institutions in the western world occupy the location of colonial, white, straight, cis-masculinity. as an educator in today’s classroom, i continually challenge the systemic effects that the racially biased patriarchy has on us all. to counter the current hegemony, i foster a communal space of awareness and create a culture of shared experience where all voices can be heard and a community of listening can be fostered. by nurturing a mutual sense of sharing, listening and problem solving, all members — learners and teachers alike — participate in the creation of a more sustainable and closely connected community.
the work of a teacher requires diligence about the ways we use language and, perhaps more importantly, how we hear one another. the protection of class member rights and voices is of utmost importance, so sometimes it is ok not to share and to simply listen instead. to break through the dominant systemic pedagogy, it is not simply enough to be aware of our differences; we must resist all levels of ignorance and intolerance. this is achieved in part by accessing diverse resources and bringing a multitude of varied voices to the fore, in order to create a deeper understanding of all people — their histories, successes and plights.
as a queer, non-binary, latinx, first-generation american, i have experienced life in the margins, but i can never expect to know what anyone else experiences in our society. teaching equity and justice in the face of the prevailing hegemony takes dedication and constant practice. i believe that diligence towards creating a truly liberal, empathic and communal arts education is the only path forward, both to assure the protection of rights and to create a space in which we can hope to be free.
to build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to under-mine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.
— bell hooks