Racialicious

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“Everyone says I got a Golden Ticket,” says Lee, narrating the introduction. When he was nine, his father left the family, leaving his mother to raise both him and his sister; his intelligence and penchant for talking and reading rather than fighting or playing sports marked him as different from a young age. Though he would come to receive a free tuition at Germantown Friends, he says, ”there was still a great cost. As soon as I set foot in [Germantown Friends] I started to go in a different direction from my family.”

“The assimilation process is very, very difficult,” explains 1989 graduate Marcella Travagline. “No one tried to get to know me … I came and felt invisible, and still do, and that’s why no one even remembers I was here.” Lee admits that even with his popularity, he still felt lonely the entire time he attended the school. Despite receiving the same caliber of education and having access to the same resources as other students at the school, the “guest” mentality is still present, and becomes more obvious when you realize that the majority of people you were at school with for three or four years don’t even remember you were there.

Though, while they may not remember you individually, the whole–the splash of melanin in an otherwise white community–is enough to garner notice. The idea that, in some respects, students of color are clumped together in one large amorphous blob is one of the reasons I appreciated listening to the interviews Lee conducted for the film. I remember the feeling during my own prep-school experience, wondering whether or not anyone will remember if you, individually, were at the school. On the other, you know that as a group people certainly remember because the group stuck out. The group was often seen as homogenous: brown kids who all came from the same background and all sat at the same table in the dining hall for meals. However, as Lee shows us throughout Prep School, that isn’t ever the case.

I’m always up for a good documentary, so guest contributor Kendra James’ review of The Prep School Negro means another one I’m putting in my queue. Check out the rest of her review at the R today! (via racialicious)

Reblogging this older post with an update: It’s just been announced that The Prep School Negro will air on PBS’ America Reframed series on February 11th. The version of the documentary airing is longer than the one reviewed over a year ago and I’m looking forward to checking out Andre Robert Lee’s final version.

In related news, the documentary American Promise (which follows two students of color attending NYC’s The Dalton School from kindergarten through high school) will also air on PBS thanks to their POV series and the National Consortium of Black Programming. The air date is February 3rd, but be sure to check your local listings for both documentaries.

The treatment of POC students inside the walls of prestigious independent schools is a topic near and dear to my heart. There’s already been some great discussion brought about by American Promise, and we invite our readers to continue in that vein during the airings of both documentaries. You can catch us on twitter @Racialicious. -KJ

apihtawikosisan:

emciel:

clatterbane:

nativeamericannews:

Teaching Teachers the Truth About Native History in New England

After a three-week Institute on Native Americans Peter Gunn, who teaches Native American history at Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts told MassLive.com he’s “shredding his syllabus.”

I would love to see similar elsewhere in the East. And basically everywhere else, with all the propagandist crap that passes for history.

Awesome.

This should be mandatory for all teachers.

Courts must take a skeptical look at affirmative-action programs at public colleges and universities, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, in a decision that is likely to set off a wave of challenges to race-conscious admissions policies nationwide.

The 7-to-1 decision avoided giving a direct answer about the constitutionality of the program, used by the University of Texas at Austin, that was before the court.

The program will continue for now, but the justices ordered an appeals court to reconsider the case under a demanding standard that appears to jeopardize the program.

The compromise that the majority reached was at least a reprieve for affirmative action in higher education, and civil rights groups that had feared for the future of race-conscious admission programs were relieved. Conservatives and other opponents of the current version of affirmative action vowed to use the court’s ruling as a road map to bring future cases.

The decision did not disturb the Supreme Court’s general approach to affirmative action in admissions decisions, saying that educational diversity is an interest sufficient to overcome the general ban on racial classifications by the government. But the court added that public institutions must have good reasons for the particular methods they use to achieve that goal.

Colleges and universities, Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority, must demonstrate that “available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice” before taking account of race in admissions decisions.

That requirement could endanger the Texas program when it is reconsidered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans. The university’s program admits most undergraduates under race-neutral criteria, accepting all Texas students who graduate near the top of their high school classes. But the university also uses a race-conscious system to choose the remaining students.

Courts reviewing government programs that make distinctions based on race subject them to a form of judicial review known as “strict scrutiny,” requiring the government to identify an important goal and a close fit between means and ends. Justice Kennedy’s opinion focused on and tightened the second part of the test.

“Strict scrutiny,” Justice Kennedy wrote, “does not permit a court to accept a school’s assertion that its admissions process uses race in a permissible way without a court giving close analysis to the evidence of how the process works in practice.”

Courts reviewing affirmative action programs must, he wrote, “verify that it is necessary for a university to use race to achieve the educational benefits of diversity.” That requires, he said, “a careful judicial inquiry into whether a university could achieve sufficient diversity without using racial classifications.”

Justice Ginsburg, who announced her dissent from the bench, said the race-neutral part of the Texas program worked only because of “de facto racial segregation in Texas’ neighborhoods and schools.”

Adam Liptak, “Justices Send Affirmative Action Case To Lower Court,” NYT.com 6/24/13

thinkmexican:

LAUSD Votes to Close LA Indigenous High School

The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education voted to close the Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory High School on Tuesday. Trustee Mónica García was the only board member in favor of renewing the Indigenous-themed school’s 5-year charter.

“We have had more than 500 years of resistance. This is nothing new,” Marco Aguilar, the schools’ co-founder and executive director, told crying students and supporters after the board meeting.

Anahuacalmecac can still appeal to the Los Angeles County Office of Education to stay open. Stay tuned for more information.

Visit: Semillas Community Schools

Photo credit: Bob Chamberlin, LA Times

Stay Connected: Twitter | Facebook

womenwhokickass:

Waziyatawin: Why she kicks ass
She is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) in southwestern Minnesota.
She is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria, and is recognized as a leading indigenous intellectual.
 Her research interests include indigenous women’s roles in resisting colonialism, recovering indigenous knowledge, and truth-telling as part of restorative justice.
She is also the founder and council member of Oyate Nipi Kte, a non-profit organization dedicated to the recovery of Dakota traditional knowledge, sustainable ways of being, and Dakota liberation (www.oyatenipikte.org).
After receiving her Ph.D. in American history from Cornell University in 2000, she earned tenure and an associate professorship in the history department at Arizona State University where she taught for seven years. She currently holds the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
She is the author, editor, or co-editor of six volumes including: Remember This!: Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives (University of Nebraska Press 2005); Indigenizing the Academy: Transforming Scholarship and Empowering Communities(University of Nebraska Press 2004); For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook(School of Advanced Research Press 2005); In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: The Dakota Commemorative Marches of the 21st Century (Living Justice Press 2006); What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland (Living Justice Press 2008); and, her most recent volume, For Indigenous Minds Only: A Decolonization Handbook (School of Advanced Research Press, 2012).
As an activist, Waziyatawin gained public attention in 2007 when she was arrested multiple times while protesting the Minnesota sesquicentennial celebration. The protests aimed to raise awareness of broken treaties and colonial violence, including the hanging of 38 Dakota men during the Dakota War of 1862 (the largest mass execution in American history).
In 2011, she travelled to Palestine with a group of indigenous and women of colour scholars and artists including Angela Davis, Chandra Talpade Mohanty, and Ayoka Chenzira. Afterwards the group published a statement endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. She has drawn connections between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and colonialism in North America.

womenwhokickass:

Waziyatawin: Why she kicks ass

  • She is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) in southwestern Minnesota.
  • She is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoriaand is recognized as a leading indigenous intellectual.
  •  Her research interests include indigenous women’s roles in resisting colonialism, recovering indigenous knowledge, and truth-telling as part of restorative justice.
  • She is also the founder and council member of Oyate Nipi Kte, a non-profit organization dedicated to the recovery of Dakota traditional knowledge, sustainable ways of being, and Dakota liberation (www.oyatenipikte.org).
  • After receiving her Ph.D. in American history from Cornell University in 2000, she earned tenure and an associate professorship in the history department at Arizona State University where she taught for seven years. She currently holds the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair in the Indigenous Governance Program at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.
  • She is the author, editor, or co-editor of six volumes including: Remember This!: Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives (University of Nebraska Press 2005); Indigenizing the Academy: Transforming Scholarship and Empowering Communities(University of Nebraska Press 2004); For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook(School of Advanced Research Press 2005); In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: The Dakota Commemorative Marches of the 21st Century (Living Justice Press 2006); What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland (Living Justice Press 2008); and, her most recent volume, For Indigenous Minds Only: A Decolonization Handbook (School of Advanced Research Press, 2012).
  • As an activist, Waziyatawin gained public attention in 2007 when she was arrested multiple times while protesting the Minnesota sesquicentennial celebration. The protests aimed to raise awareness of broken treaties and colonial violence, including the hanging of 38 Dakota men during the Dakota War of 1862 (the largest mass execution in American history).
  • In 2011, she travelled to Palestine with a group of indigenous and women of colour scholars and artists including Angela DavisChandra Talpade Mohanty, and Ayoka Chenzira. Afterwards the group published a statement endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. She has drawn connections between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and colonialism in North America.

(via nitanahkohe)

ynannarising:

My name is Ynanna Djehuty, also known as Carmen Mojica. I am reaching out to you today to ask for your help on my journey to become a midwife. I have just been accepted to Maternidad La Luz, a midwifery school and birth clinic in El Paso, Texas. I am overjoyed and overwhelmed with excitement as I prepare for my studies to begin in September. I need help securing donations, grants and scholarships for my tuition, books, room and board.

I am an Afro-Dominicana born and raised in the Bronx. I am a certified birth doula and artist. I am a member of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC). The focus of my work is the empowerment of women and people of the African Diaspora, specifically discussing the Afro-Latina Identity. I utilize my experience as a birth doula to raise awareness on maternal and infant health for women, highlighting the disparities in the healthcare system in the United States for women of color. Becoming licensed as a midwife is my direct and physical contribution to ensuring future generations are born into peace and calm environments.Midwifery is my calling. I see a huge need for compassionate, woman-centered care for women of the African Diaspora and am stepping up to serve my community. I have been particularly interested in being trained in a bilingual environment so that I may use my native Spanish language to assist women who otherwise would not have access to compassionate midwifery care. Women who are native Spanish speakers often are not truly listened to and in turn are not completely informed during their birth process. My presence in the global community is essential to adding to the number of Spanish-speaking midwives.

As a student, I will be serving a mostly Spanish-speaking population of Mexican and Mexican American women. Attending Maternidad La Luz would allow me to be licensed as a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) by the end of 2014. I have chosen this particular path to midwifery because I am interested in providing birthing women of color with a option of care that is mother-centered. I have dreams of opening up my own birth clinic in the future, and studying at a birth center such as Maternidad La Luz is excellent training for this endeavor. I am currently fundraising on my own via the link I’ve enclosed as well as reaching out to individual people and organizations like you to reach my goal by this September. Your support is a large contribution to reducing the perils women of color are facing currently in the world. Thank you for your time. Be blessed!

Fundraising Campaign: http://www.gofundme.com/thesewatersrundeep

*SIGNAL BOOST PLEASE!!!*

(via so-treu)

nitanahkohe:

Educators in Indian country are working feverishly and creatively to deal with the cuts to federally funded preschool-to-grade 12 programs mandated by the so-called “sequester.” The sequester, a series of automatic federal spending cuts totaling $85 billion in 2013 and $9 billion for each year from 2014 to 2021 for a total over $2 trillion, was authorized by the Budget Control Act of 2011. It went into effect in March because Congress could not agree on a budget that would reduce deficit spending by $2.4 trillion over the next decade as part of the effort to deal with the country’s nearly $7-trillion debt.

Head Start, intended to promote school readiness in children from birth to five years old from low-income families by supporting their cognitive, social and emotional development, serves 1 million children a year nationwide. The program was developed in the mid-1960s as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. Sequestration is expected to knock out five percent of Head Start funding across the board, even though most Head Start programs cannot currently accommodate all families who apply, according to the Health & Human Services Department’s Administration for Children & Families, under which Head Start operates. 

Approximately 70,000 children are expected to lose access to the program because of these cuts. In 2013, Head Start programs nationwide will take a $406-million hit as a result of the sequester. Of that amount, nearly $2 million will come from Indian Head Start, according to the National Indian Education Association.

Melissa Harris, director of the Catawba Indian Nation Head Start in South Carolina, is proud of her program, which serves 80 children, most of them from the tribe, at one center on the reservation, for the full year. She says the sequester is devastating her program. “Right now, we’re downsizing from five days of service to four days for the summer.” Not only will this reduction affect the children’s preparation for school but, Harris adds, “we’re concerned about meals. We serve two meals a day. On Fridays, will the children have a meal? Will they be watched by siblings or adults? Every weekend this summer will be a three-day weekend and we’re not sure the children’s basic health and safety needs will be met…We recognize the responsibility to get the U.S. budget in order, but this is not where you start, at the foundation of our children’s lives.”

Of the $2 million in cuts Indian Head Start must deal with, more than one-tenth, or $.4 million, will come from the Navajo Nation’s program, which serves 2,115 children in Early Head Start and Head Start and through home-based education activities. Director Sharon Singer notes that it costs more to serve rural areas, which often do not have accessible services and where transportation is always a challenge. “We’re looking for ways to cut costs and still serve our children and families,” she says.

The Navajo Nation began restructuring its Head Start program in November 2012 to build a high-quality program. That initiative will help cope with the funding cuts. “As part of the restructuring program,” says Singer, “we expect to reduce employees by 30 percent. We’ll combine positions and hire highly qualified teachers who can each be responsible for more children. And we’ll streamline our program, cutting out middle management and offering direct services to children and families.”

For now, says Singer, the Head Start program will be able to continue serving the same number of children, but further funding cuts will affect services. “Head Start provides a continuous program from Early Head Start to Head Start to kindergarten, which is so critical now that Common Core standards require that children be able to read by third grade or not be promoted. Our job is so important. It provides the foundation in learning and literacy for our children.”

The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon’s Head Start program will take a much smaller cut—$48,000, but its program is smaller and the impact will be serious. DeAnn Brown, director of the program, says they will close one week early this year and start two days later next, and they will need to cut supplies to classrooms and teacher training dollars. Brown says her program serves 112 children and about the same number of families. It is a center-based Head Start program with seven classrooms. The program operates 3.5 hours a day, 4 days a week during the school years and serves both breakfast and lunch. “The cuts will be felt by everyone,” she says. “It’s only a week, but families are still dependent on Head Start for childcare. They’ll have to make other arrangements for that week. A week’s worth of childcare is a lot for our families.” Another concern, again, is nutrition. “Children rely on Head Start for two-thirds of their nutritional needs four days a week. Some kids might not get the nutrition they count on when Head Start is not operating for those days…We hope there are no further cuts. As it is, we still don’t serve all the kids we could. Further cuts would impact our enrollment. We hope there aren’t any.”

The 2 million in cuts to American Indian Head Start programs is not just a matter of consequence for the nation’s tribes. National Indian Education Association President Heather Shotton says, “When the federal government does well by our Native children, it does well by everyone’s children…. When budget cuts hurt the education of Native children, they harm education for everyone’s children.”

Kochiyama’s life in social change is inspiring, both for its longevity and for her willingness to take on the most controversial causes. She is, perhaps, most famous for her association with Malcolm X, and for the photos of her holding Malcolm X in her arms as he lay dying after being gunned down in the Audubon Ballroom on February 12, 1965. But there was much, much more to Kochiyama’s activism than her sojourn with the Organization for Afro-American Unity. She fought for Puerto Rican independence, provided support for social and political prisoners, and was instrumental in the fight for reparations for Japanese American internees.

But the importance of Kochiyama’s story doesn’t end with her personal history. For while she is no doubt a remarkable person, she was not alone among Asian Americans of her generation in her commitment to social justice. Throughout her story we are reminded of others who struggled alongside her, of the the Asian American movement of the 1960s that was inspired, in part, by Japanese American internment, exclusionary and blatantly racist immigration laws, the Vietnam War, and exploitation and discrimination of Asian immigrant workers. That movement gave birth to the phrase “Asian American” as a statement of inter-ethnic solidarity, and it stood against unjust wars and with the movements for African American civil rights, workers rights, and immigrant rights, and for multiculturalism, open enrollment in colleges and universities, and diversification of university curricula. That movement gave us Asian American studies, and Asian American studies has allowed us to create a record of our history, in our own words.

Scot Nakagawa, “Yuri Kochiyama,” ChangeLab 5/20/13

Colorlines’ Jamilah King and Jorge Rivas run down six facts about basketball in Native American communities, including the fact that Louisville Cardinal Shoni Schimmel is the subject of the documentary Off The Rez, on her struggle to become the first person from her community to go to college on an athletic scholarship. 

Academia may not be a traditional bureaucracy but we forget that public colleges are embedded in state governments, making them more like the public sector is some ways than the private sector. That is particularly true when you account for the fact that many black PhDs end up working in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, many of which are part of state college systems. It is not totally beyond the realm of possibility then that black students should engage with some sectors of higher education similarly to how we have engaged the Post Office. That is to say, credentialism is rewarded and, thus, we should pursue it.

The nature of the rewards, however, seems to be what trips up a lot of this advice.

And that is rooted in some fundamental, unexamined privilege.

It is difficult to be embedded in higher education today, particularly if you study it, and not be acutely aware that academic labor is changing and likely not for the better. Adjunct labor conditions are pretty deplorable: low pay, long hours, little prestige, no mobility, etc. When we are in that we can forget that our crappy jobs can be someone else’s upward mobility.

I suspect part of our not understanding this is ideological. To recognize that crappy is relative is to undermine our own fragile, tenuous class consciousness. It’s an old problem. Unions had similar issues as they tried to bring black, brown and white labors together through their shared position in the class structure. The problems arise when your shared position isn’t exactly shared. Focusing so narrowly on class to the exclusion of structural racial projects can put you in this quagmire. Black poverty is not the same as white poverty. That’s not the fault of white poor people but is a function of a complicated mix of social constructs, organizational processes, politics, history and probably magic. It’s complicated. It is also inconvenient, particularly when you really want and need people to focus on deplorable class conditions. So we like to sometimes ignore it. We do so to our peril.

When we obscure those meaningful differences we end up counseling black students considering graduate school that it is a waste of time and money. We do that because our class consciousness says this whole pyramid hierarchy is a scheme and those at the bottom are losing.

The thing with losing is there’s always some construct of what constitutes “winning”. The dominant construct of winning is rooted in privilege and biases.

Winning is different for different folks. I think of Boudon‘s work which I likely oversimplify when I call it a cross-sectional, longitudinal, empirical analysis that conludes that we’re always from where we’re from. Apologies to the philosopher Rakim but sometimes it ain’t where you’re at but is indeed all about where you’re from. Part of Boudon’s argument for me is about social distance being as important to understanding mobility as status occupational/income/prestige outcomes. Basically, if I get a master’s degree that increases my labor value to $45,000* it can sound like crap to a person who went to graduate school, got a PhD and earns $50,000. However, if my parents didn’t have their GEDs and I grew up helping my mom clean banks after hours for her janitorial freelance business — one of her three jobs — I have actually traveled quite a bit of social distance. That can make the value of my graduate degree different than the value of yours.