The Paradox of Change

The reading made me think this:

In many ways we live in a paradoxical word. This is dangerous because sometimes people don’t see past the paradox, they get sucked into the black hole and are lost in outer space for all of eternity. An idea that parallels Gestalt’s “Paradoxical Theory of Change”. In one of the video’s Dr. Mac posted and said something like, “Don’t fake cultural awareness around your student.” He said that they can sense it, and know you are not being genuine. I sense this when some of my peers speak.

The more we bring about awareness and change, the more it triggers people to be angered by the unawareness and lack of change.

I would argue that we are living in a world where more than anytime in history:

  • We are trying to save the environment.
  • We are increasing awareness and acceptance of those whom are different than us. The biggest two arenas for this being race and sexual identity: (IMO/also probably undoubtably provable via research and self reported statistics )
  • We are increasing awareness about all things health. Things like, but not limited to: Drug awareness, smoking, chronic illness prevention, treatment and diet not only for gen pop, but for underrepresented populations as well.
  • We are becoming less socially conservative.
  • Education is becoming cheaper….. sikeeeee. You get the point.

The world is changing in this positive way. This is largely because of people like LaMar Timmons-Long who are on a relentless chase of societal/educational equity. We need these driving forces in society to head this change. But I fear in order to get the people who need to change most on board, we need to do it a little more gracefully. We are doing our cause a dis-service by being so awake. An analogy I would use to illustrate my point is:

Your father is a heavy smoke and you want to get him to stop… You hound him, ” Hey listen man you’r an idiot, don’t you know that stuff is slowly killing you? You really need to quit, like yesterday.” This the equivalent of some of the extreme political correctness I see in the University. Approaches like this, and the one above (IMO) drive your intended audience further from your cause. Being that your goal is getting the people who aren’t on board, on board.

What sparked these thoughts for me in the reading was the paragraph that stated: “Black queer people’s stories are an essential part of the foundation of this world. Yet throughout many classrooms, the stories of Black queer students are not considered or told. When you are Black and queer, you are placed in a box in which you are a part of multiple marginalized groups. The world tells you that your way of life is wrong, that you do not belong, and that you are not important.” Lamar Timmons-Long

Is our country (or the world at large) really still telling queer youth that their way of life is wrong and that they are not important? I would agree some people are, but the vast majority aren’t. In my day to day observant passing I just don’t see it. I see positive change. Parent’s accepting their kids for who they are, employers hiring people from all walks of life, and an American society on the cusp of potentially having a democratic candidate that if pro universal health care. We live in a country built on thriving capitalist markets… Bernie is a big deal and at the very least an illustration of change.

I strongly believe that like Timmons-Long states, we need to ” think about who’s voices and experiences are present and lacking in our curriculum.” We need to be deeply in touch with our students and who they are. The proof is in the pudding. Words are just that, words. We cannot force this movement into existence. Action is the voice of equity in education. We need to act out our equitable ideals in the classroom to ensure all societal groups have a fighting chance at success [whatever that may look like to them]. I loved when TL mentioned disrupting our current curriculum. I think that is a great way of phrasing it. Our current curriculum is outdated and ineffective. It needs to be “disrupted” and re-written.

We need to make sure our classroom space feels like home to all marginalized groups and is a place that youth want to spend time, and feel at home. It is not good enough to have 50% of your classroom identify culturally with the vibe of the room. The classroom needs to be a space that students own and are proud to operate in.

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