Cone lectured on his new book, A Black Theology of Liberation. After class, Dad approached the professor.
“What is your definition of a Christian?” Dad asked in his deeply earnest way.
Cone looked at Dad with equal seriousness and responded: “A Christian is one who is striving for liberation.”
James Cone’s working definition of a Christian described a Christianity of the enslaved, not the Christianity of the slaveholders. Receiving this definition was a revelatory moment in Dad’s life. Ma had her own similar revelation in her Black student union—that Christianity was about struggle and liberation. My parents now had, separately, arrived at a creed with which to shape their lives, to be the type of Christians that Jesus the revolutionary inspired them to be. This new definition of a word that they’d already chosen as their core identity naturally transformed them.
Source: Kendi, Ibram X.. How to Be an Antiracist.
“A Christian is one who is striving for liberation.” I like that. Far better than the Southern Strategy Christianity I grew up with.
That’s how the power of philanthropy works. It sets the agenda. Personalized learning. The Common Core. Charter schools. Measures of Effective Teaching. It didn’t push for these ideas because that’s what people wanted. It helped convince politicians that these were the ideas that education needed. That is to say, education policy has not been shaped by democratic forces as much as it has been by philanthropic ones — by the billionaires who wield immense political power through their “charity.”
Rather than reject this plutocracy — a plutocracy that has corrupted so many of our democratic institutions long before President Trump ever came into office — Michael Bloomberg is asking Democrats to embrace it.
Source: HEWN, No. 343 – HEWN (Hack Education Weekly Newsletter)
#EmptyThePews points to the necessity of abandoning and confronting anti-democratic Christianity. Some religion embraces pluralism, but fundamentalism, in its intolerance, undermines pluralism, and white evangelical Protestantism is a variety of fundamentalism.
Source: If we want to save American democracy, we must have a very difficult conversation about evangelical Christianity | The Conversationalist
Flow state is a term coined by Csikszentmihalyi to describe “the experience of complete absorption in the present moment” (Nakamura and Csikszentmihalyi, 2009). It is widely viewed as highly positive and many texts advise readers on how to attain it when performing tasks. Autistic people are sometimes puzzled that flow seems to be regarded as somewhat elusive and difficult to experience, since the common autistic experience of complete engagement with an interest fits the definition of flow well. Thus, it is not hard to find accounts of autistic detailed listening that seem to describe a flow state:
“When I work on my musical projects, I tend to hear the whole score in my head and piece every instrument loop detail where they fit. It relaxes me and makes me extremely aware of what I’m doing to the point that I lose track of time.”
Source: Autistic listening
Monotropic minds are more prone to flow.
It’s a strange existence, being an autistic adult in a profession overflowing with autism mommy-ism and misinformation. Within these walls, everyone means well. Everyone wants to show their “support” and help raise “tolerance.” And everyone, for the most part, gets it wrong.
It’s really starting to get to me.
Source: I’m Dreading April: the Trials of an Autistic Teacher » The Aspergian
I’m dreading April too.
What happens in a world in which white people begin to make dubious claims about how diversity initiatives disadvantage them and take away positions that they are qualified for and entitled to? You have a generation of white men who engage in grievance politics subjecting us all to their rage and their Trump. What happens if these same arguments undergird claims to the presidency on the left? Unfortunately, Sanders’ progressivism does not keep him or his supporters from making the same kinds of problematic merit-based claims to presidential employment that white men in every other industry make.
These voters also choose never to think about the ways that merit-based arguments of the same sort are deployed by corporate America or the halls of academia to wall women and racial minorities out of access to great jobs and organizational leadership opportunities. Anyone who has ever served on a committee charged with hiring candidates who bring some diversity to a place understands how things go when the white guy who meets all the criteria (because he has had structural access to all the privileges that would help him meet all the criteria) is up against a promising woman or person of color who is very good but falls down in a few categories. Or conversely she’s the best, but the standards as written and understood make hiring her seem like too much of a risk. Hiring committees often struggle with what feels to them like the fundamental unfairness of allowing a candidate’s diversity to put them over the top. Many (white) members of these committees see this as a sullying of (a mythic) meritocracy in a way that disadvantages white men. But first, they have to believe that the man in question received all his qualifications on the merits and not because of structural privileges. I expect people on the progressive and radical left, those who claim to understand how intersectionality works, to know better, but they aren’t acting like they do.
The experiences one gains from being marginalized because of racism and sexism offer invaluable perspectives that often make candidates inclined to be more egalitarian and inclusive, precisely because they know intimately what exclusion feels like.
Source: Why Elizabeth Warren’s Gender Matters in the 2020 Election | Time
The meritocracy myth and the “lowering the bar” narrative are big barriers to inclusion. This study frames the struggle as “merit vs. the diversity imperative” and identifies it as one of four primary organizational challenges to D&I.
ABLEISM a·ble·ism ˈābə-ˌli-zəm noun A system that places value on people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, intelligence, excellence and productivity. These constructed ideas are deeply rooted in anti-Blackness, eugenics, colonialism and capitalism. This form of systemic oppression leads to people and society determining who is valuable and worthy based on a person’s appearance and/or their ability to satisfactorily [re]produce, excel and “behave.” You do not have to be disabled to experience ableism.
a working definition by Talila “TL” Lewis in conversation with Disabled Black and other negatively racialized folk, especially Dustin Gibson; updated January 2020
Source: TL’s BLOG – TALILA A. LEWIS
I’m still waking up, and will be perpetually struggling with my awareness and complicity in all of this. As I continue to wake up, and become more vocal against the hand that feeds me, I am reminded of how important it is for us to acknowledge those who have been doing this all along. It is alright for us white male technologists to step up and become critical of what we have built, but we shouldn’t be taking the lead on defining how to fix all of this, assuming our regular domineering role in simultaneously fucking up the world, while also trying to fix it once we realize what idiots we’ve been. We need to make sure we are respectful of those who have been vocal all along, and work hard to shine a light on newer more diverse voices when it comes to speaking out, and crafting any plans to fix this mess. Our desire to be center stage is a big problem. We need to step back and develop a more thoughtful strategy as we move forward.
Source: Some Thoughts As We Go Through Our Internet Technology Awakening | Kin Lane
Autistic people are not aliens with whom scientists cannot communicate. We are right here. We are reading what you have to say, and that communication can go both ways.
Source: Why autism research needs more input from autistic people | Spectrum | Autism Research News
It’s been a thoroughly demoralizing few weeks on the advocacy front with a progressive Democrat endorsing ABA in education and the vile flood of ableism from the left directed at disabled self-advocates for sharing tales of ableism in the gig economy.
I cling to the bright spot that is Alfie Kohn’s powerful piece of advocacy against behaviorism in ed.
Autism and Behaviorism
See also his previous piece on behaviorism.
It’s Not About Behavior