As a new father, I’ve memorized the theme songs to every Disney Channel show from Little Einsteins to Doc McStuffins. Personally, I’m a fan of Handy Manny and Octonauts, but only because my son smiles so hard at “Creature report! Creature report!” Frankly, I can’t hate on any of the aforementioned shows because I watch them pseudo-religiously.
Even The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has its redeeming qualities. With characters that haven’t changed in decades, the MMCH’s cast has a favorite character for just about everything, and the show’s prompts don’t ask us to think for longer for a few seconds about solutions to the problems posed by their journey in the jungle.
Lot like the education thought leaders I still see the blogosphere.
I mean, after the last time I went after such leaders (and you thought it applied to you), you did all the right things. You highlighted educators of color, went to their schools, and took pictures with as many multicultural kids as possible to prove your worth. You might have favorited my post secretly in one of your social networks, and then whispered to a friend who’s better at these things than you, “So what’s that Jose Vilson guy talking about?” You might have even taken up an issue that gives you an edge like excessive testing and said, “I’m done.”
No, you’re actually not.
Because, like the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, people think that by sticking to the same cast of characters in their circles, they can sanitize their existences from the harsh realities of the -isms. As if discussing educators’ wages isn’t an effect of sexist attitudes towards women. As if furloughing cohorts of teachers in urban and rural school districts doesn’t hurt the already tenuous numbers of Black and Latino educators in classrooms. As if property taxes don’t already skew monies away from our poorest children.
To make matters worse, some education thought leaders may use the words “poverty” and “race” from time to time (because we are post-racial), but their inner circles never ever change. Their comfort zones already barred, guarded, and gates, they rely on the same tools, songs, and dances to make sure they don’t “lose their way.” Even when they do something outside of their own boxes, it’s done in parody, knowing that they’ll jump right back into the format of their 30-minute episodes the minute the gig is up. The episodes start and end with a ritual that assures that no one can have fun in that house.
Only through a TV. Observing through a glass.
That seems to work very well for Mickey’s gang, as well it should. Millions follow it. But we can’t change anything if we operate under the same structures others do. A mousketool, dohickey, or whatchamacallit won’t do it. Coming on the defensive about how many tweeters of color you know before realizing you only know three won’t count (though it cracks me up every time). Conversely, I can’t be the only one to bring it up when it’s happening.
But I still do. Hot dog.
Jose, who speaks to it because it’s necessary.