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How Many Presidents Does it Take to Turn-On a Light Bulb?

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Lead from the Start: How Many Presidents Does it Take to Turn-On a Light Bulb?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Many Presidents Does it Take to Turn-On a Light Bulb?

My buddy Bill "The Tempered Radical" Ferriter posted about the above visual on his blog. He had this to say...

"Because we're working on identifying main idea in our reading classes, I asked my students a simple question: "What point do you think the artist was trying to make with this image?" My students' answer:

"Well, that's pretty obvious, Mr. Ferriter. He's trying to say that the United States has never had a woman president."

Amazing, huh?

That's got me feeling pretty good about the future of our country. Sure, there are people who will always look at other individuals through the lens of skin-color. While racism is abhorrent, it's also a sad truth of the human condition.

But as more and more children grow up in an increasingly tolerant world with successful role models of every shape and color, our country---like my kids---becomes increasingly color-blind...and that' just plan cool."

I found Bill's post interesting but perhaps a little naive. I never thought I would say that about a post that Bill wrote but our cultural circumstances are so entirely different I thought that I should leave a comment. Here it is.

I think that you may be on to something but, I am not sure that racism is a condition of the human race or that being color blind is a good thing.

What does color blindness in ed policy lead to? What does it lead to in our classrooms?

As you may know I am the minority, a white man, in my school. The more I talk about, and joke about race the less of an issue it becomes for my colleagues and myself. I am also taking all these doctoral classes and let me tell you that race blind researchers are the last thing we need. Sometimes researchers forget that race is not the cause of the poor performance it is the name for the poor performance. It is a descriptor for a group of students who historically have been under served by education.

It is in naming the unnamed so that it loses power that we create a color "full" America. Maybe Bill's students were afraid to name the unnamed and address race head on. Maybe it was the safe route to talk about something they were all obviously comfortable with, gender equality.

Some thoughts from an embedded reporter. What are yours?

Image from: Patrick Moberg's Illustration Blog:

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At 3:20 PM, Blogger Bam Bam Bigelow said...

Hey Pal,

First---your point that a color-blind America might be dangerous because it allows for those with social capital to overlook those who do not is well taken.

But my kids weren't hiding anything or afraid to address race at all. They truly didn't see it as an issue.

And in the end, that's just plain cool. Race has played a role in every conversation I've had with adults about Obama.

It didn't cross the minds of my kids at all.....

So I guess the question becomes how do we create a world where kids can see---and take action against---injustice regardless of race?

Does this make sense?


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