Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Decolonizing, language, diversity/inclusion, healing, social justice: Curation of things I’ve read this week

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

I have been thinking recently about how it would be so wonderful to work in an environment where my orientation towards social justice was valued, appreciated, supported (in a real not lip-service sort of way) rather than tolerated and occasionally listened to…Where people I worked with recognized me as someone who has done good critical work (in writing and in practice) on inclusion and equity (as I am recognized worldwide for!!!). Where people believed in equity as a struggle worth undergoing rather than an unachievable impracticality not worth pursuing. The idea came to me because I was writing references for a friend who seemed to somehow find job openings that emphasized those values and that person fits so well in those contexts.

I am too exhausted and busy to write a proper blogpost reflecting on all the articles I have read this week which clearly show my own value orientation..and I did not want to just stick em into a Google doc for future teaching or writing…but I wanted to write a blogpost on these, just linking to them, so I can find them again later…but also for others to benefit beyond the tweets that will get swallowed up by the algorithm…

Electing to Heal (first #marginalsyllabus reading)…an article about dealing with trauma, emotion, healing in the classroom. A comment I made about the use of English teachers vs all teachers led to my recent (quickly popular blogpost on the privilege to choose to be global)

This article by Mukoma Wa Ngogi on What Decolonising the Mind Means Today. This article does so much for me, and it touches me similarly to Lina Mounzer’s article War in Translation (both are incidentally published in the Literary Hub). Both are, interestingly, about language and translation and the hegemony of the English language. Here are some parts I tweeted out:

This article by Nafisa Bakkar calling people out on rhetoric of inclusion and diversity which does not result in true participation…but, perhaps because it is in Forbes, mainly addresses diversity as a means of representing consumers as they are in the market…in order to sell them stuff…rather than as a means towards an end of social justice and equity. It is still a really good article. Here are some parts I tweeted out:

I also found this deeply moving article Embracing the Subjective on TheNasiona which alsp touched me deeply (its title is similar to an article of mine from 2015 but the topic is different):

Also worth a read, this article by Naomi Barnes reframing how we think about ethics in digital literacies and how we teach it. And she concludes (as I often do) that the discourses lack an emphasis on social justice. Two tweets on it

I also think I should include an article shared by Dominique (@clearerworld) last week…a sort of tongue in cheek of alternstive definitions of social justice terms from the Institute for Canadian Citizenship:

https://www.6degreesto.com/dictionary/

I used this in class to reflect on these terms..Where immigrant and refugee are often seen with a negative connotation but could be looked at from the perspective of both courage and risk-taking, but also from perspective of how they can be persecuted in their own country and outside it. Most of the terms, even positive ones, are balanced in their alternative definitions…a few are too positive…implying Canada does them well (like belonging) and multiculturalism. An overall light-heartedly critical piece that was very useful for in-class discussion (pairs of students read one word and its definitions and picked the definitions from the list they liked and shared them)…but could definitely be made slightly more critical in parts.

And finally…totally off topic but one I reached via one of the other links (coz author is a co-founder of this magazine), an article and its response. The article is about 12 issues a Muslim woman cannot reconcile about Islam (many resonate with me, but not all) and a response to it (some of it was really great, some parts a bit patronizing and unconvincing).

And on the parenting front, I never watch anything with my child without my critical pedagogue had on:

  1. We watched a live play, Alice in Wonderland in Arabic. It was a beautifully done local production. And the first time I notice the feminist undertones of Alice in Wonderland (I am guessing this is not a surprise to anyone but me)
  2. We watched the Emoji movie and I was pleasantly surprised on how it was about non-confirmity, accepting difference, and hybridity.
  3. We watched an Egyptian movie where the lead character was trying to start a worthwhile business of lego-like toys with Egyptian designs. I know lego had one, but i hated it. I wonder if more such localization of culture of toys can be done (we have an Arab Barbie type doll for example called Fula).
  4. We are following this TV Series called I Am Frankie about a very human-like Android (actually that is Frankie, but she now has a host of other Androids around her). I have always been annoyed by how the show wants us to support a human-machine relationship, family, friendship or romantic relationships. And to lean towards Androids being good even though the show also explicitly relays how evil people are trying to reprogram good robots to be used for warfare. I don’t get it. How is this not a scary enough prospect?

Ok…that is it for now!!

3 Comments

  1. Maha, you wrote another blogpost that I will read many times!!! Thank you!

  2. Could it be that diversity can only emerge when we are realizing something new or different? Once our habits of knowing become routine we don’t honestly search for something fundamentally challenging. Or is it that we kill what we collect so it will stay in-place in our collection? An example for my collection is reading “White Fragility, why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism” by Robin DiAngelo. I find the book very challenging for all the things it points out in me that really need more work–and may never be complete. Of course, there’s also the contradiction of BEING completely diverse as an end point.

    I vote for this article being an example of the unexpected, at least to those of us in the Global West.
    Tunisia passes landmark anti-racism law
    The law builds off of Tunisia’s status as a force for progress in the Arab world.
    Lamine Ghanmi
    https://thearabweekly.com/tunisia-passes-landmark-anti-racism-law

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