Monday, April 4, 2011

Twitter Book Club: Bell Hooks (1994) Teaching to Transgress - Ch 11

Chapter 11: Language: Teaching New Worlds/New Words

"Standard English is not the speech of exhale. It is the language of conquest and domination; in the United States,... than a minute ago via Twittelator

"it is difficult not to hear in standard English always the sound of slaughter and conquest." Hooksless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"This is the oppressor's language yet I need it to talk to you." Adrienne Rich as cited by Hooksless than a minute ago via Twittelator

This quote has been ringing in my ear since I read it. It reminds me of Jonathan Kozol's charge that we want the oppressed to lay hands upon the instruments of their oppression and turn them on their oppressors. It says to me that if we currently are being oppressed by data that we must use data to free ourselves. Problem is, how is this done? In my graduate studies my professors always spoke about how qualitative data was more useful and more powerful than quantitative data. This may be true on the micro level. So much quantitative data is meaningless and doesn't really measure what we think it is supposed to. Problem is, it is the quantitative data that is used to cause so much harm in education. Those outside the system who control the money streams, fiscal policies, and accountability measures value this kind of data the most. Somehow we need to use that language to show the savage inequalities, to show the degradation, to show the oppression caused by this wave of "efficiency" and "accountability" minded education reform. How do we do that?

"For in the incorrect usage of words, in the incorrect placement of words, was a spirit of rebellion that claimed l... than a minute ago via Twittelator

"Shifting how we think about language and how we use it necessarily alters how we know what we know." Hooksless than a minute ago via Twittelator

This reminds me of one of my favorite movie quotes:

“What is about art anyway that we give so much importance? Art is so respected by the poor because what they do is an honest way to get out of the slum using one’s sheer self as the medium. The money earned, proof pure and simple of the value of that individual, the artist. The picture a mother’s son does in jail hangs on her wall as proof that beauty is possible even in the most wretched.

And this is a much different idea than the fancier notion that art is a scam and a rip off. But you can never explain to someone that uses God’s gift to enslave that you have used God’s gift to be free”

-From the Movie Basquiat

No comments: