Social Justice

Vulnerability: not optional for social justice leadership

3 years ago this month…my world collapsed. Y’all. Not gonna lie. November 2017 was arguably the devastating month of my professional career. That month ranks in the top 3 worst times of my entire life across professional, personal, and all other contexts. Things got hopeless real quick. I had chosen to make myself vulnerable to rejection. Let’s just say the …

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Students are not the problem. We are: Anti-racism questions for your institution.

Before my Twitter account got hacked yesterday, I had posted this: “It’s not our students. It’s us. WE are the ones who desperately need critical reflection, intersectional race inquiry, and transformational social justice awakening. Us.” For decades I have watched colleges and universities trip over themselves to offer more diversity course initiatives, inclusive efforts, new …

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Stepping up to educate white people

white anti-racism & action to dismantle white supremacy Written after George Floyd’s murder. After weeks of struggling to figure out how to support the social justice movement for Black lives, ending police violence against People of Color, and working to dismantle systemic White Supremacy, I defined what I view as my most effective path as an …

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How NOT to be an Ally – Part 3 “Spoken-Language Microaggressions”

A few weeks ago, I boarded a flight from Houston to Mexico City excited for a mini-vacation and a visit to Frida Kahlo’s home and museum (see pic). Passengers searched for seats while flight attendants closed baggage bins in preparation for departure. So far so good. As a possibly Latina woman stopped to claim the …

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How NOT to be an Ally – Part 1 “Centering the Privileged”

Students, faculty, and community members often approach me seeking advice on their quest to understand interracial encounters. For example, white women and white men tend to ask me to explain misunderstandings they have encountered with people of color. “Melissa, my colleague at work who is Mexican American, told me about a racist incident she experienced …

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An Open Letter to (some) White Feminist Friends: by Indu Viswanathan

Dear some white feminist friends, I write this to you sincerely, from a genuine space of calling in. While I may feel anger towards you at times, my intention is not to fill the space between us with that anger. My wish is to use the flame of that emotion to ignite our mutual awareness, …

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Feminist Pedagogy is Bigger on the Inside: Intersectionality and Social Justice as Foundational

-Portions of this blog borrowed from “Intersectional Pedagogy: Complicating Identity and Social Justice” (Routledge 2017) As a Doctor Who fan, I frequently integrate my academic thinking with Time Lord philosophy. One of the most famous lines from the show consistently follows when any new traveler enters the TARDIS, which is the doctor’s time and space …

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Teaching Social Issues: Pedagogical Challenges and Opportunities

“Why are you complaining about slavery? If it was so bad, then why did Africans kidnap and sell their own people into slavery?” As an undergraduate taking social psychology, I was shocked to hear this quote from one of my white classmates. His comments were a hostile response to an African American speaker who shared …

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Learning about Privilege: Shattering Myths of Education and Embracing Growth

On December 3, 2014, Channel 2 News in Houston ran a story about a white male student who was “uncomfortable” with an ungraded assignment about white privilege. A professor teaching the first-year students’ course, Learning Frameworks, at Lone Star College-Tomball asked students to reflect on the white privilege checklist, marking which items related to them. …

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