Reframing is Self-care and Social Change

I used to tell my students that ideology never announces itself as ideology. It naturalizes itself like the air we breath. It doesn’t acknowledge that it is a way of looking at the word; it proceeds as if it is the only way of looking at the world. At its most effective, it renders itself unassailable: just the way things are. Not an opinion, not the result of centuries of implicit and explicit messaging, not a means of upholding a power structure. It just is.

Source: the shame is ours

In politics our frames shape our social policies and the institutions we form to carry out policies. To change our frames is to change all of this. Reframing is social change.

When we successfully reframe public discourse, we change the way the public sees the world. We change what counts as common sense. Because language activates frames, new language is required for new frames. Thinking differently requires speaking differently.

Source: The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate

When your kid is DXed as autistic, almost all of the professional advice you get from education and healthcare is steeped in deficit ideology. The unhealthiness, unhelpfulness, and disconnectedness of this worldview leads some to consult autistic adults. Then, you discover neurodiversity and the social model of disability. And then, maybe, intersectionality, design for real life, and equity literate education. And then you find yourself in the healthier framing of structural ideology that is better for your kid and better for the systems and institutions that you’re now trying to improve.

Reframe.

Source: A Change of Frame: From Deficit Ideology to Structural Ideology – Ryan Boren

Reframe these states of being that have been labelled deficiencies or pathologies as human differences.

Source: Normal Sucks: Author Jonathan Mooney on How Schools Fail Kids with Learning Differences

Resisting normal requires reframing who and what we call the problem. It wasn’t the ADD or the dyslexia that disabled me. What disabled me were limitations not in myself, but within the environment.

I came to reframe these disorders as social constructs, and the problem wasn’t in me but in the environment. I had hoped that this would be the end of it: if my so-called disabilities were social constructs that weren’t real, then I was normal, wasn’t I? At that point in my life, I still wanted to be normal, because not normal has always been less than, and to claim normal is an attempt to reclaim oneself.

But it doesn’t work that way. This act of reclaiming is really an act of self-negation. Every society has struggled to integrate and accept difference. Social systems have either corrected difference to make it disappear or included, even tolerated, certain types of differences as normal—differences that don’t require changes to the world of the same. Just declaring a love of diversity and renaming certain differences as normal, while the world stays the same, is to tell kids like me that we are all different and then set us loose in a social environment that tells us, compels us to stop being different.

Source: Mooney, Jonathan. Normal Sucks (p. 159, 165). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.

Learning about neurodiversity at school has potential to support a positive autistic identity. The deficit perspective Maia and Ninja had can lead to negative effects on well-being. Ernie’s autistic identity was more positive and informed by other autistic people. Curricular materials developed from the perspectives of autistic people on how to teach autistic students about neurodiversity and autistic culture need to be available to educators.

Source: INSAR 2020 Virtual Meeting – 419.060 – “They’re like the People That Aren’t Exactly, like, Normal Brained.”: Neurodiversity from the Perspectives of Three Autistic Adolescent Young Women. 

Via:

Resistant > Resilient

jon adams on Twitter: “I don’t want to be ‘resilient’ to the poor attitudes & hostile environment so often society sets out before #autistic people I want to be ‘resistant’ to the poor attitudes & hostile environment so often society sets out before #autistic people #AutisticCultureShift”

Jorn Bettin on Twitter: “Spot-on. “Help” to become resilient only perpetuates and amplifies toxic power gradients. #AutisticCultureShift must include #Resistance and #AutisticCollaboration. That’s the path to a safer environment. Don’t trust anyone who claims we can’t collaborate https://t.co/iVxYFUUY9G.… https://t.co/VWrboWg9rF”

Ryan Boren on Twitter: “Resistant \> Resilient I like that as pushback against grit, mindset marketing, inspoporn, bootstrap ideology, and deficit ideology.… https://t.co/0fBAl4DZZH”

Related,

Masking the real history of high school in America also helps the DeVoses of the world obscure legitimate problems the education system has always faced—problems that have been deliberately created and maintained. Funding inequality and racial segregation are rarely the focus of these sorts of stories about an ever-unchanging educational system. The dominant narrative instead tends to point to teachers or curricula, or even bells and early start times, as the reason schools are “broken” and that students aren’t being adequately prepared for the future.

Source: The History of the Future of High School – VICE

Shame is toxic. It is the difference between “sorry I did” and “sorry I am.”

Source: Shame is not a Weapon. – Love Learning….

Guilt is feeling bad about something you did, something you can fix. Shame is feeling bad about who you are.

Source: Ben Foss on Dyslexia and Shame

The closet can only stop you from being seen. It is not shame-proof.

And that is what happens when you soak one child in shame and give permission to another to hate.

Source: Hannah Gadsby: Nanette – Netflix

Via: Hannah Gadsby on Shame, Power, and Comedy

We should spend more time talking about how we change the environment that surrounds people and not the people themselves.

Source: The Gift: LD/ADHD Reframed

Interpretive phenomenological analysis of the data revealed four core themes in participants’ theory of mind experiences and strategies, all of which highlighted how a more accurate representation of autistic theory of mind is one of difference rather than deficit. For instance, data showed that autistic heightened perceptual abilities may contribute to mentalizing strengths and that honesty in autism may be less dependent on systemizing rather than personal experience and choice. Such findings suggest that future research should reexamine autistic characteristics in light of their ability to enhance theory of mind processing. Understanding how an autistic theory of mind is uniquely functional is an imperative step toward both destigmatizing the condition and advocating for neurodiversity.

Source: What am I thinking? Perspective-taking from the perspective of adolescents with autism – Gray Atherton, Ben Lummis, Susan X Day, Liam Cross, 2018

Via:

In the U.S., we have become so accepting of the fact that poverty is not a symptom of a grossly unequal economy, or the result of numerous systemic failures, or the product of years of trickle-down economics, but instead, that the only thing standing between a poor person and the life of their dreams is their own decisions, their own choices, and their own failures.

Source: If You’ve Never Lived In Poverty, Stop Telling Poor People What To Do

The politics of resentment frames in terms of deficit ideology. Reframe from deficit to structural ideology.

A Change of Frame: From Deficit Ideology to Structural Ideology

Mindset Marketing, Behaviorism, and Deficit Ideology

structural ideology > deficit ideology

I updated “Mindset Marketing, Behaviorism, and Deficit Ideology” with selections from “Grit and Growth Mindset: Deficit Thinking?”.

Thomas points to the deficit thinking that is inescapable with grit and growth mindset-The idea that students who do not demonstrate white, well-resourced definitions of perseverance with curriculum that may or may not be meaningful to them, in a larger system that is often operated with intentional and unintentional bias against their success, and to act upon those perseverance ideals daily are somehow less disciplined than others, diminished in a way, and that teachers must “fix” what’s wrong in them, (i.e., personal character and maturity) and not fix their environments and the controlling narratives of those in power that perpetuate this constant diminished state.

Author and educator Richard Cash agrees, referring to deficit thinking as the, “spoken and unspoken assumptions about a student’s lack of self-regulation, ability, or aptitude. The most devastating impact of deficit thinking is when differences-particularly socio-cultural differences-are perceived as inferior, dysfunctional, or deviant … Typically, schools are designed to ‘fix’ students who are achieving poorly or misbehaving. However, by blaming students, we exonerate ourselves as the possible cause-using the symptom to overlook the source” (June 2018).

Thomas ties it to his critique of grit/growth mindset: “Both growth mindset and grit … mistake growth mindset/grit as the dominant or even exclusive quality causing success in student learning (ignoring the power of systemic influences) and then create an environment in which some students (too often black, brown, and poor) are defined in deficit terms-that they lack growth mindset/grit.” He adds, “[S]tudents are better served by equity practices couched in efforts to alleviate the systemic forces that shape how they live and learn regardless of their character.”

In a separate post, he argues that it is particularly harmful, yet typically American, thinking to assume that students’ success and failure is driven solely by individual character and behavior, when actually, so much of any one individual’s success or failure is driven by social forces, environment of birth, and systemic biases. He recommends Sendhil Mullainathan’s Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much to clarify this point, as do I-It’s a thoughtful read.

Thomas and others claim that growth mindset/grit programs, “disproportionately target racial minorities and impoverished students, reinforcing that most of the struggles within these groups academically are attributable to deficits in those students … linked to race and social class … [which] perpetuate race and class stereotypes, and as a result, work against inclusive pedagogy and culturally relevant pedagogy” (Thomas, 2018).

Thomas promotes author and educator Paul Gorski’s assertion that, “Equity literate educators … reject deficit views that focus on fixing marginalized students rather than fixing the conditions that marginalize students, and understand the structural barriers that cheat some people out of the opportunities enjoyed by other people.”

At the Equity Literacy Institute, Gorski is clear: “We must avoid being lulled by popular ‘diversity’ approaches and frameworks that pose no threat to inequity-that sometimes are popular because they are no real threat to inequity.”

Source: Grit and Growth Mindset: Deficit Thinking?

I updated “The Pipeline Problem and the Meritocracy Myth” with an embed of this tweet.

NBC News on Twitter: “”It’s a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his bootstraps. And many Negroes, by the thousands and millions, have been left bootless … as the result of a society that deliberately made his color a stigma…” https://t.co/ycN2yl4qhP #MLK50… https://t.co/y3Qe5ThYRH”