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A Politics of Positionality: The Black Cultural Experience of Living in Britain – Implications for Higher Education Dr Gloria Gordon Research Director.

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Presentation on theme: "A Politics of Positionality: The Black Cultural Experience of Living in Britain – Implications for Higher Education Dr Gloria Gordon Research Director."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Politics of Positionality: The Black Cultural Experience of Living in Britain – Implications for Higher Education Dr Gloria Gordon Research Director Centre for British African Caribbean Studies (CBACS) London South Bank University /

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3 Government analyses of the black problem Wanless (2006) Priority Review acknowledges an illusive X-factor related to ethnicity that is responsible for the problems black children are experiencing Black young people and the criminal justice system – Denham (2007) highlights also highlights ethnicity as well as the absence of a coherent strategy leaving a significant weakness in Governments response to meeting the needs of the black Caribbean community

4 Failed Black Assimilation … the lingering effects of the "failed assimilation" of enslaved Africans and their descendants or immigrating voluntarily but becoming absorbed into the category of "black Creation of a black-white duality /psychic prison Cultural Racism Madood (1994) Race paradigm – problematises i.e. race discrimination, teacher attitudes/perceptions, black youth culture, black parenting styles, a pathological black culture, absent fathers, single mothers, underachievement, BESD, etc –From Generation to Generation: The Health and Wellbeing of Children in Immigrant Families (Commission on Behavioural and Social Services and Education, 1998)

5 Why black assimilation must fail: the black-white duality Politics of Positionality (Tisdall, 1992) Acceptance of an external others dictates on how to live An externally imposed cultural disorder that has taken on a life of its own (McWhorter, 2001); Soul murder (Painter, 1995); A victim culture (Pinderhughes, 1979) Circles of Fear (SCMH, 2004) Prevents achievement of the human task: to be conscious creators of culture – natural problem solvers

6 British culture – a dehumanising project White, black and minority ethnic (ONS, 2003) –White and black = racial identities –Minority ethnics Black and white cultures are sub-cultures of British culture Cultural shift from a degenerative to a generative operating paradigm

7 The Human Task: Conscious Creators of Culture

8 Human Costs of Slavery: the black experience Stigmatised physiognomy Racialised emotions Colonised Mind Falsified consciousness An externally imposed cultural disorder which has taken on a life of its own

9 Socialised Helplessness A mental state (Seligman, 1998) The tendency to be a passive learner that results from being systemically and historically placed in a politics of positionality with the ethnic majority within their culture –No bicultural socialisation into a culture of origin and a culture of residence –No conscious cultural evolution processes –No community infrastructure –No ethnic identity development –No role models Results in BESD SEN diagnosis Bicultural Socialisation To become bicultural an individual must engage in a dual socialisation process. One acquires values, beliefs, communication and behavioural styles from a culture of origin as well as becoming exposed to the same dynamics of a majority culture (culture of residence) –DeAnda, 1984

10 Cultural Metanoia: Wilberforces second project Our problems derive not from our technology, our diet, violence in the media, or any other one thing we do. They arise out of our culture – our view of the world. The reason most solutions offered to the worlds crises are impractical is because they arise from the same worldview that caused the problem … nothing but changing our way of seeing and understanding the world can produce real, meaningful and lasting change. (Hartmann, 1999) Culture – invisible institution of the mind Espoused versus enacted values (Argyris & Schon)

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12 A New Curriculum – implications for Higher Education Moral and ethical responsibility to work with visible and invisible historical and cultural legacies: –A new human centred paradigm and philosophy (Human Centred Passionate Appreciation) –Teacher education for conscious bicultural and meta-cultural competence –Supplement informative learning/knowledge offered by HE with formative learning/knowledge: what does it mean to be a whole, fully alive, experiencing and choiceful human being? –Support for The Metanoia Project – a social movement signalling a new beginning / a change of heart/mind –Support cultural integrity for DoEAs (black Caribbeans)

13 Visible and Invisible Historical Legacies I was angry. Why should I be left with this. I didnt want it. I had done my best for years to reject it. I wanted no part of what was in it. The benefits of my privilege, the restrictions, the injustice, the pain, the broken origins of the heart, the unknown horrors. And yet it is mine. I am my fathers daughter in the present living in a world he and my folks helped to create. (Adams, 2002)


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