The Dangerous Delusions of Self-Directed Education

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.

From COVID to Climate Change: Herd Immunity vs. Institutional Distrust

Whatever technologies, models, and organizational structures we develop, to orient ourselves toward social and economic justice, we must also make space for the unwilling and the unable to be independent, self-determined, and safe. This means insulating them against the violent death throes of our system of capitalism, white supremacy, and imperialism, as we replace it with something better.

One Educator’s Journey to Personal and Collective Liberation

At the end of last year, I published an article in the journal Transcontinental Human Trajectories, my first “official” publication. It is mostly a personal narrative — and I do mean personal — but it also lays out much of my educational philosophy, and sketches my initial trajectory from a school teacher to more of an activist. Although I didn’t use the term “school abolitionist” at the time, you can see the first inklings of that identity starting to crystallize.

Free Speech, Cancel Culture, and the Miseducation of Cousin Miles

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.

The Sacrifice of Ralph Northam on the Altar of Sanctimony

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.

Thomas Chatterton Williams And The Scourge Of Individualism

There has undoubtedly been one person, or ten, or even one thousand black people who have gone through their lives with little to no observable experience with racism, don't consciously feel its impact, and for that manage to gain some degree of success or wealth or high quality of life. Their experiences do not invalidate the very real existence of systems that make such outcomes more unlikely for the rest of us. Systems that privilege white people at the expense of people of color.

Learn, Predict, Steer: The God That Google Made

I thought about the implications of this AI Overseer guiding thoughts, emotions, opinions, consumer habits, politics, public policy, among many other things, including the very modes of human interaction and our reasons for doing anything at all. It sounded like a "benevolent" dictator, but one with far more insight into and power over people on an individual and collective level than any human or their administration could ever manage. It sounded like a god.

Bill Cosby and the Monstrous Charade of Cliff Huxtable

The truth of the matter is that these revelations haven’t tarnished the image of Cliff Huxtable, and changed him into a monster. Rather, the image of Cliff Huxtable was built around an actual monster. A monster playing his best role yet, as a beloved family icon and upstanding public figure.

Black Mandarin: Critical Speculations on Language and Power

A contemplation of the revolutionary potential of teaching black kids Mandarin. Beyond allowing black people to have more mobility within a new power structure, fluency in Mandarin would allow us to spread our own influence. Our revolutionary spirit writ large to resonate with people around the world…

Thomas Jefferson is the Founding Father of White Supremacy

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…