Friday, June 20, 2008

L.A. Teachers Fired for Being Too "Afro-centric"

Yeah. You read right, folks. There're a few links with the details. But basically, it works like this:

A teacher in Watts, Karen Salazar, contextualized her lessons so they would be more relevant to her mostly black students. Administrators accuse her of being too "Afro-centric" and brainwashing the kids.

Ostensibly, as I've learned from Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen, part of the problem with being too "Afro-centric" is that children may not love America. Oh. The horror.

This also illustrates the truth that black students don't refer to academic achievement as "acting white" for nothing. I've been there. You have to sit and listen to lies, exaggerations, denials, and half-truths, and become proficcient in reciting said lied, exagerrations, denials, and half-truths. I know did. And I hated it. This teacher shouldn't be fired. She should be given a gold medal. But her firing illustrates part of my reluctance to go into primary and secondary education. If she can get fired in Los Angeles, California for using 3-pages of the Autobiography of Malcolm X, a rap by the late Tupac Shukar, and a Langston Hughes poem, when I start teaching about the horror of slavery, the re-enslavement of African Americans after the Civil War, and the dozens of white racist riots around the country (And by that I mean, a least couple of dozens. There were probably more.), the African societies the slaves came from, the Black Freedom Movement and the backlash to the Movement - I could not just lose my job, they might even take my kids!

No, I don't have any, but you get my point. This firing is nonsense. And it's not the Los Angeles United School District that's "unique" here. Ms. Salazar is the unique one. Not many teachers take the chance she did. And kudos to her.

Here are those other links:
L.A. Times
Democracy Now!

1 comment:

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This isn't too complicated. If you disagree with me, I'm more than happy to have an honest discussion. I'm quite open to learning new facts and ideas. I'm dying for a conservative to explain their ideas in a sensible way.

But, I do have rules, and they also apply to those who agree with me. They just get the benefit of my already knowing the fact they'll be referring to.

So, here're the comment thread rules:

1 - Use facts.
2 - Refer to policy.
3 - Don't rely on theories and conjectures. Show me how, for example, a public health insurance option will lead to "rationing" of health care.
4 - No unfounded attacks on any entity.

If you break those rules, I will edit your comment to my own whimsical satisfaction.

Lastly, perhaps most importantly, I'm not going to entertain too much pro-white/racism-denying discussion. I want this to be a space to discuss strategies to fight racism, not space where I have to fight racism. I want anti-racists to be able to come here for a mental respite. If what you're interested in doing is attempting to demonstrate the fallacy of anti-racism by repeating the same ole comments and questions and accusations we hear all the time, please do that somewhere else.

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