Paper Title

Burden of Proof: The Politics and Possibilities of an Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppressive Classroom

Location

Room 221, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

anti-racism, anti-oppression, lived experience, popular education

Abstract

In an ideal world, teachers committed to social justice in the academy and the community dream of a classroom in which students recognize racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and other social inequalities as very real, very harmful injustices that need to be eradicated. Then, the rest of the semester can be spent coming up with ways in which to eradicate these isms, both in our own personal lives through our lifestyle choices and in the greater world. However, in reality, many teachers find themselves under the pressure of burden of proof in which they must first prove that racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and other social inequalities actually exist; that white, male, heterosexual, class, able-bodied, and Christian privilege also exist; and that we should and can do something about it. This paper examines the balancing act of what is referred to as “burden of proof” with creating an antiracist, anti-oppressive classroom, using lived experience of teaching Women’s Studies 200 (Introduction to Women’s Studies) at the University of Alabama and other lived experience as a woman of color student and teacher in other courses concerning gender and race. It also examines how a teacher can eradicate or alleviate burden proof placed on marginalized students within the classroom: students of color, female students, transgender students and other LGBTQ students, working-class students, and disabled students. This paper cites sources from other women of color faculty at universities about their experiences teaching in the classroom, specifically courses about gender and race.

Comments

This paper is a part of the panel discussion on Teaching Women's Studies 200 at the University of Alabama, panel proposal written by Jennifer Joines of University of Alabama

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Apr 2nd, 3:30 PM Apr 2nd, 4:45 PM

Burden of Proof: The Politics and Possibilities of an Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppressive Classroom

Room 221, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

In an ideal world, teachers committed to social justice in the academy and the community dream of a classroom in which students recognize racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and other social inequalities as very real, very harmful injustices that need to be eradicated. Then, the rest of the semester can be spent coming up with ways in which to eradicate these isms, both in our own personal lives through our lifestyle choices and in the greater world. However, in reality, many teachers find themselves under the pressure of burden of proof in which they must first prove that racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, and other social inequalities actually exist; that white, male, heterosexual, class, able-bodied, and Christian privilege also exist; and that we should and can do something about it. This paper examines the balancing act of what is referred to as “burden of proof” with creating an antiracist, anti-oppressive classroom, using lived experience of teaching Women’s Studies 200 (Introduction to Women’s Studies) at the University of Alabama and other lived experience as a woman of color student and teacher in other courses concerning gender and race. It also examines how a teacher can eradicate or alleviate burden proof placed on marginalized students within the classroom: students of color, female students, transgender students and other LGBTQ students, working-class students, and disabled students. This paper cites sources from other women of color faculty at universities about their experiences teaching in the classroom, specifically courses about gender and race.