While this was not my intention; it seems as though blackness serves as a constant in terms of a theme of my blog. I think that’s because in order to be aware of one’s treaty identity; one must be oriented in their sense of self. One must know who they are, where they come from, and what on earth that might mean.
In terms of my racial identity, my mother is from Grenada; a country that was colonized by many countries of Western Europe. My father is from the southern United States. He was born in a time where racialized segregation was as popular as people deciding who he must be.
When I have to articulate my worldview it’s really hard. It’s challenging because blackness is not a monolith and I don’t want to suggest that there is one way to articulate a “Black worldview”. Due to my background: Love, Strength, and self determination contribute to my worldview.
Love( at the risk of playing into the pedagogy of palatability), is something that my family has always practiced. This is not like anything depicted in the media. It’s not always sweet, not always delicate, and most certainly, is never one thing. It is rooted in sacrifice and understanding. Strength plays a role in my worldview due to the fact that institutions have been telling people who look like me what they must do and who they must be. This is sobering, frustrating, and defeating. In order to maintain one’s sense of self, one must be resilient. Finally, self determination is something that contributes to my worldview. Something that I appreciate from my parents is how they live their lives on their own terms; not according to what society deems to be appropriate from a man or woman of colour.
In terms of my teacher identity, these are values that play a role in my practice. Students will usually ask for love in unloving ways. This is why we have to take kids where they’re at. It’s hard and it usually sucks. But, that’s how people work. You can’t change them; you can only love them. In addition, I have zero interest in teaching victims. The students in my class will have a safe space to express what they feel and to have their feelings acknowledged. There is a time limit for this, however. The students that will be in my class are stronger than they realize and in order for them to discover that they need to take risks.
Finally, self-determination, I have no interest in telling my students who they must be. That is not my job. There will be expectations and they will accomplish them in relation to their work. At the end of the day, they will choose who they want to become.
When I think about the values that are informed from my racial identity; I realize that some ideas are similar to some Indigenous communities. Perhaps being myself in the classroom could be considered an act of decolonization? Or at least an act of resistence?