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For My Fellow Male Educators of Color

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

My fellow men of color in the education sphere, Recently, there’s been lots of conversation around training and retaining more men of color to become K-12 teachers. Because there’s only 3% of us in the profession currently, seldom do I speak up and out against, or provide caveat to, elevating that number in the least. My experience is limited in that I haven’t met the 90,000 of us who stand …

Martin Luther King's Hands

How Radical Is Your Martin Luther King Jr.?

Jose Vilson Jose 2 Comments

Back when I matriculated at Syracuse University, the Schine Student Center had a computer lab with a large whiteboard in the back of the basement used by student organizations, but the Black and Latino orgs would rapidly occupy that space. I’ll attribute it to feeling like we had few spaces where we could, at least, develop our publications and flyers while convening with other like-minded folks of color. In any …

AngelaDavis

Angela Davis and The Failures of Leadership

Jose Vilson Jose 18 Comments

Angela Davis, legendary abolitionist / prison industrial activist / Black Panther icon recently gave an interview that made me snap my fingers a few times. An excerpt: If structural racism and state violence against African-Americans, aided and abetted by global capitalism, are as rampant as Davis says, isn’t she disappointed in the failure of the US’s first African-American president to speak out when a case comes up that seems to …

aiweiweibackpacks

The Other Half of Teachers

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 5 Comments

After the bell sounded today, as with every day, I like to sit at my desk for 10-20 minutes to decompress. I exhale a few times, staring at the scuffed white board filled with numbers and figures hastily put together from students’ responses. I don’t capture dialogue well, but all the math is there, and I most certainly planned for the academics, so I’m satisfied with that piece. I could …

A Clip of Molly Crabapple's "This Is Not A Test"

The 10 Best Posts on TheJoseVilson, 2014 Edition

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

What an epic year! Remember when Audrey Watters and I facilitated a one-of-a-kind conversation at EduCon with teachers, edu-techers, parents, and an assortment of individuals who wanted to know why we were mad? Remember when I finished writing a book only to find out that I may or may not be allowed to release it, prompting my publisher and my union to sift through pages of conflict of interest law, …

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We Can Never Turn Our Backs

Jose Vilson Jose 9 Comments

I hadn’t seen it live, but the pictures popped up on my social media screens. One set of photos has officers’ caps pointed directly at the procession. The other set of photos has the officers’ caps pointed in the opposite direction of a big screen with NYC Mayor Bill deBlasio in the background. For the police officers and the insulated mass of folks who agree with them, they must believe …

Paul McCartney by Irina March

Live and Let Die

Jose Vilson Jose 8 Comments

On Saturday morning, I was flipping channels, trying to take my mind off last week when I saw the Shrek series come on. I’d already watched them, but, for some reason, I couldn’t stop watching the larger gingerbread man try to beat back a cauldron of warm milk while pulling down a castle drawbridge. By Shrek 3, we see the king, revealed as a frog in Shrek 2, on his …

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The Race Discourse (So Hopefully You Won’t Have To Go Through That)

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

I wanted to write this piece as a bit of a year in review, but, in light of so many recent events, I prefer to let these cats out of their collective bag now. It seems, in the last few years, I’ve developed a reputation for having hard discussions with folk who have lost touch with other people’s humanity. Just last week, someone accosted Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis …

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Teacher Barely Notices Mannequins In A Classroom Prank

Jose Vilson Jose 5 Comments

In today’s news, a prank goes horribly wrong when a group of students replaced themselves with mannequins only to notice the teacher kept teaching. “It was supposed to be a childish prank, but, when we looked through the classroom door, she just kept teaching like we were there,” said Juan Gomez, a student in her class. The school, under the city’s official department website, is classified as 90% free or …

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Don’t Choke Our Kids

Jose Vilson Jose 5 Comments

It was the kids who told me that Daniel Pantaleo, Eric Garner’s choker, wasn’t indicted. Outside at around 2:40pm, the kids approached me from the grocery store, coming back into the school, and said, “Mr. Vilson, they’re getting away with it.” Unlike my generation, there’s no delusions of racism being isolated to the South, no nuanced understanding of the role police undertaker, and no after-school specials telling us it’s going …