Readings for Racial Justice: A Project of the IWCA SIG on Antiracism Activism

This is an ongoing project. New annotations are welcome. To get involved, contact the IWCA SIG director. More text can go up here, but probably not the whole essay.

Annotations on Race, Antiracism, Racial Justice, and Writing Centers

Bailey, Steven. "Tutor Handbooks: Heuristic Texts for Negotiating Difference in a Globalized World." Praxis: A Writing Center Journal 9.2 (2012): n. pag. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.
Bailey examines foundational ("Generation 1.0") and current ("Generation 2.0") tutor handbooks and determines that they assume that writing tutors are monolingual, monocultural Euro-Americans. He argues that, however unintentional, this construction of tutor identity is problematic because it "forestall[s] productive negotiations with difference," sets up a false binary between monolingual tutors and multilingual writers, and ignores the reality that tutors themselves can be multilingual writers and/or U.S.-born citizens whose values don't align with the dominant culture. Bailey argues that creating more inclusive writing centers will require "Generation 3.0" tutor handbooks that "mak[e] multilingualism the default assumption" and, thus, invite tutors from all backgrounds to shape writing center theory and practice.
Barron, Nancy, and Nancy Grimm. "Addressing Racial Diversity in a Writing Center: Stories and Lessons from Two Beginners." The Writing Center Journal 22.2 (2002): 55–83. Print.
Barron and Grimm discuss efforts to implement social change by moving their writing center away from colorblind policies and instead focusing on race in tutor education. They provide rationales for antiracism work and present lessons learned from their experiences, such as "expect the unexpected" (62). For instance, Barron and Grimm had not anticipated the emotional responses they encountered from the "mainstream group" and hadn't thought of the white director's privileged position in initiating conversations about race and institutionalized racism (65). Furthermore, based on their experiences, Barron and Grimm relay the necessity of finding someone with whom "you can trust with your naivete" (65). Barron and Grimm also recommend that tutors be "invited into the project as designers rather than as recipients of an imposed diversity experience" (72). Finally, Barron and Grimm remind us that when discussing race in relation to writing center work, we must recognize the ways in which such discussions "involve tinkering with something as fundamental as people's identities and the ways these identities have been formed in relationship with others" (72). Taken together, Barron and Grimm's lessons illustrate the fact that the goal of productive diversity—"the transformation in mainstream practices"—is a long-term goal (75) and one that is necessary within writing centers.
Bawarshi, Anis, and Stephanie Pelkowski. "Postcolonialism and the Idea of a Writing Center." The Writing Center Journal 19.2 (1999): 41–58. Print.
Bawarski and Pelkowski offer a critique of Stephen North's "Idea of a Writing Center," arguing that "making better writers" often means reproducing a colonialist paradigm. They describe acculturation, a one-sided process of making "them" more like "us," showing how teaching academic writing uncritically acculturates writers to the academy. They note, however, that the writing center is positioned as a potential "contact zone" within the university and argue for establishing a critical consciousness toward writing that allows writers to recognize and negotiate their own positions within, and their own uses of, multiple language practices. Bawarshi and Pelkowski note that a shift toward this post-colonial stance is likely to require a concurrent shift away from minimalist tutoring practices; for instance, they suggest a re-appraisal of our stance toward working with grammar or other surface concerns.
Bokser, Julie A. "Pedagogies of Belonging: Listening to Students and Peers." The Writing Center Journal 25.1 (2005): 43–60. Print.
Bokser's article offers an "extended consideration" of how tutor training (or professional development) might be conducted to better encourage "moments of cultural exchange" (45). To achieve these kinds of moments in her own center, Bokser and her tutors have developed what they call "a rhetoric of listening." By focusing on listening, Bokser maintains, tutors can become aware of what they listen for and what they tune out. When this practice is employed during sessions, a rhetoric of listening allows tutors to better work within multiple and overlapping perspectives. Bokser illustrates this practice with cases involving work with English as a Second Language (ESL) students, emphasizing the attention given (or lacking) to moments of cultural exchange.
Condon, Frankie. "Beyond the Known: Writing Centers and the Work of Anti-Racism." The Writing Center Journal 27.2 (2007): 19–38. Print.
Drawing on the framework provided by Mark Chesler and James Crowfoot to assess and work against racism on college campuses, Condon discusses five areas in higher education where we need ongoing antiracist activism: mission, culture, power, resources, and structure. In addition to suggesting how writing centers might do antiracism work in each of these areas, Condon provides two appendixes with questions specific to writing centers. Directors, tutors, and staff members could use these questions to assess their own practices and to set goals for continued work in each of the five areas.
---. I Hope I Join the Band: Narrative, Affiliation, and Antiracist Rhetoric. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2012. Print.
A book "for those who wonder how, why, and to what extent our lives as actors, as rhetors, are shaped by ideologies of race, and for those who hear the call to act: to organize and facilitate, to study, write, and teach with both will and readiness for hopeful resistance" (26), I Hope I Join the Band invites readers to consider how to engage in antiracist work. Condon talks particularly about "white readiness for antiracism" (12) and discusses the need for understanding the stories we tell as individuals and what knowledges are privileged as a result (36). Because antiracist work is "ongoing and processual" (71) and "there is not antiracism without deliberation, without reflection, without self-examination and critique" (10), Condon discusses the importance of decentering and nuancing to engage in performative antiracism.
Davila, Bethany. "Rewriting Race in the Writing Center." The Writing Lab Newsletter 31.1 (2006): 1–5. Print.
Opening with the metaphor that acquiring academic discourse is like driving down a road, Davila notes that for some, the lanes are smooth and empty, while for others, they are part of a congested construction zone. The experience of discourse acquisition is a racialized one, and building on this premise, she identifies several potential "roadblocks" to effective tutor education, in the brevity of tutoring sessions, and in the (in)ability to build trust within a tutor/tutee relationship. Lastly, she notes the complex process of negotiating language, race, and the academy can be like "fighting traffic" and suggests tutors are positioned to help students locate "alternative routes" (4). Davila challenges tutors to initiate conversations about standard/non-standard dialects, about acculturation and language acquisition, and about complicity with inequality.
DeCiccio, Albert. "Can the Writing Center Reverse the New Racism?" The New England Journal of Higher Education (2012): n. pag. Print.
DeCiccio's article poses a provocative question for writing center workers committed to antiracism activism. He urges writing center workers to reject what Eric Cooper has called a "pedagogy of despair," an educational system based on scarcity and the unequal distribution of educational resources (both material and intellectual). Instead, he suggests promoting Nancy Grimm's "pedagogy of hope," a form of teaching and learning grounded in an abundance of views, discussions, and collaborations about race and racism. Without directly answering the question posed in his title, DeCiccio suggests that writing centers certainly have a role to play in achieving the kind of racial equality he sees outlined in the Brown v. Board of Education decision. He challenges writing center workers to become "agents of change," exposing and challenging racism at both the individual and systemic levels.
Dees, Sarah, Beth Godbee, and Moira Ozias. "Navigating Conversational Turns: Grounding Difficult Discussions on Racism." Praxis: A Writing Center Journal 5.1 (2007): n. pag. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.
After exploring case studies that show the prevalence of avoidance tactics or evasion in discussions of racism in writing center contexts, Dees, Godbee, and Ozias provide specific tactics for grounding discussions of race/ism—tactics from using artifacts and visual representations that provide illustration to using ethnography as a method for engaging tutors in the project of identifying racism in writing center practice. Those of us in writing centers can use these tactics to disrupt common approaches to avoidance and evasion in order to promote a fuller, more reflective discussion of the impact of systemic racism on writing center work.
Denny, Harry C. Facing the Center: Toward an Identity Politics of One-To-One Mentoring. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2010. Print.
Denny suggests pedagogical implications of identity politics for writing centers and brings attention to how our individual and collective identities shape writing and its reception. The four core chapters address four of the identities, or "faces," writers, consultants, and administrators bring to writing centers: namely, performance for race and ethnicity (chapter 2), capital for class (chapter 3), normalization for sex and gender (chapter 4), and citizenship for nationality (chapter 5). Each chapter is followed by an interchapter that puts Denny in dialogue with writing consultants from the centers he has directed. Many central arguments of the book are initially presented in chapter 2, in which Denny offers his first reading of how identities have been normalized and stigmatized in the United States so that identities are made invisible to those in dominant, majority, or naturalized positions (e.g., white people not seeing race). He critiques the pedagogical expectation that students of color will (want to) "cover," or adopt the rhetorical, linguistic, and behavioral rules of conduct expected by the majority. In doing so, Denny argues that students of color are too-often wedged between assimilation or opposition, a no-win situation that can be countered with third possibilities, such as "subversion," or the opportunity for consultants and writers to work together toward rhetorical manipulation of what's expected of them—for example, reimagining assignments or leveraging personal experience where it's not readily allowed. Denny similarly advocates queer theory as an interpretive method that provides fluidity, hybridity, and liminality in understanding how identity can both oppose and bring into light dominant norms.
Diab, Rasha et al. "A Multi-Dimensional Pedagogy for Racial Justice in Writing Centers." Praxis: A Writing Center Journal 10.1 (2012): n. pag. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <>.
In light of disciplinary conversations and increased attention to antiracism in writing centers, the authors describe and take up the disciplinary mandate for writing centers to better articulate a pedagogy for racial justice. With this aim, Diab, Ferrel, Godbee, and Simpkins ask and begin to answer the questions: How do we make actionable our commitment to racial justice when working with writers one-with-one? What interactional stances and pedagogical moves enact a pedagogy of anti-racism in writing centers? And how do we prepare ourselves to enact this pedagogy? In response, the authors suggest at least three pedagogical dimensions—(1) processual and reiterative, (2) reflective and attentive, and (3) embodied and engaged—that help us see the need for a multi-dimensional pedagogical approach to tutoring writing one-with-one. This approach (and any pedagogical approach, the authors argue) is not about following a checklist or pulling from a toolbox, but instead about the ongoing reflection and action needed to recognize, articulate, and act from the values that guide our everyday work.
Fremo, Rebecca Taylor. "Unlearning 'Habits, Customs, and Character': Changing the Ethos of Our Writing Center." The Writing Lab Newsletter 34.8 (2010): 1–6. Print.
Writing as a newer writing center director, Fremo discusses how forming a relationship with her college's Diversity Center led her to re-evaluate not only her practices, but also her attitudes about outreach, identity, and diversity. She begins by describing her first attempts at reaching out to students of color by putting up fliers, describing these attempts as encouraging "them" to come to "us." As these attempts proved unsuccessful, Fremo began spending more time in the Diversity Center. This "relocation" helped initiate her "unlearning" of old habits, while also helping her better understand, appreciate, and negotiate the complex relationships between identity and literacy practices. Fremo frames this change in ethos as a responsibility, and through sharing her own imperfect history, provides writing center workers with both a challenge and a model for practice.
Geller, Anne Ellen et al. "Everyday Racism: Anti-Racism Work and Writing Center Practice." The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2007. 87–109. Print.
Geller, Eodice, Condon, Carroll, and Boquet call upon writing center scholars and practitioners to consider antiracism work an integral part of writing center work, particularly because "evidence " suggests that writing centers are sites where staff members recognize and, in many cases experience, racism" (91). Forgoing antiracism work, the authors contend, is an act of privilege. To prompt thinking about how to engage in antiracism work within the writing center, the authors offer a definition of racism and how it "is characterized most particularly by the abuse of power within the institutions and systems that shape all of our lives" (94). Because of the limits they find in other tutor education books regarding antiracism, they also offer strategies for helping tutors understand privilege and racism for themselves, as well as recognizing racism within our various institutions. An appendix provides several definitions, ranging from categorizing institutional racism to symbolic racial violence. As such, this chapter provides a theoretical rationale for why writing centers should engage in antiracism work and how scholar-practitioners might go about doing so.
Godbee, Beth. "Resisting Altruism: How Systemic Power and Privilege Become Personal in One-on-One Community Tutoring." Community Literacy Journal 3.2 (2009): 37–52. Print.
Godbee uses her experience as a community literacy tutor to highlight ways in which the intimate and personal setting of the one-with-one tutorial can make visible individual positioning within systems of privilege and power. Attending to systemic inequalities openly, she argues, strengthens the writer-tutor bond rather than undermines it. Godbee provides numerous examples drawn from her experience working with Mai Zong, a Hmong refugee and English language learner, over a period of two years. In particular, she details her own sense of privilege as a white, middle-class, American woman, examining how despite their relative differences of position, they also bond over commonalities. Godbee provides a model of tutoring that not only acknowledges institutionalized power and privilege, but makes that acknowledgment a productive part of the tutoring process.
Greenfield, Laura, and Karen Rowan, eds. Writing Centers and the New Racism: A Call for Sustainable Dialogue and Change. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2011. Print.
This edited collection provides essays in four parts: (1) Foundational Theories on Racism, Rhetoric, Language and Pedagogy; (2) Toward an Antiracist Praxis for Writing Centers; (3) Research, Critical Case Studies, and the Messiness of Practice; and (4) Stories of Lived Experiences. Taken together, essays across these sections work to examine the ways in which writing centers and writing center workers are complicit in racist structures and can work towards antiracism activism. This book is "[g]rounded by the assumption that race is not a neutral factor in language and literacy education broadly and in writing center work specifically" (8-9), and as such, works to both call for and demonstrate the need for "engagement with hard questions and to spur forward the kind of sustained, productive, multivocal, and challenging dialogue that has otherwise continued only in fits and starts and in small pockets" of the writing center community (9).
Grimm, Nancy Maloney. Good Intentions: Writing Center Work for Postmodern Times. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook-Heinemann, 1999. Print.
Grimm identifies individualism as blocking antiracism in writing centers and asks us to acknowledge the power structures at play within tutorials and staff meetings. She argues for a "fair writing center practice" (99) that is constantly under revision, helps tutors develop abilities to relate with Others, and explores the contradictions in literacy work. Grimm's work calls upon writing centers "to be more fully engaged with the paradox of literacy--the way that literacy both dominates and liberates, both demands submission and offers the promise of agency" (xiii) in order to resist the position of "normalizing agents, performing the institutional function of erasing differences" (xvii) writing centers presently enact.
Maloney, Nancy Grimm. "New Conceptual Frameworks for Writing Center Work." The Writing Center Journal 29.2 (2009): 11–27. Print.
This revision of Grimm's keynote address to the 2008 IWCA/NCPTW conference outlines the history and evolution of the writing center at Michigan Tech, tracing its evolution across three models: from (1) a skill-and-drill lab to (2) a nurturing center focused on higher order concerns and, finally, to (3) a multiliteracy center that values and prioritizes linguistic, racial, and other types of diversity. Grimm shows how her own thinking developed across these three iterations of the writing center, highlighting how each responds differently to twenty-first century contexts. As a multiliteracy center, the current iteration (1) works within the context of global Englishes, (2) understands literacy as the ability to negotiate multiple discourses, and (3) sees students as "designers of social futures." Grimm ends by noting that language and literacy education is both difficult and necessary, but also 'something beautiful that we can do together" (26).
Mulvihill, Peter, Keith Nitta, and Molly Wingate. "Into the Fray: Ethnicity and Tutor Preparation." The Writing Lab Newsletter 19.7 (1995): 1–5. Print.
In their 1995 article, the authors (two peer tutors and their director) acknowledge their desire to see the writing center help attract and retain students from under-represented ethnicities. Outlining their own process of adapting their tutor training course, they draw upon the work of educator James Banks, including his six-stage typology for dynamic and emerging ethnic identity. Mulvihill, Nitta, and Wingate describe two assignments from their revised course: the first asks tutors to examine their own ethnicity by describing how their family celebrates holidays, while the second poses difficult tutoring scenarios. Noting the always unfinished aspect of engaging race and ethnicity, the authors stress raising awareness rather than solving problems. By kick-starting difficult conversations, the authors deem their course revision a success. In reading this article, tutors may question a universally "correct" approach to tutoring and gain a renewed appreciation for individual tutoring approaches.
Reger, Jeff. "Postcolonialism, Acculturation, and the Writing Center." Young Scholars in Writing 6 (2008): 39–46. Print.
Reger claims that "it is indefensible, even unethical, not to provide tutors with training in a postcolonial approach to peer tutoring" (45). Following Bawarshi and Pelkowski's work on tutoring and acculturation, along with Mary Louise Pratt's "contact zone" and Gloria Anzaldua's "mestiza consciousness," Reger details two case studies from his own tutoring experiences. In doing so, he offers models for everyday tutoring practice and provides practical advice for writing tutors. Noting that writers may interpret the contradictions that arise from being simultaneously in multiple cultures as "errors" or "failures" on their part, Reger suggests tutors highlight not only the expectations of academic discourse, but the fact that such discourse is but one among many discourses.
Suhr-Systma, Mandy, and Shan-Estelle Brown. "Theory In/to Practice: Addressing the Everyday Language of Oppression in the Writing Center." The Writing Center Journal 31.2 (2011): 13–49. Print.
This article, which bridges anti-oppression theory with practice, focuses on the challenge of equipping and empowering tutors to "better identify and challenge the everyday, often subtle, language of oppression" (14). The authors outline the sometimes difficult process their center went through in creating two documents: "How Language Can Perpetuate Oppression" and "How Tutors and Writers Can Challenge Oppression through Attention to Language." Both documents list patterns and strategies culled from transcripts, conversations, and experiences of their staff. The authors explore and discuss each of these patterns and strategies (eighteen in total), offering practical advice grounded in writing center practice, challenging readers to see this attention to everyday language as tied not solely to anti-racism work, but to a broader opposition and multiple systems of oppression.
Varma, Anita. "Politics of Difference in the Writing Center." Young Scholars in Writing 6 (2008): 30–38. Print.
Recalling her own experiences as an undergraduate tutor and person of color, Varma focuses on "loaded moments" that call attention to "politics of difference" in the writing center (30). For instance, she highlights the time a student ended their session by saying "Your English is really good. When did you learn to speak it?" (30). Varma reflects on her own feelings and reactions to this question, as well as examining the unstated assumptions that inform it. From there, she discusses "pretextual" conversations that establish relationships based on reasonable academic discourse rather than assumptions or stereotypes. She further describes ways in which "transformational change" can be enacted in writing centers, focusing on tutor education. For Varma, establishing an atmosphere of trust among tutors is central to encouraging the type of reflection and change she advocates.
Villanueva, Victor. "Blind: Talking about the New Racism." The Writing Center Journal 26.1 (2006): 3–19. Print.
In this pivotal article based on keynote address at the 2005 IWCA/NCPTW Conference, Victor Villanueva makes the call for those of us in writing centers to break the silence around racism as a taboo subject for conversation and instead to expose the new racism, which "embeds racism within a set of other categories—language, religion, culture, civilizations pluralized and writ large, a set of master tropes (or the master tropes)" (16). As Villanueva explains, in recent years rhetoric has emphasized identity politics: multiple religions, cultures, ethnicities, and languages (all plurals and broadly conceived). Movements for multiculturalism have promoted a celebration of difference that fails to account for power and privilege. Rather than work against systemic racism, the language of tolerance and diversity presents a value-neutral version of groups getting along. This language shapes the ways we understand oppression, and how contemporary rhetoric (tropes from color blindness to plural identities) silences talk about racism.
Weaver, Margaret. "A Call for Racial Diversity in the Writing Center." The Writing Center Director's Resource Book. Ed. Christina Murphy and Byron L. Stay. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006. 79–92. Print.
Weaver claims writing centers have paid too little attention to institutional racism and have benefited from colorblind policies. Like Villanueva, she calls for dialogue to break silence about racial differences and "what's at stake in managing diversity" (89). Throughout the article, Weaver takes up and analyzes key quotes or frequently repeated phrases like "I'm not racist myself, but I know people who are …" (80) and frames the discussion within the paired problems of colorblindness and multiculturalism. Weaver's last line is a call to action: "By rethinking how we manage diversity, perhaps we can avoid being the White Center and just be the Write Center" (89).
Wilson, Nancy Effinger. "Stocking the Bodega: Towards a New Writing Center Paradigm." Praxis: A Writing Center Journal 10.1 (2012): n. pag. Print.
Drawing upon Jeremy Rifkin's conception of "bottom-up neighborhood cosmopolitanism," research into the diversity of world Englishes, and George Mason University's Valuing Written Accents project, Wilson contrasts the "big-box philosophy" of monocultural, monolingual writing centers—centers that view their role as promoting "Standard Edited American English" via "standard" tutoring methods—with what Wilson terms "the Bodega Writing Center." Like a bodega, where foods and customers from various cultures intermingle, writing centers allow students and tutors from multiple linguistic backgrounds to interact and learn together. Wilson argues that writing centers can respond to the changing linguistic landscape of the university and recent anti–ethnic studies and English-first/only legislation by celebrating the heteroglossia of students, promoting cosmopolitanism among faculty and administrators, and exploring rasquachismo (defiant and inventive bricolage). The latter sections of the paper are dedicated to brief examples drawn from the Texas State University Writing Center, including their intercambio (language exchange), literacy journal and speakers series, and engagement with faculty via workshops. While Wilson does not propose a concrete model for the Bodega Writing Center—indeed, such a move would be antithetical to her project—her essay could be valuable as a source of ideas for local engagements with linguistic variation and strategies for promoting rasquachismo.
Zhang, Phil et al. "'Going There': Peer Writing Consultants' Perspectives on the New Racism and Peer Writing Pedagogies." Anti-Racist Activism: Teaching Rhetoric and Writing. Spec. issue of Across the Disciplines 10.3 (2013): n. pag. Print.
This collection of short pieces by writing consultants and instructors at the University of Oklahoma is presented as a dynamic web text, rather than a static document, which helps frame it as an ongoing, expanding, communal project by multiple authors. Its primary title, "Going There," hints at the loose theme of the project: attempts to answer the question of how to "go there" and effectively confront and disrupt instances of racism in writing center consultations and coursework. Authors draw distinctions between teaching and preaching, appeasement and anger, overt confrontation and subversion, and professional and personal strategies (while problematizing the notion of "professionalism" as a convention of a white supremacist system). The anecdotes and advice are practical, focusing on the individual moments when writing consultants have an opportunity to confront racism and on the mechanisms and consequences of this confrontation. By focusing on the inherent power dynamics of writing center work, the authors also highlight the place of writing centers within institutional hierarchies of the academy and capitalist society. Some authors address issues specific to the University of Oklahoma's primarily rural, white, Southern milieu, such as its historical treatment of minority students and its relationship to the indigenous population that inhabited the area before white settlement.

Sources on Race, Racism, and Antiracism Beyond Writing Centers

Adams, Maurianne et al., eds. Readings for Diversity and Social Justice. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Annotation needed. Email the editor to contribute an annotation.
Adams, Maurianne, Lee Anne Bell, and Pat Griffin, eds. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2007. Print.
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Alim, H. Samy, and Geneva Smitherman. Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. Print.
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Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands, La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 1987. Print.
The seminal work Borderlands, La Frontera: The New Mestiza combines narrative and argument, poetry and prose, English and Spanish, drawing on Anzaldúa's experiences as a Chicana lesbian activist. Born on the physical borderland of Texas/United States/Mexico, Gloria Anzaldúa identifies herself as a "border woman," as someone at home where cultures come together at psychological, sexual, and spiritual borderlands. Living in the margins, Anzaldúa says, one must develop a multiple identity, learn to switch codes, and acknowledge plural selves. Coatlicue, an Aztec goddess, embodies this idea of plurality: "Like Medusa, the Gorgon, she is a fusion of opposites: the eagle and the serpent, heaven and the underworld, life and death, mobility and immobility, beauty and horror" (47). Anzaldúa describes her experiences as mestiza, communicating across cultures and differences whether they be physical (such as race, gender, and size) or less tangible, hidden characteristics (psychological, cultural, or social). Anzaldúa makes and illustrates powerful arguments about language with wide-reaching implications for writing center practice.
---, ed. Making Face, Making Soul, Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Feminists of Color. San Francisco: Aunt Lute, 1990. Print.
This edited collection (with seventy pieces) elaborates on Anzaldúa's notion of borderlands and includes a variety of creative texts—poems, letters, nonfiction essays, and hybrid pieces—by women of color. In her introduction, "Haciendo Caras, Una Entrada," Anzaldúa depicts border women (Chicanas/méxicanas) as chameleons with the ability to change their color and appearance: to adapt with conditions and to put on different faces. The chameleon metaphor is particularly relevant for tutors and writers who everyday work with change, multiplicity, and adaptation. Pieces within the collection touch on themes of fragmentation, assimilation, disconnection, marginalization, and "hiding" or "passing" within the dominant group—taking up concerns facing women of color within and beyond academia.
Ball, Arnetha F. African American Literacies Unleashed: Vernacular English and the Composition Classroom. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2005. Print.
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Banks, Adam J. Race, Rhetoric, and Technology: Searching for Higher Ground. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2006. Print.
With the Digital Divide acting as his catalyst to promote positive change, Banks invokes technological access for African Americans across the United States. For Banks, the problem of access is essentially a rhetorical problem, which transcends the mere difficulty of material acquisition and engages systemic racial exclusions. Thus, increased material access is insufficient to combat the Divide. Exploring access as a hierarchy that exists on several planes, Banks determines that a "Black digital ethos" grounded in "transformative access" is the key to unlocking the technological gates toward equity. In the tradition of and tracing the same big questions asked by great African-American rhetors such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, Banks offers his critique as a jeremiad which provides focused explication and analysis of the problem and inspiration toward a solution. However, Banks is careful to avoid offering a panacea and notes that his mission is to transform through critique, not creation, reasoning that "planning and designing transformed spaces and technologies has to be underground work" (108), to transcend the "constant contest and exclusion that mark discussions of race" (108). Banks presents a call to action and to collaborative activism of value for writing center directors and tutors interested in pursuing transformed and transformative spaces and conversations.
Barndt, Deborah., and Carolos Freire. Naming the Moment: Political Analysis for Action: A Manual for Community Groups. Toronto: Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice, 1989. Print.
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Barron, Nancy G., Nancy M. Grimm, and Sibylle Gruber, eds. Social Change in Diverse Teaching Contexts: Touchy Subjects and Routine Practices. New York: Peter Lang, 2006. Print.
This edited collection assembles essays that consider social justice teaching in a variety of educational contexts from K-12 schools and teacher preparation programs to college classrooms and writing centers. Across three sections guided by discussion questions—(1) Challenging the Myths: Minding the Theory/Practice Gap; (2) Building Project Identities; and (3) Designing Project Tools, Processes, and Practices—the authors challenge policies of colorblindness and consider teaching within continued segregation in the United States. As editors, Barron, Grimm, and Gruber describe the chapters aims not as providing "exemplars of ways to handle racially charged situations," but instead as encouraging "teachers committed to equity and access to imagine ways of working through rather than around the difficulties Americans so prefer to ignore" (10). Among the many useful offerings for writing center practitioner-scholars are Grimm and Jill Arola's chapter on persisting through and learning from a graduate seminar that got derailed around race/ism; Karen Keaton Jackson's analysis of a service-learning classrooms that involved teaching predominantly white students to work with predominantly African American community members; and Sarah Innes's reflections on how she contributed to hurtful and troubling constructions of racial identity as a peer tutor.
Blum, Lawrence A. "I"m Not a Racist But…' The Moral Quandary of Race. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002. Print.
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Brayboy, Bryan M.J. "Hiding in the Ivy: American Indian Students and Visibility in Elite Educational Settings." Harvard Educational Review 74.2 (2004): 125–152. Print.
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Bruch, Patrick, and Richard Marback, eds. The Hope and the Legacy: The Past, Present, and Future of "Students' Right to Their Own Language." Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2005. Print.
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Canagarajah, A. Suresh. Resisting Linguistic Imperialism in English Teaching. New York: Oxford UP, 1999. Print.
Drawing on research from sociolinguistics and on scholars such as Alastair Pennycook and Robert Phillipson, Canagarajah argues that pedagogy for teaching English should be rethought in terms of both conceptual frameworks and everyday classroom discourse. This book explores ideological conflicts and confrontations students and teachers face in communities which have used English originally as a result of colonial history and Anglo-American imperialism. Using a bottom-up approach of observing linguistic resistance and appropriation in classrooms can offer insights about how to theorize language instruction at the macro-social level. Canagarajah further stresses that it is crucial to appropriate the pedagogy according to a community's needs and to mediate the classroom discourse through practice such as code-switching and code-mixing—embracing the multiplicity of cultures that students bring to classrooms.
---. Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations. New York and Abingdon: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Canagarajah explains how translingual practices have existed for generations, but were undermined by monolingual ideologies. In the global contact zone, we need to recognize the dynamic and interactional nature of language, and judge texts based on what they do rather than how they are constructed. Canagarajah advocates "dialogical pedagogy," in which we encourage students to code mesh rather than code switch. He cites Geneva Smitherman's use of African American Vernacular English and excerpts from multilingual student texts to illustrate how "codemeshing enables us to address the process of pluralizing written discourse with sensitivity to the dual claims of voice and norms" (109). While the book is rich in sociolinguistic research, Canagarajah's use of examples ensures its relevance for teachers of writing and language.
Collins, Patricia Hill. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.
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Conference on College Composition and Communication. CCCC Statement on Ebonics. N.p., 1998. Web. <>.
Noting that most contemporaneous news reports and commentaries had been inaccurate or distorted, the CCCC published a statement regarding the role of Ebonics in language and literacy education. The statement reminds the reader that Ebonics, like any linguistic system, is "systematic and rule-governed," and that the use of Ebonics by African-American students does not inhibit learning. The CCCC recommends that teachers, administrators, and other educators learn more about Ebonics and overcome their initial prejudices about the use of Ebonics. The statement also calls for more research on Ebonics, though it is presented in the frame of researching Ebonics in order to learn how to best teach students the Language of Wider communication, or "standard English."
---. Students' Right to Their Own Language. N.p., 1974. Web. 3 Nov. 2014. <>.
In April 1974 by a 79-20 vote, the Conference on College Composition and Communication adopted a resolution, background statement, and bibliography titled "Students' Right to Their Own Language" (SRTOL), a document first initiated in 1971 and drafted over the next several years by a group specially appointed by the CCCC Executive Committee. The resolution itself is a brief yet broad passage that affirms "students' right to their own patterns and varieties of language," recognizes language as inextricable from identity, denies the existence of a "standard American dialect," admonishes the privileging of any one dialect—and, therefore, any one human being—over another, encourages the preservation and appreciation of all dialects, and calls for teacher education related to linguistic diversity. The complete text—which includes the resolution as well as an explanation of historical context and an extensive, then-current bibliography—appeared in the Fall 1974 issue of College Composition and Communication.
Crenshaw, Kimberlé. Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement. New York: New P, 1995. Print.
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Delgado, Richard. Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. 2nd ed. New York: New York UP, 2012. Print.
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Deloria, Vine. Power and Place: Indian Education in America. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Pub, 2001. Print.
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Delpit, Lisa D. "The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People's Children." Harvard Educational Review 58.3 (1988): 280–298. Print.
Delpit examines the "culture of power" in classrooms and the role teachers play in educating students from different cultural backgrounds. Exploring power by relating various examples of students who lacked power in the classroom, Delpit argues for an approach in which students are explicitly taught the cultural rules that exist in classrooms in order for all students to be more successful. The five aspects of power include: (1) "issues of power are enacted in classrooms"; (2) "there are codes or rules for participating in power"; (3) "the rules of the culture of power are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power"; (4) "if you are not already a participant in the culture of power, being told explicitly the rules of that culture makes acquiring power easier"; and (5) "those with power are frequently least aware of—or at least willing to acknowledge—its existence" (282). Delpit contends that we must not only better understand power, but we must also provide access to the codes of power to all students, especially those who do not already possess them.
Diab, Rasha, Thomas Ferrel, Beth Godbee, and Neil Simpkins. "Making Commitments to Racial Justice Actionable." Anti-Racist Activism: Teaching Rhetoric and Writing. Spec. issue of Across the Disciplines 10.3 (2013): n. pag. Print.
When researchers and activists look to address racial power in their work, it is important for them to acknowledge how they are socially positioned in relation to the very communities they hope to serve. Unfortunately, this act of self-disclosure, of acknowledging one's subject positions, can result in "confessional narratives." In this article, the authors make a case for moving to a "transformative narrative" in pursuit of racial justice: embedded in this shift is an engagement with self-reflexivity that moves beyond individualizing racism and personal experiences and toward something that can be acted on. The authors stress that "articulating our commitments" and "making these commitments actionable" are ways to mount not only a "critique against" injustice, but also a "critique for" justice. These process-oriented goals are sustained through prioritizing both self-work and work-with-others. This article will be particularly helpful for writing center professionals who want to better understand the implications of self-reflexive, thoughtful everyday work in the midst of enacting a practice of racial justice that is critical and sustainable.
Dijk, Teun A. van. Elite Discourse and Racism. Newbury Park, Calif: Sage, 1993. Print.
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Fine, Michelle. "Bearing Witness: Methods for Researching Oppression and Resistance: A Textbook for Critical Research." Social Justice Research 19.1 (2006): 83–108. Print.
Fine's article outlines a fictional textbook, consisting of eight chapters, for studying social oppression, injustice, and resistance. Chapter one would look at the ideological framework of oppression and resistance. Chapter two would ask the question, "What Shall We Do?" and would invite readers to think about ways to embolden those who hold power to consider the plight of the powerless through Participatory Action Research. Chapter three would spur readers to consider objectivity and its role in research and in the classroom. Chapter four would look at the intersection of history and psychology and how these disciplines influence the understanding of identity and how we got to where we are today. Chapter five would look at power structures and how power or lack of power leads to social inequities. Chapter six would be based on the concept of validity—teasing out the difference between expert and construct validity—and the challenges faced in research situations. Chapter seven would consider generalizability within two distinct concepts—theoretical generalizability and provocative generalizability—and asks how we might "rethink and reimagine current arrangements" (98). As the culminating textbook chapter, chapter eight, would ask readers to recognize that "social injustice is not simply a cognitive problem," which really means understanding the "possibilities and limits of social research to awaken a sense of injustice to provoke social action" (102).
Fine, Michelle, and Lois Weis. "Compositional Studies, in Two Parts: Critical Theorizing and Analysis on Social (In)Justice." The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. Ed. Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln. 3rd ed. New York: SUNY P, 2001. 65–84. Print.
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Fox, Helen. "When Race Breaks Out": Conversations about Race and Racism in College Composition Classrooms. New York: Peter Lang, 2001. Print.
Fox's book is a resource "to encourage instructors, especially white instructors, to take up the task of bringing honest, informed discussion about race and racism into more college classrooms" (11). She offers a theoretical foundation for discussing race and racism by providing several definitions and then moves toward practical considerations for the classroom, including helping white students understand and recognize racism and supporting students of color within anti-racism teaching practices. The book concludes with concrete resources such as assignment ideas and a lengthy annotated list of articles, books, and videos for use in the classroom. Overall, Fox's book serves as a useful source for opening up and continuing discussions of race even though "the subject has been so fraught with emotion, denial, and taboo" (20).
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of Hope: Reliving Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014. Print.
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---. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 1970. Print.
In four chapters, Paulo Freire lays out what has become a foundational text in radical and liberatory education theory. He begins by critiquing what he calls the "banking" concept of education, in which knowledge is considered currency to be deposited into students. By contrast, Freire advocates a "problem-posing" concept of education, pushing educators to engage students in critical thinking about real-world problems. This education, he argues, allows students to see the world (including oppression) not as static or permanent, but as something changing, as something they participate in and help transform. Within this view of education as "the practice of freedom" (16) and "the awakening of critical consciousness" (18), schools should work to counter dehumanizing systems, institutions, and traditions through "critical intervention in reality," which entails becoming aware of oppression and finding ways to overcome it (63). Freire challenges the traditional teacher-student dichotomy by casting both actors as agents who interpret and interact with the world in critical ways. Both teachers and students act as problem-posers and learners, both share authority and grow as they work together toward liberation, and both make decisions and serve as directors of their communities. Of particular note for writing center workers is Freire's admonition that reflection and action should never be considered separate; rather, they should be used together, forming what Freire calls a praxis.
Gates, Henry Louis, ed. Race, Writing, and Difference. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1986. Print.
The essays in this edited collection bring attention to the fact that race has historically been an ignored construct in terms of the racial diversity (or lack thereof) of authors in the study of "proper literature" and the portrayal of non-European, non-white people in the Western canon of literature. The essays thus bring "race" into focus within literary studies and critically examine historical colonialist texts in juxtaposition with indigenous writers' texts. These texts together can show differences between how Western literature portrays people of non-European cultures, races, and ethnicities and how indigenous peoples themselves explore and write about their racial and cultural identities. Among the significant writings discussed are those of W. E. B. Du Bois, Edward Said, Joseph Conrad, E. M. Forster, and Chinua Achebe. For example, some essays talk about how the images and bodies of people of color are misinterpreted in well-established literature and how colonialist texts often legitimize and perpetuate the force of European imperialism. This book calls for an expansion of multiple ways to read "race" in literature and serves as a resource for people who want to examine competing narratives by Eurocentric and indigenous perspectives.
Gilyard, Keith, ed. Race, Rhetoric, and Composition. Portsmouth: Boynton/Cook, 1999. Print.
Gilyard argues that "theorizing race has yet to catch up with all the personal, albeit necessary, reflections in classrooms and professional outlets" (ix), and so this collection makes such an intervention—providing personal narratives alongside rhetorical analysis and teaching reflections. This collection presents one effort to think critically about race—from presenting definitions to exploring strategies for doing anti-racism work in composition studies. Among other questions, chapters take up composition's racialization (Keith Gilyard); "blood and scholarship," or the experience of being "mixed-blood" in composition and rhetoric (Malea Powell); white privilege in teacher/research writing about race (Amy Goodburn); and confronting "graceful evasion and bad habits" in graduate courses (Gail Okawa). Chapters offer implications for writing center scholars, as they bring attention to race and language, rhetorical metaphors, classroom practices, and research in higher education, among other important issues.
---. Voices of the Self: A Study of Language Competence. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1991. Print.
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Gomez, Mary Louise et al. "Microaggressions in Graduate Students' Lives: How They Are Encountered and Their Consequences." Teaching and Teacher Education 27 (2011): 1189–1199. Print.
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Gonzalez, Roseann Duenas, and Ildiko Melis, eds. Language Ideologies: Critical Perspectives on the Official English Movement, Volume I: Education and the Social Implications of Official Language. Urbana: NCTE, 2000. Print.
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---, eds. Language Ideologies: Critical Perspectives on the Official English Movement, Volume II: History, Theory, and Policy. Urbana: NCTE, 2001. Print.
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Guinier, Lani, and Gerald Torres. The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2003. Open WorldCat. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <>.
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hooks, bell. Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black. Boston, MA: South End Press, 1989. Print.
In this 1989 compilation of thematically disparate essays, hooks seeks a reconciliation of private and public domains by sharing her personal experiences in academia. The questions she asks about language, feminism, pedagogy, and schooling remain relevant, especially to institutionally diverse writing centers. Writing is, in hooks' view, itself empowerment, and she wants students in all domains to find their voice. Writing as empowerment needs discussion in writing centers, and hooks's text can be used to consider a wide range of questions such as honoring writers' cultural and linguistic backgrounds and encouraging writers to speak up to instructors and others in positions of power.
---. Teaching Critical Thinking: Practical Wisdom. New York: Routledge, 2010. Print.
In this final book of her teaching-about-teaching trilogy, hooks writes 32 short commentaries on some of the most compelling issues teachers (and tutors) face when they set out to create a flourishing learning environment that speaks to democratic consciousness. Through dialogue with students and other teachers, she isolates core concepts that both classrooms and writing centers would do well to initiate. hooks promotes interactivity, self-actualization and learning partnerships—all related to the mission of writing centers. Teachers and tutors who take the time to get to know students envelope everyone in an atmosphere of trust. If such a spirit of collaboration prevails, she says, a new language can be established. This is not your typical take on the subject; instead, this is critical thinking rooted in the strength of pragmatism, not criticism.
---. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994. Print.
In this first of her trilogy of books on education, hooks speaks to the need for a transformative pedagogy. Her definition of this concept includes constructive confrontation, critical interrogation, recognition of the value of individual voice, and the need to both recognize and construct cultural community. hooks's feminist pedagogy requires a process of self-actualization within a community of learners. Feminist classrooms, hooks argues, are based on active participation, the sharing of knowledge, critical awareness, and mutual responsibility for learning. hooks views classrooms as communities where students and teachers hear each other's voices to uncover knowledge that has traditionally been neglected in academic studies. As teaching becomes an "act of resistance" (10) and learning "opens minds and hearts" (12), teaching and learning become blurred. Her entreaty for classrooms to be exciting and passionate spaces speaks directly to the writing center community, where classroom interaction is replaced with one-with-one consultation. However, it remains a space where the challenges of self-actualization can be addressed in an intimate way when writing center workers can attend as much to writers' feelings as to writers' syntax, thereby serving as an inspiration to excel and expand capability.
---. "'This Is the Oppressor's Language / yet I Need It to Talk to You': Language, A Place of Struggle." Between Languages and Cultures: Translation and Cross-Cultural Texts. Ed. Anuradha Dingwaney and Carol Maier. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1995. 295–301. Print.
Inspired by the lines from Adrienne Rich's poem that say, "this is the oppressor's language / yet I need it to talk to you," bell hooks traces the progression and transformation of historically "broken English" of the displaced African slaves to the contemporary African American Vernacular English (AAVE) that black Americans continue to speak and diversify. In the way that the enslaved Africans had to survive in the "new world" by learning to speak English, the oppressor's language, black Americans today confront a similar pressure to speak Standard English, the language of domination and hegemonic discourse. hooks points out that the historical transformation of AAVE and its departure from Standard English lies in the fact that African Americans recognized English as the oppressor's language, as well as the site of resistance, reinvention, and re-culturation. Thus, not only the new meanings emerge from AAVE, but also the new grammatical constructions and epistemologies that resist the white supremacy ingrained in Standard English. hooks also discusses the challenges she faces with using AAVE in her academic scholarship and classroom pedagogy. She makes an insightful pedagogical input when she says we need to teach students that capitalist-cultured thought of instant understanding and mastery of the language is not necessary. The willingness and patience to listen to different languages other than Standard English is much more needed to rethink what language means in a multiracial, multicultural world.
Horner, Bruce, Min-Zhan Lu, et al. "Language Difference in Writing: Toward a Translingual Approach." College English 73.3 (2011): 303–321. Print.
"Traditional" writing instruction in the U.S., according to Horner, Lu, Jones Royster, and Trimbur, is "at odds" with the reality of increasing linguistic diversity in the U.S. and the world (303). Rather than continue to promote the use of Standard English or Edited American English, then, these authors develop and advocate for the translingual approach, which "sees difference in language not as a barrier to overcome or as a problem to manage, but as a resource for producing meaning in writing, speaking, reading, and listening" (303). A translingual approach views everyone as language learners, not just those who are learning English or any other language for the first time, eliminating the false sense that a language can ever be "mastered" as a fixed end point. In the writing center, we must remember that we, too, are language learners, regardless of how proficient we may be in writing or speaking English. We must be especially considerate of this when working with any students, especially those who speak English as a second (or third, or fourth, etc.) language.
Horner, Bruce, Carrie Kilfoil, et al. "Translingual Writing." N.p., 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <>.
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Horton, Myles, and Paulo Freire. We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1990. Print.
The book presents a 1987 dialogue between Horton and Freire, who met to explore their shared views of literacy and participatory education as a means of achieving social and political justice. The editors' introduction explains their shared humanistic belief in the capacity and right of all people to achieve freedom through involvement in the construction of knowledge. Through six thematic chapters, Horton and Freire argue that knowledge begins with learners' experiences, but Freire, who first promoted literacy among Brazil's majority rural poor through national programs and academia, emphasizes that teachers should help students develop critical literacy, whereas Horton, who established literacy programs for people of color during the civil rights era, favors peer-to-peer learning, which promotes understanding beyond the discriminatory system in need of dismantling. Because both educators express doubt about future national literacy programs, they call for radical change in education as a form of social change; it is never neutral. Scientific or technological discoveries, for example, should be understood in the context of whether they improved or harmed humanity. Writing centers might explore Freire's description of how to fulfill literacy's pragmatic social potential: by seeking to develop individuals' dialectical practice of reading, in which the aesthetic pleasure of grasping a text's personal relevance deepens understanding of reality and informs action.
Hytten, Kathy, and John Warren. "Engaging Whiteness: How Racial Power Gets Reified in Education." International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 16.1 (2003): 65–89. CrossRef. Web.
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Inoue, Asao B., and Mya Poe, eds. Race and Writing Assessment. New York: P. Lang, 2012. Print.
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Jensen, Robert. The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege. San Francisco: City Lights, 2005. Print.
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Jordan, June. "Nobody Mean More to Me Than You and the Future Life of Willie Jordan." On Call: Political Essays. 1st ed. Boston, MA: South End Press, 1985. 123–140. Print.
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Kezar, Adrianna. "Grassroots Leadership: Encounters with Power Dynamics and Oppression." International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 24.4 (2011): 471–500. CrossRef. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
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Kim, Dae-Joong, and Bobbi Olson. "Deconstructing Whiteliness in the Globalized Classroom." Anti-Racist Activism: Teaching Rhetoric and Writing. Spec. issue of Across the Disciplines 10.3 (2013): n. pag. Print.
Considering and calling attention to the ways in which they are raced as instructors in the classroom—and how students read authority onto their conceptions of their instructors' race—Kim and Olson offer a dialogue of their teaching experiences in the globalized classroom. In particular, they consider the ways in which they have enacted whiteliness in their instructor roles. Kim speaks from the position of being an "Asian Other in a classroom of American Others," while Olson reflects on her experiences as a white, native-English-speaking teacher of multilingual students, "none of whom were white." In their reflections and dialogue, Kim and Olson call for and enact a constant effort of "unlearning" and dissensus in order to "create new space in the global classroom" that moves beyond traditional racial structures.
Kinloch, Valerie Felitia. "Revisiting the Promise of Students' Right to Their Own Language: Pedagogical Strategies." College Composition and Communication 57.1 (2005): 83–113. Print.
Kinloch recaps the content and value of the CCCC's 1974 resolution, Students' Right to Their Own Language, but warns that that it "will become less convincing if it remains in the political and social climate of the 1960s and 1970s" (87). Calling for a "renewed commitment" to the resolution (90), Kinloch then provides specific pedagogical strategies, which include invoking Carlos Nino's "interpretive attitude" as well as her own experiences teaching composition, in which she and her students "confront issues of language abuse inside the writing classroom" (97) and involve the scholarship of Peter Elbow, James Berlin, bell hooks, Geneva Smitherman, and others. As with Kinloch's larger work, Harlem on Our Minds, this article would benefit academics/graduate students in fields such as writing pedagogy, teacher education, multiple literacies. Writing tutors will appreciate its breakdown and analysis of the resolution as well as the way Kinloch synthesizes leading scholarship in the field.
Kubota, Ryuko, and Angel Lin, eds. Race, Culture, and Identities in Second Language Education: Exploring Critically Engaged Practice. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.
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Ladson-Billings, Gloria, and William F. Tate. "Toward a Theory of Critical Race Theory in Education." Teachers College Record 97 (1994): 47–68. Print.
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Lamos, Steve. Interests and Opportunities: Race, Racism, and University Writing Instruction in the Post-Civil Rights Era. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2011. Print.
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Lippi-Green, Rosina. English with an Accent: Language, Ideology and Discrimination in the United States. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.
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Lipsitz, George. The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics. Revised and Expanded Edition. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2006. Print.
Lipsitz exposes and critiques what he calls "the possessive investment in whiteness," an investment that he argues white Americans are encouraged to make since it "provides them with resources, power, and opportunity" (vii). Lipsitz examines multiple policies—from the New Deal era through the neoconservatism of recent decades—that reinforce a systemic possessive investment in whiteness. In the revised conclusion to the book's title chapter (originally published in 1998), Lispitz describes the "disinvestment" in U.S. infrastructure, education, healthcare, and housing over the past two decades—a disinvestment described in the book's new closing chapter on Hurricane Katrina—and charges, "After two decades of disinvestment, the only further disinvestment we need is from the ruinous pathology of whiteness" (23). Lipsitz shows how this "pathology" ensures that white people are judged on their historical privilege rather than their merit and, by extension, helps to explain the historically situated privileging of whiteness in higher education and in writing centers.
---. "The Racialization of Space and the Spatialization of Race: Theorizing the Hidden Architecture of Landscape." Landscape Journal 26.1 (2007): 10–23. Print.
Lipsitz looks at how space, place, and power are interconnected in the U.S.—in laws, codes, practices, lived experiences, and history. Policies have produced spaces that have unjustly enriched whites while diminishing opportunities for blacks. Arguing that "Opportunities in this society are both spatialized and racialized" (12), Lipsitz calls on landscape architects and others to "disassemble the fatal links that connect race, place, and power" (14). His argument challenges writing center directors in two major ways: one, to think critically about how their spaces and locations invite some and exclude others, and two, to ask the latter what kinds of redesigns and/or relocations would produce an inclusive, supportive writing environment.
Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Freedom: Crossing P, 1984. Print.
In this groundbreaking collection of essays, poet and author Audre Lorde engages with multiple, simultaneous forms of difference (including race, class, gender, and sexual orientation), while also engaging with the multiple and simultaneous forms of oppression (racism, classism, sexism, homophobia) that have gathered along these differences. Her essays also address her life, art, and language. Well-known essays include "Poetry is Not a Luxury," "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action," "Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power," and "The Master's Tools will Never Dismantle the Master's House." Although not focused on writing centers directly, Lorde's essays provide powerful and compelling examples of the lived experience of the intersectionality of oppression and, as such, help to explain the systemic and institutionalized oppressions that come into and shape our spaces of teaching and learning.
Lu, Min-Zhan. "Professing Multiculturalism: The Politics of Style in the Contact Zone." College Composition and Communication 45.4 (1994): 442. CrossRef. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
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Lyons, Scott Richard. "Rhetorical Sovereignty: What Do American Indians Want from Writing?" College Composition and Communication 51.3 (2000): 447–468. Print.
Lyons asserts that American Indians want "rhetorical sovereignty" from their writing, which he defines as "the inherent right and ability of peoples to determine their own communicative needs and desires" (449). Realization of Native rhetorical sovereignty within what Lyon calls a "colonized scene of writing" (452-3) includes control over definitions and identity, use of Native language, and recognition of sites of rhetorical struggle, such as treaties. Lyons argues that acts of "rhetorical imperialism" have re-defined Native notions of nations, peoples, and most crucially, sovereignty. His central critique of mainstream multiculturalism is that it separates peoples and cultures from places over which they had sovereignty. Lyons looks to service-learning and community-based writing pedagogy for the creation of writing "publics" that bring people and places back together. This article is especially valuable for writing educators because it introduces the idea of sovereignty into sites of writing instruction and pushes instructors and tutors to ask what students want from writing.
Maddalozzo, Rebecca. "What's in a Word?" Teaching Tolerance 20 (2011): n. pag. Print.
An elementary student blames "a bilingual" for taking a ball off the teacher's desk. Astonished at her student's use of the word, Rebecca Maddalozzo gives her third-grade students a lesson about respecting speakers of multiple languages. The students learn that the prefix "bi" simply means "two," and they review multiple examples of other words with the prefix "bi." The school hosts monthly assemblies about respect, and Maddalozzo and her students take the opportunity to illustrate what they learned about bilingual students, emphasizing that several students at the school speak two or more languages and are equally capable as monolingual students. For writing center workers, this piece invites us to consider the terminology we use and to value the multiplicity of multilingual writers.
Marrero, Lucy. "Finding Room for 'Whatever': A Critical Approach to Antiracist Composition Pedagogy." Young Scholars in Writing 6 (2008): 12–23. Print.
Marerro's article provides an intimate glimpse into her lived experience as the only student of color in a class titled "Race and Rhetoric." In recognizing that many uses of the word "whatever" stem not only from frustration but also cognitive dissonance, she is able to better reflect upon her frustration with, and distance from, her white classmates. Not only did they not "get it," but they actively (if unconsciously) enacted the very racist discourses they were reading about in class. Marrero uses these reflections to propel her thinking about her own composition practices (e.g., "hip hop composition") and the critical role instructors can have in both exposing the category of whiteness and providing alternative or counter-rhetorics. Though not addressing writing centers directly, Marerro's call to embrace the specific and/or intimate speaks to one-with-one tutoring, and her narrative embrace of "whatever" provides an instructive example for tutors looking for alternative composition models.
Martinez, Aja. "Critical Race Theory Counterstory as Allegory: A Rhetorical Trope to Raise Awareness about Arizona's Ban on Ethnic Studies." Anti-Racist Activism: Teaching Rhetoric and Writing. Spec. issue of Across the Disciplines 10.3 (2013): n. pag. Print.
Martinez composes an allegorical "counter story" about the right to extend life within the context of Arizona's decade-long controversial legislation against immigration and as part of an "anti-immigrant/Mexican/ethnic studies climate." Martinez's purpose is to elicit discussion about the implications of Arizona's recent ban on Ethnic Studies, and more specifically, to criticize HB 2281, signed on May 11, 2010. Hence, the fictional narrative of the struggles of Dr. Rosette Benitez, a Mexican-American female biomedical engineer whose scientific breakthrough on gene repair gets denied to nonwhites by legislation, highlights the oppressive power of racist legislation. The right to extend the life of some while denying it to others, for Martinez, represents the "imminent erasure/extinction of an entire culture, people, and way of being. In its literal sense…immortality is reserved for members of society from privileged backgrounds, and the underprivileged are denied immortality based on a set of measures that correlate to Arizona's anti-ethnic studies legislation." Martinez's allegory is useful for writing instruction and writing center theory for rethinking the conception of the American Dream in college education and for understanding how writing instruction has been problematically invested in preserving white middle-class values. Martinez's allegory also represents the potential of ethnic and/or cultural studies education more generally; controlling or outright eliminating ethnic studies has direct impact on the distribution of resources, access to benefits, protection of human rights, and cycles of privilege.
Martinez, Aja Y. "'The American Way': Resisting the Empire of Force and Color-Blind Racism." College English 71.6 (2009): 584–595. Print.
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McIntosh, Peggy. "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences Through Work in Women's Studies (1988)." Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology. Ed. Margaret L. Andersen and Patricia Hill Collins. New York: Wadsworth, 1998. 94–105. Print.
Drawing upon her experience and recognition of the ways in which males are privileged but do not acknowledge it as such, McIntosh explores what white privilege similarly allows. She calls attention to the fact that it takes a conscious effort for those who are privileged to recognize the ways this privilege manifests itself daily. McIntosh uses the metaphor of white privilege as an "invisible knapsack," which provides extra guides and supplies for managing daily life without being earned. She offers forty-six "daily effects" of her white privilege, ranging from an awareness that her opinions and actions will not reflect on all of her race to an overview of the ways in which she can feel safe and accepted without having to think much about it. This source is useful for prompting recognition of privilege and how it infiltrates everyday aspects of privileged individuals' lives often invisibly.
Mohanty, Chandra. Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. New York: Duke UP, 2003. Print.
In this update on and expansion of her groundbreaking 1986 essay, "Under Western Eyes," Mohanty champions an antiracist, decolonizing, anticapitalist feminism that recognizes not only large scale revolutionary struggles, but also everyday moments of resistance. Thus, feminist practice happens at three levels: in daily life, collective action, and theory and pedagogy. For writing centers, Mohanty's concept of reflexive solidarity is likely to prove useful; this idea of solidarity centers on finding common interests among disparate groups to form the basis for a relationship. Writing center scholar-practitioners may also appreciate Mohanty's discussion of how first world inhabitants project and reify difference between themselves and third world inhabitants, which she calls "Third World Difference" (19). This idea may help those of us in writing centers consider prejudices or assumptions, especially held toward international writers and tutors.
National Association of Social Workers. Institutional Racism & the Social Work Profession: A Call to Action. Washington, D.C.: NASW, 2007. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <>.
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National Council of Teachers of English Committee on Racism and Bias in the Teaching of English. Resolution on Social Justice in Literacy Education. Urbana: NCTE, 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <>.
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---. Statement on Anti-Racism to Support Teaching and Learning. Urbana: NCTE, 2007. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <>.
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O'Brien, Eileen. Whites Confront Racism: Antiracists and Their Paths to Action. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001. Print.
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Omi, Michael. Racial Formation in the United States. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2014. Print.
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Parks, Stephen. Class Politics: The Movement for the Students' Right to Their Own Language. 2nd ed. Anderson, SC: Parlor P, 2013. Print.
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"Pedagogy & Theatre of the Oppressed." N.p., 2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2014. <>.
The website pays tribute to Paulo Freire and Augusto Boal for their work in developing theories and practices to further social justice. Submissions of scholarly and creative works on pedagogy and/or theatre are welcome, especially multi/trans-disciplinary inquiries, and certain typologies are suggested. Video of past Pedagogy of the Oppressed conferences are also available, alongside a wealth of web resources. An annotation of the first volume of the organization's journal is provided below:

The Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed International Journal. Volume 1(1). 2012.

The journal's four articles concern critical pedagogy and critical dialogue in higher education. The first two, "Drama as a Form of Critical Pedagogy: Empowerment of Justice" by Jase Teoh and "Online Only Classes and Critical Dialogue: Toward a Faustian Bargain Ideal for Virtual Education" by Kyle Rudick, are theoretical discussions. Teoh claims that when educational drama is supported by critical pedagogy, as it is in Augusto Boal's Forum Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed, students develop flexibility in thinking to see the world through others' perspectives, which improves understanding and awareness of social issues, and in turn, increases respect for diversity. According to Teoh, inquiry, kinesthetic learning, and reflective dialogue associated with these forms of drama allow teachers and students to explore perspectives and solutions, which empowers them as change agents. Rudick's article criticizes online classes that separate students from one another and transfer bits of information in linear, rational text-based discussion threads. He argues that critical dialogue should be foundational to education, for it recognizes subjectivity of social constructions of reality, involves the mind and body as sites of resistance, and requires all parties to commit to speaking and acting toward social transformation.

Composed by Long Tran, Eric Hagen, and Mark Weinberg, the third article, "Conscientização: The First Steps," is a poetic narrative reflection of their "self-(re)generation" through humanizing the social issues that must be addressed if social justice is to be achieved. The fourth article, "Boal, Freiere, and Us," by Long Tran, Katherine Burke, and Mark Weinberg, introduces narratology, or looking at the ways that our narratives' formational structures influence perceptions of reality, followed by personal narratives by each author. Burke describes how Theatre of the Oppressed engages the community in generating questions and solutions toward a healthier more sustainable society, and Weinberg praises Theatre of the Oppressed for helping him develop effective tools to promote social justice. Tran praises Freire's critical pedagogy for constructing counter-hegemonic spaces of resistance supporting personal liberation and social equity. Although opportunities for dramatic readings are limited in the writing center setting, writing tutors who engage students in inquiry, reflective dialogue, and contextualization of alternative perspectives may help students explore personal meaning of humanity.
Poe, Mya. "Re-Framing Race in Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum." Anti-Racist Activism: Teaching Rhetoric and Writing. Spec. issue of Across the Disciplines 10.3 (2013): n. pag. Print.
Poe first explains frames that are used to discuss race operating in the university. Within the university, discussion of race is often framed as multiculturalism, or synonymous with diversity or pluralism. Race is also often discussed in universities through the achievement gap frame, where race becomes an "identifying marker" for grouping students in relation to their performance. Finally, universities approach race from a post-racial frame that assumes race should not be a consideration. After revealing these frames, she offers three ways to "reframe" race within writing across the curriculum (WAC) in order to make race and racism an important part of WAC research.  Identifying what "race means in teaching writing, not a theory of race that sits around writing," Poe provides interconnecting frames for discussing and understanding race. First, Poe suggests situating race locally, to discuss and think about race in terms of the individuals who make up our writing classrooms and college communities. Second, after thinking locally, Poe asks us to question the expectations we bring to writing instruction in order to unpack our own assumptions. Finally, Poe exhorts that discussions about race across the curriculum must recognize the relationship between multilingualism and race and for writing teachers to make connections between "home and professional literacies." To successfully address race in WAC, Poe contends that we must understand the local contexts of how writing is taught and how race is experienced by students in our institutions.
Powell, Malea. "Rhetorics of Survivance: How American Indians Use Writing." College Composition and Communication 53.3 (2002): 396–434. Print.
Malea Powell, one of the leading scholars of American Indian rhetorics, concludes this seminal article as follows:

My hope is that we can begin to reimagine ourselves, our pedagogies, our scholarship, our discipline [of rhetoric and composition] in relation to a long and sordid history of American Imperialism. That we will not shirk from the hard work implied by the stories—the new histories and theories—being offered by scholars like [Scott Richard] Lyons and myself. That as a community we can learn from the ways in which folks like Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins and Charles Eastman use writing to come to some new uses of our own, that in coming to terms with our relationship to the colonizing consequences of writing in our past, we will begin, indeed, to tell new stories of "who and what, and that we are" (Momaday ["The Man Made of Words"] 103). // This is a survivance story. (428)

Powell defines Gerald Vizenor's concept of "survivance" as "survival + resistance" (400). The "mere" survival of Indigenous peoples in North America—the fact "that we are," as Powell puts it—is itself resistive given the long history of colonial campaigns aimed at physical and cultural extermination. Yet, Powell's, like Vizenor's, vision goes well beyond basic survival; "survivance," including in the realm of rhetoric, is also about resistance and continuance. As she examines ways that Winnemucca and Eastman used imperialist American discourses in order to imagine "new possibilities for Native resistance and survival in the face of violent assimilation strategies," Powell also suggests ways that contemporary scholars/students of rhetoric and composition—and here we add of writing centers—might consider our own complicity in imperialist discourses as well as our own possibilities for rewriting and resisting (404-405).
Prendergast, Catherine. Literacy and Racial Justice: The Politics of Learning after Brown v. Board of Education. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2003. Print.
Prendergast challenges the lasting effects of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, calling into question the intersections (both historical and rhetorical) between literacy and racial justice and problematizing the notion of school as the doorway to opportunity. This influential book shows how "literacy and racial justice have become intertwined in the American imagination to the extent that it is now difficult to invoke one without at least approaching the other" (1). Tracing the history of literacy since the Board decision and combining insights from legal studies and literacy studies, Prendergast shows that literacy projects—from standardized testing to voucher programs—are very much connected with and manifestations of literacy as White property. Across the chapters, Prendergast invokes critical race theory; explores how Whites are invested in literacy as a means for asserting a separate White identity; revisits Heath's study Ways with Words; provides a portrait of "High School X," through which we see a model for "reimagining education in the service of racial justice" (14); and argues for a literacy that "creates rather than threatens unity in this county" (15).
"Rethinking Schools." N.p., 2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2014. <>.
Rethinking Schools is a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that produces the magazine Rethinking School four times a year (October, December, March, May), publishes books (e.g., Rethinking Columbus, Rethinking "Indian" Stereotypes, Rethinking Multicultural Education, Teaching for Joy and Justice) focused on social justice education, and maintains a website of resources on teaching for equity and racial justice. According to the magazine's front matter, the mission is toward "sustaining and strengthening public education through social justice teaching and education activism."  In each issue of the magazine, readers will find narratives of classroom teaching, perspectives on education, legislative analysis, policy recommendations, curriculum and instructional approaches, lists of resources, and news relevant to educators K–university. Past issues can also be accessed through archives (on the website and in many school's library databases) and include attention to systemic race/ism—with articles looking at, for example, the school to prison pipeline, connections between environmental sustainability and racial justice, and the enactment of white space through "urban renewal."
Richardson, Elaine. "Race, Class(es), Gender, and Age: The Making of Knowledge about Language Diversity." Language Diversity in the Classroom: From Intention to Practice. Ed. Geneva Smitherman and Victor Villanueva. Vol. 40–66. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2003. Print.
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Richardson, Elaine B. African American Literacies. New York: Routledge, 2003. Print.
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Rothenberg, Paula S., ed. White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism. 4th ed. New York: Worth Publishers, 2012. Print.
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Rowe, Mary P. "Barriers to Equality: The Power of Subtle Discrimination to Maintain Unequal Opportunity." Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal 3.2 (1990): 153–163. CrossRef. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
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---. "Micro-Affirmations and Micro-Inequities." Journal of the International Ombudsman Association 1 (2008): 45–48. Print.
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Roy, Beth. "For White People, On How to Listen When Race Is the Subject." The Journal of Intergroup Relations 29.3 (2002): 3–15. Print.
Roy details the ways conversations about race between speakers of color and speakers who are white "are situated within asymmetrical relationships" (4), and she illustrates how speakers of color have additional burdens and vulnerabilities. For example, Roy describes the emotional costs when a person of color has to choose whether to participate in or challenge the racist premises tied to what Chris Cooper coined the "Veracity Test" (4). Roy ends the article by positioning herself as a white person and offering specific advice to white speakers and listeners as they engage in conversations about race: firstly, they must move "more than halfway" (12) to initiate conversations about race, and do more than half of the conversational work; secondly, they must "listen with an acknowledging ear rather than a doubting one" (12), when speakers of color talk about personal experiences; thirdly, they need to understand that speakers of color may respond passionately when talking about race, and such expressions should be accepted and attended to in whatever register in which they are delivered; and fourthly, "white listeners need both take personally what people of color say to us, and simultaneously, not take it personally" (13), meaning that white speakers should paradoxically both not take on individual responsibility for systemic racism and also take on individual responsibility for working toward racial equality.
Royster, Jacqueline Jones. Traces of a Stream: Literacy and Social Change Among African American Women. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 2000. Print.
Royster complicates notions of literacy and social change through an examination and recovery of essay writing by African-American women rhetors. Her methodological approach is pluralistic in that she integrates rhetoric and composition, rhetorical and literary analysis, empiricism and analysis, history and theory, research and pedagogy. Across three parts (Part 1: A Rhetorical View; Part 2: A Historical View; and Part 3: An Ideological View), Traces of a Stream answers and raises "basic rhetorical questions concerning voice, vision, agency, audience, form, and so on" (23). Throughout the text, Royster gives attention to her role as researcher and takes care to construct an ethical stance with responsibility to the many communities and constituents she represents—providing a model for writing center researchers, while sharing significant findings about literacy and social change.
---. "When the First Voice You Hear Is Not Your Own." College Composition and Communication 47.1 (1996): 29–40. Print.
This important essay takes up the central question: "How can we teach, engage in research, write about, and talk across boundaries with others, instead of for, about, and around them?" (38). Drawing on her own experiences and weaving narrative with inquiry and discovery, Jacqueline Jones Royster argues for the need to listen in responsive and responsible ways to each other—to talk back and to do more than talk back. In identifying "a variety of subjectivities," Royster points toward the need to treat "differences in subject position as critical pieces of the whole, vital to the thorough understanding, and central to both problem-finding and problem-solving" (34). Ultimately, the goal is for cross-cultural conversations—true conversations, not just talking over—that recognize legacies of power and positioning and that create new forms of understanding. Royster leaves us with the final words: "voicing at its best is not just well-spoken but also well-heard" (40). For those of us in writing centers, Royster offers powerful narratives, questions, and challenges to the way we talk, listen, and interact during one-with-one conferences and as members of larger communities (e.g., as staffs and within institutions).
Smitherman, Geneva. "CCCC's Role in the Struggle for Language Rights." College Composition and Communication 50.3 (1999): 349. CrossRef. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
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---. "English Teacher, Why You Be Doin' the Things You Don't Do." English Journal 61.1 (1972): 59–65. Print.
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---. Talkin and Testifyin: The Language of Black America. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1986. Print.
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Smitherman, Geneva, and Victor Villanueva, eds. Language Diversity in the Classroom: From Intention to Practice. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2003. Print.
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Sue, Derald Wing. Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley, 2010. Print.
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---. "Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Implications for Clinical Practice." American Psychologist 62.4 (2007): 271–286. Print.
Racial microaggressions are "brief and commonplace" (271) behaviors or environmental conditions, often expressed unconsciously, that communicate negative messages to people of color. The authors created a taxonomy to illustrate and explain microaggressions and to illuminate their impact on interracial counselor-client relationships. They noted that microaggressors view such acts to be less significant than do their victims because they are unable to view the microaggression from the experiential context of their victims. The authors believe that training programs for mental health providers should include an analysis of microaggressions and an examination—and self-examination—of racism, including what it means to be White. The authors recommend further research to determine how types of microaggressions may variously affect different racial groups. This article would be helpful to educators, medical professionals, and others who want to provide effective services to diverse populations.
Tatum, Beverly Daniel. "Talking about Race, Learning about Racism: The Application of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom." Harvard Educational Review 62.1 (1992): 1–24. Print.
Tatum attempts to identify and break down the barriers that hinder classroom discussions about race and racism by providing an overview of students' psychological responses to race-related content and giving practical classroom and university implications for teaching on this topic. After setting the context of classroom discussions regarding racism, Tatum outlines sources of resistance that predominately White classrooms often face, including the attitude towards race as a taboo topic, misperceptions of justice in American society, and self-denial of personal prejudice. The article then explores stages of racial identity development between different races with several examples and student anecdotes. Implications for classroom teaching conclude the article and include creating a safe classroom atmosphere, opportunities for self-generated knowledge, providing appropriate developmental models and framework, and exploring strategies that empower students as agents of change. In a writing center setting, this article would be influential in preparing consultants who may face resistance when addressing racial conflicts, in teaching consultants how to create a safe environment which encourages open and meaningful discussion with their clients, in assisting consultants with understanding the psychological transitions writers may go through when re-evaluating their own racial perceptions, and with practical tutoring strategies which may aid a consultant in confronting the topic or presence of racism in a paper.
---. Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?. New York: Basic Books, 2002. Print.
Tatum asserts that we, as members of an American community, do not know how to talk about race. As a result, we are unable to move past racial issues. Tatum indicates that a symptom of this inability to talk about race and overcome racial tensions is self-segregation. She offers personal narratives from the perspective of a professor, a scholar, a mother, and a woman of color, in order to give suggestions on how we might better discuss race and racism across contexts. Tatum engages in a conversation, backed by critical race theory, about the effects of self-segregation—asking, specifically: is it something that should be discouraged or is it a coping method that should be supported? Tatum presents significant evidence suggesting that in order to promote communication across racial and ethnic divides, we must engage in serious conversation about race and our own racial identities.
The Color of Fear. N.p., 1994. Film.
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Thompson, Audrey. "For: Anti-Racist Education." Curriculum Inquiry 27.1 (1997): 7–44. CrossRef. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
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Tonouchi, Lee A. "Da State of Pidgin Address." College English 67.1 (2004): 75. CrossRef. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
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Trainor, Jennifer S. Rethinking Racism: Emotion, Persuasion, and Literacy Education in an All-White High School. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2008. Print.
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Villanueva, Victor. Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color. Urbana: NCTE, 1993. Print.
Villanueva blends narrative with argument to show how our stories create theories and expose inequalities. He argues for an activism informed by love: "And knowing love opens up possibilities, allows one to be utopian in the midst of all that sometimes seems hopeless" (ix). From the opening pages and throughout Bootstraps, Villanueva shares his own story of experiencing racism, alongside discussion of the history of rhetoric and rhetorical education in the United States. He describes his approach as a blend of autobiography, ethnography, and classroom research and shows how such an intricate approach defies separation of practice and theory, experience and reflection. His process is circular and resists the linear progression often associated with binary thinking. Rather, Villanueva integrates speculations with polemics, reflections, and rhetorics—connecting the individual with the group and the systematic with the single stories.
---. "On the Rhetoric and Precedents of Racism." College Composition and Communication 50.4 (1999): 645–661. Print.
Integrating anecdotes and contextualizing various histories, Villanueva addresses the legacy of institutional racism. He acknowledges the problem with only valuing Eurocentric ideas and strongly insists that it's possible to see the importance of Eurocentric ideas and yet to value the voices of people of color. According to Villanueva, creating a space that values voices of color alongside Eurocentric voices will allow people of color to learn from thinkers of their own hemisphere (659). Although academics and teachers have multidimensional jobs and must juggle many responsibilities at once, Villanueva urges teachers to revisit their priorities and return to the question of racism. And, although there are several forms of bigotry, none of which should be ignored, Villanueva argues racism should be a top priority for all educators because it is the root issue that runs through class, gender, and sexual orientation and has the "greatest depth of trouble" (648).
Vizenor, Gerald Robert, ed. Survivance: Narratives of Native Presence. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2008. Print.
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Wible, Scott. "Pedagogies of the 'Students' Right' Era: The Language Curriculum Research Group's Project for Linguistic Diversity." College Composition and Communication 57.3 (2006): 442–478. Print.
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Williams, Bonnie. "Students 'Write' to Their Own Language: Teaching the African American Verbal Tradition as a Rhetorically Effective Writing Skill." Equity & Excellence in Education 46.3 (2013): 411–429. Print.
Arguing for a social justice approach to writing instruction that values students' rights to their own language, Williams presents research from two first-year composition courses in which she taught first-year students how to identify and incorporate the rhetorical features of the African American Verbal Tradition (AVT) in their academic writing. These features include (1) repetition, (2) signifyin[g] and indirection, (3) call response, (4) narrativizing, and (5) sounding. By identifying these features and teaching them in what Williams calls a "comparative approach" to African American language and literacy instruction, writing teachers and tutors can do more than express their support for policies like the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC)'s "Students' Right to Their Own Language" (SRTOL). Instead, we all—writing teachers and writing center tutors, alike—can advance language diversity by learning about AVT and by teaching it explicitly.
Williams, Patricia J. The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1991. Print.
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Wise, Tim J. Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2009. Print.
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---. White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son. Revised and updated ed. Berkeley, Calif.: Soft Skull Press, 2011. Print.
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Yamato, Gloria. "Something About the Subject Makes It Hard to Name." Changing Our Power: An Introduction to Women's Studies. Ed. Whitehorse Cochran, Donna Langston, and Carolyn Woodward. Dubuque: Kendall-Hunt, 1988. 3–6. Print.
In this short piece, Yamato defines four types of racism: (1) aware/blatant, (2) aware/covert, (3) unaware/unintentional, and (4) unaware/self-righteous. Yamato then defines and discusses internalized racism as related to these four types and concludes with brief advice both for whites who want to be allies and for people of color who are working through internalized racism. By providing very clear and concise definitions that help to clarify individual versus institutional racism, Yamato's piece helps to ground discussions of racism and helps us explore the complexity of racism (i.e., it's not just one thing) in writing center spaces. For tutor education, this piece provides background reading on multiple types of racism.
Young, Morris. Minor Re/Visions: Asian American Literacy Narratives as a Rhetoric of Citizenship. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2004. Print.
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Young, Vershawn Ashanti. "Momma's Memories and the New Equality." Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric and Society 1.1 (2010): n. pag. Web. <'s-memories-and-the-new-equality/>.
Young's article theorizes how to promote a "new equality" by using "code meshing." Drawing upon a conversation with his mother, Young discusses the "new racism." He draws on psychologist Derald Sue Wing et al.'s "microaggressions," which are "mostly unintended 'racial insults or slights'" and anti-racist cultural critic Tim Wise's "'Racism 2.0, or enlightened exceptionalism, a form that allows and even celebrates the achievements of individual persons of color'" because they "'are seen as different from a less appealing, even pathological black or brown rule'" (qtd. in Young). He describes three types of classrooms: (1) a classroom in which "students must translate black dialect into Standard English, while keeping the two separate, as if the two dialects were incompatible, foreign, and hostile languages"; (2) a classroom in which "teachers realize that language is a badge of identity," but students who use black dialect are told that in the classroom, in professional settings, and when interacting with non-black people, they should use Standard English, "which reinforces negative public perceptions about black people, their culture, and their speech patterns"; and (3) an ideal type of classroom that promotes code meshing, "the co-mingling and intermixing of racial rhetorics, dialects, and versions of English in public, formal, and informal speech acts" (4). Young challenges his "friends and colleagues ... to join [him] in the individual and societal conscious-building project of the new equality."
---. "Should Writers Use They Own English?" Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies 12 (2010): n. pag. Web. <>.
Young's article is a counter-argument to Stanley Fish, who argues that colleges should teach a "standard" English, that students should use "dialects" only at home, and that we should utilize the strategy of "code switching." In response, Young advocates "code meshing," which combines different dialects and languages, while reducing the prejudice seen in previous forms of teaching English and allowing writers to link different Englishes together to enhance their rhetoric. Young writes in black English to illustrate this argument, showing the affordances and impact of black English, while also arguing for an expansion of the definition of "good writing." The article depicts the double standard in Fish's argument that gives agency to white people, while restricting the linguistic choices for people of color—allowing a leniency for poor rhetoric from white people only. This article highlights ways in which the pedagogical approaches of teaching English grammar and writing are rooted in cultural, linguistic, and racialized ideologies; changing writing instruction, then, is more about making texts "look and sound a bit different than some may now expect"—it is also about "reduc[ing] prejudice."
YWCA Evanston/North Shore. "Racial Justice Resources." N.p., 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2014. <>.
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