Is anyone bold enough to poke, kick and push out of the way the elephant in the ‘class’ room.
Its shockimg to really register the personal accounts taken from the short online film Room of Silence’. I felt slightly torn as I was obviously able to identify with both parties in question.
The student wanting to express the very essence of themselves – colour, culture – creativity – done so unapologetically via their artistic space, leveraging somesort of approval/critique via the establishment. Its interesting to me, the very notion of academic institutions is to break down the student in some way, re mould them, inject them with dogma and send them back into society equipped to handle the ways and workings of that society. But if during this ‘remodelling’ the students very essence is being rejected or not properly serviced it’s problematic.
I understand the experiences these students discussed, as I to was a student. Issues of race are still a contentious issue is quite annoying for me to digest, especially coming from the post Obama America we have all observed.
The tutors/lecturers response to not commenting/advising/adjudicating the students of colours work – why? White priviledge? Lack of understanding, knowledge, etiquette? Not caring about varying cultures, colours, creeds?
But overwhelmingly, its this bloody notion of ‘not wanting to offend, not wanting to appear racist’ because ultimately no matter what critique is given these elements maybe perceived to arise via the tutor as their tone or gestures will be misconstrued so…go get Ella the elephant..lets not acknowledge the race fuelled stories, artistic visuals. Lets not do our own research to better support the racially androgynous class, lets not invite in different practitioners who provide alternate viewpoints to this rich platform.
Issues of race within the classroom affects everyone, but how open is our open society really? Our current democracy requires there to be ruling and sebordinate classes/races..so until the tide changes I fear the classroom will not.
What I can do is listen to every student that I come into contact with, establish as early as possible a common factor or topic of discussion that unites us and hopefully vis this orchastrate a safe space to discuss possible concerns relating to race and additional ‘isms’, one seminar at a time.