- Report organization (e.g., Write a subject outline of the major “sections” of the consultation)
- I typically start each report by saying a little about the kind of assignment or writing the client submitted. I mention if they were a new or newer client and share when I’ve reviewed the WC philosophy with them. I give a brief summary of my reactions, comments, questions, and resources. I almost always mention when I’ve tried to validate, affirm, or complement the client and their work. I usually record the client’s thoughts, desires, or feelings, at least as best I can tell.
- Report content (e.g., Discuss what dimensions of writing the consultation y’all covered and HOW you addressed the writing with the client)
- Even though I try to avoid simple grammar comments, it’s tricky when people are really focused on that. I noticed that grammar was a topic more times than I thought. The most common aspect of writing was overall clarity. Writers seem to want to know if their writing “makes sense”. I have tried to react based on my experience reading and frame that as subjective and imperfect, while still helping writers effectively communicate what they want to say. I’ve also made liberal use of questions and reading aloud (when on video). Another common dimension was argument/thesis statement, which came through when I addressed overall idea, intent, and goal for a client’s writing. I sometimes asked writers to share what they wanted to accomplish or convey and how their writing contributed to that message. I also will ask about the assignment guidelines or refer to the rubric to understand how the writer is structuring their paper. This is also a common topic of conversation, since many people want to verify that they’re adhering to the requirements.
- Report framework (e.g., Discuss how your work did or did not frame the conversation with the antiracist practices we have learned in training and the BWCP)
- My reports definitely still show some instances of making suggestions and including corrective behavior. Even though I regularly validate and encourage writers, noting locations in the text that are working for me, that still has the potential to come from a hierarchical standard where I’m telling them they’re “good”. This is not necessarily in line with Lunsford’s (1991) idea of “Burkean Parlor Centers” that reject traditional hierarchies.
- I’ve been mindful of the importance of intersectionality, as outlined by Crenshaw & Dobson (2016). When I meet with students, I’m aware that I’m coming from a place of privilege and perceived superiority, and how many of their identities are often shut down or told they’re not “good” writers. I’m trying to listen, understand, and focus on more holistic things than simple grammar or punctuation-the higher-order concerns that Mayne (2021) mentioned in “Revisiting Grammarly”. I also try to explicitly state that the “rules” come from a narrow and limited, white supremacist middle-class midwestern patriarchal background, which isn’t inherently better. I think often of the Codeswitch “Talk American” podcast (2018) and the ways Deion and Okim Yang were discriminated against for their languages.
- Offer three substantial recommendations for improvement of your own practice (e.g., Discuss beyond mere statements and theories. Provide examples and draw on the many resources we’ve used in our cohorts and the BWCP to support your recommendations).
- I’d like to be able to better connect with writers and hear about their experiences, perspectives, goals, and concerns. I think I sometimes let clients jump right in with their questions, which doesn’t allow for relationship or trust building. It also makes me feel frenzied, which throws me off for a session. I hope to do better at asking clients where they’re at and creating a calm space in the Writing Center. I was inspired by Rinaldi’s (2015) comments on how we approach disability from a problematic standpoint, and her request that we take the same non-hierarchical, collaborative, student-centered approach to all students. I hope to continue to incorporate more of this approach.
- Lately I have been looking more deliberately at the previous client report forms, especially for e-tutoring when we get such limited information. Going back to more than just the most recent report has helped me get a better sense of where writer’s are coming from and what background they have with the Writing Center.
- I realized I haven’t gotten any client feedback, so I’d like to meet and discuss what the surveys have been saying. I had thought about it a few months ago, but never followed up. I think seeing how they received the session would be beneficial to review and assess my own work.
Step 2: Think about the quotation above. Write a response to these questions in your WP site:
- In a writing consultation, how would you raise awareness of this context and these circumstances with a writer, especially someone whose expectations seem centered on reproducing standardized English uncritically?
Questions can be very useful in helping the writer come to conclusions on their own, so I’d start by asking them to challenge some of their own assumptions about ‘good’ or ‘academic’ writing: Why do you think that way is wrong? Where does that come from? Who told you your writing was ‘bad’? Have you ever seen examples of ‘bad’ writing that were effective, moving, powerful, meaningful, or informative?
I also think discussing the history of standardized English and its origin from and connection with white middle-class midwestern American speech is beneficial to writers. It peels back the veil and helps them see that so much of what we take for granted as inherent and automatic is actually deliberately constructed to benefit already privileged groups, to the detriment and exclusion of others. I’d also talk about how attempts to assimilate and conform to whiteness in language are harmful and damaging, both to those doing so and to those around them. When people see white language held up as the ideal and only acceptable style, it reinforces the idea of everything else being ‘less than’ and insufficient. We contribute to the public perception and messages others receive when we perpetuate the pedestalization of one standardized English.
- What can you do if the writer refuses to engage with you on these important issues?
I think we need to meet clients where they are. If a writer isn’t ready to consider the reality and problem of white language supremacy, it’s important to help them move along the spectrum to eventually get there. This may look like acknowledging multiple ‘right’ ways of saying something, noting exceptions to standardized English ‘rules’, validating their ideas and ways of saying things, noting that they don’t have to conform to be effective writers, or looking at sources from scholars in the field who can explain it better than I can. We may also need to set boundaries around the type of feedback we’ll give, focusing on ideas instead of grammar or other common markers of ‘good’ English.
- How can you avoid treating standardized English as the gold standard for academic work and at the same time effectively explain the benefit to the writer of talking about standard language ideologies, linguistic racism, and the performance and elevation of whiteness accompanying the use of standardized English in the academy?
Recognizing our own biases and sharing them with writers is a good place to start. Identifying and explicitly acknowledging the typically unspoken assumptions helps to demystify them. When we talk about linguistic racism, we can begin to dismantle it, taking away its power. Even though we as individuals can’t change the whole system, we can start to chip away at the seemingly impenetrable surface. Once we and others realize that show of strength is simply a facade, the cracks will grow and we can be liberated from its oppressive hold over our languages, communication, and humanity.
Step 3: In your WP site, speculate on how these Wiki entries represent writing centers, writing center staff, and writing center work (tutoring/consulting) to vast public audiences of Wikipedia.
- Are these representations accurate? How do they align (or not) with work we’ve already read from Faison (2018), Lockett (2019), Faison and Traviño (2017), Lerner (2009), and Lunsford (1991)? How does the entry on racial bias offer a starting point for critiquing writing center representation on Wikipedia?
I don’t have as much experience with different writing centers, but I was surprised how well the writing center entry matched up with our philosophy. This included the emphasis on WCs as places of collaboration, where audience, context, and overall message are prioritized and where editing, correction, and prescription are avoided. I’m curious about if this accurately reflects the majority of writing centers; that is, would most writing center members read that entry and agree with it? Are there other theories that writing centers are following that aren’t represented in this article?
I noticed the peer tutor page had a note about citations, style or tone not matching “encyclopedic tone” of Wikipedia.
At my undergrad university, the general writing center tutors were called Writing Fellows, so this article describing them as specialized consultants doesn’t ring true to my experience.
I also noticed that the writing center-specific pages didn’t mention anything about race or racialized linguistics. This means a huge part of the conversation about writing and how we determine what makes a ‘better’ writer is missing. Without including and grappling with the overarching racism of standardized English, it’s impossible to truly understand the pervasive barriers and difficulties writers face. The entry on racial bias within Wikipedia offers some ideas for addressing how writing centers are represented on Wikipedia. The edit-a-thons that have been held to improve Black representation serve as a model for correcting and improving information about writing centers.
Of course, there is the issue that the racial bias entry itself has been flagged for focusing primarily on a United States perspective, without considering the global context and situation. There is need for improvement in this area and to move beyond our USA-centered focus.
Step 4: One way to get more familiar with critiquing representation and meaning-making online is to take a close look at social media. Browse through the following list of social media sites and accounts, all of which are conducted by organizations and individuals of color. Click on a few. Wander around in the accounts. Then, choose one or two to explore more deeply–finally settling on one in particular. Respond in your WP site to the questions below:
– What multimodal practices do you see your chosen account DELIBERATELY engaging in?
How does it engage in them? Describe (best done in a series of notes to self on your own WP site).
– Further, how does this account manipulate visuals, video, language, text, and use many other dimensions of design and communication to a) appeal to very linguistically and culturally diverse audiences (PLURAL) and b) take a very clear social justice orientation? Prepare to describe and explain.
- The Nap Ministry- uses art, Tweets, photography, history, interviews, quotes, poetry, video, dance, and music (Spotify playlists)
- calls for rest through posts and also boundaries that the account runner sets for themselves- in word and deed
- encourages people to get in tune with their bodies, minds, thoughts, and feelings, instead of being taught everything from external sources
- promotes communication and the promotion of their ideals- connecting with others to dismantle the toxic habits we’ve learned
- Prioritizes Black bodies and rest
I’ve been following the Nap Ministry for a while, inspired by their radical resistance to grind culture, the lies of capitalism, and white supremacy. The design and communication are unapologetic in their promotion of Black liberation and criticism of anything that takes away from rest, peace, and joy. The unlearning is for all, and the style resonates with all sorts of people from different walks of life.
Step 1. On your individual WP site, record your observations of Callie’s multimodal practices. How does she manipulate the text, the settings of Word, the vocabulary and phrasing of the medical world in general and pathology specifically alongside the social discourses, literacies, and ways of talking and writing she’s learned to use? Why is she writing notes this way? Speculate.
In Callie’s notes, she uses different colors, fonts, sizes, highlighting styles, boxes, bolding and italicizing, images, and drawings to organize. This has the effect of tying certain ideas together, helping concepts stand out, making connections, and emphasizing what needs to be remembered.
I imagine that such a visually impressive and varied style would help her remember the information. It seems more dynamic, engaging, and helpful than simply having black words on a white page. It likely catches the brain’s attention and is better able to stick around. It has an impact for akin to handwritten notes, which have been shown to help with retention and memory. The images demonstrate what is being discussed, creating on-the-spot examples. This style helps to break up the text in an unexpected and nontraditional way. I admire how she’s not limited by traditional expectations or norms, which tend to favor linear organization and less creative means. By structuring her notes this way, Callie is engaging in a literacy that helps her learn, even if it strays from an unspoken standard.
Step 2: How have our Project resources, conversations, and writing activities impacted your understanding of your own literacies and languaging practices? What in this Project has highlighted, maybe for the first time for you, the ways your multilingual and multimodal practices “dynamically intersect, manifest, and co-construct identity and your communities’ ways of knowing”? Answer these questions in your WP site, and then speculate how these developing insights might (already be) shaping your practice as a writing center consultant and your work as a student.
Throughout the project, I’ve become more aware of how personal and individualized language is; and yet it’s also massively cultural, communal, and societal. I’ve been able to examine how my own languaging practices have been impacted and created by white standards and playing towards the white listening subject. I’m also noticing more how my speech and language patterns change in certain situations. Additionally, I’ve considered how my own multilingualism has played a role in how I view people. and their languages. It has given me empathy and understanding for the multitude of ways people can communicate, depending on the audience and situation.
These ideas and insights are making me a more conscientious and careful writing consultant. I’m working to consider the needs of individuals and their unique circumstances, backgrounds, and languages more. In my role as a social work student, it’s pairing well with my lessons on equity, systemic and structural sources of oppression, and the need for questioning. As we continue with the project, I hope that I’ll be able to further internalize and apply these concepts, ideas, and insights.
Collection of selected videos below (As you watch the videos, record in your individual WordPress site words that come to mind. Any words at all that the videos bring to mind)
– Agustina (Tina) Harris (2021) The minority priority: A teaching philosophy
– Jessica Calvo (2021) Writing about writing: Black in Brooklyn
– Rosalynn Ye (2021) East Asian & American culture integration: Navigating language barriers
Need for support
Step 1: Go back to your first few posts on your individual WordPress site (from way back in October and November). Look at the questions you were asking and the terms you chose from Condon and Young (2017). (Condon & Young terms: dysconscious racism, whiteliness)
What have you learned about these terms since the start of the program?
I’ve become more aware of the many different ways dysconscious racism presents itself in linguistic practices and assumptions. I’ve also learned more about how whiteliness permeates our institutions, programs, and society.
How have your questions changed or what leads do you have for understanding possible responses to those original questions?
I think my questions are moving towards practical solutions and ways to address the many racialized problems we’ve discussed. I’m also considering more theoretical concepts. How example, all things are defined in relation to something else- it’s not this, it’s that. We define and create meaning by what it’s NOT, whether that’s in distinguishing between a chair or a stool, or English and Spanish. Even though meaning is relational and comparative, can that be done without underlying value judgments?
What reading, listening, watching, and moments of conversation (in sessions and outside of them) has changed your thinking and questioning?
The recent readings and videos on translanguaging have given me ideas for deconstructing and challenging White Language superiority. Reframing and contextualizing the history of languages has been helpful for me, and I believe it could be useful in disrupting the thinking of others as well.
Step 2: Think back to this question posed in the prep work for January 15:
“What’s the difference between code switching and translanguaging? How and why is this difference important in our work with writers? How does switching codes lead to academic, professional, and life success in a racialized and racializing world where the language use of minoritized and racialized speakers and writers is constructed by many institutions and individuals (e.g., white listening subjects) as deficient–even WHEN these writers and speakers communicate in so-called ‘good’ standardized Englishes?”
Then, read the excerpts from three different writers here. Lastly, in your individual WordPress site, reflect on each writer’s intended audience, genre, and positionality and how certain rhetorical choices can be seen through the lens of the writer’s or languager’s process of identification and communication with their audiences. How does these excerpts define “language” or otherwise answer or even complicate the questions, What is Language? What is English?
Excerpt 1- This writer is questioning language by equating poetry with other forms of writing. Rather than describing poetry as spontaneous or of unknown spontaneous origin, this author views poetry through the lens of structure, intentionality, and rules. The rules and order of poetry provide comfort and freedom to the writer, which seems to contradict what we’d expect. They address this seeming dissonance by justifying their own narrative and perspective. This is a conclusion that would be helpful for many people with multiple literacies and languages. By learning to navigate and accept their own different but meaningful and useful relationship with language, the writer gains confidence, certainty, and strength.
Excerpt 2- Young’s critique of Fish’s argument intentionally uses rhetoric that many would not consider “Standard English”, aka White English, communicating and iterating his point clearly and poignantly. The very act of effective communication and understanding through Black English refutes one of the arguments against it: namely, that people need to use the same language to understand. Meaning is not so isolated and elusive. Young also explicitly connects language to race, pointing out that Black language is not the cause of prejudice or discrimination. Rather, the problem lies in the long-held attitudes of racism, superiority, and judgment that many still exhibit towards those who dare to use their natural Black English.
Excerpt 3- García is participating in translanguaging in how he combines and interweaves Spanish throughout the narrative. Spanish words and phrases dot the excerpt as García describes the struggles of being a first-generation college student at a conservative PWI. This helps readers better understand and envision his identity. Direct quotes from an agent and an uncle add vividness to the account. This seems to be aimed at a white audience that may not understand or empathize with the author’s position and experiences. It appears that García is expressing vulnerability in the hope of increasing others’ awareness of the discrimination he and other people of color face in university settings.
Step 2: Consider these questions:
– How do Gee’s (2015) “bad English theory” and “linguist’s theory” relate to Lockett’s (2019) argument above?
Even writing tutors trying to be antiracist can still view writing from a bad English theory, which perpetuates violence and creates a standard of “good English”. This can be seen when tutors want to define and make writing “correct”. Also, students may see themselves as having bad English, which inhibits learning. Additionally, this may result in discrimination against or dismissal of non-white/non-American tutors.
– What do you think Deion Broxton, the interviewee on the Code Switch podcast, would contribute to a conversation with Gee, Lockett, Lippi-Green, and Flores and Rosa? What about linguist John Kenyon? Dr. Okim Kang?
Write a short dialogue in which these experts and professionals play characters who talk (or argue) about the ways so-called standardized Englishes are given value over and above other varieties of English and languages in certain spaces in the US, such as broadcasting, media, social media, the university classroom, and the university writing center.
Flores and Rosa- As a Black man facing judgment for your way of speaking, you should push back against it and refuse to adapt to others’ racialized language expectations.
Broxton- I understand personally the problems with language discrimination and the drawbacks of having a single English. I appreciate the need to fight against stereotypes, but also, I’m just trying to get a job. Can I really afford to be the one trying to educate potential employers on the linguistic context and their role as the white listening subject?
Kenyon- What did he say?
Gee- Yeah, neither is better or worse. It’s really all an accident of circumstance which dialects are privileged and given preference.
Okim- I understand, Deion. It’s not easy to be in that situation. I’ve had my own experiences where my accent was criticized, and it’s very demoralizing. But we all have accents! It’s not good or bad, even though media depictions would have you believe differently. And it’s not your fault.
Kenyon- I can’t understand you, your English is like a child’s.
All else- [GASP, shock] WHOA man, you can’t say that to someone!
Okim- I bet if you closed your eyes while listening to me, you wouldn’t think I’m so hard to understand.
Kenyon- I dare say not!
Okim- [Shrugs] Listeners AND speakers need to work together towards effective communication.
Gee- And by saying she speaks like a child, you’re participating in adding social weight and judgment to her as an individual. Word choices have social and moral consequences, and the way someone speaks shouldn’t be used against them to diminish or dismiss.
Lockett- Additionally, it’s it’s an act of violence to try to hold someone to a white standard English, perpetuating white supremacist attitudes and assumptions. The very idea of “scholarly writing” needs to be dismantled.
Kenyon- That’s preposterous! How will we communicate if there are no standards?
Flores & Rosa- Well, whiteness has been normalized and made the standard, but it’s not actually spoken by anyone- it doesn’t really exist in real life. If we challenge that perception and the bias it brings, we can see that deviations from the norm are, in fact, normal.
Step 3: Now, insert yourself as a character in your dialogue. Respond to the experts and professionals. Talk back to, (dis)agree with, explain, question, etc. what they say. Bring your own experience as a writing center consultant into the conversation. What unique experiences and insights can you offer these folks and this conversation?
Me: Hey everyone, deep breaths!
Ok. I think we can all agree that the norms and predominant standards in English are centered around the white listening subject and rooted in prejudice against others. As we continue to navigate and push back against unfairly-imposed hierarchies, we can open our minds to better understand and appreciate the words and communication of all people. As a writing consultant, I have to resist my own prejudices in order to connect more effectively with clients and their writing. When I value and honor their unique lived experiences, trusting that they have skills and capabilities instead of simply shortcomings, I’m able to delve deeper into their writing. I can also focus more on what they’re saying, rather than nitpicking how they say it.
Step 4: On your individual blog. Reread your previous posts and make a list of 2-3 questions that emerge about the work you/we have done up to this point in the Baltimore Writing Center Project. From last semester’s discussions, what questions continue to linger for you? What have we not addressed that you’re interested in learning more about?
- What do we feel our end goal is as writing tutors participating in the BWCP? Do we feel like we need to come to concrete conclusions and answers? Are we expecting definitive answers from the readings and sources we use?
- I am interested in challenging and dismantling hierarchies. How can we continue to disrupt the power hierarchy of the writing center?
- What kind of language and practices can we use to make space for students to recognize and challenge their own Anti-Black Linguistic Racism?
– Find a passage from the reading you have questions about or don’t understand and then list your questions.
Smitherman (1986), pg 10- Smitherman discusses how there are fewer differences between Black and White American English now (or rather, in 1986) and explains how that’s the impact of mainstream American language and culture on Black America. Black English has assimilated. However, Black English is now also cool and the subject of appropriation. With social media, the longtime practice of appropriation and commodification of Black culture and language has grown, to the point where many originally Black trends, styles, and phrases are labeled simply as Gen Z/ TikTok culture. Do you see a relationship between this erasure of Black contributions and attempts to diminish, undermine, and censor Black English?
– Find a passage from the reading that you find to be particularly provocative or interesting and provide an explanation
Smitherman (1986), pg 6 and 7- the section where Smitherman specifically outlines West African grammar, structure, and sound rules and gives examples of how they can be heard in Black English was mind blowing to me. I had never fully seen the exact sources traced through so clearly. It makes so much sense and refutes any argument that Black English is lazy, illogical, or made up. There are different rules for different languages, all equally valid. Even though I speak another language that has some different structures and rules from standard English, I’m not sure I had ever made that connection before to Black English.
– Find a passage that speaks to your personal experiences and provide an explanation
WIlson (2011)- “In actuality, I believe my misstep comes from my twenty years of teaching experience as a white woman in a predominantly white university. Just as I cringe when I hear “if I was” instead of “if I were,” I have trouble not reacting negatively to a sentence such as “he be going,” even though I know this form is standard AAL. It boils down to the fact that AAL is not my language, and I preserve my position of authority, perhaps even a feeling of superiority, by privileging EAE. Thus, despite my honest and earnest attempt to show others’ bias against AAL, I demonstrated bias.”
As a recovering grammar stickler, this passage resonated with me. Like Wilson, I know in my mind that AAL is not inferior or “bad”, but I still show preference to standard English. And since it’s not my language, I try to avoid appropriation or putting on a “Blaccent”, as so many will do. But that doesn’t excuse any superiority or bias I may feel internally or even unconsciously.
– Find a passage that you believe will impact your perspective on the teaching of writing/composition and provide an explanation.
Jamila Lyiscott’s line “Sometimes I’m consistent with my language now, then switch it up so I don’t bore later” stuck out to me. In Writing Center sessions, I sometimes bring up consistency and ask writers their intentions behind different choices for similar situations. This may imply that inconsistency is undesirable, when for Lyiscott, it’s merely expressing and using her full range of language. This perspective will impact my work with writers and have me reconsidering whether consistency is inherently positive or necessary.
Response to “Revisiting Grammarly” by Dorothy Mayne
The author values and acknowledges the existence of correct grammar, which may influence her perspective Grammarly’s suggestions. She is judging them against a set standard of correctness. She does admit that the situations in which she envisioned using it were ones with less crucial issues, but that still is reinforcing a specific hierarchy.
I appreciated the citation of Dembsey’s research, which pointed out some differences between Grammarly and writing centers. These include how WCs incorporate fewer comments, positive feedback, and more comprehensive responses.
Mayne makes an interesting point about how feedback software can undermine our goal of linguistic justice, arguing that “the types of errors the Grammarly fixes aren’t important at all”. In writing, the larger content, voice, and meaning outweigh the minor errors Grammarly is designed to find.
I liked that she mentioned discussing this type of software with students and interrogating how they use it. An open dialogue would be very helpful with some of the clients we see who may be using Grammarly or another software to “fix” perceived errors, which can end up causing more problems and eliminating their individuality.
Step 1- This image is particularly pertinent today in the aftermath of the Rittenhouse verdict yesterday. It shows the common view of people with guns and how their race impacts how people see them. By highlighting this perception, it’s critiquing how many are suspicious and wary of people of color with guns, and are quick to label and categorize them into stereotypes. However, when it’s a white person with a gun or committing a mass shooting, the narrative is much more nuanced and empathetic. Their humanity is acknowledged and highlighted more. Whiteness is seen as more complex and justified in action. Whiteness is also given the presumption of innocence, making even horrific actions more excusable and understandable.
Lakoff and Johnson would say that this artifact uses the race of people who commit shootings as a metaphor for the ways people of different races are treated in everyday life. Hooks would say that it’s part of the fantasy of whiteness that equates whiteness with goodness. It also plays into hook’s writing about Black imagination, in that whiteness can’t imagine that others wouldn’t have the same perspective or view as it does. This image shows an example of a microaggression Black people and people of color experience, when people are categorized and judged more harshly based on race. This leads to increased distrust and suspicion, even when the person hasn’t done anything wrong. This is part of a consistent pattern, as shown by Dunbar-Oritz, in which whiteness has historically been used to justify and perpetuate violence while deflecting blame or accountability.
Step 2- Where and how–in what ways, in what behaviors–does your own “complex personhood” emerge in three (3) aspects of your life:
- Your personal circumstances (e.g., among family, friends, and socially more generally)
In my personal life, my complex personhood emerges in the ways that I care for people deeply and strive to empathetic and loving, but also find myself extremely frustrated with and disappointed in people. It feels like a strange duality to value individuals and push for better understanding while also lamenting about the choices of friends or the bad decisions of drivers. Humans are wonderful and humans are also the absolute worst. Some days I want to socialize and be best friends with everyone, and others, I don’t want to talk to a single person.
- Your roles as a student, especially in your specific undergrad major or your graduate-professional discipline
As a social work student, I have the desire to work for large-scale change and bring oppressive systems crumbling down…but I also want to have a stable job that allows be time for work-life balance. I could very easily see myself getting into a mainstream social work career path and just doing my little part for years. However, I also dream of disrupting the status quo and fighting the good fight on the front lines. I don’t know if you can have a 9-5 with minimal night and weekend hours while trying to foment grans social change.
- Your roles as a writing center consultant within institutions built by and for white, cisgender, and straight men.
In the Writing Center at UMB, I’m often caught between the antiracist and equitable mission we’ve learned about and the practical realities of lower-level writing concerns that are easy to address. I’m a recovering grammar stickler, and so need to stop myself from overly focusing on things that are considered conventionally “incorrect”. Nevertheless, I don’t want to do writers a disservice by ignoring places where they may have chosen a word that doesn’t make sense or done something that a professor may mark them down for. At the end of the day, we’re still part of larger systems, and these students are in school with graders who might not have the same values or focus as the Writing Center. It’s a constant battle that I’m still navigating.
Answer this question: How can your own antiracist commitments and writing center work shift toward focusing on “survivance” (Tuck, 2009, p. 422-423).
I’d like to focus more on the growth out of trauma and the connection to an empowering heritage. This more hopeful framework takes a wider and longer view, looking both forward and backward, encompassing the whole of the person. I can do this by placing each individual in the context of their experiences while also recognizing their strength, abilities, and talent apart from perceived damages.