Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Social justice education

The first social justice minor class I took nearly made me quit the official social justice education. I seriously contemplated not declaring the social justice minor, and I actually didn’t until a few months ago. Maybe it was the teacher or the class, but something really didn’t seem right. Months into this class that I had expected so much from and my classmates were still in denial of white privilege. I was absolutely shocked. How could a class with the title, “Introduction to Social Justice,” skip simple definitions and an essential discussion on privilege? While the class wasn’t totally worthless, (I was able to read some books and learn about a few authors that I hadn’t heard about before), I did leave that class rethinking if I wanted to continue with the minor, but thank goodness that I did.

My first experience with an education focused primarily on social justice was disappointing, but a good reminder that I have to make the best of every situation and if I don’t like something, speak up. I didn’t really speak up much in that class, which was a first, because in a class that is focused on something that I am so passionate about, one would think that I had a lot to say, but I didn’t feel comfortable or like everyone was on the same page. Of course, it is not feasible that everyone be in the exact place as the person next to them in terms of where they are in their own personal social justice journey, but the classroom politics got to be too strained for my liking and unfortunately, I checked out after a while.

My second social justice class was amazing and I felt critically challenged which is how I grow the most. My teacher was unconventional – which totally makes sense for a social justice minor – and she gave us the space and time to get our stuff done. I felt like an adult and really took charge of my education, at times it was really stressful because I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing, but by the end, I realized that the rewards was that I intrinsically learned about what I was most passionate about and I had done by best on my final project.

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