Sunday, December 20, 2015

This Struck A Cord

There is an article in the Hartford Courant that got to me on several different levels, diversity, who can teach diversity, and uninvited photos. The article is about a Hartford Board of Education member and a picture she took and posted on Facebook.
Facebook 'Selfie' Provokes Debate On Online Civility, Teacher Diversity
By Vanessa de la Torre
December 20, 2015

HARTFORD — Teacher Heather Zottola was at a training session for city educators on the evening of Sept. 2, hearing about ways they can better serve students of color — the bulk of Hartford's students — when she noticed one of the attendees angling a cellphone camera in her direction.

"I remember thinking, at first, 'Oh, she's taking a selfie.' Then I was like, 'Oh, look it, I'm in her picture,'" Zottola recalled this month. The woman, city board of education member Shelley Best, was seated only a few feet away in a downtown banquet room.
This is the first thing I have a problem with, I have been the subject of many uninvited photographs the one that I remember most is from an Olive Garden night out on the town. I was with a couple of trans women and their spouses and we were waiting for a table at a local Olive Garden and sitting across from us in the waiting room were two high school couples who looked like they were on a date. While we were sitting there I noticed that the two boys were talking photos of us and typing on their smartphones, three guesses what they were doing? That leads me to the second thing about the article, the posting of pictures on Facebook and social media.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Best's social media network had already learned the reason in real time as Best raised a blunt question about who was in the room that evening.

The head of the Hartford teachers' union, Andrea Johnson, would later say that she was "appalled" when she saw the Facebook post that would trigger pained conversations over teacher diversity and online civility.
I don’t post photos of strangers without their consent and I think it is very rude of people that do, especially if the other person is in a comprising situation. The only exception is if they are in a place where they don’t have an expectation of priviacy, like a rally or protest or other public event.

And the third thing that got me about the article is not so much about the article itself but rather about why they were there together, the training.
This is what Best remembered: A white female scholar illustrating her point with images of "sad, black males, little boys like this," said Best, mimicking a child's frown. "Like, sad, black boys who can't make it in school."
She noted that the only black man in the room was Stallings, a product of Hartford public schools. "If a man of color was presenting a presentation on the struggle of young black males in the classroom, and what we need to do to get young black males engaged — that's a different feeling."
Who should teach diversity? Should it be someone from the minority group that you are talking about? I know I would feel unqualified to teach diversity of race or national origin. Could a white person teach what discrimination a black person faces, yes but are they the best person to teach it, no. The only one who really knows what the discrimination a black person faces is a black person.

Can a non-trans person teach what discrimination a trans person faces every day? Probably, but are they the best person to teach it? You can read all the books in the world and see all the videos but you will never know what it is like to walk into a room and hear all the conversation stop.

There are only two non-trans people that I trust to teach trans cultural competency and that is because they have both worked extensively with trans people and been embed in the trans culture.

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