Re: Resistance and speaking out

From: Bramble House (
Date: Fri Jan 28 2005 - 23:11:19 PST

I have much to say on this topic, really. But I'm leaving town for a few
days, and so will have to wait until I get back on Wednesday, but I am
COMPELLED to point out how brilliantly poignant this message is,
how terribly important, how critically essential it is for you all to
issues that involve sexuality and normalcy, optimism and socially "accepted"
standards and the general tone of republicanisms and conservatisms that
characterise big decisions ( e.g., in Canada, the prime minister is
under huge pressure to withdraw the law that legalizes gay marriage, and
insert here all the propoganda about family values, the future of society,
etc.), all
of which is related to issues that are
generally consistent with the Rapture Theory in America, the Intelligent
Design theory,
the overall retreat to conservative policy...

The tone of Education has always been one of obfuscation between teachers
academics, between high theory and "low" activity of school life, school
boards, education
boards' funding, local policy, and so on. Women in education play a major
in all of this... and, yep. I have much to say on this, but it will
have to wait...

Never the less, do NOT let this discussion topic die.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jay Lemke" <>
Sent: Saturday, January 29, 2005 12:12 AM
Subject: Resistance and speaking out

> Thanks for the online and offline responses to my posting about anti-gay
> and anti-educational policy by the US Secretary of Education.
> In thinking about how to respond, not just to this latest act of evil, but
> to the corruption of so much of institutional and political life in our
> times, and in the nation where I am, still, a citizen, I have been
> considering many alternative courses of action. Some may come sooner,
> others later; many are compatible. I think that many of us worry about
> we ought to do, what we can do, and when and where and how.
> We are, most of us, not only citizens but educators, researchers, social
> scientists, members of university and professional communities, local
> communities, ...
> We are supposed to be intellectuals, at least in the primary meaning of
> people who take ideas seriously and critically reflect on how to think
> profoundly about our lives and our values. So it ought not be beyond our
> capacity, or irrelevant to the rest of our professional and intellectual
> work, to address issues of resistance, and indeed of aggressive opposition
> to policies we detest, the people who impose those policies, the
> institutions that embody and enforce those policies. We can also advocate
> for and enact our own values and policies, not just in opposition, but
> positively and creatively.
> Certainly Ken Goodman has been doing this in his area of passion, reading
> and educational policy, in opposing not just the simple-mindedness of the
> NCLB law in the US, but generally educational policies and programs, and
> principles supported by political advocates more interested in their own
> power and influence than in the learning or welfare of most US children.
> More than one regular here on xmca wrote me to say that in their part of
> the world it's perfectly normal to live in opposition, risky opposition
> hidden opposition, to the policies of oppressive governments and to those
> governments themselves.
> Being fortunate that the US is not yet, I believe, such a dangerous place
> for speaking out, it actually seems strange to me that I don't, and think
> perhaps most of my colleagues, and perhaps many of you, do not in fact
> publicly speak out and say what we REALLY believe.
> It strikes me that we are the victims of some hidden cultural norms that
> stabilize the status quo, silencing us by our own choice. When what we
> really believe seems to us to fall too far outside the mainstream of
> opinion in our communities, we are reluctant to speak out. Why? For fear
> being thought extremist and radical? for fear of being marginalized in the
> community? for fear of being thought impolite and uncivil? And perhaps for
> fear that others may actually AGREE with us, and that we may then have to
> collectively face the consequences of our beliefs?
> I very rarely if ever, and only among my closest friends, say what I
> actually think about matters where my opinions would seem extreme, and
> particularly where they are negative and pessimistic. And yet I am as
> certain of these opinions and their importance as I am of anything I
> publish or say here, as anything for which I know that many people have
> high regard for my judgment.
> In the field of education in particular, I have realized that there is a
> cultural norm of optimism. People in the field of education tend to be
> altruistic in intention and optimistic about the possibilities of
> improvement and reform regardless of the facts or what we would conclude
> from the kind of reasoning we use in our research. I recognize that
> sometimes we have to hold on to hope in the face of everything; it is a
> human survival trait. And our reason can never be truly certain of the
> impossibility of success. But I believe we have become too willing to act
> against our own best judgment, or to refuse to make such judgment, because
> we do not want to face the consequences. That is not a survival trait.
> It may be time to start saying publicly what we really believe about many
> of our current social institutions, especially where what we believe is
> negative and has important consequences. While we still can.
> JAY.
> Jay Lemke
> Professor
> University of Michigan
> School of Education
> 610 East University
> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
> Tel. 734-763-9276
> Email.
> Website.
Diane Hodges

La Maison Bramble House
19 Valois Bay Avenue
Pointe Claire, QC H9R 4B4

Tel: (514) 630-6363
Fax: (514) 344-2994

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