Ending White Silence in Twitter Chats

Let’s Challenge White Silence in Twitter Chats

White Silence is almost deafening in twitter chats. Gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, belief systems, dis/ability and other aspects of difference are rarely afforded space on a regular basis, as opposed to one-off chats. Here’s some tips to challenge that silence.

Insightful exceptions on this front include: #Educolor, #VLAStyle, #IncludEDau, #SoJustEdu – and….. I’d be exceedingly happy to add to this Diversity List.

So if you care about diversity and social justice in education, how might you challenge the White Silence. Here’s some tips & insights.

Listen to My Chat about Ending White Silence with Greg Michie

Tips for Twitter Chat – Moderators 

  • No matter your topic, link at least one question (each week) to social justice and diversity. Ask yourself:
    • how does this topic link to gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality…or other aspects of difference?
    • how are issues of access (pertaining to $money, or where you live, for example) relevant here?
  • One off topics dedicated to social justice or difference are welcome BUT resuming White, heterosexual, middle class, moneyed transmission the following week is problematic. 
    • For sure, have one-off chats BUT diversity as well as the issues pertaining to such are happening everyday – so reflect this in your twitter chat every week. 
  • Remember too – that we’re not just a gender, a race or an ethnicity, a sexuality, or…. – there’s other aspects that make us who we are.
    • Consider how different aspects of identity intersect;
    •  In a technology related chat for example, there could be issues pertaining to gender and age, as well as race and ethnicity, dis/ability, and socio-economic status. 
  • When inviting Social Justice or Diversity-focused educators to host your chat, consider how they might offer suggestions in relation to your up-coming topics – on a week by week basis.
    • Expand the possibilities beyond one-off hosting gigs.

Tips for Twitter Chat – Participants

  • Have the following words prominently displayed in front of you as you tweet – gender, race, ethnicity, dis/ability, age, socio-economic status, sexuality, belief systems….(expand as you see fit)
    • As the twitter questions come up, consider how they link to any of these aspects of identity (it’ll likely be more than one)
    • Consider how the question links to issues of access, equity, and discrimination
  • Speak up and end the silence:
    • If no-one else is making connections to diversity – make the links yourself.
    • Share links to relevant posts or podcasts in the twitter chat. This approach is incredibly helpful and useful for educators looking for ‘where to start’.
      • You can be reasonably sure that someone else will greet your tweet with a loud ‘at last!!!’ and a shriek of joy. 
      • Plus once you speak up, you’ll find that others will want to chat with you. And you’ll  be encouraging them to speak up as well.
  • Be on the look-out for other social-justice educators inside and outside twitter chats.
    • Connect with them – even in a private message;
    • Amplify their voice and message – if you’re feeling more courageous: 
      • It can often be challenging to get our message out as social-justice educators – amidst the sparkly, shiny, all awesome rhetoric in the twitter-sphere;
      • So please support diversity advocates wherever you find them.
      • Play your part – #EndWhiteSilence. 

Moderators and Participants

Go hang-out in the twitter chats where diversity and social-justice are everyday discussion points:

  • Be respectful: Sit back, learn the lay of the land: See how issues are raised and linked to diversity;
  • Be okay with not knowing all the language nor having the experience base to speak about the issues being discussed;
  • Be prepared to be tentative in your comments;
  • Be open to feedback or suggestions from other participants;
  • Be prepared to acknowledge any mis-steps. Show that you’re willing to learn. 

End the White Silence >> Some Inspiration for your Journey

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have connected with educators who live Social Justice in their teaching.

Click on the links below to hear tips and insights from my Pushing The Edge Podcast chats with Bill Ivey, Rusul Alrubail, Christina Torres, Surin McGrory, Silvia Gonzalez, Greg Michie and Nakisha Hobbs.

You’ll definitely be glad that you did.

Another Goodie

And remember – I’m here to offer support and advice where I can. Please feel free to contact me via @GregBCurran on Twitter.

Ending White Silence in Education Promo