Category: Grindin’

Thank you again Adrienne Maree Brown

Last week the brilliant, inspirational soul savior Adrienne Maree Brown asked this question on her feed: “on being intersectional: what are the intersections you are most struggling with right now? how do you hold the complexity?”. My answer was parenting and activism.

I was reminded of this response again this morning while listening to the news. NPR has long been a safer choice than my itunes playlist when driving the kids to school because I never knew when some random “2 Live Crew” song might pop up. But for the last week with one distressing revelation from the new administration after another I find that I can not listen to any news segment for more than five-minutes without getting unnerved.

Anyone knows me knows that I’m far from a sailor when it comes to cursing—but maaan……do I want to drop some f-bombs in the car while listening to the news these days.

I want to be a good parent. I want to raise informed and conscientious kids.

But more than anything these days, I want the freedom to say “give me an effin break” when I hear a radio host (not necessarily an NPR host) says something foolish without having to worry about my 6yo repeating my words on the playground at school that morning.

No Racial Barrier Left to Break (Except All of Them) – The New York Times

It’s true that, in fulfilling the duties of the presidency with great dignity, Mr. Obama represents the highest expression of the goal of assimilation. But for African-Americans, he was also the ultimate lesson in how this antidote alone is insufficient to heal the gaping wounds of racial injustice in America. It’s clear that black leadership, in itself, isn’t enough to transform the country. So we must confront the end of an era and the dawn of a new one.

Source: No Racial Barrier Left to Break (Except All of Them) – The New York Times

Democrats and higher education groups call on Congress to use Pell surplus to expand program

I cannot say enough how much of a difference having adequate financial aid makes to a student’s experience.  I’ve seen countless students take leave and never return to school because of unyielding financial obligations.  And those who do stay are often stressed out by thought that this safety net can be pulled out from under their feet at any moment.  Many students need more than Pell, but few can afford to without what Pell offers and anything that bolster’s Pell funding is welcomed.

College students can receive up to $5,815 annually in Pell funding. Advocates said the grant is vital in making higher education affordable and preventing students from being forced to take out loans to pay for a degree. But the Obama administration reached a bipartisan agreement in 2011 to cut year-round Pell grants in response to funding shortfalls. Now the program has amassed a large surplus, which higher education advocates want to see dedicated to strengthening and expanding it.

Source: Democrats and higher education groups call on Congress to use Pell surplus to expand program

The broader implications of unfairly accusing a Latina student of plagiarism (essay)

It is imperative that our colleagues stop being surprised when students of color are able to thoughtfully articulate themselves in their writing and in class discussions. Such low expectations of students of color who have, at minimum, earned admission to our institutions effectively erases their demonstrated capabilities and ongoing potential to meet subjective academic standards.

Source: The broader implications of unfairly accusing a Latina student of plagiarism (essay)

Micro-Barriers Loom Large for First-Generation Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Reading Hillbilly Elegy, I thought about how much time we spend imploring students to seek guidance for obstacles of our own devising. We produce bureaucratic hurdles, then ask students to assume good faith and a willingness to help on the part of professors and administrators who don’t always exhibit such openness.

Source: Micro-Barriers Loom Large for First-Generation Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Center for Cultural Engagement

I realize that I may not have updated everyone, but I’m back in Maryland and now working at the Catholic University of America.

We’ve been in operation since July so we are still getting off the ground.  That said, I think we are doing some pretty neat stuff.  Check out the site and check back occasionally for some of our upcoming programs if you’re in the DC area.

Through promoting intercultural education and awareness at the Catholic University of America CCE contributes to the personal and intellectual development of all students. In so doing we strive to help students at The Catholic University of America in their pursuit of developing a sense of self, a sense of place, and a sense of responsibility.

Source: Center for Cultural Engagement

Digging Up the Roots: An Introduction to the #LoveWITHAccountability Forum – The Feminist Wire

Given all of our heightened awareness about documented state sanctioned white supremacist violence against and murders of Black people in the United States, it is definitely a painful struggle to point out that addressing and ending gender-based violence is not a deterrent from the “greater issue” that is plaguing Black communities. It’s devastating that child sexual abuse, adult rape and other forms of gender-based violence aren’t often viewed as “real” issues that are also destroying our communities like racism and white supremacy. The same must also be said about ableism. It wasn’t until I read the Harriet Tubman Collective’s powerful “Disability Solidarity: Completing the Vision for Black Lives” statement that I realized that I had a responsibility to widen my lens that I thought was fairly wide.

Source: Digging Up the Roots: An Introduction to the #LoveWITHAccountability Forum – The Feminist Wire

‘Coddled’ students and their ‘safe spaces’ aren’t the problem, college official says. Bigots are. – The Washington Post

 

To be sure, the real world is full of anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism and racism. The question is: Do we prepare students to accept the world as it is, or do we prepare them to change it? Telling students either explicitly or implicitly that they should grin and bear it is the last thing one should do as an educator. Yet that is essentially the gospel that the “wait until the real world” parishioners would have many of us adopt.

Source: ‘Coddled’ students and their ‘safe spaces’ aren’t the problem, college official says. Bigots are. – The Washington Post

Coffee With A Beat

When I saw this article in Sunday’s NYT about a pop up coffee shop in the Bronx where the main premise was a precursor to Starbucks’ Race Together project it brought to mind another coffee shop that I continue to hold fondly, Oakland’s Coffee With A Beat. 

According to the NYT:

Months before Starbucks’s much-derided “Race Together” initiative, [Vernicia Colon] ran the Mix Coffeehaus, a South Bronx pop-up shop that used the act of ordering coffee to get customers to explore their own racial identity.

Coffeehaus was Colon’s thesis project at Parsons, The New School of Design.  In a sense it was a variation of the campaigns exploring microaggressions.  But instead of leaving the culprits to passively look at responses to their microaggressions via a photo exhibit or a video, Colon’s Coffeehaus incited a provocative dialogue in real time.

It is hard to imagine building a business in this manner, nor was that Colon’s vision.

Starbucks on the other hand in conceptualizing Race Together was envisioning a scenario where the corporate bottom line would not be hampered by encouraging its front line employees to engage in conversations about race.  A number of commentators argued that Race Together would slow down lines, cause the baristas undue burdens, and force a conversation that most people just do not want to have with the person pouring their coffee at 8AM.

Ironically enough, these frank explorations of race and politics were two of the things that I enjoyed most about my time spent at Coffee With a Beat during my various stints in Oakland.  Every morning the owner Nate would often slide from behind the counter and join in with a crew of locals to discuss the day’s news.  Everything from race to US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan to the sorry state of the Oakland Raiders was fair game.  I remember telling my friends back east that Coffee With a Beat was like a mix between a barbershop and a coffee shop.

Reflecting on Coffee With a Beat within this context of Starbucks’ Race Together campaign, what derailed this initiative was not Starbucks’ heavy-handed/aloof assumptions that they’d be doing something new or different as the NYT profile appears to be suggesting.  Rather, where Starbucks fell short was that Race Together exposed Starbucks’ tenuous relationships to the communities within which it resides.  It is a chain that is at once everywhere and nowhere.

And in so doing by launching Race Together, Starbucks laid bare that these conversations are not taking place within its stores.

This is neither a good or bad thing per se.

It just goes to serve as a reminder if you want your coffee with a beat, then you should look somewhere other than Starbucks.

Lonnae O’Neal: A black girl, a white guy and an inexplicable tweet – The Washington Post

Apology notwithstanding, I wonder why the tweet happened? Not only was it foul, but it was inexplicable. And it has raised other questions.

Is it simple misogyny, because Davis is getting the kind of attention that Casselberry might want? In addition to the Disney movie, Davis has a line of shoes and a new autobiography — “Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name” — and is the subject of magazine covers and interviews on ESPN. Maybe her success made Casselberry feel left out, so he reached for the most reductive word for women that he knows.

Or does this visceral association, this connecting of two unlike things, of 13-year-old and slut, happen because Davis is black?

via Lonnae O’Neal: A black girl, a white guy and an inexplicable tweet – The Washington Post.