Dr. Beverly Tatum – Scholar of race relations receives $25,000 Gittler Prize

Source – http://www.thejustice.org/article/2018/10/scholar-of-race-relations-receives-25000-gittler-prize-tatum-brandeis

 

Gittler Prize Award 10.3.18 TL0016-Edit

On Oct. 3, University President Ronald Liebowitz presented Dr. Beverly Tatum with the 2018 Gittler Prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarly work on racial, ethnic and religious relations. According to Liebowitz’s introductory remarks, the members of the Gittler prize selection committee described Tatum’s work as “brilliant, elegant, insightful, unpretentious — a model for all in the academy.”

Prof. Derron Wallace (SOC), a member of the selection committee, listed Tatum’s qualifications as he introduced her as the winner. He explained that Tatum has written three books but is best known for “‘Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?’: And Other Conversations About Race,” which was named the multicultural book of the year by the National Association for Multicultural Education in 1998. “I believe this should be University-wide reading for all of us here at Brandeis,” he said.

Recipients of the Gittler Prize receive $25,000 and a medal. To guide her speech, Tatum looked to the doctrine of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to better understand how facilitating dialogue between different groups can help close the “empathy gap” between them.

Tatum explained that American public schools were actually less segregated in 1980 than they are now. More specifically, 75% of Black students attend “majority minority schools” where over 60 percent of their classmates live in poverty. According to Tatum, “the result is…that young people are growing up in racially divided communities and are almost as separated from each other … as they were 50 years ago.” Tatum explains that with no interaction or knowledge of each other’s life experiences, no genuine empathetic relationships between whites and people of color can exist. This is the empathy gap.

According to Tatum, another factor hindering interracial dialogue is the homogeneity of American social networks.

Tatum also elaborated on exactly what needs to be discussed in cross-group conversations. She explained that less well-known aspects of the history of racism should be touched upon in productive dialogue. For instance, she mentioned that Georgetown University was funded by the sale of slaves. Knowledge of a fact like this can change one’s attitudes toward race. The most important part of cross-group dialogue is knowledge, according to Tatum. Unless racial groups have knowledge of each other’s current and historical conditions, she said, they cannot have empathy for each other.

Dr. Tatum expressed hope that interracial dialogue will become more prevalent. She cited programs such as the University of Michigan Intergroup Relations Program and foundations such as the Kellogg Foundation that have committed themselves to promoting interracial dialogue throughout the country. In the IGR program, she explained, students take courses “carefully designed to engage students in careful listening and shared explorations of the meanings of social identities, conflict, community, and social justice in those contexts.”

According to Tatum, there is research evidence that dialogues like those facilitated by the IGR program are effective in bridging the empathy gap between races. These programs change the attitudes and behaviors of both white students and students of color for the better, Tatum said. Students involved in the programs had “increased self-awareness about issues of power and privilege, greater awareness of the institutionalization of race and racism in the United States, better cross-racial interactions, less fear of race-related conflict and greater participation in social change.”

Tatum addresses the counterargument — that discussions about race only create tensions where none previously existed. Tatum believes that silencing conversations on race and racism “is just another way to maintain the status quo. You can’t solve a problem without talking about it.”

Finally, Tatum reiterated her main point: “We can allow the forces leading to greater segregation to drive us further apart as a nation, or we can use our leadership as active citizens to engage one another in the work of building community across lines of difference.” She shared a quote from Dr. King: “Racial understanding is not something that we find, but something that we must create.”

Tatum ended by praising the Brandeis motto: “Truth even unto its innermost parts.”

“That’s exactly what I’m talking about,” she said. “We need to explore truth even unto its innermost parts, even the parts that don’t feel right.” She explained that our motto can guide our faculty toward representing diversity on campus. She said that “If we only talk about the experience of white middle class” people, we are not exploring “truth unto its innermost parts.”

To counter ‘Trump Effect,’ love must trump hate

SOURCE: The Philadelphia Tribune

  • Marian Wright Edelman

This is usually a season of familiar scenes in schools across the country, with holiday programs featuring messages of peace and goodwill to all. But this year many teachers and students have been seeing another story.

In the week since the election I have personally had to deal with the following issues:

Boys inappropriately grabbing and touching girls, even after they said no (this never happened until after the election).

White students telling their friends who are Hispanic or of color that their parents are going to be deported and that they would be thrown out of school.

White students going up to students of color who are total strangers and hurling racial remarks at them, such as, “Trump is going [to] throw you back over the wall, you know?” or “We can’t wait until you and the other brownies are gone”. . . — Middle school teacher, Indiana

We have had many students fighting, especially between the Latino and African-American population, as well as many more boys feeling superior to girls. I have had one male student grab a female student’s crotch and tell her that it’s legal for him to do that to her now . . . One of my students from last year who is Muslim has not worn her hijab since the election. — Elementary school teacher, Minnesota.

In over 15 years of teaching high school this is the first year that swastikas are appearing all over school furniture. — High school teacher, Washington state

We have worked really hard over the last 10 years to change our climate. The last year has nearly undone all of that work. It is disheartening. — High school teacher, Maryland

These were just a few of the responses to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance Project’s online survey of more than 10,000 educators in the new report, “After Election Day, The Trump Effect: The Impact of the 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation’s Schools.”

SPLC says: “Ninety percent reported that their school’s climate has been negatively affected, and 80 percent described heightened anxiety and concern among minority students worried about the impact of the election on their families . . . More than 2,500 said they knew of fights, threats, assaults and other incidents that could be traced directly to election rhetoric.”

The report echoed the findings of another SPLC survey taken earlier in the campaign season, and reinforced the sense many educators and parents have had for months of a rise in bullying and hate speech from children influenced by behavior they’ve been seeing in adults.

What can schools and teachers do right now to fight back against hate?

Linda Darling-Hammond is president of the Learning Policy Institute and a faculty director of the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education at Stanford University. In a recent keynote speech at the National Association for Multicultural Education conference, she shared her recommendations, starting with a key first step:

“First, and most obviously, this is a moment both for explicit anti-racist teaching and anti-racist action in all public spaces. The ‘good news’ is that the explicitness and widespread public eruption of racist, sexist and hate speech of all kinds gives us a direct opportunity to bring anti-racist teaching out of the closet – to motivate schools and systems to adopt anti-racist curriculum, to pay attention to the tacit bigotry that is often under the surface in schools:

• To proactively ensure that the images and messages on the walls and in textbooks are multicultural and anti-racist.

• To get every teacher and administrator reading and using Teaching for Tolerance, Facing History, and other resources for equitable, anti-racist teaching.

• To ensure that the allocation of time, attention, and resources in schools attends equitably to all children – and that the divisions and segregation created by tracking and similar practices are challenged.

• To mobilize the resources of foundations and people of good will to tackle the festering issues that America has been dealing with since its inception – when slavery was legalized, African Americans were defined as 3/5s of a person, Native Americans were massacred and driven at gunpoint across the country in the Trail of Tears, and students of color were segregated by law — and later by redlining and other racist customs. It is time for Teach-Ins at every school.”

Darling-Hammond went on to explain that there is much more we also need to do to confront and change every strand of institutionalized racism and intolerance that are embedded in our schools in order to really create a more equitable and just education system and society. But explicitly teaching tolerance must be a building block right now. All children must know that adults expect them to understand the difference between right and wrong. Children who feel afraid at school must know that adults will help keep them safe. Children who are doing the bullying must know that adults will not allow the next generation to grow up steeped in more hate.

In his last Christmas sermon, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The Christmas hope for peace and goodwill toward all men can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream of some utopia. If we don’t have good will toward men in this world, we will destroy ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power . . .

“Love is understanding, creative, redemptive good will toward all men. And I think this is where we are, as a people, in our struggle for racial justice . . . We must never let up in our determination to remove every vestige of segregation and discrimination from our nation, but we shall not in the process relinquish our privilege to love. I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself , and I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many sheriffs, too many white citizens’ councilors, and too many Klansmen of the South to want to hate, myself; and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear,” he said.

Hate is a burden our children cannot and should never have to carry. And it is a deep blemish on what it means to be an American. Love must always trump hate.

Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children’s Defense Fund. For more information, go to www.childrensdefense.org.

Carlos Cortés to Keynote at NAME

Rose HillCarlos Cortés will be the keynote speaker  at the President’s Banquet  on Saturday, October 3, 2015 at the Sheraton New Orleans. This is the 25th anniversary conference of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME).

“The son of a Mexican Catholic father with aristocratic roots and a mother of Eastern European Jewish descent, Carlos Cortés grew up wedged between cultures, living a childhood in “constant crossfire-straddling borders, balancing loves and loyalties, and trying to fit into a world that wasn’t quite ready.” In some ways, even his family wasn’t quite ready (for him). His request for a bar mitzvah sent his proud father into a cursing rage. He was terrified to bring home the Catholic girl he was dating, for fear of wounding his mother and grandparents. When he tried to join a high school fraternity, Christians wouldn’t take him because he was Jewish, and Jews looked sideways at him because his father was Mexican.

In his new memoir, Rose Hill: An Intermarriage before Its Time, Cortés lovingly chronicles his family’s tumultuous, decades-long spars over religion, class, and culture, from his early years in legally segregated Kansas City during the 1940s to his return to Berkeley (where his parents met) in the 1950s, and to his parents’ separation, reconciliation, deaths, and eventual burials at the Rose Hill Cemetery. Cortés elevates the theme of intermarriage to a new level of complexity in this closely observed and emotionally fraught memoir adapted from his nationally successful one-man play, A Conversation with Alana: One Boy’s Multicultural Rite of Passage.”

 

Sonia Nieto to Keynote at NAME in New Orleans

Sonia

Sonia Nieto is one of the most respected scholars in multicultural education and one of many loyal members of the
National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME). She is a prolific writer with numerous awards and recognitions for her work. Dr. Nieto will be a keynote speaker at the 25th Annual NAME Conference   Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 2015 in New Orleans.