Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday May 22nd ~ 2010

Haters and Big Ol' Meanies Not Allowed

Sorry for being away for so long.

Whew! Santa Fe is over and I have absolutely no time to properly recuperate till I turn around and leave my home for 3 weeks. I am heading to the East Coast for Bead Fest Wire in Valley Forge PA, then off to Best Bead the following weekend in Miami FL, then finishing up in Cleveland the weekend after than one. Right now I think I am going to be leaving Tucson in 12 days for a visit with my mom in Dayton and then on my east coast tour and then finally back home somewhere around the 26th of 27th.

I had one experience in teaching this time that totally shook me to my core. In the safe haven of my classroom i was not prepared to be confronted with pure hatred and bigotry. I turned on some music for the students to listen to while they were working and I chose BB King and a student stated very loudly for all to hear "TWICE" that they could not listen to BB King because he was just a "screaming n_iger". To say that I was shocked, shaking and ashen faced was an understatement.

It took me a day or two to really figure out what it was that had shaken me so badly. While I was taking to the girls about it a word that I had not used before slipped out. I said that I felt violated in some way. I have witnessed hatred, bigotry and the downright stupidity that comes with this kind of ignorance. But, to have it face me in my own classroom in a world where we welcome all individuals shook me to my core.

This experience has changed me as a teacher and as a person. Nothing about this persons appearance or demeanor could have clued me into their extreme levels of ignorance and bigotry. I wish that there was an option for teachers to insert into the class description…



Wendy said...

Aww.. your first experience! Well, I haven't had it stated quite that obvious but I have a person in my condominium complex that just hates it when blacks move in..It just shakes me to the core when she says this, the first time I really took her to task because I would not be me if I did not. It did not help though.
I would have had to refund the persons money and ask them to leave the class. There is still much ignorance and prejudice in this world.

Joan Tucker said...

I am sorry you had that experience.
You do indeed have some rights. I have trained discrimination issues for over 20 years and you do have rights. I have a poster.. "no disrespectful sexist, racist or homophobic remarks welcome in this classroom."

You may tell your class at the beginning that you have ground rules for teaching and you will ask anyone to leave who is disrespectful in a sexist, racist, or homophobic manner There are laws and also social conventions and you do not have to teach in a hostile
environment for you or anyone else who might be a student in your classroom. PLease ask
around and know you have a right to create a safe space for all students when you are teaching!
Joan Tucker

Anne E. Mitchell said...

I have witnessed and experienced this type of hatred in my life... just never in the safety and confines of my classroom.

Joan Tucker said...

Anne, What is bone chilling is what about the multi cultural, gay, multiracial students who paid to be in class and a fellow classmate says something like that.. how could they be creative after experiencing that lack of safety?? Wow, Lots of ponder JT

Joan Tucker said...

"Lots to ponder".. sorry

Wendy said...

Well, that song certainly brought out the worst in that person... I would not expect it in that creative environment. But a woman just told me of an experience she had in her Corporation, a large one,
within the last 10 years where her manager told her she did not need a Masters because she belonged at HOME! I was stopped in my tracks... Didn't we leave that behind in the 80's?
Maybe this person was from the hills of somewhere but god knows where...
I have a friend that has said some of those things "in jest" and I have told her not to do it and we actually got into an argument about it. She said she was joking and I said I didn't care it was insulting to me!

Lezli Goodwin said...

Wow, Anne, I'm so sorry that happened in your class! It's good to have this conversation out loud with fellow teachers, even though it's hard. When you have a plan outlining a reasonable but strong response, you're in a much more powerful position to protect yourself and your students.

Pepita said...

Personnally I had a great time at Bead Fest Santa Fe. Looked for you to say hi, but missed you.

To me it is quite incredible that it could have been the nice woman sitting next to me at one of the other classes making such a statement in your class. The statement itself is unbelievable and I am sorry that it happened.

Beadfest has a policy that an instructor can demand a student to leave (without reimbursement) if their skills are not at the required level. Maybe you should talk to them about including the rule such as Joan stated. At least the organization should be made aware.

Strange to think that this happened while I was having so much fun accross the hall.

My Art and My Soul said...


Unknown said...

I am surprised one of the other students didn't speak up. I'm afraid I couldn't have kept still if that was said in a class I'd come to for learning and inspiration. Totally outrageous!