011; Roediger, 1994; Mahiri, 2017), rests upon a pernicious, manufactured and patently false dialectical relationship with whiteness positioned as the thesis, and, Blackness, seemingly forever positioned as its antithesis. This dialectical relationship was overt, violent, and ubiquitous and—both socially and juridically accepted—for much of American history. However, more recently whiteness has transmogrified. The overt hatred characterized by the peculiar institution of American Chattel Slavery, the three-fifths compromise, lynching, Jim Crow Laws, Separate but Equal Laws, segregation, and personified by the KKK, are no longer palatable for the general populace. So, racism has become less overt, in many respects (Leonardo, 2009). Groups of whites can no longer lynch young Black men with impunity; unless, of course, in place of a noose, there is a gun, and in the place of angry white mobs, there are uniformed law enforcement officers or overzealous pseudo-peace officers like the man that murdered Trayvon Martin. As is always the case, white supremacy is going through yet another pernicious iteration due to the white fragility that resulted in the election of President Number 45 and his band of white Nationalists. What has not changed, however, is that Black youth culture has been forcibly and dangerously conflated with macro-level societal ills like violence and crime...

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