SPECIAL ISSUE: From Racial Violence to Racial Justice: Praxis and Implications for English (Teacher) Education


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SPECIAL ISSUE: From Racial Violence to Racial Justice: Praxis and Implications for English (Teacher) Education

Editorial: The Pain and the Wounds: A Call for Critical Race English Education in the Wake of Racial Violence
April Baker-Bell, Tamara Butler, and Lamar Johnson, Guest Editors

The Stories They Tell: Mainstream Media, Pedagogies of Healing, and Critical Media Literacy
April Baker-Bell, Raven Jones Stanbrough, and Sakeena Everett
Abstract: Pedagogies of healing and critical media literacy are important, especially in the wake of racial violence when mainstream media work to stigmatize, characterize, and marginalize Black youth by projecting them as dangerous Others. In this article, we offer an overview of how mainstream media reinscribe and reinforce White supremacy, which leads to anti-Blackness. Next, we discuss the impact that uncritical consumption of mainstream media narratives of Black people has on media consumers and how Black youth use social media as counter spaces. We then theorize about pedagogies of healing and critical media literacy as tools to encourage Black youth to investigate, dismantle, and rewrite the damaging narratives. We conclude with sample lesson plans and a discussion of how English educators have a responsibility to use our discipline to transform our world and raise awareness of the crisis of racial injustice.

#Say[ing]HerName as Critical Demand: English Education in the Age of Erasure
Tamara T. Butler
Abstract: In the wake of racial violence, teacher educators, literacy scholars, and classroom teachers are looking for ways to teach about in/equities and in/justice. In this article, I position #SayHerName as an entry point for educators and scholars to think about how English education and English language arts classrooms can become spaces to address injustice against Black women. In drawing on the work of Black and decolonial feminists, I advocate for educators and scholars to teach about the lives of Black women using Black women’s autobiographies. I position #SayHerName as a critical Black and decolonial feminist demand through which students can (a) begin to learn about the historical and contemporary contributions of Black women, (b) recognize the intricate links between Black women’s lived experiences and political activism, and (c) see their lives as grounds for political and social change.

Imagining a Language of Solidarity for Black and Latinx Youth in English Language Arts Classrooms
Danny C. Martinez
Abstract: In this article, I argue that English educators must interrogate acts of physical and linguistic violence against Black and Latinx youth and take them into consideration when shaping curricula. English teachers can provide a space for youth to make sense of their racialized experiences. I highlight the marginal treatment of Black and Latinx languages in English classrooms and show the relationship between the racialized physical violence against Black and Latinx communities and the linguistic violence many Black and Latinx youth face in English classrooms. I then present examples of emerging solidarity movements between Black and Latinx activists and communities and illustrate how this renewed sense of solidarity can be leveraged to incite transformative learning experiences. I conclude with recommendations for how a language of solidarity framework can take place in all English classrooms.

Provocateur Piece: Difficult Knowledge: When a Black Feminist Educator Was Too Afraid to #SayHerName
Bettina L. Love
Abstract: In this Provocateur Piece, the author shares her regrets, mistakes, and fears in hopes that more conversations about how educators, especially Black female educators who are on the front lines of educating students about race-centered violence toward women, have a space to wrestle with the difficult knowledge and task of teaching anti-Black, state-sanctioned violence toward Black women, while dealing with the reality that their lives and spirits are also in danger.