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


From: wendy free (wendypaigefree_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Dec 28 2005 - 14:00:28 PST

wow. thanks, diane, for explaining + illustrating the
complexities. this perspective is a lot to think
about. am thankful to be where i am! you are right,
though; i am promoting values. i justify this by
telling myself that it counteracts the negative hidden
curriculum i witness. another reason i feel compelled
to address racism is that even though "we" are
comparatively at ease in dealing with race in my
situation, it still is tiptoed around to a great
extent. for example, i have recently questioned my
kids about describing someone in conversation as,
"that black/white/chinese(referring to asian)girl".
my kids say its ok but i'm not sure. i told them i
feel ok being referred to as "the art teacher" but not
as "the white teacher". my logic seems to be to take
advantage of an open group + environment and see what
is produced. i guess i have more of an art for social
change philosophy than i thought!

wendy free

--- wrote:

> 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 <>:
> > 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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