I am astounded that we have to have this conversation over and over again. Every time we have a conflict flare up, there is a clueless response to children and their understanding. It’s too late to teach anything of value now. It is nigh on impossible to teach anything which isn’t propaganda or balanced in the moment.
Now, I have been cited elsewhere, in quoting Paulo Friere I’m saying that “teaching is an act of politics”. I do not believe it is our job as educators to pitch our political views with the aim to promote or recruit children. However, I do believe that it is the responsibility of the teacher to give young people the tools to navigate society as political entities. So, they can go forward and promote or resist what serves them.
This comes with some very simple skills. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that most adults also have this identifiable gap.
1. Recognise your own bias.
2. Read widely.
3. Analyse the sources – including the legacy of power that brought us to this point.
4. Sit in uncomfortableness.
Recognise Your Bias
This has a dual aspect. The first is around the self, the other the world as is it.
Answer this question honestly:
What do you believe?
Now reflect on this:
Babette Rothschild talks of dual consciousness in psychological arena. This means that therapists are both the person they are in the moment and the person who got to the end. Think about what you has happened in your life. What have you been trained through your experience?
I would be remiss if I failed to mention Dubois and dual consciousness, where Black folx are subjected to both a home and away mould of being. Existing in one space may leave you lacking in another. One filter may leave blind spots for the other.
The second is that the world is generally tiered towards power resting with white, male, middle class, anglophone, cis, heater, etc. This means that regardless of what characteristics you inhabit the likelihood is that you have an implicit bias toward the above. Mainly because that is what you have seen, experienced and been taught.
This is one is essential, there is a safety warning later. You must deliberately read things you disagree with with an open mind*. The reality is if you don’t, you will not be able to engage critically with any argument.
But, if you are a Person of Colour this has to be done when you are in position of strength. I am not saying you should read overtly white supremacist material which denies your experience explicitly etc this potential dangerous. Please do protect your peace.
This idea of an open mind is about allowing yourself to reflect inward. I am advocating trying to engage in diffracting, understanding that you are both apparatus, observer and part and parcel of the to object you are measuring; Barad refers this is as cutting together apart (the heavy ontology of agential realism is for another day ).
Analyse Your Sources
This is another essential part of analysis. Philosophically speaking an argument is designed to persuade.
“We will go to the train station at 4pm”
Is not an argument.
“We will go to the train station at 4pm because its cheaper, it means we will get there on time and it means that we can get food at my sisters restaurant before the train”
Is more or an argument.
Now the agenda. Does it benefit me or mine in the statement? Where would I have got my information and life view point from?
Finally – don’t be Scared of the ‘and’
Polarised thought is riddled through our community and society. I think this is a symptom of laziness. It take work to open your mind, to find voices on both sides of aisle.
So, whose side are you on? Who started it.
Is it correct to condemn any of murder? Yes. Which means we should denounce the acts of the 7th October 2023
conterminously point out that this didn’t start on that day.