On February 18th of 2020, my son Ezel was born. There’s no telling what his skin tone may end up being, but although he has mixed ethnic heritage, he will definitely be seen, and treated, as a Black boy, and a Black man, by his country, his city, his schools.
With all of the racist, anti-Black violence that we’ve seen recently (and though I’m writing this in May of 2020, you and I both know this is an evergreen statement), and the work I do researching language, race, and whiteness, I realize that rather than a mere academic pursuit, my research that aims to help more white teachers pursue antiracism and work against whiteness is actually a moral imperative for the physical and psychological safety of my son.
I spent most of my life in Predominantly White Institutions, and have continued to be taught almost exclusively by white educators, some of whom were horrific, and a handful of whom showed me that it is possible for white individuals to work against white supremacy. I watch my very polite white friends having a variety of reactions to the country they’ve suddenly realized they live in (welcome!), and plenty have reached out to me with questions and concerns, which I suppose is better than not doing so.
Ultimately, though, it’s clear that, unlike most racialized folks who are simply being burdened with white feelings, I actually have chosen to study whiteness as a scholar, and I am well-situated to effectively teach interested adults about whiteness, anti-blackness, racism, and making gradual, lasting progress towards the dismantling of white supremacy both in the world and, just as importantly, inside of themselves.
I have chosen to do this work for my son’s sake. I hope you will choose to work with me to learn how you can play a part in dismantling white supremacy and destroying anti-Blackness.
This is not a diversity training. It’s a project designed to help people decide how best to dismantle white supremacy in their context through collective action.
This work will not be easy, but it can be done if you are willing to put in the work with me.
There are two options being offered currently.
Decoding and Decentering Whiteness
This course consists of six hour-long synchronous online sessions. It begins with an introductory lesson, followed by five guided, intensive discussions, with reading and writing assignments in between sessions. The course culminates with participants creating a concrete plan for collective action to decenter whiteness in their lives and in their institutions, and includes the option for ongoing accountability for the successful execution of this action plan. The course is designed for small groups (2-6 people) and can meet for six consecutive weeks or with two weeks in between sessions. Individuals can also join and be matched with other participants to form a group.
Enhancing Organizational Policies
Most employee handbooks or other official documents have vague, toothless commitments to “diversity” or some such nebulous concept. These statements leave marginalized (and particularly racialized) workers vulnerable to microaggressions and other forms of mistreatment. I will help you and your organization improve the language of your official policies such that racism and other forms of oppression are much easier to stamp out among all levels of staff, including management.
Customized Consulting on Whiteness, Racism, and/or Language Teaching
Talk to me. We’ll figure out how I can help you and your institution.
Please contact me at Justin.Gerald22@myhunter.cuny.edu for inquiries, rates, and scheduling, or to be added to The Ezel Project Newsletter mailing list for updates.