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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

The Way Not to Write About “White Teachers”

I hate posts like this one. First of all, I resent having the word “teacher” qualified in any way when describing my profession. I’m not a white teacher, female teacher, heterosexual teacher, mother teacher, etc. And if anybody referred to me as any of these in person, I’d end the conversation right away. 

Also, I find the idea that teachers need to be exhorted en masse not to refer to students using the N-word to be quite insane. I’m sure there is a couple of freaks running around who’d want to do that. But this problem is not endemic to the teaching profession. There is zero need to tell teachers not to “frustrate yourself by trying to figure out why black people can say the N word and white people can’t.” Teachers are frustrated by low pay and erosion of union power. But to imagine crowds of teachers fuming over their incapacity freely to use racial slurs is insane. 

The whole post feels like something aimed at a bunch of Russian tourists from Irkutsk and not American teachers who hardly need this type of platitude recited at them.

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5 thoughts on “The Way Not to Write About “White Teachers”

  1. First of all, I resent having the word “teacher” qualified in any way when describing my profession.

    In any way?? I am definitely a mathematics teacher, not a ballet teacher nor a history teacher.

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    • I can’t easily be defined in this way. I’m not “a Spanish teacher” because that sounds like I’m either from Spain or only teach the language, and neither is true.

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      • “I can’t easily be defined in this way”

        I wholeheartedly agree, at the university level a person teaching narrow subject X (as it appears in the syllabus) isn’t really doing their job.

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        • I’m creating a course with a history prof and it will be on capitalism and delivered in English. It will have nothing to do with Spanish at all. I want to teach about liquid capital as a global force. The university seems to be very encouraging.

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  2. Shakti on said:

    You think an “educational consultant” is going to address unions and low pay? Hahaha.

    This is exactly what you’d expect out of an “diversity” seminar 101 that management makes people attend.

    But to imagine crowds of teachers fuming over their incapacity freely to use racial slurs is insane.

    One would think so, but there’s always that one dude in middle management that brings it up and takes all the time up debating it so…

    The whole post feels like something aimed at a bunch of Russian tourists from Irkutsk and not American teachers who hardly need this type of platitude recited at them.

    Ironically the tourist might be more receptive to an explanation because they already know they don’t “know” every social norm. For example if someone tells me not to make the ok hand signal because it means “your asshole” in a particular country while I’m there, I just accept it and don’t launch into an apologia that it’s harmless and not obscene where I grew up, ad infinitum.

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