How to be an Anti-Racist Book Study Page
Check on the weblinks or the images to access the content:
Dr. Debbie Donsky’s Posts
Equity Literacy for All (2015): an article by Paul C. Gorski and Katy Swalwell in Educational Leadership magazine
Poverty, Class, and the Cultivation of Economically Just Educational Policy (2014): an article by Paul C. Gorski for Research Intelligence, a publication of the British Educational Research Association
Case Studies on Diversity & Social Justice Education (2014): an excerpt from the book by Paul C. Gorski and Seema Pothini, published in Teaching Tolerance magazine
Imagining Equity Literacy (or, The Insufficiency of Cultural Proficiency) (2014): a guest blog for the Teaching Tolerance web site
Building a Pedagogy of Engagement for Students in Poverty (2013): published in Phi Delta Kappan, a brief synthesis of instructional and relational strategies.
Five Stereotypes About Poor Families and Education (2013): an excerpt of my book, Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty, published by the Washington Post.
Social Justice: Not Just Another Term for "Diversity": short blog post on the relationship between diversity and social justice efforts in higher education contexts, written for the ACPA Commission for Social Justice Educators
Equity and Social Justice from the Inside-Out: Ten Commitments of a Multicultural Educator (2011): an invited essay for the blog, Equity Matters, hosted by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Education Equity and the Trouble with Pragmatic Decision Making (2011): an essay written for the LeadScape blog
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Book Study Padlet - Share Resources & Ideas!
Please share your ideas, quotes, links and resources on our Book Study Padlet
Book Study Prompts/Questions by Chapter
Questions evolving from the Book Club Kit for How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, in collaboration with the Learning Forward Ontario team.
While we will be focusing on specific questions during each of our book study meeting, here are the questions we feel would best support our work from our educational contexts.
In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi shares his own experience with racist thinking. How does his honesty help give us space to acknowledge and name our own racist behaviors and attitudes?
How do we create spaces in schools where we can name racist behaviours and attitudes in a safe but accountable way?
Kendi writes, “Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity”.
a) What policies/practices in your class, school, board or our ministry support or impede equity?
b) How can the policies and practices in schools produce and sustain anti-oppression work more effectively?
c) What are the possible implications for racist behavior in our discipline policies/practices?
d) How could the differences between policies and practices become more antiracist?
2. a) Why do you think it is so hard for people to not assess other cultures from their own cultural standards?
b) How does doing this trap people in racist ideas?
3) If “denial is the heartbeat of racism”, what are the steps we take in schools to help teachers face their racist
beliefs, words, actions? What about those of our students?
4) Kendi writes, “The only way to undo racism is to constantly identify it and describe it—and then dismantle it.”
a) Why does he believe we need to call out racism when we see it, even if it can be uncomfortable to identify?
b) What is the language that we need to help students become comfortable with when discussing issues of
c) What learning do you need about this topic?
d) What does it mean to dismantle or disrupt curriculum to find the racist aspects in it? Essentially, what does
it mean to decolonize the curriculum?
5) Kendi writes, “The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If
discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist. . . .
The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is
present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”
How can we apply this thinking in our educational contexts?
6. Kendi writes, “People are racist out of self-interest, not out of ignorance.”
What does that show in terms of the possibilities for education?
7. The book’s central message is that the opposite of “racist” isn’t “not racist.” The true opposite of “racist” is antiracist. “The good news,” Kendi writes, “is that racist and antiracist are not fixed identities. We can be racist one minute and an antiracist the next.”
a) As educators, what does it mean to have to constantly reaffirm your identity as an antiracist? b) Is there any benefit to the fact that you can’t just decide you are “not racist” or an antiracist and be done with it?
b) What are some possible next steps for your practice?
c) How can you check yourself and hold yourself accountable if you notice you, or someone else, is being racist
in a school context?
8. In Achieving Excellence , Ontario's vision for education, the ministry included “Ensuring Equity” as one of its core goals. ... It ensures that Ontario students have the opportunity to succeed personally and academically, regardless of background, identity or personal circumstances. Kendi makes the case that to be antiracist, one must stand against all forms of bigotry.
a) What are other bigotries and forms of prejudice/discrimination that we see in our schools? b) How can we stand against them?
9. Kendi closes the book comparing racism and cancer. What do you think of this comparison?
10. Kendi believes we can defy the odds, heal society of racism, and create an antiracist society.
a) Do you?
b) Why is hope so central to the antiracist movement?
c) Where are the opportunities to infuse more hope in our schools, in our students?
d) What does it mean to have an antiracist school or school system?
(This has Kendi interview, but the whole series is powerful)
Learning Forward’s Definition of Professional Learning
The term “professional development” means a comprehensive, sustained, and intensive approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement --
(A) Professional development fosters collective responsibility for improved student performance and must be comprised of professional learning that:
(1) is aligned with rigorous state student academic achievement standards as well as related local educational agency and school improvement goals;
(2) is conducted among educators at the school and facilitated by well-prepared school principals and/or school-based professional development coaches, mentors, master teachers, or other teacher leaders;
(3) primarily occurs several times per week among established teams of teachers, principals, and other instructional staff members where the teams of educators engage in a continuous cycle of improvement that --
(i) evaluates student, teacher, and school learning needs through a thorough review of data on teacher and student performance;
(ii) defines a clear set of educator learning goals based on the rigorous analysis of the data;
(iii) achieves the educator learning goals identified in subsection (A)(3)(ii) by implementing coherent, sustained, and evidenced-based learning strategies, such as lesson study and the development of formative assessments, that improve instructional effectiveness and student achievement;
(iv) provides job-embedded coaching or other forms of assistance to support the transfer of new knowledge and skills to the classroom;
(v) regularly assesses the effectiveness of the professional development in achieving
identified learning goals, improving teaching, and assisting all students in meeting challenging state academic achievement standards;
(vi) informs ongoing improvements in teaching and student learning; and
(vii) that may be supported by external assistance.
(B) The process outlined in (A) may be supported by activities such as courses, workshops, institutes, networks, and conferences that:
(1) must address the learning goals and objectives established for professional development by educators at the school level;
(2) advance the ongoing school-based professional development; and
(3) are provided by for-profit and nonprofit entities outside the school such as universities, education service agencies, technical assistance providers, networks of content-area specialists, and other education organizations and associations.
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