In Chapter 7, Del Hierro discusses Hiphop practices as they relate to Technical Writing. He opens with this: “First, I will situate this essay among scholars who have been challenging the disciplines of technical communication and rhetoric to recognize why culture, social justice, and decolonality matter” (237). As a social justice issue, hiphop didn’t hit my radar, but he makes an excellent point by pointing out the origins of the genre in New York City. He expands it by saying it broadens the accepted notion of how technical communications work in a cultural setting. He goes on to say “the lack of scholarship paying attention to culture is doing a disservice to our students” (243). After illustrating a compelling example of a digital booklet and expanding his field of conversation to include how the school system marginalized everyone but the dominant white culture, he moves into hiphop pedagogies. In these, students are seen as active participants rather than willing (or unwilling) recipients. This is a way to demarginalize students of color. I will admit that, of all the chapters we’ve studied, this one turned my opinion. I’ve never been a fan of hiphop as a matter of personal taste, not in objection to the subject matter or subculture. By pointing out how it works within the space it occupies as a technical document/social justice ideal, Del Hierro opened my mind to new possibilities. His points are valid, even when he’s discussing the digital booklet about selling drugs. What amazed me most about it is how the content could be taken beyond the rather objectionable subject matter to have a true, realistic application. It’s just not something that ever entered my mind. I am duly impressed with Del Hierro’s reasoning though I doubt I’ll be creating a hiphop channel on my Pandora any time soon.
In Chapter 11, Edwards moves Del Hierro’s ideas forward in my mind. Edwards discusses race and the workplace. “Both language and action give us insight into what it means to be social and what it takes to communicate effectively” (376). Edwards puts forth an example of how language slants public opinion and reinforces racism with headlines focused on the differences between white aggressors, described in softer terms, and black victims, described in a harsh judgmental light. By framing that in a critical race theory, Edwards makes several valid points validating teaching race issues within the Technical Communications field to combat the myth of a non-racial world and expands it by discussing emerging scholarship on the subject. She goes on to say, “…if we do not consider race and racism in our field, we fall short in helping students to connect with the details associated with communicative process that are realities in American society” (379). After defining CRT, Edwards makes a case for application in the technical writing classroom. While I agree that CRT allows for connections to be made to uncomfortable conversations that need to be had, Edwards’ case didn’t persuade me as well as Del Hierro’s.