Auto Scroll
Select text to annotate, Click play in YouTube to begin
nwp radio you're listening to nwp radio a production of the national writing [Music] [Applause] [Music]
project hello welcome to the author conversation for the month of june's reading in the 2020 2021 marginal syllabus marginal syllabus is a project that convenes and sustains
equity conversations in the margins of texts online using the social annotation tool hypothesis i'm joe dillon from the denver writing project i teach english at gateway high school in aurora and i'll be the host for our
conversation this month we're excited because we've invited a friend of marginal syllabus to talk about a pc co-authored titled you can still fight the black radical tradition healing and literacies
which is actually the editor's introduction for the february 2021 edition of uh research in the teaching of english so i'm going to ask everybody to introduce our themselves and so
chris would you please go first yes hey everybody um chris rogers i take he him pronouns i'm currently located in philadelphia uh also known as lenape hoking
um representing the unseated lands of the lennais lenape peoples um i'm a grad student i want to have multiple roles but i'm a grad student a doctoral
student at the university of pennsylvania graduate school of education within reading writing literacy where i serve as an editorial assistant for rte but in addition to that i also have
served as the curriculum co-chair but national black lives matter at school since 2017 and then additionally i um am the program director for the paul ribson house museum
um the you know passion project of mine was located in west philadelphia that stewart's legacy of paul robeson also serves as like a community space to honors the role of art as a tool for social change
so lots of different traditions and i think it comes through in the work too so i'm happy to talk about it with you all today yeah chris it's so so lovely to have you here uh briefly my name is raymie collier i'm an
assistant professor of learning design and technology at the university of colorado in denver and a co-founder and co-facilitator of this project that we've called the marginal syllabus since 2016 and chris you've been with us and hanging out with us and
helping us learn and think for many many many of those years so it's really lovely to be in conversation with you today hi and i'm christina cantrell from the national writing project and i'm and the philadelphia writing project i'm based here in philadelphia
i've had the great pleasure to to connect with chris both locally and nationally around a lot of the work that he's been leading and so thankful for the local work that he does
to through the paul robeson house etc um so really excited to talk about all the connections here because i think they're very um uh provocative and
important for where we are today so thanks for being here chris yeah thanks everybody yeah and so super excited to be able to learn with you and from you as always
chris and uh and you know so we always start these conversations by asking the writer to talk about the their writing process and this is a unique piece in terms of what we've shared in the the marginal
syllabus because you know again it functions as an editor's introduction to you know a journal a big academic journal but in this short piece you really touch on a lot of like
meaty topics so there's there's any number of ways you could go with providing us background but i'm just kind of curious like what background do you think was important for us to to know or might be interesting to share with us about the writing of this piece and
maybe thinking about how to introduce an issue particularly the way you did which is you know seems provocative to me yes um i you know first and foremost i think
for this issue um so i am a a newer editorial assistant on the rte team um but also i think in some ways it represents a
a generation of academic discourse today of like i entered um at a time when we have people who are like experimenting with new forms and
new entry points into academic conversations and i really appreciated that being like in joining this rte team i got to come into an unfolding
conversation that was like how do we do things differently how do we talk about and in some ways like the persistent and same issues but how do we enter those conversations differently that in some ways can
you know cultivate new audiences or new solidarities and new connections uh that allows us to um create change in in in different ways
so i think like first one the first way i come into this uh piece is seeing um what uh dr gwen black um
baxter and uh dr yolanda sliverweights are beginning to craft around how we talking about the black arts movement and the black radical tradition in poetic forms and it's sort of like
connection to literacy um so i'm um as i'm arriving onto the team i'm sort of like oh this is my world this is where i live you know uh between the work that i do
in the community uh you know and my role in doing a little community organizing in philadelphia and then my own sort of like love for black literature and black arts it was like oh this is this is perfect
and uh i really appreciated our team for really like um saying chris go with it like um you know feel free to sort of like input and bring your own um connections to
this piece i feel like the first thing i always like to really appreciate is that we do um we are in the need to really diversify our forms of what is counts as like
academic discourse or or knowledge um you know and i have a lot of models in that some of the people that you see reference throughout the collection it's like mary baraka who talks about like black music and that um that the
the form is trying to the form is the feeling and the feeling is trying to create the form right um it's like seeing this connection there and i really appreciate dr gwen baxter and
eliana silly ruiz um who's on my dissertation committee so grateful as a mentor to have her as a mentor um for really like giving me permission as a new person in
this academic world to like step into that that really felt refreshing so i was happy to contribute to it in this way and i think that's how it gets meaty because we're like oh snap we got a
whole new world of stuff that we can place in here that i don't think has been fully articulated in this format in the past so how can we place some stuff in here
yeah i think that's that's awesome and the one thing i would just ask you as a follow-up about the you know background on the piece is you know you you mentioned in the piece like
when it was written and i think you it was written if i if i have my highlights correct in front of me that you it was during the presidential election and also sort of like you know at that time in
terms of the covet 19 pandemic so maybe just like like do you have any reflections on writing it then and during such crazy tumultuous circumstances
yeah i mean i feel like there's a couple time stamps in it from for me and it's one uh the unfolding discourse around lovecraft country um in particular for like the intro in
the dialogue um and just i remember i don't even know we were in the pandemic at that time but i just remember you know that those weekly check-ins that you know we were having like what's
how are we like diagnosed in this tv show amidst all the things that we were seeing amongst the election amongst um you know the the resistance to fascism uh within within the country um so i
think that was important i think you know as the piece sort of comes together and we think about like the role of the covet pandemic um the
rise or uh returning uh cycle of black uprising in this country and in in really across the world and this connection you know um you we the
the moment to focus on the struggle um and how uh our literacies our creative reflections allows us to um contextualize that work and what are the things that and i mean
anything that i know with you know dr alan silly ruiz is going to be like well what is the what are the like the loving parts that sustain us through right what what what what do we hold on to um where's the love
in this work and i think that comes through you know really strong and in their poetry and i think in the other pieces that we have you know uh think about like grace players um
work around you know uh women of color or girls of color celebration right it is about that right like not let's not just focus on the suffering let's not just focus
um but let's think about what is what is our role and what is the what is the space that we create amongst ourselves that really allows us to continue right and i think that that means a lot it means a lot during the pandemic right
and surrounded by so much loss and grief and mourning that we have to remember and hold on to um that we that we that we do and we constantly create
spaces of you know someone i i heard um i've always got a book around ronaldo all got cause it like glimpses of freedom right there's all these spaces that we can
create uh that create like glimpses of freedom around us so how do we hold on to that and then turn that into like a a practice uh if you will of like what does what does that work look like
in classrooms and then but also through the poetry work what does that look work look like for us because we can't do it ourselves there's no way we can teach about it
thanks so much for giving us that introduction and i like i know just as the last piece you said about you know how do we turn this into a praxis i think somewhere in the margins i've scratched the word praxis and with a
question mark in it but i also know that raymie and christina have some notes on their uh on their version of this article so i'll open it up to conversation about our notes and our questions about this uh this article
and certainly i'm gonna circle back to praxis but i also know that raymie's proud of his color-coded notes so maybe we start with raymie or we start wherever we just want to start oh sure and let me just give maybe a little bit of of kind of
maybe context um as a way of further well forgiving chris you and again this co-authored editor's introduction into the current marginal syllabus um which is
this will be featuring this article um and our commentary about it and this conversation is the final entry in the 2021 marginal syllabus that's been shared this this spring um starting in
march and now through june and you know it strikes me chris as i hear you talk about this idea of holding on to and creating spaces that glimpse freedom and the need amidst
these as you said i think a very important reminder particularly for many white folks i'll say to reminded of the international movements and uprisings for black liberation and joy
that we curate as educators the types of conversations and spaces that also allow us to glimpse those moments and those possibilities and in a very humble way
i don't want to extend too far the efforts of the marginal syllabus but i hope in a very humble way that we've tried to curate a set of readings this spring that does that and so as a reminder to listeners or to viewers who
are perhaps engaging with this conversation for the first time we began this marginal syllabus in march with a piece by jennifer turner and autumn griffin on black girls dreaming and their kind
of adolescent literacies as they express and shared those both in and outside of school settings and then we moved from that article into a discussion with patrice johnson and the piece that
she co-authored with at the time a doc student hannah sullivan that also looked at kind of revealing the human in the writer and i feel as though both of those pieces in particular in the syllabus again in
their own ways speak to the kind of praxis that chris perhaps you've attuned us to today which is that there are new forms of literacies new types of expressions chris again as you said and i've again always taking copious notes here
kind of new forms as you were emphasizing earlier new forms of knowing new forms perhaps of being that are important for educators and i would argue particularly white educators in particularly right now
to read about and so that's been one of the motivations behind this particular marginal syllabus during this spring of the 2021 i guess end of this academic year and moving into the next academic year
which has also been explicitly aligned to and chris mentioned his important work earlier involved in the black lives matter at schools movement and a thematic year of purpose to orient educators
specifically to this type of work and so i just wanted to provide maybe some of that context as we've been curating resources and conversation over the past few months and kind of bring that into a kind of
it's always culminating conversation chris with you today which is just so appropriate for just again so many reasons including again your past uh you know the leadership of this work which is just great so anyways
i just want to throw all that out there in my ramble like and say i'm so glad we're here thank you yeah and i i need to offer a point of self-revision to say um when
the new forms um it's also like a a new to who right and the new to who is like this sort of like academic legitimation process of like what is sort of like treasure
um within like the sort of like eurocentric western um academy um so like because we we talked about black light like you bring up black lives matter at school
right and the one of the things that i'm working on right now is that part of what that we're doing um that is constantly right that's currently right now under attack
in so many states across the united states where people are looking to ban what we are doing we are recovering traditions of knowledge making and um knowledge production
and things that have articulated um the struggle and the antagonisms of black people in this country and in places all throughout the world um for centuries for centuries
um so it's not so i i i was probably i knew yes in some ways but also like that that the importance of recovering these
traditions right and bringing context to it is an incredibly important um so i really love like the work that marginal syllabus does because i think like yeah it gives it gives you space to do
that right and to in particular you know annotations and we talked about annotations a lot it's like to remember that right so like i feel like if i if i use the word new somewhere i want to go through and like no no no no
new to who and put the question mark there just to remember that there are those um models that come before us right and there are those traditions that come before us that are even in some ways operating
when we don't even you know notice or recognize them and um in some ways for for good reason right in terms of like when i think about the role of popular education or political education
and in some ways we see right now in terms of like anti-racist education there's is sometimes but like putting the stranglehold on the ways that we debate and work through
real serious you know contradictions um and trying to like package it and contain it into a textbook is not what it was built to do um so
i don't know that conversation just got me back into like the work that we're doing at black lives matter at school but also that the work that this entire project is about right of like it is this constant process right
and that we can't step outside of the complexity of the process um and try to just say you know here's what the finished product is here you go read it consume it but it always has to
be this active dynamic um ends up like failure process of like trying to learn something and then trying to practice it and i think sometimes we even the distinction
between learning something and practicing you know is is a difference that needs to be explored too so i don't know that was a long comment just to say what's wrong about saying new but thank
you chris i'm really um often struck by the ways that you seem to be practicing what you are thinking about and you know exploring it
in in real time whether it's through your activism your community work i mean it's all kind of connected i realized um and you might have just answered this question but when i was reading
looking at this edition i was struck by all the contexts in which the different contexts in which these the articles that are collected here take place right so there's like after school program there's uh a
workforce context at the university there's um social groupings of young children and then there's teacher pre-service so it's really in very very different context and i was
wondering like i'd love to hear more and you know it might be also just me as sort of start like understanding better what the black radical tradition is but i feel like
that that that context is really important to or i've been wondering about the relationship between those different contexts of the black radical tradition
that you've talked about in this um introduction yeah i mean i appreciate that question um i was the the um in particular to like the black radical tradition which is
i think most um you know you know properly framed uh and uh through the work of cedric robinson um who talks about it um uh within
the um book black marxism which was just re-released to unc press um make sure you get a copy if you don't have one and um he you know defines the black radical tradition as this like
long accumulation of intelligence that has been gathered from struggle right um and yeah i i think one of the one of the you know in particular
to that book like marx says on what he's also doing is saying like yes marxism is a incredibly important tool um for thinking you know uh for you know
liberatory struggle but also there are traditions that are um indigenous to like black um to the like to the black community to black explorer community
um that also have like reshaped marxism or reshaped our tools so it was in some ways trying to recover that there are avenues of struggle that are happening in so many different places and
sometimes they are um not like recovered not not talked about not discussed um and i think that's important for why you see the diversity of locations or sites or spaces
that are reflected in this collection this is it's a reminder right that um across many different experiences like many different um identity markers there's a
there's a consciousness right that it that is being built um through like through struggle through it through an awareness of the apparatuses that are you know seeking to
um you know like repress creative expression or or in some ways put it uh to control it or contain it that there are these struggles that are happening in many different spaces
and in every and every you know space of struggle there is that like pedagogical or or or opportunity so when we think about literacies in this in this broad sort of like way
you begin to see that we're all sort of like finding ways to express our authentic selves or or make these commit connections or communicate in coded ways to kind of
continue to build that consciousness and i think that's um what's there and it's also uh you know a term that if people are watching this you could kind of go deeper with that is um do the
work of like fred moten and stephanos harney's uh black study or radical study in in the undercommons of of this idea of like um there are these molds intellectual practice you know
that sometimes we don't give you know uh you know credit to or sort of like survive underneath in the subterfuge of what's happening so like i think for my own self um i
always say like we when i was in high school just a high school in chester pennsylvania there was like english class there was also like a card game that was happening in the back of the room
and no one like asked those students what they were teaching in that card game because we were like supposed to be doing worksheets in english class but that's also an intellectual practice so like
i don't know i think i think about things like that and also think about what what is that card game doing you know for the for the in particular to those moments those black boys who are playing right what it what is that space of
like we were we're not going to do this work we go on you know what i mean um do this other work and this work is more important and more valuable in some ways more relevant to our lives right
that question i think is is incredibly important i think in literacy's research and discourse we're seeing a lot more attunement to like oh what's happening on the margins and i think when we do it when
we do it right it's not trying to assimilate those experiences into okay well how do we turn that into a learning thing right oh they want to play cards how do we make that the unit
of math class that we're working on and teach probability but rather see it as this space of autonomy and agency that we have to negotiate and really ask questions about in some ways like
say yo that's your space i'ma stay out of it um yeah i don't know that's that's where i started to go with that question a good friend of mine says i don't answer questions i kind of respond to them
and i'm realizing that my practices kind of ended up there too that's a beautiful response chris you shared with us i really appreciate christina's question about the different contexts that um
that the issue highlights also sort of you know it makes more complex the notions of praxis right because i do you know what my main main site of like any place i would find
praxis relevant to me is an english classroom where you know the aforementioned card game might be playing out and and so in some ways like praxis as i think about practices it's often
it's certainly in in ways i relate to students but also the ways i think about curriculum and what counts as reading what counts as writing what counts as you know whatever you know what what counts as
a skill or skill development um so i think i appreciate that um and then just the other thing i thought was like stuck out to me in my notes as you were talking about the card game i uh i was thinking about the
juxtaposition in the title of fighting and healing right and and i was thinking as i was reading this piece about like okay you know what you know what might somebody in my you know
my context fight or resist and i wrote in the margins you know you know maybe as i got toward as i got towards the reference of an article that starts out talking about playful practices and i thought about
how play can give us a way to resist standardization but i also think about how play can function to help us heal so those are
that's my sort of stream of consciousness response to your notion of broad broad framing literacies really broadly and also the complexity of these different
contexts and the way we think about literacy or praxis chris if you don't mind me mentioning a continuity in in these kind of associative trails um maybe that's how i would frame it for
myself you know as we as we respond you pro you mentioned something similar you shared us a an analogy of the morlocks i don't know if you recall that yeah um and i just looked it up if
you don't mind me referencing it in the marginal syllabus in december of 2018 we read a piece by dr headaches on the radical qualities of youth writing and literacy
and you were a guest among a number of folks on a conversation then and you had added an annotation to her piece um in which you wrote the shadows
i love the shadows and then in the conversation we had with you and again a few other folks you shared with us this extended analogy about about the morlocks and i'm just reminded of
that as a way in which you know this collective intelligence and again our uh our desire our awareness of
learning in these various spaces and relations has also been building over time um and i just wanted to appreciate chris that there have been like kind of these years of associations and wisdoms that we've had with you in these
conversations and they're all they're all there yeah thank you thank you for that thank you for that like continuing that line yeah and i i appreciate that and it's something i definitely think about and just like the
varieties of work and platforms for work that we take on is just i always say like everything ain't for everybody you know what i mean and i think in particular we talked about this just about like us and joe and twitter
like um you know what i'm saying there's times when i'm just watching the end game and then i might just go on a rant about how critical race theory is just one
manifestation of um just one just one manifestation of the antagonism that black people have realized in society and
that the fact that we're trying to contain the entire sort of like black resistance into critical race theory is doing a disservice to both black people's resistance strategies and critical race theory and then the
next tweet is about you know i wish portland could have actually held it together in third quarter you know so there's like those spaces and being in multiple things that are really
important um and i think you know and just kind of connected back so i always got something around i don't know if folks can see this but name of this uh little pamphlet it's called letters the classroom is burning let's dream about a school of improper
education um and i think another thing that brings me back to gwen baxley and and dr yan si ruiz is that this role of the arts um i spent numerous time
a lot of time um while in my dissertation program using my electives to go to the art school and and think about like unlearning a lot of that like disciplinary structure that forces
us to only you know see things in one way uh a short story i can go back to is that you know i used to teach 8th grade class language arts um and they would the young people were always upset with me
because i would um i wanted them to look at the book in six different ways right um through different interpretive lenses um think about like what is the connection that brings you into the book
but also what is the sort of like message of power that is unveiling in the book so we will read like short sections but the idea was i wanted you to think about multiple ways of reading something because i think when you have those
multiple ways of reading something it allows you to both see your relationship to it but also understand the relationship that others may have to it and within that you grow a connection not only to your own experience but to
the like sociality of the classroom and it's in some ways what i'm working against right is that the school is sort of set up so that you just kind of focus on you
and your success and i'm telling you no it's important that you need to understand how the person next to you is thinking about this as well and what is your connection to that person um so i think like the the multiple
avenues of work is is is is important for that um because it is not an individual experience right and so how do we bring back that sociality and that's what kind of
like this little collection is about and i'll make sure you guys get the link um so that we can put it up because i think it's important here to talk about collectivity and solidarity within the work and within literacy's research
um and that's that comes through in a lot of the collection pieces as well um that you see is um we hear about one person's breakthrough but it's also connected to like this collective condition
or context that gives way for those breakthroughs to happen i love that chris thank you i'm also wondering about the role
of poetics in that and you talk a lot about poetics well you talk about it and then um uh dr baxley and celia ruiz you know
do the it's what's it called the in dialogue at the end of our um and um in this introduction you say or we acknowledge that poetics
encompasses poetry but also so much more right so it is so to me what you just described is like deeply related to that sort of idea of poetics i think and um
and so i was i'd love to hear you describe that and then i was also thinking about like what are the implications for teachers of writing right teachers who often think you know are often interested in
supporting their kids and writing poetry and you know and and how what has to happen to really make this sort of poetics happen you know not just
poetry maybe but like what or what do you see would be important um for teachers to think about too so that's a couple of questions sorry yeah i think you know um on the poetic side of the
game essay smythe uh who's i believe currently a professor at um ucla um i had a chance to be in conversation with them and
they talked about poetics as the root and somali like the etymology of poetics is like invention um to invent and that can take up many different
forms right so like that that's one way i found i mean that was like a reminder i feel like the the huge piece there that
i believe that is cited in the work is from uh amy cezaire um and like the poetic knowledge um who sort of like sets forth of like this strategy but then also it's kind of reaffirmed but the same in the same way
uh by audrey lord and poetry is not a luxury right that you know this distillation of experience allows us to glimpse you know new possibilities um and i think um what i've been
attempting to do or or even when i attempt to uh advocate amongst teachers is something like the pope the
let's not confuse the poem for poetics of like the form that we have of just like writing on a page if we think about the thought processes that are happening there
um of like distilling experience of you know finding form that matches our imagination um of improvising
of revision um those tools don't have to just come back to like the pen so to speak you know what i mean there's uh you know ksa layman writes about this
beautifully in terms of like what revision looks like as a you know ethical and moral practice for our lives um and i think where i've been going
in terms of our advocacy in terms of like the black lives matter at school work is to engage that practice of that process right of like you know uh imagination
improvisation um form like evolution and seeing these things sort of like grow and saying like what are the different roads that we all can take in that way
and and the i guess the challenge that i always had is trying to i was in an english language arts class and young people would be like you're not teaching us what a semicolon means
and i'm like you could google that fam like god no but i think it's a different type of question right and i mean i'm biased i think it's
a more important critical and complex question but it doesn't have an easy resolution there's no right answer to it and a lot of um a lot of our assessment system our accountability
system in education is built around being able to say oh are you on the right path and not acknowledge the multiplicity of paths or
in in some ways that the uh the things that are structuring this path is oppressive to our humanity in the first place um so i feel like that's the challenge of
how do we expand the repertoire of of skills in in ways that we can sort of like think through ideas um
and make them like represented in the public and kind of thinking of like the multi-modality of the work um but it's also like challenging that it is not about the product
but about the process so i think what poetics and moving from like the poetics from the sort of like poem or the poet is trying to get into that process and name that process
as critically important and in some ways like say that's the that's the inheritance that we should share of that that process um you know uh um if i have more time i'll pull up an amazing video from henry
thread gill who's one of my favorite jazz artists who talks about uh rehearsal like the idea of rehearsal the way he frames rehearsal is to go in search of to explore um and i don't know he's like
i don't know where i'm going so we we we receive a text right we receive a bit of like the notes in the course but then we go we flip it we reverse it we might drop some stuff out
we might you know go this way we might go left but it's all about figuring out where we all are in the sort of like um what do you call it like a or
not a jazz orchestra but like the the collective the quintet uh figuring out where we all land in relationship to that so to figure out how we have a conversation around it so like annotation maybe um to kind of
think about like where are we going with it versus what we're being asked to do and that that's always important for i believe young people to remember uh and teachers to remember what are we
being asked to do but also what is our like what is my purpose what is our purpose and those two things are like distinct and different and you must
hold attention to both of them especially if you want to keep your positive health insurance but it's important that you like consider what's possible um with the situation that you're placed in
i hope that uh came together i have this vision sorry just real fast i got a decision of asking saying to kids like like where are the semicolons in the world you know and like actually like
exploring like where do you find semicolons actually um that's the vision of like an activity that just came to my mind as you were talking so i'm like oh that'd be fun to do
right here everywhere you have an 8th grader who's like who's teaching me what the semicolon is and its function and why they should be taught it and i'm like but you you already did
that work so why are you asking me to do it if you're that far in why do i have to do it well yeah so this might be a little bit of a tangent but i think it connects in the sense
that you you've talked quite a little bit about the english classroom right yourself as somebody who is in a an english classroom as a young man and seeing the card game whether you're playing or not you recognize that something's
happening there and then also yourself at the front of the classroom um you know sort of being challenged on your pedagogy by you know the best critics right the ones that you know you gotta be with each other all the
time and you have to kind of make a classroom communities type of piece together and and work together and uh i am not going to let myself ask you questions about ben simmons's free throws or doc rivers
but i did following you on twitter i did note when you were you wrote on twitter about how you as a young man bought your own copy of walter dean myers monster and for that reason you you know while
you in this piece you talk about the import of lovecraft country you did not want to watch monster and i was thinking just as you were talking about like the the fun challenges of teaching english
or being in an english classroom and kind of like what is important if the semicolon is like forget the semicolon i think you know the young chris rogers running off to get that buy his own copy of that book is you
know there's something in there that you probably want that needs to be conveyed to to young people about literacy and that's not every every young person we know isn't running off to buy their own copy of the young adult literature
but just talking about like maybe the contemporary media and then your own you know sort of like interest and sort of like fandom interests in the take up of walter dean myers monster etc
yeah um so i bought monster from stetzer elementary school scholastic book fair you know what i'm saying i want to say it was like seven dollars or something like that
um and i for i was i i used to have like a love-hate relationship with the water dean myers because one it was like it was pandering i mean like on the on
from the outset it's like this book in particular for like the schools that i was at it was like these are the books that actually have like black boys like me on the cover so like in some ways you're
like being like forced to you got you have to grab a walter d myers book um but monster what i loved about and i don't know if i knew this then or
it came when i was like reflecting on it but what i love about monster is um and a colleague of mine robotic guard said this in relationship to another thing but she said it's not a it's not a
representation of the that person it's produced by that person so steve uh who's the main character and monster i feel like the magic of the book
is the book is not like narrating steve's life for him it is steve producing a story about his own life and then what i love about it is he
doesn't let you out um he doesn't uh give you the easy out of saying i'm innocent or i'm guilty or like i i i need you to see me in one sort of way
it allows you the reader to decide and maybe um and joe maybe making this connection is that to me is probably the most important piece that i got out of my education
in chester when you're seeing the the multiplicity of like social life happening or trying to be contained into one school where you have a card game going on the back you got neighborhood gossip going on
over here and then you got a teacher who's doing their best but not really relevant so like you have to decide and you have to choose
how you show up and you also have to imagine like your own sort of like ethics and morals of how you're doing that because people are going to test you on it and say yo you know peer pressure all those sorts
of things i'm like go over here do or do that so like i feel like the experience that i had of being around so much um for me distraction
was important to like hone in on what am i imagining right or or what are we doing and i feel like in many ways our our schools are robbed
like robbed of that uh or young people are robbed of that agency to sort of like find out how they like how how do you want to show up right and how do you decide
um how do you how do you decide that what are what what ways are you thinking about that right and how do you articulate that right and and bring structure to the things you refuse um i had a lot of practice at
that when i was younger i'm saying no i'm not doing it i actually skipped out on i didn't do uh i didn't do test prep you know they tried to no child left behind
they're trying to like get the school all down to like just focus on test prep and i mean i was a smart kid so i said yo i'ma pass that test i am not wasting my entire next three weeks
doing multiple choice tests in this class i'm not doing it and then my teacher gave me a zero and i had to make a decision and what i love about my ethics then i look back on young person go
yes i'm willing to live with the consequences of saying oh i'll take that zero but i'm still not doing it and i feel like that like i always cheered for kids who who would do that who would get like
sent to detention and would say yo i'll go to attention but just know i meant that when i said what i said i love that and i wish that and i think it builds a level of critical consciousness that
is important for like our larger goals of building you know freedom movements of thinking about how we you know challenge ethics and build a more you know um a more just moral
imagination in our country um but i also realize that that's scary for folks especially when it's black especially when it's black it's like no no no no like
how do we sort of like bring that agency or or bring that imagination down so i i think you know through poetry we have seen people practice that and build on that and and
maintain that and our best poets have been able to hold on to that right and really challenge our society james baldwin talks about that a lot in terms of like the the the struggle between the artists and society um
but like i feel like we all have an innate ability to do that it's just the structures of our society which sort of like is trying to cancel it
um so i feel like as an educator what i'm one of my goals has been to like restore that um in some ways like like i want i like i love middle school because those are the students who are
like attempting right there they're attempting to sort of like take control of the space and you have to negotiate with it and find a new space and my best thing has always been like oh i'm gonna
challenge you i'm gonna allow you the space to like be on the same level but once you get there no i'm gonna ask you some real questions and i want to see you like fail at it but i want to see you continue to try
um in terms of just like that power battle that you're in and those adolescents years i love that i was able to maintain that um and i i really like to see our communities maintain that
in particular if we want to build the type of rebellious um and ethically centered um freedom movements that we need to really bring about change in this world that was a really long answer i'm sorry
i don't know where we are i mean again i i mentioned earlier i'm i'm preparing to teach a class on monday about school and society some books you know and and chris you're reminding me that this idea of ethical
justice oriented resistance um within structure and you've been speaking in a variety of ways about structure this whole conversation you know whether it's you know improv and jazz and you know the structures of standards
and how then those are maybe rehearsed defined in new ground the structure of grammar the structure of citational practice which maybe i'll hold my question about that but i do at some point i really wanted to ask you about
kind of citations as political practice and how that's also a kind of academic structure that can be resisted and then of course in the literacy classrooms as you've been talking about and show your lovely question that kind of brought in this this incredible analysis
of monster and again how to understand resistance within structure and i think now so much about the work that educators and i'm going to maybe qualify that to say maybe what educators
specifically need to do to draw upon a variety of traditions of resistance to find and create the spaces that
i would again argue need to be opened in our schools heading into the next academic year um and so i'm just so thankful chris that you're you're kind of helping to attune me to the motivations
and again the lineages of intellectual thought and again the praxis that is necessary to make to make that work happen i really appreciate that i should also say like with
what we have in rte um and we i currently we're like trending towards like the end of our sort of like editorship and i really appreciate that the you
know the editorial team which is led by ebony elizabeth thomas uh dr amy stonialu and dr gerald campano along with my editorial assistants uh who are currently we're about to add
some new folks but currently uh jin phong and then bethany um monet um have been thinking about like many of these sort of like you know critical and
complex questions of like where do we see this discourse come but also how do we take some of these not take but how do
we like bring the momentum and energy that we are seeing sort of like come through um in everyday practice whether it's in classrooms or
in the streets um how do we see that influence the way that we approach uh the work of the journal i just definitely want to give a shout out to my team um and i've been telling a lot of personal stories
uh but i feel like that's how a lot of our meetings go right it's it's always a conversation we can't hide it right that um we're reading work but we're also like bringing our own
you know wisdom and experiences through it and that is what you know really um animates animates readings for us and for i think for most people right um
just have it be open to that i think that's rolling bart's am i right uh remy like the multiplicity of readings and readerly something like there's a lot here to unpack but maybe i i see that we're kind of starting to
wrap up so i'll use this is my way to kind of just jump in here with a kind of you know last thought which is that chris i mean as always to learn again as joe said earlier from you with you to continue again to our paths you know
forward with you it's just always such a such a pleasure so thank you for for joining us yeah you know chris you've got me thinking about so much but you know to bring this in some you know like this idea of annotation
and citation is annotation and like semicolons that are like written in the world and i think that you've just you know this kind of very fundamental level people can sometimes dichotomize notions of literacy as
ba as being as we've been talking about oriented towards these liberatory social movements and the kinds of creative expressive everyday activities that can be understood as literacies and then dichotomize that with these
very kind of reductive readings in a both literal sense but also in this kind of like kind of grammatical sense of like what counts as and what should be foregrounded as literacy and i think
that you've not only helped us to trouble that but you've given us i think just some really important entry points to saying like there's complexity of those intersections there's also a synthesis here and there's a real need to find ways
of opening up spaces of agency and as we were talking about earlier resistance as let's say literacy educators think about the decisions that they make and the books that they choose to read
and the conversations they choose to have with their students and i hope that some of that resonates with folks as we move through what will be i think a summer of deep reflection and learning for many people
and head towards a new academic year um that is going to be very consequential for our students for our families for our communities and chris your wisdom is i think going to help uh you know help us in many ways so
thank you so so much for that oh should i get my final word here joe oh yeah oh yeah well you can you can say whatever you like but we'll probably just all whip around and kind of one
final thought and be thanking each other so you if you want to go for crazy all right yeah you said citational practice i definitely gotta give a shout out so um you know let me lift up the citations that are
behind me right so to the uh you'll see a sign that says free mumia which is the uh the struggle to free mumia abu jamal political prisoners has been locked up since
1981 for crime he didn't commit in philadelphia the mobilization to free mumia abu jamal in philadelphia um since 1981 has shepherded so many
of of us and i'm saying you know someone who comes i'm in the town right next to philadelphia chester but in terms of learning how to situate myself into like the black radical tradition of philadelphia
it really comes through um both abu jamal's writing and journalism but also through the community that has really you know sprung up to think about how we free mummy of abu jamal but also
all political prisoners so shout out to mamia and just like lifting up that like all these things behind me have like these deep connections right and on top of that you'll see this amazing essay which i recommend to everyone from
eduardo galliano called in defense of the word um which talked about like the role of literature to transform society and that we cannot think about that as a romantic practice
um but rather see its connection to uh speak the truth about the world right and then create and within that open possibility um then also you see angela davis with
tony morrison um in a sort of image from from the 70s right on top of that you see um an image from a protest that was led by the philadelphia student union um i'm on a board of philadelphia
student union they do youth organizing here in the city of philadelphia so in terms of like citing my sources um and thinking about the inheritance that i walk into this world with i wouldn't be
who i am um the work my work wouldn't be what it was without those influences of those organizations those people um so i definitely want to give a shout out to that just to say like hey there's no apa format to
that but um i definitely want to show love thank you chris um a helicopter just went overhead i think it was just a hospital helicopter but you know um
the policing in philadelphia often we have helicopters overhead and um you've been such a powerful force among others in fighting back against
that uh policing of our communities and our bodies and ourselves so thank you and thank you to all the references you just made um my final
thoughts i am just completely like now obsessing about the young chris rogers and chris is incredibly like consistent with everything i know about you today but as a teacher
as an educator i'm like how do we think about like like what you did you know what you decided what you did what you worked through what you practiced like back to this idea of
practicing like i'm gonna like you know like how do we how do we like get you that a for that or like give you that like like like you won like that's
you know like in that moment like you did it right so like how do we as educators honor that and i don't know i'm sort of like
completely obsessed with that idea now um so um i love that story and i thank you for sharing it well i want to you know stay on time but i have a
um can i mean the connection okay the connection i have is is about um because to me it wasn't about it's not
it's not the win wasn't the uh or the what what i love about that is that i chose that the way i was going to show up was my egg right and i decided what a
was going to be for me um and that you could say it's a c like you could say i got a 60 average because you took more zeros and added them to the mix but i know what i did and i feel like
that connection is is is important and also i know what it did for me um so and kind of bring it back into our street movements right in terms of like when injustice happens right
when we see like police violence take place in philadelphia there there could be you know someone who is like yes petitioning city hall right but there's also going to be someone who might
you know burn down on wendy's in atlanta because of how like repressive and and and um just like damaging this violence is and
in some ways what i'm honoring is that like those are both true and valid responses for for people and when we think about the world that we set up
in ways that are damaging or or that damage people we have to be willing to like negotiate the consequences of the structures that we have that are saying
in terms of human responses the it goes that wide um so like the refusal or rate or or rage or um and i know this is kind of deeply
connected to like reflecting on the year after george floyd for me is that the different responses that we all have right are valid and true and authentic and they create
possibilities when they're read in you know its full context um but some of what is happening or some of what the role of the the classroom or the
the person is to do is to try to say this is the range of the acceptable response and i feel like as a teacher our role is to kind of say you get to choose how you want to show up
but base it in something that's real that's authentic that's not just about you this but it's about the collective so how do we cultivate that connection to collectivity
how do we cultivate that ethical uh commitment and conviction to one another but at the end of the day how do we allow young people and everyone really the agency
um to decide how they want to like show up um so you know sorry about that because i feel like i was watching the joy james talk i'm talking about burning down wendy's this is education talk
but um yeah it's like my sources joy james is amazing please watch anything she puts out yeah and what i appreciate chris is um you know you again we're so lucky to be able to
learn with you on marginal syllabus whenever we get the chance and we're glad glad to wrangle you today and we're glad that you know we can blame you for going over time but it's a part of part of our like desire to pick your
brain and think with you of why we're going over time but i oh i guess my final thought you don't get a chance to talk like this exactly exactly but i guess what i appreciate like you know paying attention to
historic conversations about literacy and what we value you know forever we've been talking about the importance of agency as we're developing readers writers and speakers right but you know there's as you
you mentioned you said it's scary when it's black you said that earlier and i would say like we've always talked about the value of agency and we're really uncomfortable with this notion of activism
and i think that you just like for me you just exemplify somebody who is like oh when somebody has an activist's mindset like that is a there's probably lots of ways to have
high degrees of agency but that is certainly one of them and so you know we're gonna we need to spend more time thinking about the young the the lessons we can learn from the young chris rogers but you're still pretty young we're still learning lessons from you so
we we got to separate the two but i just appreciate your time and it's so great to talk to you so um i'll leave any anybody else want to say thank you really quick before i read the outro badly like i always do
just thank you chris thanks joe amy thank you all thank you for for showing up thank you for showing up yeah and so again thanks everyone who's who watches
um again this article is titled we strayed from the article appropriately as we we promised we might but the editor's introduction to the february 2021 edition of reach
research in the teaching of english is titled you can still fight the black radical tradition healing and literacies and chris is one of a number of co-authors and so thanks again chris for joining us
um the article will be online throughout the month of june and accessible for participant annotations at educatorinovator.org and if you want to look for a conversation about it or the link to the
article on twitter you might find it at you're listening to nwp radio a production of the national writing project nwp [Music] [Applause]
[Music] right
End of transcript