Thus, much has been written and discussed about the need to increase the representation of Black and other junior teachers in P-12 and higher education. Instead of repeating this urgent need, we decided to ally – develop and collaborate with white students, given that they are the majority of teachers at all levels. We have to reach out to about 85% of the world’s white professors / faculty and to teach the majority of white college students in colleges and universities. The three of us joined in this short piece to share our insights on cooperation as advocates and allies who work together to build and educate teachers against racism, equality and culture from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Ford: As a black scientist, I do not apologize for being angry and racist in word and deed. I have expressed my just anger in hundreds of publications and thousands of presentations / interviews in the spirit of creating “good and necessary challenges” in educational institutions – general, talented and gifted, special education and counseling. Racism is rooted in every piece of these contexts — wrong teaching (Carter G. Woodson), wrong teaching (James L. Moore III), and violence in the curriculum (Igodaro and Wiggan).
For blacks in the United States, racism has been a pandemic since 1619; while there is some progress and optimism, there is also room for resilience and initiative in preventing racism. ” Arthur Levin affirmed that “the issue of equality should be as important to schools as it is to AIDS or cancer to medical schools” (p. 3). It was 2004; from 2019, COVID may be added. The outside is very familiar with the old (racism) and the new (racism) period. I was surprised to learn that this month – March 2022 – the Senate newly passed anti-lynching bill. #WTF!
I refuse to give in to racial exhaustion (William Smith). So, I write and speak, which are a number for me. I teach with confidence and despair to train current and future professionals in education so that they can become empowered and whites become loyal allies. As an assistant professor, I have been challenged on racism, especially in the field of education and talent, to rise and work. At every opportunity, I demanded that Black and other minority people fight to end racism. I will never forget a white adult woman pulling me aside after my main presentation in a real way: “Racism ends when whites want it to end.” He encouraged me to involve whites as allies in the struggle to overcome the challenges they have created and maintained today. I also know the important need to collaborate with like-minded and equally loyal scientists.
Moore: I came to this work to eliminate discrimination in school with a focus on (thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, values). and heart and soul (feelings and emotions). Involving student partners to overcome injustice cannot take place without an commitment to affective thinking, such as empathy and empathy. When thinking and feeling continuously complement each other, there is more than enough power and ability, voluntariness, and cultural effectiveness to gain the unbridled white privilege of oneself and others, misguided stereotypes and disregard for students and clients of color. Our work as school counselors should not be culturally vulnerable on the one hand and “culturally blind” (Donna Y. Ford) on the other.
I learned early on that education (at all levels) is a learning platform to help students / learners for change agents – disruptors, transformers, reformers – through education, scholarships, and centralized, rigorous, and culturally responsive programs. That is the hope of education. The places of learning are our stage, our pulpit, our service, our call to “teach to teach” (call hooks), to counter the situation. We have a responsibility to be talented and enterprising teachers, to be conscientious advocates and allies in the formation of today’s and future professionals, to guide us in the invaluable philosophy of “do no harm”. As blacks and professors, we are proud of the many accomplishments of past and present students.
Parsons-Christian: As a white and professional individual, if I claim to be indifferent in the world of propaganda of social justice, it begins with the clarification of harsh realities that many do not recognize or refuse to acknowledge. white professionals should have a lifelong commitment to questioning and tackling the perpetual challenge of having a white eye at all levels and in all aspects of personal and professional work. It is immoral and dangerous to engage in anti-racist propaganda without close contact and mentors with black leaders and scholars.
Personal experiences in early childhood and throughout my life have shaped my career trajectory and motivation to raise awareness and knowledge about the importance and consequences of being a coach, supervisor, trainee, and change agent in counseling training. An unconventional ally has a strong desire to contribute to empirical research, the results of which testify to how ethnocentrism is intertwined and incorporated into the individual and collective thinking of people. We must understand and question personal, systemic and institutional racism and at the same time fight against existing hegemonic structures.
In the summer of 2021, on the recommendation of a member of the group, I joined a course where Dr. Ford taught anti-racism and culturally responsible practices in education. That summer meeting with Dr. Ford deeply changed my personality and perspective on the continuation of this journey. With a deep call to meditate on the prejudices, racism, and discrimination I have witnessed, I have created a level of resentment and anger that I can only imagine that people who do not have privileged identities experience on a daily basis; and so I forced myself to be held accountable in every way that I had inevitably contributed to periods of systemic oppression. It doesn’t matter how many courses I take, how much I place myself in other cultures or continue, or how close I am to people of color. My presence as a white woman with blonde hair and blue eyes can make others stand out. The amount that racism has inflicted on several generations of individuals, families, and communities does not always discriminate between those white people who are contemporaries and oppressors.
We cannot choose or control how others see us or feel our presence. We can only do all we can to send an unfounded message about our values and show how our actions are advocacy.
The results of the experience I had before entering the counseling profession, along with witnessing countless cases of individual and institutional racism as a licensed profession over a period of nearly 15 years, set my perspective. These horrific and memorable images of standing on the street as a racist profile of a police officer or witnessing how a verdict is handed down in a courtroom will forever change the trajectory of a young person’s life. Successfully intervening as a lawyer is impossible without repeated failures due to the harsh reality that only one person can change the outcome of a person’s life. There is neither a protector nor a savior.
Those with privileged personalities simply do not choose how to be advocates of social justice. As Dr.. Ford and Moore discussed here and modeled at the academy, which is undoubtedly through training, guidance and a council of minority leaders we can do this necessary and effective work.
Dr. Donna Yu Ford is an Outstanding Professor of EHE at the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University.
Dr. James L. Moore III is Provost’s Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Specialist for Diversity in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Executive Director of the Todd National Resource Center for African American Men at Ohio State University. Moore is also an outstanding professor of urban education, College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University.
Erin Parsons-Christian is a doctoral student in teaching and supervision at Ohio State University.