Race, Class, & Immigration

Myths about Teachers: We Need More Police in Our Public Schools

By Bill Ayers, Crystal Laura, and Rick Ayers

In “You Can’t Fire the Bad Ones“: And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, educators Bill Ayers, Crystal Laura and Rick Ayers flip the script on many enduring and popular myths about teachers, teachers’ unions, and education that permeate our culture. By unpacking these myths, the authors aim to challenge readers to rethink their assumptions about teachers. Praxis Center shares an excerpt from Myth 16: Teachers Are Unable to Deal Adequately with the Disciplinary Challenges Posed By Today’s Youth, and We Need More Police in Our Public School Buildings to Do the Job and Maintain Law and Order.

“Teachers Are Unable to Deal Adequately with the Disciplinary Challenges Posed By Today’s Youth, and We Need More Police in Our Public School Buildings to Do the Job and Maintain Law and Order.”

Public schools are plagued by gangs and fighting, assault and battery, drug dealing, and other criminal behavior, including, in extreme instances, actual shoot-outs between students. All of these hard realities demand an active and alert police presence to maintain safety, order, and discipline.

Schools must be safe havens for all kids, as well as for all school personnel. The good kids who want to learn and feel secure must be shielded from the actions of a minority of bad kids who get no discipline at home and have no respect for their classmates, the teacher, or learning itself. Suspending kids for bad behavior and sending them home may have made sense decades ago, but it’s no longer an adequate control: too often parents don’t believe in strong management and probably aren’t home anyway because the mother may be working two jobs, and in many cases the father isn’t home because he has left or is in prison.

Introduction to African American History

This course examines the history, legacy, and controversy of the Black Panther Party (1966- 1982). Founded as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in October 1966 by radical college students Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, the Black Panther Party (BPP) became one of the most popular and infamous Black Power era organizations. The Black Panthers’ combination of militant rhetoric and paramilitary accouterments (which included black berets, leather jackets, guns, rifles, and at times bandoliers) turned the group in modern revolutionaries engaged in a quest for black liberation by any means necessary. Dr. Peniel E. Joseph Read More 

Whiteness in Higher Education: A Primer

This document is an informal resource designed for White educators (student affairs educators and/or faculty) in higher education interested in anti-racism work, although hopefully, it can be useful to White people in any number of professions.  This is not a scholarly piece; neither do I consider it a syllabus because the depth of information is insufficient for that purpose. The best way to view this document is as a primer: it is far from comprehensive and operates only as an introduction (at best) to the topic.  Many useful works on Whiteness are omitted here.  This primer also (intentionally) omits many great works that deal with larger societal and historical context of racism in the US. At the end of the document, I include links to public syllabi that should prove informational and relevant to understanding the historical, cultural, and institutional aspects of racism in the US. J. Michael Denton, PhD…

Raising a Brown Baby in the Age of Trump

By Patricia Valoy, Science and Social Justice, Contributing Editor

There is very little that an 11-week-old baby needs, but I find myself ordering a poster on immigration for my baby daughter’s room. I tell myself that she needs to be raised seeing political art by people of color, because I want her to know that her people, Black and Brown people, are valuable. I do a lot of that these days, finding ways to teach my baby about the world I have brought her into and ease her into the activism that I am so engrossed in. My daughter doesn’t talk yet. My parenting doesn’t extend beyond breastfeeding and diaper changes. And still, I think it’s important that I learn how to raise a baby in the age of Trump.

Social Justice and Children’s/YA Literature

This course will teach how to select, read, evaluate and analyze depictions and aspects of social justice and injustice in children’s and young adult literature. Through various genres of literature intended for both the child and adolescent reader, students will develop an informed awareness of the complex perspectives, uses, and boundaries of literature and will learn to recognize and analyze how adolescent and children’s literature depicts stories related to social justice, tolerance, equality and social change. We will engage in a variety of teaching/learning methods to cover the course material, including but not limited to: lecture, small/large group discussions, independent and group projects, written and oral presentations. Professor Sarah Park Dahlen St. Catherine University View Syllabus

Making Visible the Lives and Deaths of People in Custody

Illinois Deaths in Custody Project

“Those who commit the murders write the reports.”  — Ida B. Wells, Lynch Law In All Its Phases, 1893

In 2017, at least twenty-two people died at Chicago’s Cook County Jail (CCJ). This news is not readily available. Rather, multiple Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests filed by the Illinois Deaths in Custody Project (IDCP) with Cook County entities to confirm names and glean a few more institutionally produced “facts” produced the following: Clifford V. Nelson, 49, died while being transferred; Lopez House, 47, collapsed and died at the jail; Lindbert McIntosh, 57, died in his sleep; Jerome Monroe, 56, also died in his sleep at CCJ. By November of 2017, a few of these deaths, somewhat surprisingly, began to make local news.

Yet, the deaths are not actually that surprising. Death is business as usual in our nation’s prisons and jails.

Keorapetse Kgositsile on Exile, Art, and Freedom: “What I write defines who I am”

Internationally renowned poet and activist ‘Bra Willie’ Kgositsile passed away on January 3. In his loving memory, Praxis Center is republishing this interview with Kgositsile that took place while he was visiting Kalamazoo for the 2014 Without Borders Conference.

A note from Senior Editor, Lisa Brock:
My dear Willie. You were so smart, so witty, and your poems just blew us away. Pablo Neruda, Richard Wright, and Amiri Baraka were some of your muses. It was your poem entitled “The Last Poets” that inspired the 1970s Afro-futurist group to take that name. Red Song by Vusi is based on another of your poems. So happy we were able to hang out in Kalamazoo and in South Africa over the last few years. I’ll never forget you and Pedro Perez-Sarduy at the old Hothouse in the 1980s reading poems of liberation. I’ll always remember being in your car in Jo’burg with Muddy Waters blasting through the speakers. l’ll never forget the comedic rumba you and Gloria Rolando [Magaly Rolando Casamayor] acted out at the Arcus Center. I’ll never forget you telling my students that English is actually a commercial language that one had to tame to make beautiful. And then there was Nikky Finney and you talking about being black and colonized and writing, on stage. And so much more. My students in 2009 and faculty from K in 2016….you greeted them in South Africa. My condolences to Thebe and the rest of your family. You were clearly a man of the people and of the Pan-African Left. Apartheid forced you into exile, yet because of that you blessed us with your presence You were family. Go well Comrade.

“It Is the Young People Who Will Free Us”: Resisting Militarized Violence, from Honduras to Chicago

By Gaspar Sánchez and Veronica Morris-Moore | In These Times

Gaspar Sánchez and Veronica Morris-Moore are young organizers from Honduras and Chicago, respectively. Gaspar is a leader of the Civil Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and a Lenca indigenous LGBT activist. He was mentored by the late Berta Cáceres, the COPINH co-founder who was assassinated on March 2, 2016. Veronica has been on the front lines of youth struggles in the era of Black Lives Matter, from winning a trauma center to helping oust the state’s attorney who played a role in covering up the Chicago police murder of Laquan McDonald.

Black Mama’s Bail Out Day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3EFXFx9AuY Mary Hooks is the co-director of Southerners On New Ground, or SONG, an Atlanta-based regional LGBTQ nonprofit and one of the organizers of Black Mama’s Bail Out Day. Organizers for Black Mama’s Bail Out Day are calling for an end to the cash bail system, which keeps hundreds of thousands of people who have not been convicted of any crime imprisoned in jails every day nationwide while they await trial.

The Cause That Is Care

By William C. Anderson

During the intense final moments of my mother’s life, I learned the intricate truths of the cause that is care. Dedicating myself to my mom’s caretaking helped me develop my own understanding of praxis. How we choose to live our lives is a reflection of our everyday politics. Care, simply put, is how we meet the needs of those we cherish in our families, communities, and the greater world we live in. Being tied to someone for the sake of helping them maintain their life, safety, and security is something many people may avoid doing. Others often feel compelled to care for loved ones, sometimes because we have no other choice but to do so, but also because we want to be there for for our loved ones in times of hardship and sickness.