Tag Archives: solo protest

Review of Twenty-First-Century Jim Crow Schools: The Impact of Charters on Public Education, by Raynard Sanders, David Stovall, Terrenda White

I won a copy of Twenty-First-Century Jim Crow Schools: The Impact of Charters on Public Education, by Raynard Sanders, David Stovall, and Terrenda White.

Description of book:

Charter schools once promised a path towards educational equity, but as the authors of this powerful volume show, market-driven education reforms have instead boldly reestablished a tiered public school system that segregates students by race and class. Examining the rise of charters in New Orleans, Chicago, and New York, authors Raynard Sanders, David Stovall, and Terrenda White show how charters–private institutions, usually set in poor or working-class African American and Latinx communities–promote competition instead of collaboration and are driven chiefly by financial interests. Sanders, Stovall, and White also reveal how corporate charters position themselves as “public” to secure tax money but exploit their private status to hide data about enrollment and salaries, using misleading information to promote false narratives of student success.

In addition to showing how charter school expansion can deprive students of a quality education, the authors document several other lasting consequences of charter school expansion:

– the displacement of experienced African American teachers
– the rise of a rigid, militarized pedagogy such as SLANT
– the purposeful starvation of district schools
– and the loss of community control and oversight

A revealing and illuminating look at one of the greatest threats to public education, Twenty-First-Century Jim Crow Schools explores how charter schools have shaped the educational landscape and why parents, teachers, and community members are fighting back.

Review:

The title of this book lets you know this is an anti-charter school text. Do not go in looking for a balanced, both sides of the issue discussion. Of the three essays, the last (by White) is the most nuanced, while the first represents what appears to be the charter school system in the worse shape. Unfortunately, even agreeing with a lot of the endpoints of Sander’s arguments in that first essay, I didn’t feel he successfully supported them. Similarly, I felt Stovall’s direct correlation between charter school systems and post-reconstruction jim crow was a bit of a stretch. Similarities exist for sure, but I think he stretched his analogy too far.

I did appreciate that each author acknowledged that charter school originated innocuously, as small, community-led schools before they were later essentially franchised. Lastly, taking all three essays as a whole, I was really surprised how many men are interviewed or references, considering how heavily skewed toward women the teaching field is.

Reviews of We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories of Passing in America, AND You Can’t Kill the Dream

You get two for one today. You Can’t Kill the Dream (by Ande Yakstis & Daniel Brannan) is only 56 pages and I wouldn’t normally even include a review on the blog. But since I read it while out on my solo demonstration directly after finishing We Wear the Mask (edited by Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page), I figured I’d review them together too. Besides, both have pretty brief reviews from me. I’ll start with We Wear the Mask though.

Description from Goodreads:

Why do people pass? Fifteen writers reveal their experiences with passing.

For some, “passing” means opportunity, access, or safety. Others don’t willingly pass but are “passed” in specific situations by someone else. We Wear the Mask, edited by Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, is an illuminating and timely anthology that examines the complex reality of passing in America.

Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he learned who he really is. Page shares how her white mother didn’t tell friends about her black ex-husband or that her children were, in fact, biracial.

The anthology includes writing from Gabrielle Bellot, who shares the disquieting truths of passing as a woman after coming out as trans, and MG Lord, who, after the murder of her female lover, embraced heterosexuality. Patrick Rosal writes of how he “accidentally” passes as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony, and Rafia Zakaria agonizes over her Muslim American identity while traveling through domestic and international airports. Other writers include Trey Ellis, Marc Fitten, Susan Golomb, Margo Jefferson, Achy Obejas, Clarence Page, Sergio Troncoso, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and Teresa Wiltz.

Review:

If you had me if I understood what passing is, I’d have said yes. But now, having read these 15 essays, I realize what I had was a very shallow understanding of the concept of passing. The essays skew toward older, well-educated, well-traveled authors but they still cover a pretty broad array of peoples and types of passing. It certainly broadened my understanding of the phenomenon.

Description of You Can’t Kill the Dream:

“You Can’t Kill The Dream: People Living The Dream” is a book by Ande Yakstis and Daniel Brannan. Award-winning journalist Ande Yakstis walked with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the historic voters rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Yakstis, who had a memorable personal experience with Rev. King, is co-author with acclaimed newspaper editor Daniel Brannan in a remarkable new book titled: “You Can’t Kill the Dream-people living the ‘dream.'” The two prize-winning writers tell the amazing stories of people who are living King’s dream today, in 2013, 45 years after the civil rights leader’s death on April 4, 1968.

Review:

I actually thought the writing here was pretty amateurish and repetitive. But I also thought the snippets of normal people meeting and remembering King and his death were endearing.

Review of Reclaiming Our Space, by Feminista Jones

I won a copy of Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets, by Feminista Jones through Goodreads. It has admittedly been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for a while. I’ve just been super lazy about reading non-fiction for the past year or so. But I’ve recently committed myself to read the books I own that could further educate myself about the current social situation in America, it finally got some attention.

Description from Goodreads:

In Reclaiming Our Space, social worker, activist, and cultural commentator Feminista Jones explores how Black women are changing culture, society, and the landscape of feminism by building digital communities and using social media as powerful platforms. As Jones reveals, some of the best-loved devices of our shared social media language are a result of Black women’s innovations, from well-known movement-building hashtags (#BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, and #BlackGirlMagic) to the now ubiquitous use of threaded tweets as a marketing and storytelling tool. For some, these online dialogues provide an introduction to the work of Black feminist icons like Angela Davis, Barbara Smith, bell hooks, and the women of the Combahee River Collective. For others, this discourse provides a platform for continuing their feminist activism and scholarship in a new, interactive way.

Complex conversations around race, class, and gender that have been happening behind the closed doors of academia for decades are now becoming part of the wider cultural vernacular–one pithy tweet at a time. With these important online conversations, not only are Black women influencing popular culture and creating sociopolitical movements; they are also galvanizing a new generation to learn and engage in Black feminist thought and theory, and inspiring change in communities around them.

Review:

I’m not sure how I want explain this book. It’s always hard when a book doesn’t turn out to be what you expect, not bad but not what you picked it up for. I expected to read about modern Black feminists and I did, but not as much as I’d hoped and expected. I’d say this book is 50% memoir and of the remaining 50%, half of that is about Black women leading the way in making Twitter a viable and vibrant digital space and half is about Black feminism in that space. All of which is in the title, but I didn’t pick the book up expecting only a quarter of it to be directly about Black feminists.

Having said all of that, I thought the book was interesting. I am a white woman and a feminist. I try very hard to be aware of my privilege and avoid being a White Feminist. But privilege has an insidious way of being invisible until something is pointed out to you. So, in this way, I thought the book useful, chapter 10 (Mammy 2.0) especially.

All in all, not a bad read just not the one I was looking for.