At first, I felt that Delpit’s reading could not be connected in any way to the Allan Johnson reading entitled “Privilege, Power, and Difference”. However, when Delpit stated, “…because it means turning yourself inside out, giving up your own sense of who you are, and being willing to see yourself in the unflattering light of another’s angry gaze…”, I automatically started making connections to Johnson’s reading from last week and looked at Delpit’s reading with a new perspective.
Delpit focuses on communicating across cultures in order to address the idea of “power” and how the voice of white people tends to overpower the voices of minority groups. Throughout her article, she seems to side with the African American race in order to point out the power struggle between blacks and whites. At first when reading the article, I was taken back how she seemed to point her finger at the white population and the accusations she made about how we treat black people, but as the article went on I soon realized what she meant.
Delpit gave an example of how a Native American student didn’t possess “acceptable writing skills”, yet was still passed anyways and allowed into a teacher education program. This student’s teachers passed her with improper writing skills, knowing that she was not prepared for her future career. Delpit then goes on to say that certain teachers argued that this student should not have been let into the teaching program. I began to wonder why her teachers passed her and why she was admitted into the program with the lack of these skills. I then remembered when Johnson was sitting at a restaurant with his black colleague, and how it was hard for him to discuss certain issues with her. It is almost like the white race “avoids” anything that has to do with language, race, diversity, etc. that they think will cause conflict. This is why I believe the teachers that Delpit referred to passed the Native American student and accepted her into the teaching program, even if her written language wasn’t up to par. The faculty wanted to prevent any conflict that would make them seem that they declined a student due to her written language skills, and therefore were discriminating against her.
Another example that Delpit gave that made me think of Johnson was when teachers speak “indirectly” to African American students and do not demonstrate the authoritarian power in which the students expect. This made me think of Johnson’s idea of how “all people are the problem” and how the dominant race subconsciously categorize people. If the teachers would take the time to think about it from the students’ perspective, this problem may be solvable.
Going back to Delpit’s quote that was stated at the beginning of this blog, I feel that her and Allan Johnson have the same overall idea. People need to “…put our beliefs on hold and crease to exist as ourselves for a moment…” in order to view the problem that we have as a society and try to solve it. I think that this statement summarizes the overall idea of both these articles, even though Johnson and Delpit take a completely different approach of explaining it.