Call It What It Is: Antiblackness
NWJTE Special Issue, Summer 2021: Call It What It Is: Antiblackness
Guest Editors: Amir A. Gilmore, LaToya T. Brackett, and Davida Sharpe-Haygood
Background and Context
What does it mean to be against the Black?
The Black, “which refers to the presence of Black bodies, or more precisely, the imagination of the signiﬁcance of Black bodies in a certain place” (Dumas, 2016, p. 13), is under attack in all spheres of education. Living in the wake (Sharpe, 2016) of unrelenting and unfolding intergenerational state and vigilante violence levied against the minds, bodies, and souls of Black people, we as the guest editors of this special issue raise the question of: What does it mean to be against the Black (Gordon, 1997; Sexton, 2008; Wilderson, 2010; Dumas, 2016)?
As an organizing site of Blackened consciousness, the question serves as a reminder that Black people struggle to exist as humans within U.S. (and global) society where there is “a cultural disregard for and disgust with blackness” (Dumas, 2016, p. 11). Antiblackness is “not simply racism against Black people,” but rather a “broader antagonistic relationship between blackness and (the possibility of) humanity” (Dumas & ross, 2016, p. 429). As the fulcrum of humanness and non-humanness, antiblackness marks Black life outside the realm of humanity, denying them social, political, and cultural participation within civil society.Antithetical to humanity, Black existence is symbolized as the problem (DuBois, 1903)—an ontological terror (Warren, 2018) within the white social imaginary. Through that societal framing, whiteness has—and—continues to deputize itself, engaging Black people through spectacularized and mundane methods of surveillance, control, capture, even murder to maintain social order, authority, rights, and socioeconomic privileges. Despite the construction of narratives and discourses during COVID-19, antiblackness is not a pandemic or an infectious disease, but rather a total climate (Sharpe, 2016)—a present and unfolding philosophical endeavor—a normalized sociopolitical construction of racialized othering, predicated on the death, disposability, suffering, and subjugation of Black people (Hartman, 1997; Sharpe, 2016), permeating all facets of life, including education.
Within K-12 schools, colleges and universities, antiblackness pervades as a polity that affects the physical, emotional, and psychospiritual mattering of Black students—even in an online classroom. Schools are a site of suffering (Dumas, 2014) because educators (primarily white educators) are unwilling to understand nor disrupt the complexities, specificities, and nuances of the Black condition where violence against the Black is masked as normal (Mustaffa, 2017). From these understandings, we ask ourselves, “What would pre-service and in-service teacher education look like if it were in active solidarity with Black Lives Matter?
Thus, this special issue of the Northwest Journal of Teacher Education (NWJTE) is not seeking empty declarations of solidarity, an outward integration with whiteness, or the white introspection of fragile white feelings (Love, 2020). Further, this special issue is not seeking to answer if schools and schooling are anti-Black, but how K-12 schools and teacher preparation programs within colleges and universities are implicated in the permanence of antiblackness. To create meaningful social change, educators must call special attention to the pervasiveness of antiblackness within schooling and teacher preparation and respond to it by forging paths away from it that center and value Black K-12 students and pre-service teachers’ humanity. What radical and social possibilities emerge for teacher education when engaging Black Lives Matter with educational research and praxis? Therefore, we are excited to seek narratives, reflections, conceptual and theoretical work that aims to disrupt antiblackness and secure Black humanity.
The Guest Editors welcome and encourage submissions from emerging faculty of color, as well as graduate students whose work primarily lies at the intersections of Teacher Education and/or: Black Studies, Curriculum Studies, Critical Disability Studies, Critical Race Theory (BlackCrit), Cultural Studies, Black Feminist Thought, Black Queer “Quare” Studies, Black Masculinities, and Black Science and Technology Studies.
Specific subtopics may include, but are not limited to:
Black mattering (or lack thereof) in K-12 schooling and Pre-Service Education
The “trappings” of neoliberal-multiculturalism, racial capitalism, and politics of inclusion and exclusion
The need to resist pushing Black youth into a narrative of “grit”
Intersections of race, oppression, and property (Whiteness As Property, Harris, 1993)
Black mourning, Black exhaustion, and spirit murdering
White professionalism, Woke-White Performative Allyship, and solidarity statements
White femininity, victimhood, and the “deputization” of anti-Black violence
Color-evasiveness and interrogations of Black dis/ability inside and outside Special Education
Refusal-based desires (i.e., the desire to refuse to change how our Blackness shows up)
Tokenism, microaggressions, and racial battle fatigue for Black students, teachers, and faculty
The intersection of Black space, place, and “technologies” of surveillance, violence, and policing of Black children with in-person schooling and online (i.e., Zoom)
The deputization of Black students as teachers through pain narratives
Dominant modes of knowledge and curricular violence against Black people of all genders and sexualities
Afrofuturism, freedom dreams, and political possibilities of Black liberation
Commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) reifying antiblackness
Systematic racist practices in data collection, assessment, and data reporting
Proposals should be a word document containing the following: (a) tentative manuscript title, (b) author(s)’ names, affiliation(s), and email(s), and (c) a proposal (~500 words) of the planned contribution that includes: a summary of the key issues regarding antiblackness within K-12 schooling and teacher education or questions the paper will address and its relevance to the special issue. Note: Authors who do not submit a brief proposal by January 29, 2021, may still submit a full manuscript by the April 2, 2021 deadline (however, we cannot guarantee full consideration of these submissions). Please email your proposal to Amir Gilmore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manuscripts (~5,000 words, all-inclusive) should be written for educational stakeholders who have the general oversight and responsibilities of/within educational leadership, teacher education (pre and in-service), and curriculum management that have a vested interest in the matterings, survivance, and educational outcomes of Black youth and future Black K-12 teachers. Guidelines for manuscript submission, along with other relevant NWJTE information, is available at https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/nwjte/policies.html. Manuscripts submitted to this special issue will be preliminarily reviewed by the Guest Editors and the editorial team. Those deemed suitable for journal publication will be sent anonymously to external peer reviewers.
Tentative Manuscript Timeline:
Abstract Submission Deadline: January 29, 2021
Special Editor’s Response: February 5, 2021
Submission Deadline For Full Manuscripts: April 2, 2021
First decisions regarding submitted manuscripts: June 4, 2021
Revised manuscript submission deadline: July 30, 2021
Publication: Mid-Late August 2021
If you have any queries, please email the guest editors: Amir Gilmore (email@example.com), LaToya Brackett (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Davida Sharpe-Haygood (DSharpehaygood@pierce.ctc.edu). Questions regarding submission can be addressed directly to the NWJTE Editorial Board Members: Francene Watson (email@example.com) or Maika Yeigh (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you again for your interest, and we look forward to receiving your proposal!
Coles, J. A. (2019). The Black literacies of urban high school youth countering antiblackness in the context of neoliberal multiculturalism. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 15(2), 1–35. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1235199.pdf
DuBois, W. E. B. (1903). The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Dover Publications.
Dumas, M. J. (2014). ‘Losing an arm’: schooling as a site of black suffering. Race Ethnicity and Education, 17(1), 1–29. https://doi.org/10.1080/13613324.2013.850412
Dumas, M. J. (2016). Against the dark: Antiblackness in education policy and discourse. Theory into Practice, 55(1), 11–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/00405841.2016.1116852
Dumas, M. J., & ross, k. m. (2016). Be real Black for me. Imagining BlackCrit in Education. Urban Education, 51(4), 415–442. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085916628611
Gordon, L. R. (1997). Existence in Black. New York, NY: Routledge.
Hartman, S. V. (1997). Scenes of subjection: Terror, slavery and self-making in nine- teenth-century America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Love, B. L. (2020). There is nothing fragile about racism. Education Week, 40(2), 16. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/08/25/there-is-nothing-fragile-about-racism.html
Mustaffa, J. B. (2017). Mapping violence, naming life: a history of anti-Black oppression in the higher education system. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 30(8), 711–727. https://doi.org/10.1080/09518398.2017.1350299
Sexton, J. (2008). Amalgamation schemes: Antiblackness and the critique of multiracialism. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.
Warren, C. L. (2018). Ontological Terror: Blackness, Nihilism, and Emancipation. Duke University Press.
Wilderson, III, F. B. (2010). Red, white & Black: Cinema and the structure of US antagonisms. Durham, NC: Duke University.