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What Does It Mean to Be a Race in a Loving World?: Healing the Wounds of Racism in the Philosophy Classroom

In this submit, I’ll replicate on my expertise in the Critical Philosophy of Race class I took with Jackie Scott at Loyola University Chicago in Spring 2022. I selected this expertise as a result of the pedagogical mannequin of the class supplied me one thing completely different from different philosophy programs I’ve taken. I’d broadly describe this mannequin as participatory and therapeutic. I’ll describe these traits individually under.

Participatory pedagogy

Just a few days earlier than the begin of the course, Jackie despatched us a Google spreadsheet to share our educational pursuits round the philosophy of race. Two of us college students contributed principally to the dialog, and Jackie took our enter under consideration when placing collectively the course syllabus. This train made me really feel thought-about from the starting of the course.

In addition, from the third session, we started to put collectively a psychological map that served us the relaxation of the semester as a route to understanding the logic of racism in the United States. We started this desk with the ideas of W. E. B Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk and Linda Alcoff’s “Mestizo Identity.” These texts study American racism from the perspective of individuals of colour.

Throughout the course, we nourished this desk with the ideas of Audre Lorde, Kristie Dotson, Shannon Sullivan, George Yancy, José Medina, and María Lugones, amongst others. In assembling this desk, we recognized completely different harms that racism causes to individuals of colour and white individuals in the United States. We additionally recognized potential methods to counteract the harms of racism. In class, we referred to as these intervention methods.

Importantly, in this pedagogical course of, the instructor accompanied us as a facilitator and companion in thought and dialogue. I keep in mind that, in the lessons, Jackie would sometimes ask a query whereas sharing this paraphrased disclaimer: I’m asking this query not as a result of I’ve a solution prepared; I do not need a solution, however I would like us all to discover it collectively. This reflection exemplifies the pedagogical method of the class.

According to Jackie’s conceptualization, racism is a illness, and as such, it detrimentally impacts the physique (Scott 2019). Or in Du Bois’s phrases, racism is a drawback in which individuals of colour are the drawback (Du Bois 2007, 7). From this understanding, the questions “what is racism?” and “how do we confront it?” are ever new questions and ones that, in the context of the class, all of us—together with the instructor—took on the activity of addressing. This method made the class extremely participatory.

Healing pedagogy

During the lectures and in written assignments, Jackie insisted that we assist our arguments with examples from our experiences. This invitation helped us put flesh on the ideas in the course texts. Fanon’s historical-racial physique schema, Sullivan’s ontological expansiveness, Medina’s epistemic virtues and vices, and Lorde’s makes use of of anger, amongst many others, got here alive in classmates’ narratives.

From my perspective, the most necessary side of this method was the group expertise throughout this course of. I analyze this expertise with Lugones’s idea of “world traveling” under. We labored on this idea throughout the class, and I developed it in depth in my ultimate essay.

Lugones understands “world” as a “seeing circle” (Lugones 2003, 159–60). According to this notion, specific social circles present us with particular methods of perceiving ourselves and being perceived by others. The varied social circles we transfer amongst are “worlds” in which we exist and to which we come and go every day (Lugones 2003, 87–8, 129).

In one of the lessons with Jackie, for instance, a classmate shared her experiences with a circle of colleagues racialized as white. She expressed discomfort with the racist insults that they used. In Lugones’s language, this social circle is a “world” inside the varied worlds in which my classmate strikes.

Importantly, in sharing this expertise with us, our classmate confirmed the group one of her worlds: a “world” in which white privilege prevails over different methods of perceiving actuality. Our classmate shared the ache and discomfort she felt from belonging to that world. This expertise opened the door for the group to discuss the “worlds” in which we transfer and in which we, as individuals of colour, are considered with mistrust and contempt. This sharing was primarily motivated by our curiosity in illuminating the ideas of the class readings.

Based on Lugones’s philosophy, I categorize this kind of expertise as a modality of “world traveling,” which I name loving world-traveling. This expertise includes considering different individuals’s “worlds” with the want to “understand what it is to be them” and “what it is to be ourselves in their eyes” (Lugones 2003, 97). In the classroom, I skilled this idea in my very own flesh once I listened and checked out classmates with respect, affection, admiration, and affirmation as they narrated their (dis)encounters with American racism.

Likewise, I skilled loving world-traveling after sharing a troublesome state of affairs in one of the “worlds” in which I transfer. In this “world,” the rage and confusion I endured at witnessing the homicide of George Floyd was invalidated. This expertise led me to mistrust myself and my affections when dealing with this case that shook Americans in 2020. Floyd’s final phrases, “I can’t breathe,” resonated with the sense of suffocation I felt once I thought my anger and confusion have been character flaws. This thought, in flip, was confirmed by the attitudes of silence and indifference I contemplated in the “worlds” the place white privilege reigns.

When I shared this expertise with my class, I felt validated. Moreover, I felt my interior world validated by my classmates’ and instructor’s listening, receptivity, and empathy. It was as in the event that they have been telling me: I imagine you. This expertise helped me regain confidence in myself and my affective expertise of racism—an expertise silenced and domesticated in circles of white privilege.

In making an attempt to perceive racism collectively, the classroom grew to become a area for collective therapeutic. This course of of group reflection helped us not to really feel despair for ourselves and our incapacity to confront racist buildings however to mission this despair onto the racist buildings that encompass us (Scott 2019). In this sense, the expertise of the course was central to understanding affectively and corporeally that our our bodies and affections should not the issues; slightly, the shortcomings are in society and the legal guidelines that victimize racialized our bodies.

Just a few months after the finish of the course, we met once more to atone for what we have been doing with our lives. I skilled this assembly with pleasure and delight thanks to the ambiance of affection and respect we cultivated throughout the course.

The expertise of this course clarifies that areas of belief and reflection in communities victimized by white privilege and supremacy are important. This course supplied me an experimental setting to take into consideration what methods we are able to undertake in my collectives and communities to confront white supremacy.

Reflecting on the expertise of this course, I ponder with awe, what’s philosophical work succesful of when it focuses on therapeutic individuals’s our bodies and impacts, and is oriented in direction of social justice?

Miguel Cerón-Becerra

Miguel Cerón-Becerra is a Jesuit brother and a doctoral pupil in philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. His analysis focuses on the transnational exploitation of ladies’s home labor.


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