In our “free” society, schooling became a replacement for the development of material and social skills young people once learned in community, through apprenticeship, through experience with the natural world. In order to maintain schooling as an institution, these young people’s needs are provided for by parents, by the state, other external agents, and further mediated by the mechanisms of production (i.e. the supply chain). This allows young people, especially the racially and/or economically privileged young people overrepresented in SDE spaces, to exist in a bubble wherein they can choose — or “self-direct” into — activities far removed from what’s essential to their survival.
All the things that North Philly Peace Park is, and will become, are part of a continuum of collective dreaming, striving, and will toward self-determination: the heart of all Black struggle. The life of Black people in this country has always been defined by the tension between our demand for sovereignty, and the violent refusal by the State at every juncture to entertain the mere idea. From the murder of Octavius Catto, situated at the center of a relentless campaign of anti-Black violence against our attempts to vote, to the institutionalized violence of the police, carceral system and the courts, any whiff of Black mobility or agency is met with full-throttled resistance by the State and its proxies.
Hunter's Mind — or ADHD if you must — allows me to glimpse both the underlying systems that reinforce domination, and the ley lines along which alternative lifeways might be built. The utter soup that is my mind under capitalism requires serious organizational structure in order to even function. And so my thoughts naturally gravitate toward and coalesce around any possibilities for breaking down silos, traversing boundaries of animus and distrust, fostering communication, and synthesizing many different kinds of work into a more cohesive vision.
Even as Bill Gates writes books laying out the "solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need", his cynicism prevents him from actually believing any of it. Not only does he have no faith in people to muster the collective will to prevent climate catastrophe, he has neither faith in corporations to abandon their centuries-long commitment to extraction and exploitation, nor in his own ability to "innovate" a way out. In light of this, he would seem to be preparing for inevitable disaster, and in his arrogance, would situate himself as an arbiter of life and death.
The constraining of ideas to the "median" seems to be rooted in white USAmerican norms of white upper/middle class "decorum", specifically the pressure to avoid conflict, or rather, to avoid any public appearance of conflict. Those who benefit from the status quo (and those who aspire to) — by virtue of social, economic, or political power and privilege — would really quite like it, if the rest of you wouldn't much mind, if we could just keep things "civil". A premium is placed on preserving the appearance, not just of civility, but of the fundamental "goodness" of those in power.
That whole time, there were other voices, on the margins of academia and the political sphere - pushed there by the relentless power of the status quo and those who uphold it - who were already making the case Nick and Diane only just came to understand. There were teachers who understood it, even if they didn't have the vocabulary or the platform to make the case, or of they did, were quickly buried by the neoliberal demands of the system and punished for noncompliance.
This whole Virginia drama is revealing something important about the current Democratic establishment, something which has implications for both past and future, including the election of Donald Trump. That something is that Democrats are symbolic politicians, concerned more with the image of doing the right thing, than actually doing it. Where they effect policies that actually make a positive difference in people's lives, it is usually reactive, a case of them "holding the line" against the worst abuses of the Republicans.
When you hear the name Thomas Jefferson, it is likely followed by "founding father", "hero", "patriot", and other such reverent terms. But he should also be considered one of the Founding Fathers of white supremacy. Nearly every white supremacist idea, claim, or rationale, can be found in Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia…