Power and Agency
The article called “Betwixt Safety and Shielding in the Academy: Confronting Institutional Gendered Racism—Again” by Deirdre Cobb-Roberts examines an incident that happened in one of the predominantly White institutions from the points of view of Critical Race Theory and Critical Race Feminism. It is important to mention that the incident was a conflict between an African-American teacher called Stevens and a White male student named Peterson (Cobb-Roberts 2012). The educator was accused of creating ethical discomfort for the student by dictating her views in the classroom. Stating that racial discrimination does not exist, Peterson also expressed that he was afraid for his personal space and safety saying that other students confronted him and the teacher graded his work unfairly due to the conflict. Protecting his own space and safety Peterson violated the space and safety of Stevens and caused her a lot of emotional discomforts.
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This confrontation is a clear example of a White male privilege, were stating that a Black woman can work as an educator is a sign of an absence of racial prejudice and discrimination, the student attempted to marginalize the opinion of his African-American tutor. Overall, the presented conflict and the article by Cobb-Roberts explore the subject of institutional discrimination of individuals, non-white females namely. Through the perspective of Critical Race Theory and Critical Race Feminism, Cobb-Roberts perceives that the power and privilege of White people are deeply rooted in the American society and its views and this causes marginalization and isolation of non-Whites and create especially complex conditions for depowered women of color that often suffer from institutional discrimination that in many cases forces them to leave their workplaces. The author wrote the article to address these issues, to have a stronger voice through science. Cobb-Roberts connects Critical Race Feminism, institutional discrimination, and violation of space and safety in the classrooms to power and agency in education stating that all of these problems and their derivatives cause the disruption of the educational process and undermine classroom relationships creating conflicting environments for both learners and educators.
The article “Bringing Theory to Life: Strategies that Make Culturally Responsive Pedagogy a Reality in Diverse Secondary Classrooms” by Herrera, Holmes, and Kavimandan, explores the impacts of cultural and linguistic diversity in the classroom and the preparation of the educators for work with diverse classrooms to avoid getting in the middle of ethical conflicts like one between Stevens and Peterson. The authors of this article note that in addition to the common cultural and ethnic diversity there is also linguistic diversity (Herrera, Holmes & Kavimandan 2012). This issue is connected to the power and agency in education because, when not addressed, linguistic diversity causes misunderstandings within the educational process and leads to the discrimination of students with lower English proficiency, and generally decreases the academic success of the learners that do not have English as a native language. The authors of this article mention that due to the high level of social diversity in the United States there is a large possibility that the educators’ and students’ demographics are not going to match. To practice multicultural education successfully, the contemporary teachers need to address the linguistic diversity subject and make their curricula more flexible, it is also likely that the teachers would have to alter their plans for each year as the classrooms’ composition is going to change significantly.
Cobb-Roberts, D. (2012). Betwixt Safety and Shielding in The Academy: Confronting Institutional Gendered Racism. The Negro Educational Review, 62(1), 89-91.
Herrera, S., Holmes, M., & Kavimandan, S. (2012). Bringing Theory To Life: Strategies That Make Culturally Responsive Pedagogy a Reality in Diverse Secondary Classrooms. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 14(3), 1-3.