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The term is at an end and it is time to reflect on which learning materials have “resonated” with me. I look down the list and realize that they have all had some impact. As I read through the list some impacts were difficult to remember, then there was the “ah ha” of  “oh, yes that resource made me think about…”. Other resources tightened my chest. Those chest tightening resources are the ones I wish to share.

I have to confess that I was reading a book with other professional staff in my department entitled, Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-year History (Anderson, K. 2017). This book was written about America’s complicated relationship with reality and thinking that feelings/fantasy are just as true as facts. You may wonder why this book has an impact on this course and my learning. The book discusses many of the myths and ways of thinking that I grew up with as a white person. It puts ideas and ideologies I may or may not have questioned in a new light.

As I am reading the book by Anderson (2017) I start reading Takaki’s book A different mirror: A history of multicultural America (1993). These two books together were helping me to see why it is so difficult for many white people in America to identify and understand the impact of racism and white supremacy. Additionally, we watched the three part series Power of an illusion: The difference between us. The video points out many of our flawed thought processes, how they were created and how they are reinforced on a daily basis. Readings for diversity and social justice (Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Catalano, D. C. J., DeJong, K. S., Hackman, H. W., Hopkins, L. E., Love, B.,Peters, M. L, Shlasko, D., & Zúñiga, X. (Eds.) (2018)) gave even more support to my lack of understanding about multicultural America.

Yes, I may have thought I understood that racism is “bad”. I can now see from various lenses how this idea of racism is like a genetically modified seed in a garden. Racism’s roots in this country began in the very same soil as part of that seed from which our current privileged society grew. It is as if the seed had undergone an ever so slight modification that seemed inconsequential, and the plant grew. The plant appeared normal, it had a few bugs here and there. There were a couple of leaves that were cut off. What could not be seen was the deep internal changes that started with that first root. Getting rid of a few bugs and taking off a few leaves did not change that internal structure. That internal structure is what needs changed. The idea of racism and white supremacy are so embedded in our structure that many times we do not even see it. Having been part of the privileged group as a white person I need to keep reading, investigating, and advocating to help reorganize myself and the structures of which I am a part.

I have found that I learn a lot from my students and colleagues. I have begun a reading and discussion group with my students using Readings for diversity and social justice (Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Catalano, D. C. J., DeJong, K. S., Hackman, H. W., Hopkins, L. E., Love, B.,Peters, M. L, Shlasko, D., & Zúñiga, X. (Eds.) (2018)). The discussions that we are having have helped me become more self-aware and had also impacted my leadership style. With my colleagues we are having weekly discussion about readings and looking for out next book. In my current position I am working with social justice issues on a daily basis and am challenged in my thinking. As I move forward I believe that my practice of daily self-reflection will be so embedded that it would translate into other offices and positions allowing me to keep moving forward.

References

Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Catalano, D. C. J., DeJong, K. S., Hackman, H. W., Hopkins, L. E., Love, B.,Peters, M. L, Shlasko, D., & Zúñiga, X. (Eds.) (2018). Readings for diversity and social justice. (4thed.). New York: NY: Routledge.

Anderson, K. (2017). Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-year History. Random House.

Power of an illusion: The difference between us. (streaming video). Retrieved through OSU Libraries. 

Takaki, R. (1993). A different mirror: A history of multicultural America. New York, NY: Back Bay Books.

March 16th, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink