I had an academic anxiety dream last night, the one where you're supposed to be somewhere because it's the first day of classes, but you don't know which classes or where, so you don't go. It's a bad dream when you're a student, but somehow worse when you're the instructor. Or not. I mean, no one is going to drop me from the class for not showing up, right?
So I looked up my schedule and wrote it down in my book, and I'll do out my syllabus calendar, and hope that helps.
I'm reading a book for our anti-racism work on campus, Beverly Daniel Tatum's "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?". So far it's pretty good. I'm about a third of the way through, and there are some helpful insights, stuff I just hadn't thought about.
The best one for me so far is on page 60 where she explains an incident on page 59, in which a school teacher made some offhand comment that a Black student took as racist, but a white student brushed off in the "he didn't really mean it to be racist way." But other Black students, the kids at the Black table, understood immediately that there was a racism issue and the student wasn't being too sensitive or whatever.
I hadn't really thought about the experience of having other kids not affirm or affirm a Black student's experience of racism, I think because I think of teachers and students interacting more than I think of students and students interacting.
And then when it's pointed out, it's so obvious, isn't it? I feel like duh, what an ignorant so and so I am.
But what does one do to change the white kid's reaction or to help the Black kid get the affirmation s/he needs to process his/her experience? Tatum talks about one program which had Black students get together with an adult facilitator to provide that support in a formal way to students at a school where there were very few Black students and they didn't have the support otherwise. But it seems to me that we need to change the white student's perceptions as well as provide support for the Black students.
At any rate, it's helpful to change my thinking about the Black table as a positive rather than a negative thing in many ways.