prince's blog

Faces at the Bottom of the Presidency

The first chapter of Faces at the Bottom of the Well by Derrick Bell “Racial Symbols: A Limited Legacy” really resonated with me because it brings up a lot of points that I make when I discuss President Obama with my relatives. I have one uncle who, whenever anyone in the family brings up a problem related to anything from politics to the economy to simply the amount of traffic in the city where we live, teasingly responds, “I don’t care. Do you know why?

Alchemy of Race and Rights

In Alchemy of Race and Rights, Patricia J. Williams observes the how “implicit requirement of documentation imposed on blacks walking down public streets in Howard Beach” is a synecdoche for blacks as interlopers. As an African American, Cherokee Native American, Chinese American, English American who has lived her entire life (scholastic, residential, recreational, etc.) in white spaces, her comment resonated with me. Because my entire life is conducted in white spaces, I have no ability to code-switch. I don’t move between worlds.

Other People's Comics

In Other People’s Children, Lisa Delpit quotes teacher-researcher Gail Martin’s description of teaching writing to Arapaho students: “One of our major concerns was that many of the stories children wrote didn’t seem to ‘go anywhere’… When I asked Pius Moss [an Arapaho storyteller] why Arapaho stories never seem to have an ‘ending,’ he answered that there is no ending to life, and stories are about Arapaho life, so there is no need for a conclusion.

Lives Still on the Boundary

On page 128 of Lives on the Boundary, Mike Rose writes, “American meritocracy is validated and sustained by the deep-rooted belief in equal opportunity. But can we really say that kids like those I taught have equal access to America’s educational resources?

Teaching to Transgress, Martin Luther King Jr., and The Color Purple

“It seemed ironic that at a gathering called to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., who had often dared to speak and act in resistance to the status quo, black women were still negating our right to engage in oppositional political dialogue and debate, especially since this is not a common occurrence in black communities… There is a link between the silencing we experience, the censoring, the anti-intellectualism in predominantly black settings that are supposedly supportive (like all-black woman space), and that silencing that takes place in institutions wherein black women and women of color are

Black English

I wrote the following paragraph a while back to describe the poor black neighborhood where my father grew up:

Gilyard and Phonics

In reading Voices of the Self by Keith Gilyard, I found myself alternately nodding and raising an eyebrow. My grandmother (a teacher) and father taught me to read using a phonetic method almost identical to the one put forth by Rudolf Flesch in Why Johnny Can’t Read, a book to which Gilyard objects (p. 36-37). I plan to teach my one year old cousin to read using the same method as soon as he is ready to learn. Being fascinated with the debates on reading pedagogy and a fan of Flesch, the section of the book dealing with him naturally fascinated me.

Villanueva, Gramsci, and FACTCS

Page 136 of Victor Villanueva’s Bootstraps describe a plan for education in which “Those who comprise the various cultures within the classroom would be encouraged to discover their own folklore.

Speech and Action

In Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory, “black English” and affirmative action are both condemned. Although these condemnations may at first seem unrelated, closer examination suggests that Rodriguez uses superficial critiques of language and social policy to attack those who are racially or economically underprivileged. Contradictorily, Rodriguez denounces the use of “black English” in school, claiming it is separatist, while opposing affirmative action, a program that leads the marginalized into the mainstream.

They Forgot about Garvey

One of the few rap lyrics that, as someone who doesn’t listen to rap, I’ve happened to run across is a line from an Eminem song called “Forget about Dre” that says, “And [expletives] act like they forgot about Dre” which laments that contemporary rappers have forgotten the influence one of rap’s forefathers had on the genre. I argue that the popular Black history canon has forgotten about Marcus Garvey.

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