Notes and Takeaways from #AERA19

A few notes on each of the 7 sessions I attended and some overall thoughts.

  1. Basically, white educators really need to sit down and examine what whiteness and white supremacy means. The evidence and analysis is out there. The only thing preventing learning and growth is the willingness to examine oneself.
  2. “White privilege” was once a great framework to use, but it’s become so watered down that people use the phrase to lightly acknowledge reality without doing any hard work. So I’m done using it, because the real issue is, as the scholars in this session said, white supremacy.
  3. The school to prison pipeline is spoken about frequently, but little consideration is given to the root causes of the issues. This theme was everywhere: surface-level acknowledgement, but no risk to the comfortable (myself included).
  4. A really interesting point made in a study on trauma and truth – black parents who help their children see that the system is stacked against them actually help their children perform better, but they accordingly lose trust in schools and schooling. And you know what? Why should they trust schools that aren’t doing the necessary hard work?
  5. “Equity” needs to go. It’s just weaksauce.
  6. Baldwin looms large over every discussion of race and black life.
  7. Data is being irresponsibly and deliberately misused in the Affirmative Action debate. East Asian students do tend to score higher on tests, but colleges look at more than test scores. But in East Asia, where many such parents were raised, schools do not have holistic admissions, so the parents are merely following what they know.
  8. As ever, East Asians are often used by white parents as a cudgel to beat back brown and black people. We need to work together, and then we’ll be strong.
  9. Literally no one cares about the invisible labors of black women educators. Within the ELT field, race is erased.
  10. It’s this last point that has solidified my commitment to fighting racial erasure in the ELT field. We need to speak on race, we need to say it loud, and we have to work together and support each other to deal with the (mostly) white supremacist system that tells us our discomfort is acceptable and desirable but that theirs is almost criminal.

I have a lot more to say, so please ask if you want to hear more. But I’m really glad I came and learned so much. I made connections, met a lot of the people I had only known through twitter, and feel as though I really have a future making the ELT field more supportive of racialized educators.

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