Ep. 41: An Interview With Author Robin DiAngelo

Special Guest: Dr. Robin DiAngelo has a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2004 and is a two-time winner of the Student’s Choice Award for Educator of the Year at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. She is the author of White Fragility, Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk about Racism (2018), and What Does It Mean to Be White: Developing White Literacy (2012). Check out this NEWLY RELEASED, FREE White Fragility Reader’s Guide

We were elated to conduct this interview! Some highlights of the conversation include:

  • A description of “whiteness studies”.

  • The elevation of white people as the norm for humanity which reproduces white supremacy & white fragility when you challenge it.

  • No matter where you travel in the world, white fragility is the SAME (even if the history of the region is different).

  • Anti-blackness is EVERYWHERE--doesn’t matter what country (ex. Aboriginals in Australia and Native people in Canada).

  • White people don’t understand that we bring our histories to each situation. In particular, teachers bring this history of harm, especial for students of color. Teachers get offended rather than understanding the context of time and place. See the example of The Citadel, an all-male military school.

  • Race work is sometimes “only” given to people of color which reinforces the notion that we’re racially innocent. There is no “clean” space outside white supremacy.

  • A mapping out of Mark Meadows white fragility in response to Tlaib’s speech

  • People have a hard time talking about race because they are afraid of being called a racist and want to point out all the ways they aren’t a racist.

  • They want to be divorced from that term. In particular, white men get to yell and shout and be victims when they want to.

  • Advice for white parents: Slow it down, do your own work around your whiteness. When children of color (with white parents)  have some structural analysis they do better--it’s not just about “something is wrong with me”. Check out DiAngelo’s resources for white parents.

The interview questions were listener-driven. Shout out to: Jennifer B, John M, Shannon M, Marguerite M, Siri K, Jacquie J, Stephen M, and Hilary S.

Do Your Fudging Homework:

Read Less Basic Book Club: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Discussion Highlights Include:

  • Passages that resonated with us - insights, challenges, surprises, and takeaways

  • Discussion around the  idea that “Racism is a structure, not an event,” (J. Kēhaulani Kauanui)

  • Colorblindness and associated issues

  • White women’s tears

  • Personal experiences dealing with racism as perpetrators or bystanders and how white people must disrupt racism to make any meaningful change

  • Lessons from the book that we can apply to our everyday lives and next steps

Listener To Do List:

  • Read White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo so this episode makes sense

  • Reach out to IWL on social media if you have questions for Robin DiAngelo - we’re interviewing her in early March!

  • Become a subscribing member of Channel 253

  • Borrow or buy (at your favorite local bookstore) our next #readlessbasic book - White Rage by Carol Anderson

2019: Read, Listen, and Subscribe

This is the time of year to make some resolutions, and hope for a stronger, brighter new year. It’s also prime time to renew your commitment to anti-racism and fighting injustices in the world.

We’ve compiled a list of our top books and podcast recommendations. This is not a comprehensive list but a great place to start 2019.

  1. Obvs, go read White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. Go get a copy from King’s Books RIGHT NOW.  We know it’s the IWL book club text but it is required reading for anyone who claims to be a progressive white person. We’d love for you to share you insights, comments, or conundrums by tweeting with the hashtag #readlessbasic

  2. Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister. I drank the PSL latte when I listened to her interview on the Ezra Klein show “Women’s Rage is Transforming America”. You’ll find yourself “amening” immediately.

  3. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine. You might think you’re a woke white person, but this book (technically a book of poetry) will  remind you about why the intersections of oppression matter. If you’re white, take your time through each page. Give yourself space to consider what it’s like to be on the receiving end of racial microaggressions. Then, understand that your existence occurs 99.9?% of the time on the side of the aggressor. Cry a few tears and then resolve to stop perpetuating racism, sexism, and so on.

  4. Channel 253. Um, yo did you know there’s a network of fantastic podcasts RIGHT HERE IN TACOMA!!??? Let’s not pretend that Hope isn’t biased towards the @NerdFarmPod host. But, ALL the shows are worth your time. Also, become a subscribing member to the network. Just $4 a month!

From our listeners:

  • Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild. “In the realm of emotions, the Right felt like they were being treated as criminals and the liberals had the guns.”

  • How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. “This puts in words something that has been gnawing at the back of my brain. Periods of political polarization correspond with periods of racial progress. Also, it puts Trumpism in context with right wing movements around the world that I really appreciate.”

  • Our Body Is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor. “The cover is AHMAZING. The book focuses on radical acceptance of bodies--our own, others, all colors and abilities. It helps us think about what that acceptance looks like in action (and how self love is impossible without it).”

  • Why is This Happening with Chris Hayes. “Makes me realize how little I know about many topics I thought I had a decent grasp on.”

  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. “This book ignites the imagination and ties in with reality.”

Ep. 26: Mommy, Look How Woke I Am: On Performative Wokeness

EQ: What does it mean to be “woke,” and how can wokeness be performative?

Guest: Amy Young, PhD, Associate Professor of Communication and Chair of the Communication and Theatre Department at Pacific Lutheran University and author of Prophets, Gurus, and Pundits: Rhetorical Styles and Public Engagement.  Guest on Nerd Farm Podcast, episode 5 “On Ignoring Calls for Civility.” Find her online: Facebook & Twitter (@Amy_Prof)

Amy brings the noise about political rhetoric and shares her insights on a variety of topics:

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  • Why she was drawn to rhetoric as a field and why it matters
  • The phenomenon of master’s theses and conference titles always including a colon
  • The fact that, when people want to talk about rhetoric (words, media, and timing), they don’t ask rhetoricians.  They ask political scientists or historians instead.
  • Donald Trump appealing only to his base using narrowly targeted rhetoric (and how some things are both authentic and unpalatable)
  • Political correctness getting a bad rap and how it actually serves to foster empathy or connection to audience.  Sometimes thinking about other people is a good idea.
  • Creepy Stephen Miller’s shark eyes and his distinctive lack of exchangeability in politics (could he work in any other administration? No).

Performing wokeness…

  • Appropriation--who gets to lay claim and perform that claim publicly--where’s the line? What’s the difference between being a fan (appreciating) and wearing a woke costume?  Using Black vernacular to construct a public identity when the target identity is marginalized or oppressed. Appropriators are afforded social capital in a way that those who constructed the culture it aren’t .
  • The tension between being clued-in and clueless.  Rachel Dolezal's calendar - 12 months of pictures of her. 

 

Greatest (and by “greatest” we mean the worst) examples…

Guilty Favesies:

  • Hope: Mangoes--manila, dried etc.  Delicious - they’re fruit, so they must be good for you.
  • Annie: cheap makeup. Crap for my skin, probably terrible for the environment. But I want a $2 e.l.f. eyeliner pencil and I won’t back down.
  • Amy: Mister, Mister

Do Your Fudging Homework:

  • Hope: Woke-check yourself.  Be reflective and authentic.
  • Annie: Go check out a list on Goodreads called “Popular Stay Woke Books.” Read all the books on the list, repeat as needed.  Notable titles include The New Jim Crow and Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire.
  • Amy: Amy’s making room in her intro classes to challenge her students by presenting rhetoric around diverse political views. Do the same in your profession (whatever it is).

Ep. 22: That's Pinteresting!

EQ: To what extent has Pinterest influenced the creativity of the modern women/men and specifically educators? When is Pinterest too much or just enough?

Guest: Cat Melaunie (Melani), middle school teacher, education activist, and general badass. She’s a Texas native and Washington transplant with a degree in English LA & Writing and minors in psychology and education from McMurry University.  She currently works in education in Washington and is a freelance writer, including writing for the Nerdfarmer Podcast. She hosts local trivia, emcees events, and volunteers all the time! Also, she has a guinea pig named Obiwan Guinobi who loves to dress up.

Cat’s Story:

  • Her move from Texas to Washington, inspired by her best friend relocating and being RIF’d/laid off from her teaching job (Texas is a “right to work” state) because of her sexual orientation.  SHAME BELL.
  • Everything she loves about her college, small hometown, and Tacoma.
  • Full-time subbing in Tacoma and the differences between teaching in Texas and teaching in Washington: being 100% “on” all the time vs. being herself and “blending her worlds.”
  • Accidentally coming out to students. Spoiler: it’s funny and not awful.
  • Saying “no” for a long time and learning how to say “yes” to beautiful new experiences.
  • Being Hispanic and finding out she was a person of color, including her different experiences in Texas and Washington.
  • Watching Starbelly Sneetches with her students to teach them about how to be kind.

Segway: Pinterest...your favorite thing or your most favorite thing?

For the uninitiated, Pinterest is basically an online corkboard where you collect pictures of things you like from the internet - the pictures are usually connected to a link.  Cat describes it as the ancient art of finding great ideas that other great people found before you. It’s possible to scroll through Pinterest for 1,000 hours and not know what happened.

  • Pinterest board numbers: Hope stopped counting at 30, Cat has 30, and Annie has...102. Hope has cleverly named boards about teaching, working out, and books worth reading.  Cat has a mermaid board, treats board, hair board, and two for Harry Potter - memes and HP stuff. Plus - Star Wars wedding. Annie has so many that it’s hard to pick a fave.
  • Pinterest is renowned for its massive collection of recipes. Hope is doing the keto thing, Annie is vegan, so we decided to try and find something that everyone could eat. Annie made these.  They’re not a total fail!  Hope participated in the adventure, too - coconut milk chocolate mousse. It wouldn’t blend but it was delicious.

Bad advice from Pinterest!

  • Flowery background with “bloom where you’re planted” - worse than “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
  • Rustic junk like beach trash with inspirational quotes.
  • The whole fitspo situation. You used to see a lot of “thinspo” or “thinspiration,” now its “fitspo” or “fitness inspiration,” which basically glorifies abs and squat challenges.  Plus the before and after weight loss pictures.
  • Not exactly bad advice, but you can’t go on Pinterest without seeing white women all over the place using Starbucks cups as accessories.  The Starbucks cup is the new tiny dog in a purse.
  • CAT WROTE US SOME POEMS ABOUT PINTEREST, including a limerick and a poem on the spot.  It was impressive.
  • Men also enjoy Pinterest, especially posting pictures of their beards and beards they think are awesome.
  • While it’s a social media platform, Pinterest is also a consumer trap.

Guilty-Favesies:

  • These are things that you make feel “guilty” about but are secretly or not so secretly favesies.
  • Annie: looking for government jobs so she can be like Leslie Knope.
  • Cat: comic books - but not so guilty. Eating fried chicken and drinking cheap beer in a bubble bath. Netflix (laptop on the toilet - not over the tub. Don’t electrocute yourself).
  • Hope: Diet Pepsi with a Twix bar.

Do Your Fudging Homework:

  • Annie: Google “Pinterest Fails” and remind yourself that no one has a perfectly curated Pinterest life and that FAIL stands for “first attempt in learning.”
  • Cat: say “yes’ to new experiences.  It will change your life.
  • Hope: follow Cat’s guinea pig on Pinterest and make it out to the Black Kettle on Thursdays at 7:30 for trivia.

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