Thursday, April 22, 2010

Go green and Mess with Texas

Today is Earth Day, and I do think that if Mixed Race America had a sponsoring color then perhaps it would be green, not because people who claim to be "colorblind" use "green" as their default racial mode (as in, "I accept all people, black, yellow, red and green!"), meant to signal their racial inclusivity but which, instead, seems to be about a rhetoric of multiculturalism that doesn't really interrogate racism.

Anyway, if you are interested in what you can do, not just for today but for every day, here's a page for Earth Day events. One thing, very small I know, that I have begun doing is making everything digital in terms of my classes--the articles we read, the assignments on Blackboard, and the papers that my students send me as attachments. I know, totally tiny in the scheme of things. But you have to start somewhere.

Speaking of starting somewhere, I think many of you know about what the Texas State Board of Education has been advocating about the way American history should be taught to the children of Texas. Yet this isn't just about Texas since so many text book publishers are located in Texas and steer the content of their textbooks (esp. History) based on the recommendations of the Texas State Board of Education. So the recent conservative majority on the board, and their changes in terms of how American history should be taught (de-emphasizing slavery, making social change seem like something granted by the majority to the poor minorities, and talking about Italian and German nationals being interned along with Japanese Americans during WWII in order to de-emphasize the egregious unconstitutionality of the Japanese American internment) is something we should all be VERY CONCERNED ABOUT.

What can you do? Stop by the ACLU website (click here). You can sign a letter to the board. Will it work? I don't know. But it's something small that you CAN do and that MAY just help--and lets face it, we all have to try to do what we can, whenever we can. And if you can do more--if you can send this out to your friends or on your blogs. If you can get more media attention on this issue or provide a corrective to the conservative misrepresentation of history that Texas conservatives want to shove down the nation's throat--then please JUST DO IT!

2 comments:

saraspeaking said...

Ugh, yes. I've read an annotated version of the changes they're proposing and it's just infuriating.

Frankly, I'd love to see textbooks as such go the way of the dodo - they always cost too much money and are nearly always obsolete the minute they come off the presses. Plus, they don't provide an opportunity for students to hear, much less understand, the different opinions present in the fields they're studying, and the textbook model stifles critical thinking. I'll allow that things like math are probably best taught from a textbook, but subjective studies (history, "social science," literature, etc.) would be better served by providing students with a number of sources and providing them with the tools to engage those sources on a critical level.

Sigh. Me an' my wishful thinking...

Jennifer said...

I totally know what you mean saraspeaking--I'm with you on the wishful thinking...