Reading the World Reading Response (October 28th, 2019)

My upbringing began in rural Saskatchewan in the late 90’s, with a culture devoid of anything but overpowering whiteness and heteronormativity. Growing up the expectation was clear, there is one way for everything from finding the “right answer” to success. Perhaps luckily, I was a child who fit into this mould quite nicely. I was (still am) white, came from a middle class family and could find myself in any novel I read. This upbringing began to be disrupted in high school however as the world of the internet was opened up to me. Online I would read that the world perhaps wasn’t as fair as I had once believed, and this began to be mirrored in immigration picking up within my hometown. At this time, around Grade 8, my mother was beginning to unlearn as well as she was taking her Master’s in Education. I would pour over her University books such as “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” and realize I had only heard single stories of WW2, slavery and Indigenous/ settler relationships. I believe I am still being brought up, meeting and exploring and interacting in order to catch a glimpse of how to best serve my students. To summarize Kumishiro’s writing in Chapter 7, it is not enough to be “inclusive” through a single or harmful narrative.

As aforementioned, the single story that mattered in my upbringing was that of my Caucasian settlers, while other stories were most definitely ones of single narratives. My grandmother told stories of her one room school house, and looking back she repeated the same story of a young girl who was Indigenous in Prince Albert who my grandmother deemed too stupid for school, and sent her home. I watched a television show called “Liberty’s Kids” on PBS which chronicled children during the civil war but failed to tell me the civil war was over and slavery had been eradicated in the South. I truthfully was under the impression that black folks in the U.S. continued to be enslaved long into my childhood, which bore a single story in my mind. Imagine though, if my schooling taught from the perspectives of more than just white children. I like to think that in the upcoming, I can teach stories other than mine in my classroom and do my best to mitigate single stories and stereotypes. I will work to have my students understand complexity of culture in order to unlearn less that I have had to throughout my journey to becoming an educator.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for this response. I loved your line about how you cannot be inclusive by incorporating one resource or narrative. I would argue that doing this is almost insensitive – it makes it seem superficial and like you are simply trying to “check the box”.
    -MacKenzie

    Like

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