lor many this is the 6rst tme lhy have cxpcricnccd sushincl xdnrinition ol

Lor many this is the 6rst tme lhy have cxpcricnccd

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lor many, this is the 6rst t'me lh.y have cxpcricnccd. sushinc(l .xdnrinition ol inequality. Much ofwhal we irn.h is counlor l(, cvcrylhing sln(l(nls hiv. prcvn)usly becr taugbt. rurther. wc
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172 ask students to connect Personally to the issues we discuss. ftis combination of the theoretical and the personal challenges our very identities and how we sec ourselves in the world. Although we do not teach that people in dominant groups are "badi students often hear it thai way because th€ir current sense making framework says that participation iD inequality is something that only bad peoPle do. Until students have a critical social justice theoretical framework which requires a whole new pa.adigm ofsensemaking they often nnd it dilicutt to remain open. Defensive- ness, cognitive dissonance, and even feelings ol guilt, shame, and grief are not uncommon. In some ways, these feelings indicale movement and change' and al though unpleasant, they are not necessarilyproblematic. The key to 'Yhether these feeliDgs play a constructive or destructive role lies in what we do with them. We can, of cours€, use them as "Proof" that the class content and aPproach is "wrong' and reject all that $,e are being taught. But there is no growth for us in this reac- tion; it only serves to prolect and reinforc€ our current worldview. Returfling to our astronomy student, we can see that uPon r€ceiving informa' tion that challenged his worldview, he was unable to use his enotional reactions in a constructive way. Instead, he categorically r€jected the information, ending with a somewhat nonsensi€al claim that Pluto was st'll a planet' even ifit was shaPed lik€ a banana. This is the equivalent to claiming that we treat People rhe same regard' less of whether they are "red, y€llow, green, PurPle' polka'dotted, or zebra strip€d: ( Ihis popular platitude denying the signilicance of race is Problematic for at least two key reasons: First, colorblindness is not a€tually possible; we do in fact see race afld it does have social meaning and consequence; and second, people do not come in these colors and thus this claim trivializes the realities of racism.) Wlen we en- counter information that challenges our worldview emotions can get lriggered' A constructive response would be to use these emotions as entry Points to deeper self' awareness. 'Ihc following approach to the course content suPports Principle 4: How does considering the author's viel\'point challenge or exFnd the How have I been shaped by the issues theluthoris discussing? For example, ifthewriter is talking about the exPeriences ofthe poor' and I was raised rniddle class, what does their persPective help me see about what it means to have been raised middle class? Wlat about my life in relation to my race/class/gelrder might make it dimcdt for meto see or yalidaie this newpersP€ctive? What do my rea.tions reveal about what I perceive is at risk were I to accept this informatioo?
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  • Spring '17
  • TomMcCollow

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