Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 40 seconds

Bacon or Alcohol? Choices in Dissent

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 40 seconds

Sightly inspired my friend David Mathew’s book Ventriloquists, and a meeting at work today.

In David’s book, there is a Muslim character who eats bacon. So I DM David (who has lived in Egypt, btw, so he knows what he’s doing with his Muslim characters, tho living in the UK, he might have known anyway) – “why’s the Muslim dude eating bacon?”. And he responds that the guy is a non-practicing Muslim. Yeah, obviously. But I tell him that most non-practicing Muslims I know drink alcohol, rather than eat bacon. I think there is a reason for that. At a certain age, drinking out of peer pressure, and the pleasure of the buzz or whatever (never tried it myself, so I’m working second-hand here) must be much more tempting than bacon. I mean, bacon is just another kind of meat. Why go out of your way? Then again, I don’t like meat in general, so obviously I don’t know what I am talking about. I need to remember how my husband looks when he sees a steak on the food network. Food porn indeed!

So at some other point in the day we were at a meeting and discussing different approaches for faculty to show dissent, and it got me thinking about the choices we make when we rebel.

Side note: Ok, as an educational researcher and wannabe-critical-pedagogue, I know there is a difference between valid resistance that represents praxis, and chaotic rebellion that represents superficial anger. But I am not trying to make a deep point here. Just opening up conversation.

So back to my point. The kind of choices youth make in order to rebel or dissent differ. Some can be completely counterproductive, like becoming drug addicts, but you can understand how they got there (peer pressure, etc.), and some can be fatal (e.g. driving without a license) while some can be pretty harmless (e.g. Partying til late)… And some can actually be really positive – like starting a revolution to overthrow a regime you’ve had to out up with for 30 years (go Egyptian youth on social media!). It’s also really interesting how perspective affects how we view all this. Bacon’s a big deal if you’re a religious Muslim or Jew, but not in most other religions that I know of. People see alcohol in a different way depending on their perspective. Actually, even the revolution thing is not seen as universally positive, especially by older people in the country, who think those are just younguns playing with fire. And even the underage driving? Some irresponsible adult taught these kids to drive and gave them access to carkeys even if not permission to wreck their cars. And although I was not by any stretch of the imagination a rebellious youth, I have driven cars without a license. I wasn’t underage but just 18 or 19, not licensed. Anyway.

So in our discussions today of what faculty could/should do to express dissent, I felt there were some suggestions that were more like the bacon: short term, and totally not worth it (from my perspective; clearly some people will die for some meat!); some I understand the lure of (like alcohol) but that can have harmful consequences to many people. Some we dismiss totally coz they are potentially fatal (like driving without a license). Some are so bland you wonder if they’ll have any impact at all. And yet what we should be looking for are the ones that are positive and constructive (even if they involve some risk), the ones that are the seeds of collective social action. Duh. Why don’t we use that as a benchmark all the time, every time?

And as I write this, we are starting our discussion on #ccourses about equity for unit 4 (and how appropriate that the next DML conference is about Equity?

And fighting/advocating for equity is again something that we could do on various levels. Some are petty, some focus on the big picture. Hoping to keep the big picture in mind… Will write more about the equity issue soon – been doing some advance unit 4 reading and need to capture my thoughts. I’ll post either here or on edcontexts.

Side note: Joe Dillon, a few others, and I are hosting a twitter chat on #techquity (#edtech equity) on Tues Oct 28 at 4:30 Eastern – all welcome to join! Will also blog about this soon 🙂

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