Racial Autobiography


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My racial autobiography for Pacific Educational Group's Beyond Diversity class. Fall 2012.

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Racial Autobiography

  1. 1. Race Autobiography by Jason Flom Beyond DiversityPacific Educational Group Fall 2012 Image: Tiffany Shlain
  2. 2. Or. . .Ignorant White Male Quests To Be a Less Ignorant White Male Image: Money Python
  3. 3. I entered a world rife with a history of glaring blindness. Image: Margaret Bourke-White
  4. 4. 1975(This isn’t me.) Image: Brian Lee
  5. 5. By 1980 I rocked one of these,while being blissfully unaware of race. Image: Sears
  6. 6. I attended “lower performing” public schools.Elem, Middle, High = half Black / half White populations. Most of us were barely middle class. Didn’t really think about race. . . Until . . .
  7. 7. 3rd Grade. Was beat up for the first time by an olderBlack kid, surrounded by his rooting friends. Never knew the cause or their names. That’s when Race became real to me. Image:A Black Man’s View
  8. 8. Went on to get my butt kicked 4 more times before graduating highschool. An indicator of how I fared in those bouts: I never threw or landed a punch. I mostly wondered, “Why?” In all, I only knew one of the kids by name. I assumed Race as motivating factor in each. Image: AP Photo
  9. 9. Didn’t consider myself a racist. I just did my thing with the nerds and outcasts.But I guess there was a lot I didn’t see about me. Image: Cheezburger
  10. 10. Image: Kazama
  11. 11. Despite the memory of those altercations,Two inhibitors made it easy to ignore the truth. Image: Jim Henson
  12. 12. 1. I’m literally color blind. (These pairs look exactly the same to me.) It served as a convenient race metaphor.“Hey, I’m color blind. Really. And figuratively.” Image: Jim Goldstein
  13. 13. 2. I loved (and still love) “Black” music . . .How could I possibly contribute to poor race relations? Image: Yuri via Last.fm
  14. 14. Of course, we learn what we experience,And a White male experiences Privilege.An inkling of this hints around graduation. Image: Abagond
  15. 15. It’s tough realizing you don’t know what you don’t know. This begins to dawn in college. Image: 9Gag
  16. 16. At UF I fell in love with African American literature.Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Fire Next Time, Beloved, The Souls of Black Folk, Up FromSlavery, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Ain’t I A Woman? . . . Equiano, Wheatley, Dunbar, Cullen . . . Native Son Image: Richard Wright
  17. 17. In my African American Literature and Native American Literature classes, I wanted to talk authorship. My classmates of color wanted to talk racism.Couldn’t understand why they weren’t tired of the topic.
  18. 18. In the college of education, aprofessor fully lifts the veil.And then sends us into low incomehousing 3 times a week. Image: Kasama
  19. 19. Here my thinking about race & racism boiled down tothis: EVERYTHING in the SE is shaped by racial history. Image: Jessica Luallen
  20. 20. Began building curricula with Tom Feelings’“The Middle Passage” as the starting point. Image: Tom Feelings
  21. 21. Once I had my own classroom, we used African Americanliterature as the lens for investigatinghistory, geography, storyarc, narrative, character, protagonists and antagonists.I challenged my students: “Are all Whites bad? Or just some of us?” Prove it. Image: Leon’s Story
  22. 22. We built maps around the SE.(The black arrows represent slave trade routes.) Image: Jason Flom
  23. 23. We culminated with a SE Tour of Civil Rights Sites: -Selma Bridge- Image: Jason Flom
  24. 24. -Dexter Ave Baptist Church- Montgomery, AL Image: Jason Flom
  25. 25. -Civil Rights Memorial- Montgomery, AL Image: Jason Flom
  26. 26. -Booker T. Washington’s Grave- Tuskegee, AL Image: Jason Flom
  27. 27. -MLK, Jr’s Tomb- Atlanta, GA Image: Jason Flom
  28. 28. -Jimmy Carter Museum- Plains, GA Image: Jason Flom
  29. 29. But what does this all mean in terms of my racial autobiography?
  30. 30. I have a love – for ahistory (& its music).And a guilt – for my color’s part in it. Image: ROFLRAZZI
  31. 31. And now I have girls, and I wonder,“What privilege will they feel entitled to?” Image: Jason Flom
  32. 32. I can only hope what we pass to them is the love & appreciation, as well as the courage & insight to see Beyond Diversity. Image: Jason Flom