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Book Selections: Whiteness Accountability Group for International Educators

August 26 Session
By Emily Meadows & Tamara Friedman
Book Selections: Whiteness Accountability Group for International Educators

We are white international educators showing up to do the work of whiteness accountability as one piece of anti-racism progress. We challenge ourselves and each other to recognize and be accountable for whiteness in international schools, including individual, institutional, and systemic white privilege and power.

For our August 26 (16:00 CEST) meeting, we're offering three break-out rooms to discuss books selected by our members for summer reading. Feel free to read all of the books if you'd like, and we'll ask you to choose one room to join for the session. If you’d like to take part in this work, please join us. Our book study selections are:

Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School 

by Danau Tanu

The first and only book that addresses structural racism within international schools. 

The number of international schools that claim to promote ‘global citizenship’ has grown rapidly over the last few decades, shaping the identities and worldview of millions of young minds. Yet, the ideology of being ‘international’ that is at the heart of the ethos of these schools is Western centric.

Despite the cosmopolitan rhetoric, hierarchies of race, culture and class shape popularity, friendships, and romance on campus. Not surprisingly, this has an adverse effect on students' self-perception and sense of school belonging.

By going back to high school for a year in Indonesia, Danau befriended transnational youth, often called 'Third Culture Kids', to present their struggles with    identity, belonging and internalized racism in their own words. The result is the first engaging, anthropological critique of the way Western-style cosmopolitanism is institutionalized as cultural capital to reproduce global socio-cultural inequalities. 

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad 

Using a step-by-step reflection process, Saad encouraged people with white privilege to examine their racist thoughts and behaviors. Thousands of people participated in the challenge, and more than ninety thousand people downloaded the Me and White Supremacy Workbook. Since then, the work has spread to families, book clubs, educational institutions, nonprofits, corporations, event spaces, and more.

Based on the original workbook, Me and White Supremacy leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. The book goes beyond the original workbook by adding more historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and includes expanded definitions, examples, and further resources.

Not Light, But Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom by Matthew R. Kay

Do you feel prepared to initiate and facilitate meaningful, productive dialogues about race in your classroom? Are you looking for practical strategies to engage with your students?

Inspired by Frederick Douglass's abolitionist call to action, “it is not light that is needed, but fire,” Matthew Kay has spent his career learning how to lead students through the most difficult race conversations. Kay not only makes the case that high school classrooms are one of the best places to have those conversations, but he also offers a method for getting them right, providing candid guidance on:

  • How to recognize the difference between meaningful and inconsequential race conversations.
  • How to build conversational “safe spaces,” not merely declare them.
  • How to infuse race conversations with urgency and purpose.
  • How to thrive in the face of unexpected challenges.
  • How administrators might equip teachers to thoughtfully engage in these conversations.

With the right blend of reflection and humility, Kay asserts, teachers can make school one of the best venues for young people to discuss race.

August 26 Registration:

Emily Meadows (she/her) is an LGBTQ+ consultant and published author specializing in international schools. 

amara Friedman is a long time educator currently teaching Grade 4 at the American School of the Hague. 

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