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RIP Jim Crow

Fighting Racism through Higher Education Policy, Curriculum, and Cultural Interventions

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Edited By Virginia Stead

Together we can build enough momentum to see Jim Crow lying silent and still in his grave.
This book shouts out ways that we can and must respond to the sickening accumulation of racially inspired and systemically sanctioned deaths. Today, we remember the passing of young, Black Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In responding to this event, we are determined to dismantle the alexithymia (indifference to the suffering of others) that pervades our campuses. It is nothing less than a by-product of racism protected by the illusion of democracy.
RIP Jim Crow contains three sections: (1) Antiracist Theory and Policy; (2) Antiracist Administration, Curriculum, and Pedagogy; and (3) Antiracist Cultural Interventions.
Each of the 31 chapters contributes to the normalization of anti-racist policy within academic institutions, antiracist discourse within academic cultures, and institutional praxis that upholds speaking out against racist activity. The hope is that this book will also reduce racism in the broader world through academic relationships with community partners.
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Chapter Fifteen: There’s a Black Kid in the Classroom and I Don’t Want to Piss Him Off

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN

There’s A Black Kid IN THE Classroom AND I Don’t Want TO Piss Him Off

TARA L. AFFOLTER



INTRODUCTION

The way that [Faulkner’s] The Sound and the Fury or [Hemingway’s] The Sun Also Rises are taught is very different from the way that Ellison’s Invisible Man gets taught. There is fluidity with those first two books, there is almost an ownership, and we know what we are talking about. But the minute it gets into a text like Ellison’s, there is this very guarded sense of we are not going to go as deep into this text because it is a little taboo and it is probably bad for me to do that and there is a Black kid in the classroom and I don’t want to piss him off. It is not mastered or well discussed.

—ALISHA, A JUNIOR AT RURAL COLLEGE (PSEUDONYM FOR OUR STUDY SITE)

Many people have found discussions of race and racism awkward and filled with tension. What tends to go unexamined, though, is that such discussions are often ignored completely. Yet, when classroom discussions with race and racism as topics are treated as something one needs to be careful with, professors do damage by reinforcing racial stereotypes, dismissing race and racism as outside of our disciplines, and missing key educational moments for students and professors. Being smart and knowing a discipline is just not enough to include and...

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