Empowerment Starts Here

This site is dedicated to the professional and academic work of Dr. Angela Dye.

The Case of Being Black at School (Ep42)

Empowerment Starts Here with Kelly Wickham Hurst (click here to listen).

Scroll down to access links and other resources mentioned in Episode 42- “The Case of Being Black at School.”

Ep42-Kelly Wickham Hurst

Gloria Ladson Billings argues that culturally relevant teaching is simply good teaching.  However, if this is true, why don’t we simply call it good teaching.  Why must we call it culturally relevant?   It is my argument that when serving students in the margins, racially and socioeconomically speaking, educators become distracted if not blinded by biases, stereotypes and other psychological barriers they secretly (and even blatantly) harbor.  Good teaching then becomes parked in the spirit of addressing these other issues, artificial as they might be, forcing us to name a pedagogy that keeps our students human, whole and dignified!!

This is the value of Kelly’s work.  She brilliantly calls out the ways in which schools serving black students sacrifice the principles of effective instruction in exchange for political priorities that have very little to do with the advancement of black children, their families and the communities that house them.

In this episode, Kelly talks about being black at school as a psychosocial phenomenon impacting black students and families, black educators, and black community stakeholders.   She also talks about the nonprofit and for-profit organization that fuels her work and the dynamic challenges of monetizing social justice work and providing services to schools for a fee.

In the close out of the episode, I talk about my connection to a number of nuggets located in the call:  about the power of rules and rule construction; about student agency and voice; and about the political act of good teaching.   I also talk about my favorite part of the conversation with Kelly where she talks about schooling from the perspective of a black student.  The story she provides about how a young man conceptualized how he was treated in class in contrast to his white counterparts is absolutely amazing.  This part (as with the entire call) must be heard!!

I am deeply inspired by Kelly’s work. She is smart, compassionate, warm, and inviting!  I am so glad that I got up the courage to contact her as she offered so many gifts to me as a practitioner that serves black students and as a black female innovator in the world trying to truly think and act outside of the box!!

Are you struggling with power dynamics at your job, school or home?  Know that a life coach can help you problem solve!!  Please contact me if you want to learn more.

Key Points Discussed:

  • A social change mission that requires a nonprofit and for-profit infrastructure
  • Monetization of social justice work and selling one’s expertise
  • Clients and charitable parts of the organization (parents versus teachers)
  • Getting in trouble for doing social justice work
  • Wanting justice requires a willingness/readiness to pay for it
  • The nonprofit industrial profit and charity
  • Black female leadership in contrast to white male leadership
  • Leaving a system after realizing you cannot change it from the inside
  • Owning property and being of good moral character
  • The freedom to be angry and indignant in public
  • The duality of not having freedom and the right to pursue it
  • Naturalization Act 1790 and immigration issues of 2018
  • Trying to get free at the intersections of oppression
  • Continuing the work of our ancestors as an obligation
  • Not having freedom yet having responsibility
  • Questioning who makes, interprets, and change the rules
  • Racial literacy and other literacies for disruption
  • Respectability politics as relating to disruption
  • Thinking about state and federal level expectations in contrast to district and school policies
  • Restorative justice and Senate Bill 100
  • Perception of child care as related to black parents
  • Resistance work fatigue
  • Leadership and followership (white leaders in contrast to leaders of color)
  • Labor and the work of teaching white allies
  • Black student agency
  • Student relationship as a concept that is not new to educators who are in the margins
  • Student voice and owning their narrative
  • Being bi-cultural and code switching
  • Hierarchy of power versus the overlapping of power
  • The glass ceiling/limits of black women with braids
  • Being black at school is different from being black at home
  • The invisible nature of white supremacy and the power it holds

Resources and Links Mentioned in this Episode:

But That’s Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Teaching” Article by Gloria Ladson-Billings

Being Black at School (Kelly Wickham Hurst’s organization)

The Empowerment Framework

Student Power as Student Resistance

Other ESHpodcast Episodes Mentioned

  • Ep01- The Case of Being Black, Female and Human (with the informant Angela Walker)
  • Ep27-The Case of the Black Female Educator (with the informant Nyia Dykes)
  • Ep40- The Case of Rejecting the Middle (with the informant Ben Doxtdator)
  • Ep43- The Case of the Awkward White Feminist (with the informant Jennifer Binis)
  • Ep45- The Case of White Male Privilege and Identity (with the informants Chris Thinnes from Ep03; Peter Anderson from Ep09; Dr. Paul Thomas from Ep10; and Justin Schleider from Ep24)
  • Ep46-The Case of Role Reversal (with the informant Julie Torres)

Terms and Concepts Mentioned

Kelly Wickham Hurst; culturally relevant teaching; Gloria Ladson Billings; black students; teaching and learning; nonprofit industrial complex; student power; student agency


Please feel free to let me if you catch  any mistakes.  Thanks!!

The Full Link for the Episode…


Please visit our Episodes at a Glance page to get a full episode list for Seasons 1, 2 and 3.


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This entry was posted on October 23, 2018 by in Uncategorized.
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