Lots of folx are obsessed with the idea that we should or should no boycott people based on their actions and views. When a person dies, these questions are often hurled into the forefront of public discourse.
This weekend saw Prince Philip’s death, the consort of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, and the passing of DMX, one of the most influential artists of the 90s and 00s.
There are often calls for teachers to concentrate on teaching instead of ‘indoctrinating children with their politics. I hope those voices see the hypocrisy in not extending the same conditions to the death of the public figure because if they advocate the norm, this is also an act of politics.
Teachers, if you are reticent in teaching, discussing or decolonising and you are not applying the same measures to the royal family or the status quo we live in, you are not only engaging in politics; you are engaging in brainwashing.
Politics has no part in teaching! (Nor does truth apparently) Teach them to write.
Well, teaching in its entirety is an act of politics. It is the duty of every teacher not to be neutral (Friere). We cannot exist in this isolation in the classroom without impacting on our revolutionary role of endowing (or disendowing) our pupils with the critical and democratic skills to change their world.
I am not saying that we should not teach or mention that a royal family member has left this mortal coil, but I am saying that we can’t have it both ways. Politics that are the norm, good. Politics that give the skills to change, wrong.
Most schools are based on the ideology of the ‘meritocracy’. Work hard kids, the harder you work, the more successful you’ll be. Anyone who has read any of my work knows the falsities of this rhetoric.
Here is the question:
“Sir, What does the royal family do to deserve their success?”
As an educator, it is your duty to encourage this sort of critical thought. Are you prepared for that question? If you are not, don’t engage in the conversation at all. Teach rote facts; radicalisation isn’t the one.
Are you comparing Prince Philip to a Rapper?
What I am asking you to do is make that comparison.
How do you reconcile any of the vast array of issue people present?
“My point is not that everything is bad, but that everything is dangerous, which is not exactly the same as bad. If everything is dangerous, then we always have something to do. So my position leads not to apathy but to a hyper- and pessimistic activism.” (Foucoult, 1983)
Postmodernism philosophy leads that we should be suspicious of all ideas, or more accurately, ‘grand narratives’ which claim the way the world should be (Lyotard, 1979). This binary thought leads to a form of non-knowledge an anti-knowledge that seeks to compare apples and pears and rubbish ideas based on appleness or vegetables’ pearness!
This forms the critique of the Platoian dialectic, in which arguments solely exist to be thrown into the abyss, while this works in reductio ad absurdum context (which are simple logic arguments); This is not how the reality of our world. Society is much more complicated.
Everything in our world is open to interpretation, and the nature of such is investigated by Jaques Derrida. Ultimately there is often no correct answer. Seek not to teach that, wright a student into the halls of critical epistemology.
No matter what happens in schools, those grand narratives exist in society. If we do not prepare our students to be erudite about the world around them, we create more automatons who choose sides and politics without the skills to engage safely.
Philip Good DMX Bad – DMX Good Philip Bad
Even if you largely skipped the above because I have not written in the most accessible language, please take the following from this blog.
There are very rarely good guys and bad guys in this world. Teaching students that goodies should be celebrated and baddies should be denigrated is inherently political as this polarised view does support learning or thought.
Is it true that Prince Philip was overtly racist? Yes. Are some of the lyrics that DMX wrote were problematic? Yes.
The power dynamics, oppression and privilege is the water we all swim in. It is the air we breathe.
There is nothing hypocritical about listening to rap music and abhorring its misogyny, if we own we support it for all its faults. It’s okay to to want a more egalitarian world and own an iphone. This are not dichotomous nor are they hypocritical. It’s okay to believe in right wing economic and fiscal ideology and love the NHS and socialised medicine. Yes, it is fine, to celebrate the royal family but take ownership the problematic nature of their existence and the white supremacy that is the foundation of their establishment.
Teach all of it or teach none of it. All of it and none of it dangerous.
All of it is Politics.