“You have to get over the fear of facing the worst in yourself. You should instead fear unexamined racism. Fear the thought that right now, you could be contributing to the oppression of others and you don’t know it. But do not fear those who bring that oppression to light. Do not fear the opportunity to do better.”
― Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race
Now is the time for us to move beyond contrived statements and to assert action to solidify our collective identity. Now is the time for us to seek the opportunity to learn and not be silent. We therefore call on every stakeholder in international education to committing to action and making our community more socially just. What does the international education community need to do now?
We commit to:
-acknowledge that Black Lives Matter and the racialized experiences, though not a monolith, of people of African descent, regardless of country of origin are shared and felt.
-speak up now about racism and all forms of discrimination in international education as well as how these experiences are perpetuated in international spaces.
-tackle the eradication of racism at all levels including but not limited to (boards, recruitment, accreditation, graduate programs, schools, parents) become aware of our racial and cultural blind-spots by reading about, listening to, collaborating with and implementing sustainable anti-racist practices by championing the voices and contributions of racially and ethnically diverse educators. Focus on anti-racism work.
-have school and organization plans focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion that is co-created with our community. Commit to partnering with community members that are closest to the problem as they are usually closest to the solution.
-challenge Whiteness, and even White Supremacy, in all its subtle and overt forms. For white educators, we acknowledge benefiting from privilege and structures of oppression against people of color, and we stand now to become part of the solution despite and in spite of current racialized incidents. We commit to become a part of the solution even when political and racial unrest are not at the forefront of the news cycle.
-actively ally with, amplify, and mentor educators of color who come from all parts of the globe. Aspire to be co-conspirators.
-educate our students and parents about the value of racial and ethnic diversity through our conversations, curriculum, and school-community workshops.
-support those international education organizations committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Finally, we ask what do you want to see? What topics do you want to discuss? Who do you want to hear from? What do you want to learn more about? We invite you to participate in our Free Virtual Conference focused on representation, social justice, and equity studies in international education during 14-15 November 2020? To keep the conversation going please add your thoughts, ideas, and questions here: https://padlet.com/kdsl2007/ga6oin5r650qelw2
Dr. Ashley Hazelwood, AIELOC Fellow
Kevin Simpson, AIELOC Founder