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Rachel Udin
07-10-2012, 04:26 AM
I heard this is common, but I thought I would share my experience... because I thought it was strange.

I had a lit teacher at college level that was assigned to teach English and taught according to her bio, "Western Literature."

On the first day she said she preferred that we "not look up any of the authors." Question marks rose above my head. You know, being a writer and all... I kinda am invested in writers. (She wouldn't release the author list either...)

So I steadily looked up each and every author/poet she chose. Not a single of them was of color (Despite the book having PoCs in it--seriously). So I dared to question her on this, so my grade sunk as I asked her why... why were none of the authors/poets of color? Wasn't there great authors she could include out of "classics" that were of color? At least throw me some african americans in the books. (There were none) And the majority of the class was not white either. A few of the authors were lesbian, though none were gay. And I believe there were no non-Christians. O.o;; This was a diverse city too...

I am proud to have read people like Amy Tan, Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou (This ironically was the year that Maya Angelou read her poem for the inauguration...), Virginia Hamilton and so on and that my High School was smart enough to give me at least a few PoCs for authors. (There were quite a few hispanic people in the class, so I thought there would be at least ONE hispanic author... I know I'm weak on that so I was looking forward to it.) And not all of them write about racism either, so it's not that hard.

I ended up with a C, because if it was a D, I'm sure I could have fought her with the Dean. How did she get away with that crap?

Still don't get it. How did she survive through college without admiring at least one PoC author by accident? At a previous almost all white college I went to, they *still* covered Virginia Hamilton. At least teach a few PoC authors to cover your butt. PoCs also contributed to Western Lit.

Anyone else?

Celia Cyanide
07-10-2012, 07:31 AM
On the first day she said she preferred that we "not look up any of the authors."

All I can really add, at this point, is that this is...kinda weird, I would have done just what you did. If she told me not to, I would have wanted to do so even more. Did she actually give you a reason why you shouldn't? I can't really think of a solid reason why you wouldn't want to. I think it always makes reading more interesting. I research authors I read, films I watch, music I listen to, etc.


Still don't get it. How did she survive through college without admiring at least one PoC author by accident?

Yeah...on that note, I will add that I don't see how anyone can NOT think Toni Morrison is pretty amazing, and worth reading, even if she isn't your cuppa stuff. But, that's just me, and I don't know much... :)

Kitty27
07-10-2012, 08:05 AM
I had the opposite experience. I had a teacher named Mr.Bailey who showed us everything from Chaucer to Toni Morrison and everything in-between!

You haven't lived until you've seen Chaucer's Tales set to a beat and rapped by students. You should have seen the faces at the school we visited! Mr.Bailey believed that that rap was nothing more than an evolution of the African griot tradition and could be applied to Literature. We did everything from Shakespeare reggae to acting out James Baldwin's stories on stage.

Of course,this was also accompanied by talk about the man and Mr.Bailey-a white dude-rocking a dashiki. He was a trip! But he was such a good teacher that kids who normally hated to read couldn't wait to get to his class. He adapted literature to our culture and melded the two. I LOVED his class.

RIP,Mr.Bailey.

Rhoda Nightingale
07-11-2012, 01:46 AM
I had the opposite experience. I had a teacher named Mr.Bailey who showed us everything from Chaucer to Toni Morrison and everything in-between!

You haven't lived until you've seen Chaucer's Tales set to a beat and rapped by students. You should have seen the faces at the school we visited! Mr.Bailey believed that that rap was nothing more than an evolution of the African griot tradition and could be applied to Literature. We did everything from Shakespeare reggae to acting out James Baldwin's stories on stage.

Of course,this was also accompanied by talk about the man and Mr.Bailey-a white dude-rocking a dashiki. He was a trip! But he was such a good teacher that kids who normally hated to read couldn't wait to get to his class. He adapted literature to our culture and melded the two. I LOVED his class.

RIP,Mr.Bailey.
DUDE. I have CLEARLY not lived.

Rachel Udin
07-11-2012, 05:04 AM
I had the opposite experience. I had a teacher named Mr.Bailey who showed us everything from Chaucer to Toni Morrison and everything in-between!

You haven't lived until you've seen Chaucer's Tales set to a beat and rapped by students. You should have seen the faces at the school we visited! Mr.Bailey believed that that rap was nothing more than an evolution of the African griot tradition and could be applied to Literature. We did everything from Shakespeare reggae to acting out James Baldwin's stories on stage.

Of course,this was also accompanied by talk about the man and Mr.Bailey-a white dude-rocking a dashiki. He was a trip! But he was such a good teacher that kids who normally hated to read couldn't wait to get to his class. He adapted literature to our culture and melded the two. I LOVED his class.

RIP,Mr.Bailey.
I haven't lived. Would have loved to have seen that.

I had a cool teacher named Mr. Bailey too--the father of my best friend, but he taught history. He had us play interactive games with history and taught drama classes too. He also got to do a real dig on school grounds too. He let me post poetry in the corner of his blackboard which he didn't use. Loved his world history class since he taught about every continent and didn't shrink from the hard truths. Clearly there is something cool going around in that name if they become teachers. Also died...

FoamyRules
07-11-2012, 07:35 AM
Well, my experiences with my literature classes weren't as enjoyable as Kitty's sad to say. I've had a much similar experience as you Rachel, except my professor didn't keep the author's of the literature we studied a secret. I asked him why don't we read books from POC authors and he just looked at me and shrugged and he was a POC himself.

Kitty27
07-11-2012, 08:42 AM
DUDE. I have CLEARLY not lived.

LOL,Rhoda. He was something else. But that's what a good teacher does. Adapts and gets the kids involved.


I haven't lived. Would have loved to have seen that.

I had a cool teacher named Mr. Bailey too--the father of my best friend, but he taught history. He had us play interactive games with history and taught drama classes too. He also got to do a real dig on school grounds too. He let me post poetry in the corner of his blackboard which he didn't use. Loved his world history class since he taught about every continent and didn't shrink from the hard truths. Clearly there is something cool going around in that name if they become teachers. Also died...

The Baileys are of the awesome! He was such a sweet man and so passionate about reading. Good that you had a Mr.Bailey,too.


Well, my experiences with my literature classes weren't as enjoyable as Kitty's sad to say. I've had a much similar experience as you Rachel, except my professor didn't keep the author's of the literature we studied a secret. I asked him why don't we read books from POC authors and he just looked at me and shrugged and he was a POC himself.


Lawd. I cannot. That's a shame.