Week 14 – Response

This week’s readings on Hip Hop Pedagogy and Critical Race Theory gave insight to how technical communicators within learning spaces can further promote inclusivity and give a voice to people who are typically underrepresented and/or considered marginalized (this applies within the field as well as outside of it). I thought it was interesting how Del Hierro stated that “ignoring nonwestern contributions to technical communication reinforces systemic colonialism, racism, and white supremacy in both the field and the classroom” (240). He then follows up this statement by asserting that “departments, classrooms, and campuses still struggle and maintain power structures that marginalize students of color for the ways they look, speak, and think” (257). Interestingly enough, upon reading this I began to understand how the implementation of Hip Hop Pedagogy and an embrace of non-dominant cultures within the classroom settings both carefully and critically challenge notions of what is ‘standard’ and expected of students. Often times, people who are a part of minority groups are forced to change their speech and appearance because it is not understood or appreciated in unfamiliar spaces. By allowing students to share their personal experiences, their cultures, and their understandings of how the world works we gain insight into how they view themselves, how they tend to communicate ideas, and how they take away meaning from their experiences. In turn, this allows us the chance to amend belief systems, rules, and practices that rob others of self-expression and, even sometimes, basic rights. I believe that this pedagogy has the potential to provide those within technical and professional spaces greater understanding, appreciation, and insight into why it is so important to look outside of the ‘standard’ that tech comm is so commonly associated with.

One of the most insightful moments within Edwards piece was the section of writing that contained the student responses to the prompt on race, racism, and power within the workplace. I liked it because it was basically an example of what employing Critical Race Theory within a classroom of students might look like. The concept and practice of “connecting issues of race and racism…as a way to talk about, understand, and negotiate how students may…use knowledge to be more aware and conscious about race and systemic racism” is one that I feel is necessary in academic spaces, but (unfortunately) I can easily see instructors facing quite a bit of negative feedback in prompts and student participation. I suspect that the colorblindness Edwards speaks of is such a popular option for people nowadays because it both ‘solves’ the problem of race and racism without the full-blown confrontation of the topics themselves. My question to the class is how do we use CRT to both eradicate the notion that race ‘isn’t as big as people make it seem’ and address problems with race and power without students becoming overwhelmed at the topic? (Hope that makes sense!)

I must say that of both readings, I found Del Hierro’s article the most fascinating. Granted it provided a lot of reasons as to why Hip Hop Pedagogy would work great within classroom settings, I must say that I would have NEVER thought to compare the lyrics and style in which Biggie composed Ten Crack Commandments to a technical document, nor would I have ever used it to reflect business strategies employed by capitalist societies (that connection was pretty awesome). It made me wonder in what other ways we can use aspects/attributes of non-dominant culture to provide methods/examples of the creating and sharing of information. Interesting stuff!

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