Sharon Walker and Krystal Strong
Black Lives Matter and Comparative Education
Today we talk about Black Lives Matter and what it means for the field of comparative and international education.
With me are Sharon Walker and Krystal Strong, who have recently co-edited with Derron Wallace, Arathi Sriprakash, Leon Tikly, and Crain Soudien, a special issue of Comparative Education Review entitled “Black Lives Matter and Global Struggles for Racial Justice in Education.”
Citation: Walker, Sharon, Strong, Krystal interview with Will Brehm, FreshEd, 313, podcast audio, March 20, 2023.https://freshedpodcast.com/walker-strong/
Will Brehm 0:54
Sharon Walker and Krystal Strong, welcome to FreshEd.
Sharon Walker 1:16
Krystal Strong 1:17
Thank you so much for having us.
Will Brehm 1:19
So, Black Lives Matter (BLM), I guess it first appeared as a hashtag in 2013, after Trayvon Martin was murdered, and then there’s been so many additional murders and deaths of Black people in the US. And then in 2020, when George Floyd was killed, it just sort of erupted into this massive protest movement. And it often seems that BLM is this US phenomenon because of the sort of continued violence against Black people in the country. But your special issue really sort of says, you know, the movement for Black lives is actually this global phenomenon. So, can you give me a sense of the global reach of BLM or the movement for Black lives?
Krystal Strong 1:59
We have been really intent in this special issue on number one, as you mentioned, bringing together a set of pieces that really do sort of affirm and think through the global implications of BLM, as we say a rallying cry, as an organizational formation, and also as a decentralized movement, but also taking very seriously the often underappreciated internal globalism within the movement. So, for example, if we think about BLM as an enunciation, as an expression, it’s quite easy to see the kind of global reverberations, right? We saw in 2020 with End SARS, in Nigeria, the kind of framing of Nigerian lives matter, right? Or when people are victims of state violence and particularly anti-Black state violence, Black Lives Matter is often a hashtag that is used to amplify those movements and struggles. And so, there’s a way in which BLM and Black lives matter becomes a way of drawing attention to the perilous conditions of Black life, not just in the US, but internationally. At the same time, I think if we look at BLM as an organizational formation, and we appreciate the sort of long evolution of the struggle, we can discern many ways that BLM has been quite influential when we think about, for example, the Ferguson uprising after Mike Brown, Junior’s murder, right? Or if we think about the uprisings in Baltimore after Freddie Gray’s murder, and thinking about the ways in which the frequent occasion of Black murders at the hands of the state have occasioned these kinds of uprisings, right? We can see a kind of pattern of both the violence but also the organized resistance to it. And I think certainly, we saw that in 2020, after George Floyd’s murder, where there were solidarity protests all around the world in historic numbers, in many cases. But I think part of what we really tried to draw attention to is number one, the kind of internal attention within the movement to globalism. It’s actually one of the guiding principles of Black Lives Matter, the organization, but also really thinking sort of transnationally about its impact on how we think about anti-Blackness as a structural and global phenomenon. How we think about state violence, how we think about how that is expressed within schooling, within educational experiences, and how we also think about sort of transnational movements that BLM gives us an opportunity to understand.
Sharon Walker 4:39
And just adding to what Krystal has said, particularly when we think about the kinds of demonstrations etc., that have occurred in 2020. And I think that that was a real kind of signal to the fact that these issues are global, that people kind of rising up all around the world. And I think that’s significant because I think one of the things that for me, kind of coming from the UK and also, I have an interest in France because I lived there for quite a long time, just watching how these things have played out across the water from the US. And seeing the recognition of this kind of anti-Blackness, anti-Black violence, etc., people understand and recognize what that is not just in the US but globally. But also, the kind of sense of and I would say, in the UK, for example, the kind of grappling with, and I’m talking much more at the kind of national political level with is this relevant here? A kind of pushed back against this, even at the grassroots level, people are speaking out, are saying that, yes, this is relevant. They’re organizing around that kind of BLM movement or action, etc. And yet, there’s this kind of question of that is something that happens over there in the US, is it relevant over here?
Will Brehm 5:49
As you said, BLM can be seen in different perspectives. But at the organizational level, has there been attempts to connect across countries? I know, obviously, within the US, there might have been some organizational efforts. But how about transnationally in a way?
Sharon Walker 6:05
I think that here in the UK, there has been organizing around the kind of Black Lives Matter. So, for example, we have blacklivesmatter.uk. And then also, we have the kind of BLM kind of global network foundation, which has kind of like chapter organizations over here in the UK. So, I think that there has been a kind of institutional -when I say, institutional, I don’t mean that in a kind of sense of institutionalized but that it’s come off of the street, so to speak. And it’s not a case where we can talk about that happened in 2020, it’s actually resulted in a kind of formation of groups and action going forward. So, yeah, I do think that there has been. I don’t know how many country contexts that spreads across. But definitely in the UK, that has been something that’s been happening.
Krystal Strong 6:51
So, one thing I’ll just add to that is – this hasn’t come up yet in the conversation. But I’m actually an organizer within BLM in the Philadelphia chapter. I also do organizing within the network formation as well. And you know, as Sharon mentioned, there have been affiliated chapters in three countries: the UK, the US and Canada. But apart from that, there has been sort of waves of solidarity over the years of BLMs existence. So, for example, there have been solidarity statements about police murders in the UK, in Brazil, in Australia. There have been a few different groups of BLM organizers who’ve gone to places like Palestine to learn from the struggle in Palestine. And there were some pretty viral interactions between Palestinian organizers and folks in Ferguson during the Ferguson uprising giving suggestions on how to prepare for tear gassing, and a particular kind of repressive state violence and to counter an active uprising. And also, there have been BLM organizers who’ve gone in solidarity to places like South Africa to learn from their struggles. And so, there are those kinds of formalized and established relationships that have been developed. But also, as I mentioned earlier, globalism has been named as an emphasis and also an intentional guiding principle. And there’s ways that we can understand that as an aspiration that is kind of sought to be realized. But we can also look to tangible examples of solidarity efforts. And certainly, the ways that folks around the world have really taken up the mantle of BLM and fought with it and amplified struggles recognizing that there is certainly a centralized locus of focus in the US, right. But that does not mean and certainly is not the case that there’s an interest in an understanding of the transnational scope of the problem of anti-Blackness and state violence.
Will Brehm 9:01
So, how does BLM understand the idea of globalism as sort of a guiding principle, as you said, an aspiration?
Krystal Strong 9:09
One of the things that we were quite intentional about within the special issue was taking very seriously the movement knowledge that has been generated within BLM which is an organization but also The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), which is a larger, transnational constellation of organizations, right, that are Black led, and that sort of coalesce around fighting against state violence and for Black liberation. But within the 13 guiding principles of Black Lives Matter, globalism is defined in the following way, and this is a quote: “We see ourselves as part of the global Black family. And we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folks who exist in different parts of the world”. And so, part of what we hear in this and what we can discern in this is a sort of understanding of African diaspora kinship, right, but also an understanding of the ways that Blackness and Black experiences are tied together in many different ways, including through sort of common experiences of oppression, and also the realities of white supremacy and anti-Blackness as global structures that require global struggle.
Will Brehm 10:28
How is the M4BL or BLM connected to schools, if at all? Or maybe just education more broadly?
Sharon Walker 10:29
I think that from what I see, I think there’s been a much more kind of expressive application of BLM in schools in the US. So, the Black Lives Matter at School movement, for example. And I think that that’s something that’s very concrete. And I’m sure in a moment that Krystal will give more information on that. When I look at what’s happening there, and then I kind of ask similar questions, for example, to think about what has been happening in the UK, for example, around Black Lives Matter in school? We haven’t had that kind of similar Black Lives Matter at School movement, kind of activism in teaching. That’s very much grassroots and it’s kind of reaching across schools. Although I think particularly in the immediate aftermath of George Floyd, there was a lot of activity – not in the sense that there wasn’t any before – but that kind of coalesced around that kind of 2020 experience and brought to the fore many of the things that were happening. And so, for example, there were reports in the newspaper about not only teachers, but actually young people requesting for a different kind of curriculum. So, one of the examples has been a Hackney curriculum, which has been developed in Hackney and which teachers and children have actually requested. They’ve wanted to see a change in what they’ve been learning, etc. And then, you know, you think about things like – I’m sure you’ve been on to the BBC educational website. Around that time, lots of new resources came out. Admittedly, they didn’t necessarily focus on British Black politics, which is, again, interesting. So, they kind of went around the world and looked at key people in other global contexts. People like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, etc. So, there’s an issue to be raised there. For young Black people in Britain, it will be good for them to learn about Black British history and Black British politics but maybe that’s for another conversation. So, I think that there has been action and activities in schools, but I don’t think it’s been, from what I understand as organized as it has been in the US to date. And I also think it’s quite interesting, again, in the UK context, and it is also true for the French context, that although there was this kind of initial celebration of Black Lives, and the recognition that we need to support Black Lives Matters, etc. But since that time, we’ve had some really strong pushback. Even if you think of the kind of government level, talking about the kind of political impartiality in schools, which has really pushed back against the teaching of Black Lives Matter, the teaching of critical race theory. And so, we’ve kind of had a real double-edged experience of, on the one hand, the kind of euphoria around Black lives in 2020 and a few years onwards, but now this kind of push back. And even using the language of safeguard and how we need to safeguard children against this kind of teaching that might be happening in school. So, yes, I think we’ve had a bit of a double experience on this side of the water.
Will Brehm 13:09
in Hackney, it’s like a different world in a way. But then at the national level, there was something called the Sewell Report, as I did a show on it.
Sharon Walker 13:17
That’s correct. That’s been very significant because the kind of commissioning of that report came out on the back of the demonstrations in 2020. The idea being that the government commissioned a report, they wanted to look at the – I can’t remember the exact expression that they used now. The state of race relations, or something within that kind of context within the UK to see what the issues and the problems are. And I mean, as you well know, the report was slated, or it received a great deal of criticism for many different reasons, including the education sector, for example. There was questions about the type of data that it drew on, the questions it asked, who it engaged with for example, and also whether there wasn’t already a slight ideological push behind the report, even before it was researched or published, in that there’s not a real acceptance of the idea of institutional racism, for example. And so therefore, any findings from the report would therefore speak against that. And I think that all people wanted was a fair engagement with the evidence that’s out there. What we know from quantitative and also with qualitative research, but I don’t think that that was given a really fair hearing within the report, really.
Will Brehm 14:24
It’s a really interesting sort of overview of what’s going on in the UK in terms of this moment where everyone’s talking about it and really pushing change, and then sort of this backlash and this counter narrative that has now arrived in a way. Krystal, what about in the US, or at least maybe in Philadelphia, where you have been sort of working with the BLM chapter?
Krystal Strong 14:43
There has been a very important connection, and set of connections, and growing connections between Black Lives Matter in schools since 2016 here in the US. In 2016, in Seattle, there was a BLM day of action at a local public school. But then in 2017, after hearing about the day of action in Seattle, Philadelphia educators, through the caucus of working educators, which is a teacher organizing formation, decided to create BLM at Schools week of action. The local BLM Philly chapter was supportive of this week of action from the beginning and has retained a relationship with the organized teachers who pioneered it and have through their organizing efforts BLM at Schools week is a movement in its own right, as a matter of fact, that has spread to school districts all around North America as a matter of fact. And so, it’s gone from a day of action to a week of action to a year of purpose. And so, there are demands around the kinds of educational transformation that would align itself with the mantle of Black Lives Matter. And you can learn more about the BLM at Schools movement in its own right. There’s an edited book called BLM at Schools. There’s also another edited book that’s called Teaching for Black Lives that really chronicles the significance of educational organizing in conjunction with Black Lives Matter. And that’s kind of the most direct connection to education. Having said that, though, I mean, we’ve also seen a historic resurgence of school-based struggles around racial justice in the timeframe and inspired in many ways, and in solidarity with the sort of grassroots organizing that’s happening outside of schools around state violence, right? So, we saw in universities, in high schools around the US and around the world, in fact, the use of Black Lives Matter as a way of strengthening existing struggles around racial justice, right? You know, some of this has had to do with specific murders of Black people. Some of this has had to do with things like policing, ties with the prison industrial complex between universities, for example. But then we see in places like South Africa, BLM being utilized in conjunction with movements around natural hair being banned in schools, for example, or Fees must Fall borrowing from some of the organizing practices within Black Lives Matter protests. And so, there are lots of connections and might I add, it’s a bidirectional flow or a multi-directional flow, because just as with Fees must Fall, we can see tangible engagement with BLM, fallism has been enormously transformative, especially if we look at the push in the US in the UK, that we can tie directly to fallism in South Africa around monuments to state violence and coloniality. And so, I think part of what becomes very important is understanding the connections but also the multi-directionality of the relationships.
Will Brehm 18:04
And Krystal, you’ve used a few times now the word state violence. Why is this notion of state violence so useful when we think about BLM and its ability to sort of understand some of the anti-Blackness, some of the Black violence that we see around the world sort of connecting all of these different sorts of cases together through this concept of state violence? Why is it so important to use that term and that concept, in your opinion?
Krystal Strong 18:29
It’s essential, because it makes it very plain that we are talking about Black life and Black death. And we are talking about the disproportionate vulnerability of Black people to violence at the hands of the state. And so, there is a very important way of thinking about this that Ruth Wilson Gilmore has offered to us. She describes state violence, and this is a quote here, “as the state sanctioned or extra-legal production and exploitation of group differentiated vulnerability”. And that is an incredibly important sort of framing, right? This idea of group differentiated vulnerability, this is a framing that you can find used within the movement, but even outside of a more sort of academic understanding of what state violence is, the movement itself has been very important to drawing sort of public attention to these spectacular instances of violence against Black people that we might not know about, if not for smartphones, if not for hashtags, if not for viral recordings. They might otherwise be swept under the rug. Especially if we think about the over eight-minute video of George Floyd. If there was no video 2020 might look very different. But one of the things that we talk about in our introduction and that we give credit to is the fact that it’s from within the movement that we see incredibly important intellectual and political pivot to the language of state violence. So, in 2012, there was a report that was released by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, which is a Black liberation organization. They released a report called Operation Ghetto Storm, which in its language was attempting to draw a connection between Desert Storm and sort of US imperialism abroad, and militarism abroad to the militarized experiences of Black folks in urban communities in particular in the US. And so, one of the things that the report did was it documented extrajudicial killings of Black people. And they defined extrajudicial killings and state violence as the sort of murders of Black people at the hands of not just police, but also security guards, and vigilantes like George Zimmerman, who murdered Trayvon Martin. And so, part of what that report did is with sort of painstaking documentation drew attention to these specific instances of police murders, and also broader murders of Black people, and came up with a statistic that was incredibly essential to mobilizing around state violence. And they said that every 28 hours in the US, a Black person is murdered by the police. And so state violence becomes very important as a frame for understanding the specific vulnerability of Black people to death at the hands of agents of the state.
Sharon Walker 21:35
I think the emphasis by Ruth Gilmore on the group differentiated vulnerability is so significant to grasp because I think sometimes you might hear people speaking in lay terms, etc. and they might say, oh, you know, it’s the community, or they brought it on themselves, or it’s the individual and I think that when we think about state violence, what it really grasps is the idea that this isn’t happening by accident. This is something which is almost baked into the framings of the state. And it’s something that is not just happening, for example, in policing, it’s in law, everything is connected, it’s all working together. And I can imagine that someone listening to this will kind of like be thinking, “Oh, you’re talking about a conspiracy theory. Everyone’s kind of got it in for Black people”. But I think the thing that we need to remember is when we think about how states are organized today, we have to think about this historically, in the kind of historical context. When you think about the vulnerability – the US is a clear example – the vulnerability of Black bodies in the US, this goes back a long way back into colonial times. And it wasn’t as if there was a date in time where everybody said, right now that way of thinking has stopped. And it continues. So, we have to kind of think about these connections with yesterday, and how they kind of feed in into the kind of states that we have inherited today. And I think that what Black Lives Matter draws attention to is that these ways of thinking and acting and being in the world are – is the word endemic? – to the state. This is how the state is working. And hence why not just in the US, but you can think of examples in the UK and other contexts as well, where Black life is vulnerable as a result of these kinds of historical which have now become contemporary ways of acting and being in the world.
Krystal Strong 23:11
And if I can just add on to that as well, I think part of what Sharon is sort of amplifying here is it requires a sort of historical and also a transnational analysis, right? And it also requires us to understand that we’re not just talking about systems in which Black people are minorities, right? If you look at just the period of 2020, a hugely important movement against state violence, End SARS, forms in Nigeria, just months after the murder of George Floyd. Nigeria is a Black nation, right? And so, we have to understand that state violence is not just simply about sort of white settler colonialism, it is not simply about, a sort of non-Black state agent who is murdering a Black person, it’s about a sort of structure of the state that is connected to colonial power, that is connected to racial capitalism, that is connected to a particular version of the state that exists. And also, it requires us to understand, like Sharon said, the sort of historical continuities. But even after 2020, and the murder of George Floyd, in the US alone, almost 800 Black people have been murdered by the police since George Floyd was murdered. And that is a statistic from the Mapping Police Violence project where you can actually see -and it’s US specific- you can see every single person who has been murdered by the police going back decades and you can isolate it by race. And that is just Black people. But then if we also look at 2020, there was a UN resolution that drew attention to a state violence against Black people around the world. And so, we can see very similar dynamics in a range of geographic and national contexts outside of the US.
Will Brehm 25:02
It is quite valuable to place the state at the forefront and recognize that the definition of a state is, in part, the ability to monopolize violence, and then that violence is racialized. It’s a really sort of analytical frame to always keep in mind about what is a state and what makes a state a state. So, what we’re talking about obviously has these much longer-term historical connections to state formation and how states operated. So, in your special issue, you make this really important point, in my opinion, that when you look at the movement for Black lives, it’s only not about like recognizing and talking about sort of the violence against Black lives, and the problems of state violence and problems of anti-Blackness. But it’s also to really recognize that this movement promotes the full freedom and flourishing of Black people. It’s this rather positive movement, right? It is creating and generating these new spaces for Black lives to thrive. So, can you tell me sort of what are some of these generative aspects of the BLM Movement?
Sharon Walker 26:02
I think one of the things that I find very exciting, and I think BLM is a part of this. And I’m going to use the word kind of intellectual tradition. And by that I don’t simply mean people who reside in academia. You’re talking about artists, people who work in theater, in music, the kind of thinking of ideas and kind of pushing the frontiers of how we think. I’m really excited when I think about discussions around Black optimism, Black mysticism, Afrofuturism. And just very quickly just to say that, when we think about Black optimism, simply put, you might think about that as the opposite of Black pessimism. So, Black optimism kind of points towards Black life, whereas Afro pessimism might think much more of considering kind of like, like Black death, and the afterlife of slavery. You know, the two can be in conversation with each other. And then you kind of think about Black mysticism, which, for me, is the one that I find really kind of creative and imaginative in a sense that it pushes beyond what we currently understand to exist in order to think of Black lives differently. And it describes itself as being a parentology, i.e.., it’s thinking about an ontology that has not yet become. So, we’re thinking about something completely different. Kind of imagining beyond. And when we think about Afrofuturism, we think about the intersection of the imagination, of technology, future liberation. That’s just drawing us some ideas there from Womack. For me, I find it really exciting, all the ways that different writers and authors are coming together to imagine new thinking, new ways of being in the world. And that’s what I really find. I went to an exhibition in London a few months ago, I think it’s called The Black Fantastic. It was at the Southbank. And as you went in on the outside wall, it had something, and the quote was something like “Black people are in the future”. And I really looked at that for a long time. And I thought, I know this sounds like a really silly thing. But I thought, you know, it’s absolutely right. Because there’s been so much in my life, whether that be through the television, through media, etc., where even for when I was young, I had the sense of Black people being rubbed out. But that was almost reaffirming. No, we’re in the future. And many of these intellectual traditions, these kinds of creative artistic traditions are thinking and imagining what does that mean? How can we think beyond what we already understand in the kind of current framings of the world to think about Black life and to imagine Black life differently, I think.
Krystal Strong 28:18
One of the things I find most frustrating about some of the popular discourses around Black Lives Matter is the sort of framing of it as this destructive movement. And it’s frustrating because as someone who’s like, actually, within the movement, there is such an important emphasis on Black joy, Black healing, but also the creation of life affirming institutions, like schools and mutual aid projects and making sure that people have their needs met, and basically thinking about what would create the conditions for Black people and all people by extension to thrive. And so, I’m going to call on a few scholars who I think really remind us of the fact that alongside Black struggle and Black oppression, there’s always hope, there’s always the kind of freedom dream, right? And that’s invoking specifically Robin Kelley, who helps us see how Black people are always nurturing freedom dreams, right? And then you look at someone like the abolitionist Mariame Kaba who talks about hope as a discipline, right? And who talks about abolitionism as an expression of hope. And then you look at someone like, again, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, who tells us that abolition is about presence, not absence. And so, some of the ways that we attempted to engage this aspect of BLM and ensure that people understand that apart from the protests, apart from these kinds of mass mobilizations that people are ultimately building, envisioning something beyond this structure and experience of anti-Blackness, of state violence, of racial capitalism that all work in conjunction with each other. And we focus on two particularly robust sort of frames and aspects of the sort of movement generated knowledge production around this. And one is the 13 guiding principles which have come up a bit in our conversation so far. But if you were to read the introduction to the special issue, or even Google the 13 guiding principles, you would find, perhaps surprisingly, a robust sort of vision for sort of the kind of principles that offer a very clear articulation of what Black freedom is about, right? And not just what BLM stands against. And so, some of these include things like restorative justice, empathy, loving engagement. These are three guiding principles that are precisely thinking about alternative to punitive and carceral forms of justice, right? Diversity, globalism, which I mentioned before, these are all about thinking about connections across communities. In addition to that, the movement is always thinking about centering the people who are at the margins, even within an already marginalized set of communities. So, there are specific guiding principles related to Black women, being queer affirming, being trans affirming, and also the idea that there’s collective value, we all have value. And then there are a number of guiding principles that are about the kinds of sociality and ways of being in community that have been eroded by anti-Blackness, specifically, the idea of the Black family, right? And not the sort of nuclear Western family structure but the extended family and also the idea of sort of Black villages. And then one of my favorites is the idea of unapologetic Blackness. We have nothing to apologize about when it comes to affirming Black people and affirming Blackness. And so, I think those guiding principles offer those kinds of generative ideas about what would the world look like, what would be the values of a world that nurtures and affirms Black people? And then the other thing I’ll just sort of mentioned briefly is, if you were to look at the M4BL website, there is something called the vision for Black lives, which is an incredible policy platform that offers an incredibly well thought out and deeply struggled around proposal for the kind of policy initiatives around economics, around schooling, around prisons, around reparations, that would ultimately create a world that supports Black people, and that ultimately undoes many of the sort of policy formations that sustain the kinds of exploitation and oppression that are also bound up in the experiences of state violence that Black people experience. And so those are two incredibly rich sites to understand and to be guided by. Both in just how we experience and navigate the world, but also ultimately, how we vision educational experiences and systems that are life affirming for all people.
Will Brehm 33:16
When you really focus in on Black Lives Matter which your special issue has done so nicely, you realize how rich it is, right? I mean, there’s so many interesting theoretical engagements, so much interesting sort of social movement issues, sort of transnationally but also locally, it’s both looking at how violence operates but also, as you just said, about how it sort of creates a possible future world, a future ontology and sort of opens up these spaces of possibility that are just really quite exciting. So, I guess the special issue is in the Journal of Comparative Education Review. So, how does all of this richness connect to the field of comparative education, if at all?
Sharon Walker 33:58
I think it’s interesting. I think if you think about the kind of field in the sense of what has been written or what has been researched, there is evidence and examples in the past of writing, which have probably been in the post-colonial tradition, the Pan African tradition, or people within the field, such as one of our co-editors, Crain Soudien, who’s been raising these things, making these things come to the fore. One of the things that really struck me about the conference – I had just gone there in February – was how much this special issue even on the agenda as you flick down, how it stood out from many of the other conversations that were being had. I have a sense that CIES has a long way to go in terms of how it redirects, refocuses its thoughts, its thinking, how it even considers issues such as state violence, racial capitalism, we didn’t cover in depth here, but you’ve covered on a previous podcast. So, I think many of these ways of thinking, which I think our special issue presents – and also this aspect of abolitionist futures, and the kind of analytical tools or frameworks that can be used to explore that through Black Lives Matter and their work but also through other traditions – I think it opens up the possibility for the sector to think differently. To think differently in its research, the questions it asks. I think even an acknowledgement of the significance of race and racism, and in this case, specifically anti-Blackness as an analytical lens, in writing, in work, in thinking, even when you think about things -there must be a plethora of papers writing about neoliberalism in education, the marketization of education. But I think within our special issue, for example, I’m just trying to think of the two papers in particular that have looked -we’ve got a paper that looks at shareholder schools, I think it’s Amelia Herbert who looks at that, and then we’ve got Tyler Hook, for example, looks at schooling as plantation. Bringing another way of asking questions about those things that have been repeated, and repeated and repeated. And yet nobody, by some, I think I’m Charles W. Mills would call it a kind of white ignorance had neglected to even draw attention to the fact that our world is racialized. And this must have an impact in CIES, in the world of education on an international, local, national level. So, for me, personally, I think the field has a long way to go.
Krystal Strong 36:05
I would tend to agree that there is a long way to go. And I think part of the space that we have been hoping to expand with this conversation in the special issue is not only sort of drawing attention, as Sharon just mentioned, to what a particular focus and analysis around anti-Blackness. We can’t, of course, deny the ways that people have been attempting to grapple with and advance a conversation about race, racism, colonialism, imperialism within the field of CIE. However, how are we thinking about the specific intersection of anti-Blackness within that, right? How are we thinking specifically about what is distinct about Black people and Black people’s experiences in relationship to these structures? And in addition to that, I think there are a couple of other dimensions to what a focus on a movement and a formation like BLM offers us. One is what we were just talking about, right? We can talk about the structures, the structural oppression but if we’re not also looking at the generative aspects, the sort of future horizons and being guided by those, we might be missing out on some of the possibilities for transformation that we can be guided by. But in addition to that, I think another thing that we should challenge ourselves around is how we’re intellectually engaging movements, right? How we are being guided by the knowledge that is always produced within movements. And I think part of what we’ve tried to take very seriously is the fact that -fine, this is a political struggle. But also, there are things that we as scholars must learn from the sort of intellectual contributions, the astute analysis that is happening within the movement and be guided by that. And so, I think part of the hope is that in addition to a deeper engagement and analysis with the specific sort of problem that BLM names, that we also think about how we as scholars are engaging with movements, and how we are guided by the demands and visions that emanate from within those struggles.
Will Brehm 38:27
Well, Sharon Walker and Krystal Strong, thank you so much for joining FreshEd. Congratulations on your new special issue.
Krystal Strong 38:34
Thank you so much for having us.
Sharon Walker 38:36
Thank you. Thank you for having us.
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Related Author Publications/Projects
Black Lives Matter and global struggles for racial justice in education
Learning from the movement of Black lives: Racial justice for comparative and international education
Locus of struggle: The African campus and contemporary protest forms
School leaders’ professional development in the context of Black Lives Matter
Education for Black liberation: Freire and past/present pan-Africanist experiments
Do African lives matter to Black Lives Matter? Youth uprisings and the borders of solidarity
Timeline of 2020 End SARS protests
Ferguson uprising post Mike Brown
Baltimore uprising post-Freddy Grey
13 Guiding Principles of Black Lives Matter at School
Towards a reading of Black Lives Matter in Europe
What institutions need to know about the BLM Global Network
BBC Teach: Black lives and Black history
Black lives matter at school: An uprising for educational justice – Book
Teaching for Black Lives – Book
#FeesMustFall and the decolonized university in South Africa
Mapping Police Violence project
Constellations: Capitalism, antiblackness, Afro-pessimism, and Black optimism
Afrofuturism: The world of Black sci-fi and fantasy culture – Womack
In the Black Fantastic Exhibition
Robin Kelley – Freedom dreams: The Black radical imagination
Abolitionist organizing and transforming justice – Mariame Kaba
Shareholder schools: Racial capitalism, policy borrowing and marketized education reform
White ignorance and hermeneutic – Charles W. Mills
A visual history of Black Palestinian solidarity
FromFerguson2Gaza: Spatialities of protest in Black-Palestinian solidarity movements
Abolitionist teaching and the pursuit of educational freedom
A critical analysis of the Sewell Report
#FeesMustFall and youth mobilisation in South Africa
Urban fallism: Monuments, iconoclasm and activism
Fatal couplings of power and difference: Notes on racism and geography
Abolishing geography: Essays towards liberation – Ruth Gilmore Wilson
The social life of social death: On afro-pessimism and black optimism
Black joy: Stories of resistance, resilience, and restoration
The long emancipation: Moving toward Black Freedom
Black history, Black freedom, Black love
Transnational anti-Black racism and new (and old) directions for critical race theory in educational research
Global Black Lives Matter: Representations of resistance, memory and politics
The global impact of the Black Lives Matter movement
Black Lives Matter at five: Limits and possibilities
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