Reality Pedagogy

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Thank You, My Students

Dear Houston Christian students, the number of letters I have received in the mail this summer from you, my former students, is unreal. The emails and private messages are so comprehensible and thoughtful. In checking my mail today and reading what another former student wrote is humbling. Hey students from Houston Christian –thank you. It means the world to read your thoughts and appreciation for our time together. To see and read about what you are doing or about to do now that many of you are out of college motivates me. Having you share your freedom to be you is gratifying. Some of you are now able to live in your identity: gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. Others are motivated to use your faith to do what is right for others. For some, our beliefs in religion and many other things are so vastly different, and yet reading your thoughtful notes is profound. I am really moved by you. I am glad we were able to spend time together…in and out of the classroom. Please know that I keep a rainy day file in my office. I have kept everything. Some of you have traveled to stay with me, dine and drink with me, and yes, continue to make fun of me. There are so many graduating classes I admire. In the end — I admire all of you. I hate weddings and rarely attend them, but I will be honored if you desire to travel to yours as I have done in the past. Having you dedicate your thesis to me and ask me to be in your wedding has been an honor. You are loved and missed.

I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag

Richard Hofstadter’s works contribute to my teaching of American historiography. I am engaged in yet another revisit of his Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. This work is highly critical of American democracy – something those of wealth and privilege view positively as it favors them. Teachers teach American democracy from a grand position — a positive and not through a critical lens, a reason why many see Black Lives Matter as noise and not a condemnation of the falsity of democracy. This country allows public pressure on what is taught in schools – often teaching that the USA is right and the world is wrong. Many of us, including myself, received a bad education regarding the Cold War. At Brooks we do not stand and pledge allegiance to the flag; however, at my last stop and many other schools, this is mandatory. Of course I told my students they were allowed to abstain if they wish. It allowed me to educate them on the myths of God and American democracy — a falsity taught. Hofstadter argues that the nation’s democratic institutions are designed to reinforce the purity of capitalism and evangelical Protestantism, which tends to blind the masses due to their own education. Hence, the expansion of anti-intellectualism is pervasive today, where many elect to ignore reason and logic. Many Christians believe climate change is a myth constructed by scientist for grant funding, since God protects the environment. However, they and other secular folk do not see that wealthy big businesses have convinced them that climate change is a myth in order to save them money.

Support The Center for Marxist Education

2017 CENTER FOR MARXIST EDUCATION ANNUAL FUNDRAISER

Dear Comrades,

You have made the Center possible for over four decades with your volunteer time and contributions. Today, January 1, 2017, we celebrate 42 years of solidarity with you in our constant struggles. Now that we’re facing greater oppression and potential attacks, it’s more important than ever that spaces like the CME thrive.

Our goal is to raise $5,000 to help support the operational costs of paying rent, stocking the shelves with new books, and hosting educational events.

Donate today because…
Education is imperative to spreading our movement.
Boston needs more local, national and international speakers to call us to action.
Comrades need a space to share, strategize and build solidarity.
The CME is a part of our history; a monument to our fight against capitalism.
EQUALITY can’t wait for tomorrow!
We hope we can count on your for a one-time or monthly donation – any amount helps!

Donate online here or by mailing a check to the Center for Marxist Education, P.O. Box 390459, Cambridge, MA 02139. Make checks payable to BookMarx. Please note that donations are not tax deductible.

Thank you so much for helping us reach our goal.

In Solidarity,
Center for Marxist Education Steering Committee

People of Color and Schools

Harvard President Drew Faust unveils a portrait of The Reverend Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church, 1974 – 2011. The portrait hangs in the Faculty Room of University Hall. The Honorable Deval Patrick and The Reverend Dr. Wendel “Tad” Meyer make remarks. Deval Patrick (from left), Drew Faust, Michael Smith, Tad Meyer, and artist Yuqi Wang unveil the painting. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Harvard President Drew Faust unveils a portrait of The Reverend Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in The Memorial Church, 1974 – 2011. The portrait hangs in the Faculty Room of University Hall. The Honorable Deval Patrick and The Reverend Dr. Wendel “Tad” Meyer make remarks. Deval Patrick (from left), Drew Faust, Michael Smith, Tad Meyer, and artist Yuqi Wang unveil the painting. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Read the full article here

Being in New England, I am connected to some of the most prominent schools in the nation. As I visit peer schools — I often look at the pictures on their walls as I tour different campuses. I also notice the pictures hanging on the walls here at Brooks. Yes — most are white men. I get lucky at times and find a female. That makes me happy. But never a person of color. Recently the late great Peter Gomes’s picture was displayed in Harvard’s faculty room. What does it say to the world when there are no images of people that are not white hanging from walls? What about the fact that places have not figured out how to make people of color feel welcomed? We are not aliens. New England prep schools and Harvard will argue and make excuses. Most places will. But the truth is in the numbers. Are we not part of the club? Prep schools are easy places to feel displaced. Independent schools are this way in general. And the conservative schools will make you feel like an outsider if you are not of the population norm. Harvard has made that all too clear by just now hanging a picture of a person of color. I love the late Peter Gomes. Good for Harvard. Boy it took you long enough. What does your campus look like? Why? Why are there no people of color? Why do they leave? Do you care to know.

Jesus, Race, and Ideology Lecture and Book Review

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I am excited about my talk at the Center for Marxist Education in Cambridge. This talk draws from my research in developing my American Jesus course. The above announcement recently went out; I am hoping to have a great conversation with folks who attend. The last lecture I gave there saw 20 – 25 people who attended. Here is my description of the talk: The Black Christian Communist in America starts with an address by the now defunct Knights of Labor’s Constitution, which opened with a biblical verse from Genesis 3:19, “By the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat bread.” The workers believed Jesus Christ’s teachings promoted a central socialist narrative of love and sacrifice for all people – not one against socialism, the poor, and marginalized, which has long been a construct of American Calvinists, who purported that Christ and his teachings were capitalist. The historical transformation of Christ, as a blond haired blue-eyed capitalist, will be juxtaposed to a darker skinned Christ, who was a socialist and thus marched with the poor, with sinners, and communists. This engaging discussion addresses the relationship of the American church and religion, its members, and the importance of race and socialism in eradicating societal inequalities dating back to the black power movement of the 1960s to ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬ in the 21st century.

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H-AmRel (History of American Religion) invited me to write a scholarly review for publication of the book “Black Power in the Bluff City: African-American Youth and Student Activism in Memphis, 1965 – 1975.” I am excited about finishing this work and grasping the complex historical narrative of Memphis — as presented by Shirletta J. Kinchen.