What Does It Mean To Be “About That Life” In Social Justice Work?

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Our work is not for views and clicks.

Our work is clearly outlined right here.

Our work is not simply about adopting social justice language as a veneer for people or organizations looking to look like they’re “with it.” We’re actually about that life. The words “about that life” are akin to “stay woke” in that they imply a certain genuineness and integrity in their daily operations, not simply when the right audiences are around. For example, I expect that white people who speak to me about dealing with racism also have that conversation with their families and friends, spaces where social justice ideas come into conflict with tradition and inheritance. I also expect my colleagues of color who use the #educolor hashtag to directly address systemic racism within the institutions they work in, whether it’s within school or out of school.

This work doesn’t need mascots.

Rafranz Davis’ latest post on her blog reminds us that authenticity for organizations like EdSurge means applying a critical lens to educational technology. It’s not enough to hire one or two people of color and still operate as the mouthpiece for the ed-tech industry. It has to include open discussions about the ways in which ed-tech is implemented in schools with children of color. It has to include stories of ed-techers of color who’ve had to strip any talk of racial overtones to the comfort of start-ups and larger corporations alike. It has to consider the ways that ed-tech conferences are spaces of inequity, not just in ticket prices but also in attendees who go to every single one just to say they’ve gone.

Who gets to go so often? And why are they so highly favored? What does a person who’s not a heterosexual, ostensibly-Christian, white, able-bodied man have to do to find equity in spaces EdSurge favors in their operations?

But that’s not work I have to undertake. I still teach full time. I can’t do both my work and EdSurge’s work – or any other individual / non-profit / institution / corporation’s work – for them. That’s reflection. That takes more than 24 hours. Ask the questions. Have the conversations. Then, go do.

There is no deadline to this work either. We’re all on this journey until we’ve found liberation from the notion that simply quoting a person of color substantiates change.

photo c/o

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