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Re:[teacherartexchange] lesson idea: race (digest: Dec 26, 2005)

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dianegregory_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Wed Dec 28 2005 - 12:22:26 PST


Hi Wendy,

Some parents in Texas are quite sensitive when teachers attempt to instill
values. They feel that this is their domain. The role of the teacher is to
inform, not to advocate for any position, particulary values about sensitive
topics such as race. Values such as tolerance, open-mindness, moral relativism
and humanism are considered by some as secular humanism and against their
religious beliefs and value system. Some citizens in Texas and other
conservative individuals throughout the United States do not support beliefs
that have anything to due with value pluralism. I think they would support
discussing the various values, but not to the extent of advocating or
supporting a particular position. This is why in Texas, teachers tread lightly
on certain topics. Ironically, these same individuals do not seem to mind if a
value that they support is advocated. I am constantly amazed how such topics
as tolerance, compassion for others, respect for the religious/ideological
beliefs of others can be twisted to mean something that is somehow negative.
But I have seen this kind of thing first hand. It is amazing how teaching
humanistic values can be so misconstrued.

Schools actually do teach values all the time. It is quite difficult to get
away without teaching some kind of value. Some values are more politically
charged than others, race would be one of them in Texas. Remaining neutral and
focusing on the art content, rather
than taking the risk of being portrayed as someone with a liberal hidden agenda,
may be the discreet way to deal with sensitive values in those communities. In
the long run, this may be the best way to be heard, especially in some
conservitive communities in Texas.

I hope this answers your question.

cheers,

Diane

Quoting wendy free <wendypaigefree@yahoo.com>:

> hi dianne and all,
>
> goals i had in mind: awareness, consideration, and
> self reflection. it seems many people are finished
> thinking about race, color, discrimination because
> they believe its resolved. from what i see, we have a
> long way to go. many schools are still segregated as
> are neighborhoods; literacy rates and earnings for
> people of color lag behind; prison populations are
> greatly skewed; representation of nonwhites in mass
> media is lacking, for starters.
>
> nearly all my advanced art students are nonwhite. i
> am white. the project i am envisoning will be
> autobiographical. as usual, i will create a sample
> work and incorporate my thoughts on racism. as usual,
> we will look at a diverse group of artists whose work
> relates to the topic. why do this? i want my
> students to know that this is a topic i and many
> others view as important and i want them to have a
> chance to express their experiences and ideas
> regarding race. if my students are comfortable with
> displaying the resulting artworks, i believe they
> could generate discussion among other students and
> teachers, too.
>
> hope this adds some clarification. i was a little
> confused about the cautions against instilling values.
> can you tell me more specifically what may be
> problematic?
>
> wendy free
>
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--
Diane
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