Unless students are empowered to help shape their own educations, and use their skills and energy to fight for justice and make their neighborhoods better places to live, there will be little progress in solving the nation’s most pressing problems or reversing the obscene concentration of wealth at the top layers of our society. We need to go back to the activism of the ’60s, where young people took the lead in fighting for civil rights and transforming their own schools. Black studies programs, including the one I teach in, were created by student protests, and it was students who forced changes in curriculum from the University on down to include the contributions of women and people of color. Current reform policies transform students into passive, obedient consumers of status quo knowledge packaged in a form that can be easily tested. We need to encourage students to go back to being creators, innovators and makers of history.
Don’t ever compliment me by insulting other women. That’s not a compliment, it’s a competition none of us agreed to.