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  1. CHAPTER 1 Fair warning. This is not a government saboteur’s handbook, an anti-American manifesto, or the lament of an aging playground target seeking to regain a lifetime of pilfered lunch money. This book is intended to offer some insight as to how we have ended up with the bullies we call leaders, why it is typically American to bully the (O)ther person—particularly a person of difference—and how our willingness to embrace the proposed “new model” contained herein, is literally a matter of life and death. Exaggeration? No. The Megan Meier Foundation, an online resource for “targets,” reports that suicides related to cyber-bullying has increased astronomically in the last few years. • Peer victimization in children and adolescents is associated with higher rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts (JAMA Pediatrics, 2014). • Cyberbullying was strongly related suicidal ideation in comparison with traditional bullying (JAMA Pediatrics, 2014). • 22% of frequent perpetrators only, 29% of frequent victims only, and 38% of frequent bully-victims reported suicidal thinking or a suicide attempt during the past year. Several environmental risk factors and risk behaviors were associated with suicidal thinking and behavior among youth involved in bullying (Borowsky, Taliaferro, & McMorris, 2013). • There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors, but this relationship is often mediated by other factors, including depression and delinquency (Hertz, Donato, & Wright, 2013). • Youth victimized by their peers were 2.4 times more likely to report suicidal ideation and 3.3 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than youth who reported not being bullied (Espelage & Holt, 2013). • Students who are both bullied and engage in bullying behavior are the highest risk group for adverse outcomes (Espelage & Holt, 2013). Schoolyard and cyber-bullying are a microcosm of who we are as a society. Why should our children not step on the bodies of their weaker peers simply to acquire what they believe to be reserved for their particular exceptionalism, when America has been doing this for more than 200 years? Wasn’t the genocide of our native people here in North America—glibly referred to as “colonization”—nothing more than a series of intimidations, brutality, and murders—and usually in that order? Today, the enemy is clearer, closer, and more diabolic. Prior to the ill-celebrated, myth-ridden landing at Plymouth Rock, British colonists had already impacted a myriad of continents, peoples, and cultures. Colonialism, while not limited to the exploits of Great Britain, was the seed that germinated the toxic fruit, now fully ripe as today’s America’s innercolonization and oppression. An excellent example of continuing American innercolonization and oppression, could be illustrated with a look at the similarities between the tradition of fox hunting in early Great Britain, and, say, the National Football League (NFL) in the United States. Fox hunting required meat (feed for the dogs), grain (feed for the horses), leather, silver, brass, well-paid veterinarians, for healthy horses and dogs, and all the necessary staff to make expensive meals and clothing for the participants. This was a regular occurrence for the British elite while many of England’s poor starved on the farms, in the small hamlets, and on the streets of London. Is it not suspect that the cities that house the biggest teams in the NFL freely extol their exorbitant salaries, shrine-like stadiums, ridiculous ticket prices, bloated food service contracts, ubiquitous merchandising, and stupendous advertising dollars, fully ignore the growing poverty just outside their doors? Yes. Of course our children are indifferent to suffering and the plight of The Other. Year after year, there is yet another Indy 500, a Super Bowl, a World Series, March Madness, and an NBA Championship while 16 million children live in poverty. The dissolution of the peace movement and the lies of Viet Nam killed the concept of hope, social justice, and the American Dream for Baby Boomers. Veterans of two World Wars watched as nationalism, freedom, and the concept of democracy would be bastardized into capitalistic, conspicuous waste, a growing sense of entitlement, and rampant xenophobia. In one way or another, America’s continuing homage to our “forefathers” has been to colonize, pollute, and drain the resources of other societies who—up until recently—bought in to our mutating, unsustainable, amphetamine-induced form of capitalism. Now that the well is dry, and the “success,” and “achievement,” so admired by the world throughout the 1950s and‘60s, rings empty across the globe. So, like the last two rats in a barrel, we have turned inward and targeted our own children with the imperialist, arbitrary power to commodify and denigrate them as human beings. Rather than act as a beacon of a pluralist democracy, American leaders chose to double down on the very reasons we were cast out of England. We have always painted a biased version of “pilgrims seeking religious freedom” for early learners, and systematically led them to believe that imperialism was a crime other nations committed when America wasn’t looking. To this day, some states continue to rewrite textbooks with revisionist historical errors to perpetuate an indoctrination of lies in American Schools. Just a decade ago, for example, Margaret Spelling, director of education for the state of Texas, created the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS). When her governor, George W. Bush went to Washington D.C., she renamed this gap-widening piece of state legislation, “No Child Left Behind,” and sold it to a nation, mistakenly hungry for higher standardized test scores. The results were catastrophic with regard to remediation, drop out rates, and teen pregnancies. While this clearly violated the promise of a “free and quality” public American education, it served its purpose in creating a state full of privatized schools, and for-profit prisons full of prisoners. Other states lead the way, or are not far behind. How to Kill and American Bully then, is a guidebook or blueprint for school administrators, superintendents, and instructors who wish to reverse the ill affects caused by years of commodifying the children in American public and private schools. Any Pre-K-12 learning environment, in fact, can be an important part of reclaiming the lives of oppressed students across the country. Moreover, the parameters set fourth by the herein proposed, Intracolony Project—designed for colleges, universities, and community colleges—offers a roadmap to help establish an interdisciplinary baseline for new studies in Physiology, Psychology, Early Childhood Development, Education, Communications, Library and Information Studies, Dietary, Economy, History, Sociology, Law, and more, if applied with veracity. However, How to Kill and American Bully is not school “reform.” Reforms have failed again and again, historically due to a lack of incentives for administrators and teachers. No. This book is about the out-and-out deconstruction of our current, outmoded, “pay-to-play,” exclusionary system, which is intentionally commodifying and dividing our kids… …and the reconstruction of a logical, foresighted, sustainable, and reasoned alternative. How? Now more than ever, we have the potential to reverse, pluralize, and globalize the way American children view the concept of “difference,” not just between each other, but between centripetal ideologies of parenting, gender, socioeconomic status, health, nationalism, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity. This baseline, in essence, would strip them of any exposure to the competitive, judgmental, and comparative outlook that pits them against one another in and out of their school environments. The intent is to improve and sustain our true history and the American promise, against the age-old conflicts, reinterpretations, and contradictions, which have previously usurped such intent, or been conveniently labeled unpatriotic. Pluralistic educational administration in our primary and secondary schools, and at the college-level Intracolony Project, will build new, evolving, inclusive traditions through value pluralism, across disciplines, and across cultures. …and it starts with one school—even just one class—at a time. A new colony of American family schools—an intracolony—not secluded from, but judiciously immersed in all the positive aspects of American society, will use a pluralistic baseline, from which to address our country’s most troubling social ill—ignorance. Any classroom of children—supported by parents, instructors, peers, and caregivers—can be systematically exposed to all the various internal cultures and subcultures, languages and dialects celebrated in and out the U.S. All instruction and interactions will include accurate historical perspective, openness to new experiences, and acceptance and celebration of a broad range of human difference. The Intracolony Learning Community (ILC), will train, support, and revitalize teacher and administrative career paths and certification. Their focus will be one of abundance, not scarcity; of contributive identity building, not comparative identity building; of inclusive family imagery, not exclusive imagery; of hope, change, and promise, not of doubt, suspicion, and fear; its collective eye firmly set on a sustainable American future. The ILC will support any school or any class that intentionally includes students all ethnicity, mobility, mental capacity, gender affiliation, and religions, to be unequivocally united and placed on equal footing with regard to all spiritual, philosophic, linguistic, artistic, and socioeconomic opportunities, unhindered by “traditional” gender identification, sexual orientation, moral bias, and arbitrary power structures. The only aspect of American culture that the ILC children will be intentionally sheltered from, are the images and dialogues designed to create and satisfy the status quo of consumers, criminals, or war casualties. This will not just be conducted for the first school year of the program, but for the rest of their lives. To successfully bring about this transformation, all schools requesting federal funds of any kind must meet and uphold the following central conditions: 1. All Students Pre-K and up will reverse this oppression by retraining and testing over a mandatory furlough period consisting of one full school year and one summer (approx. 15 months) before enrolling in a reconstructed school. 2. All ILC students will resume the post-furlough school year based solely on their test results, and not on their previous grade level, age, or affiliation. 3. During the furlough, all contracted public school teachers will be paid their regular salaries to retrain as pluralistic educators, at their schools, at their regular school schedule and hours, at their anticipated pay increase. Once the post-furlough school year has started, teachers will be awarded new contracts with a ten percent annual increase—for starters—and an increase in paid maternity/paternity leave, and full benefits for themselves and their chosen domestic partner. 4. All administrators and staff personnel down to the janitors will attend similar training and earn their increased salary, without the teaching component. All certificated teachers out of work—or any teacher interested in working for an ILC school, will be encouraged to take identical pluralistic educator certification courses, and scholarships will be made available to those who qualify. 5. A pre-chosen, culturally fluent group will serve on a Pluralistic Decision-Making Committee (PDMC) vigilantly spot checking and monitoring progress while restructuring transformation occurs, keeping the best interests of students, staff, and faculty in mind. The requirements for each PDMC will be outlined in the packets for each school district. 6. All testing materials will be created by a central, federal PDMC made up of a similar, non-sectarian, culturally fluent panel of educational, developmental, and pedagogical leaders and experts. 7. Any and all test-help sites or materials must be cleared, certified, and licensed by the central PDMC. Any attempt to falsify, corrupt, imbue, or distort the test results of any student will result in random re-testing and potential fines. 8. Any school choosing not to deconstruct and reconstruct under the aforementioned conditions will be ineligible for any federal funding, tax exemptions, grants, or bond initiatives at the local or state level. The ILC program is specifically designed to disempower imbedded, negative, comparative identities, and replace them with positive contributive identities among all Pre-K-12 students in a myriad of learning environments. The short-term benefits include, but are not limited to a reduction in academic anxiety, a re-emphasis on collaboration, contributions, and academic success (as opposed to competition, insulation, and athletic successes). The potential long-term benefits include, but are not limited to the creation of a society of scholars, innovators, and philanthropists rather than a nation of blind consumers, career criminals, and xenophobes. The following Definition of Terms section defines the important terms that will be used throughout How to Kill an American Bully to assist in answering some difficult questions. Comparative Identity The comparative identity stems from the work of Fr. Robert Spitzer Sj, former president of Gonzaga University, and founder of the Magis Institute of Faith and Reason, in Irvine, California, and the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is the second level of identity (or the second of “four levels of happiness”) found in his book, The Five Pillars of Spiritual Life. They are: 1) external-material, 2) ego-comparative, 3) contributive, and 4) transcendent. Like the term “pluralism” this simple, noble premise has been adapted by business models, much like Covey’s “Seven Habits,” to boost profit in the private sector—and achievement (often measured with standardized testing) in private schools—but the original intent, to create identities on the basis of service to a common good, regardless of achievement or profit, is how it is defined for the purposes of How to Kill an American Bully. Most, (comparative people) when they were children, made an unconscious choice to pursue comparative advantage and admiration as the major ground of their identity. As they got older, it became an almost exclusive ground of identity. By the time they reached their early twenties, they found themselves quite adept at playing the comparison game, though the ramifications of it kept haunting them. Eventually, for lack of any other identity, they decided it was worth the pain to themselves, colleagues, family, friends, and culture to put on a good front and continue the game in “earnest” (Spitzer, 2005, pps. 76, 77). It is the contention of this book that the interruption of this “game” will reverse or eliminate altogether the “ego-comparative” identities prevalent in the students of our current public education system. Contributive Identity The contributive identity also stems from the work of Fr. Robert Spitzer Sj, and is the third level of identity (or the third of “four levels of happiness”). It is both the transition from comparative to contributive, and the unblemished creation of contributive identities that will be explored in this book. The benefits of a contributive identity go far beyond a “list,” but… If we can simply list the various contributions we can make to family, friends, work, or community, and make these the ends of our achievement, competitiveness, respectability, and the like, we will notice our anxiety level drop and our relationships improve. Above all, we will notice a marked improvement in our capacity to achieve goals, for these goals will now be viewed as opportunities instead of problems (Spitzer, p. 81) Chapter 2 A “list” of contributions and opportunities will be the first step in developing student identities predicated on an open-minded willingness to celebrate and revere “difference” something that students—intentionally, up to this point—have been conditioned to fear, conditioned to criticize, and conditioned to oppress. Pluralism My mentor, Dr. Roberto Peña, Professor of Educational Leadership at Seattle University, in his book Community and Difference: Teaching Pluralism and Social Justice, extols the virtues of true Pluralism. His mentor, Colleen Capper, is the author of Educational Administration in a Pluralistic Society. For the purpose of this book, however, the most clear-cut definition is from England (1992). Pluralism can be defined in a number of ways. The definition which seems most encompassing is the following: a society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious and social groups maintain participation in and development of their traditions and special interests while cooperatively working toward the interdependence needed for a nation's unity (pg. 1). Freire’s work in Chile brought about a similar transformation. He contends that the theme of his seminal book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, originated from writings and ideas collected on little pieces of paper from a small notebook he carried around in a bag. That theme was born in me with the recollection of my own relation with the oppressed of Brazil and with the difference that I found in the cultural history of Chilean society. The more I became immersed in the world of the Chilean peasant, the more I listened to the peasants speak, the more the relation to the oppressor and oppressed, of oppressive consciousness and oppressed consciousness appeared before me…they constituted an object of curiosity for me. And there is this day that I came to believe that I had to write what came to me, even as an attempt to make a contribution to those who worked in this field (p. 90). Freire’s catharsis and his sentiments echo that of Torres, Apple, Bowles and Carnoy, especially as it relates to how oppression and marginalization directly impact our learning environments. Writing Back To best understand writing back, first, release All You Preconceived Notions About Power But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man. That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are slaughtered, the wild horses tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the Eagle? Gone. The end of living and the beginning of survival... – Chief Sealth in his 1854 speech in Seattle, translated from Salish to English Such “writing back” against an oppressor, though often ignored, has also garnered artistic, political, and literary critique. It has instigated change, or at the very least, raised awareness for the promise of change. American children are the new oppressed, and the new American commodity. They are controlled, leveraged, bought and sold by diabolical corporate interests, unfounded notions of nationalism, and the imbedded, criminal-justice-for-profit system. From birth, offspring in the U.S. are constantly bombarded with purposeful images, dialogues, and mores designed to create and fill the status quo of consumers, criminals, and casualties necessary to maintain our inhuman and unsustainable trajectory. How to Kill an American Bully will unveil, name, and expose the United States’ deliberate creation of comparative, competitive identities—rather than contributive, compassionate identities—as the intentional oppression of our children it is, and offer an alternative, positive, and more pluralistic form of indoctrination. Admittedly, comparative identities have probably existed since ancient man’s first heated reaction to exclusion—he was the last asked to sit close to the fire, the one given offal rather than meat, or the one used as bait during the hunt. To harbor a comparative identity is to exercise power, an “arbitrary morality” of one’s own construction, which falsely prioritizes needs and desires. Therefore, the powerless must be instructed, encouraged, and challenged to summon resources that inspire, provoke, and instigate movement toward a balancing of those priorities. Unmasked for its façade of privilege, power fails, the comparisons are rendered moot, and all competition becomes meaningless. All writing students at the late-primary, middle, and high school levels will be tasked, encouraged, directed, and instructed on how to write back against their current oppression in ways that celebrate and contribute to the differences prevalent in the U.S. and globally. Instructors will unilaterally hold a zero tolerance policy with regard to attitudes, vocalizations, textbooks, literature, embedded mores, political positions, and instruction that welcomes even the slightest domestic or international stereotypes, or distortions of history. In the spirit of a true “pluralistic society” (Capper 1993) the development of positive, global, contributive identities, and active social justice, was constantly measured against the negative, imperialistic and xenophobic impacts of the established imperialist comparative identities. Stories, oral histories, and narratives—especially those that chronicle the struggles involving individuals or groups of difference—often act both as catharsis for the author and as an educational transformation for those seeking a pertinent, related experience from which they may be inspired toward their own catharsis. “…[D]ialogues that empower are engaging, imaginative, playful. Engaging dialogues allow oral stories to come alive, and they become a tool of enlightenment and empowerment” (Torres, 1998, p. 9). If power, in the form of oppression due to difference, can be unmasked as an arbitrary morality, then an important antidote to such morality would be the cathartic voices of writers and leaders who engage in disclosive, experiential stories and narratives. To explore the cathartic writer’s voice and its relationship to power, I first examined the literature review found in The Cathartic Writer’s Voice and Self-Efficacy: an Exploration. This study was originally presented at the 2006 Seattle University Educational Leadership conference: Weaving Leaders Together for a Just and Humane World, and was then published as my doctoral dissertation in the spring of 2007. The original review investigates the distinguishing characteristics of the cathartic writer’s voice, my own Cathartic Writer's Voice Development (CWVD), and the presence of the cathartic writer’s voice among diverse authors. Next, I edited and augmented this review to include elements of post-colonialism theory, African literary theory, Nietzsche’s paradigm of transfiguration, and more, suggesting a potential relationship between the cathartic writer’s voice and power. Implications arise in the area of pluralism and educational leadership, in that, the more cathartic writing empowers the powerless, the more difficult it is for traditional majorities to ignore injustices, and the more equitable and multimodal leadership and education becomes. In my original study, I acted as a researcher/participant, asking myself and four other participants long interview questions to illustrate how they felt before, during, and after they wrote about traumatic or defining life experiences. I analyzed documents in which the participants disclosed these personal events in detail, and also interviewed recommended participants who had first-hand knowledge of the participant’s transformation, in order to triangulate the data. The findings indicate that there exists a heretofore unreported phenomenon in which writing about traumatic or defining life experiences awakens a unique writer’s voice, a voice that may have been repressed, ignored or even abused into silence. All of the participants from this study responded positively to direct questions about this phenomenon and expressed feelings of liberation, control and healing during the act of writing, and after publication. The participants’ descriptions of their own CWVD suggests that writing and sharing their stories not only helped them to process these experiences, but directly contributed to a catharsis, greater writing competency and a need to champion other similarly repressed people. The majority, in fact, insisted that their transformation was sustained only by the continued writing about, and continued dedication to, transforming the life experiences and trauma of others. In other words, their catharsis was only sustainable as long as they could continue to educate or transfer power onto others, who—like them—were powerless over the trauma or experiences directing their lives. Sometimes the powerless regain, or begin to regain power when they are successful in “Writing Back” against their oppressors. Some are fortunate enough to find a caretaker or a teacher who will support self-disclosure in a safe environment and help them to complete the catharsis through publishing a competent piece of writing designed to enlighten a darkened corner of abuse or trauma. For others, the catharsis is a lifelong struggle littered with small wins in which the actual transformation hangs like a carrot just out of reach. Often, all these transformations are intertwined with cultural customs, years of marginalization and deep, racial, ethnic, and gender-specific controls. The Cathartic Writer’s Voice The goal of the original collection of literature was not designed to take on the age-old “content vs. form” debate. The debate between “voice” and “style,” is not new, either. According to Yagoda (2004), it began with the Greeks 2,500 years ago “between style as personal expression, and style as a vehicle for content and a moral litmus test,” and that the same argument “seems to flare up every hundred years or so” (p. xxviii). Cicero divided classical rhetoric into five faculties: invention, arrangement or structure, style, memory, and delivery. He then divided style into three subcategories: “high or vigorous (‘magnificent, opulent, stately, and ornate’), low or plain (informal diction, conversational), and middle or tempered (not surprisingly, a blend of the two)” (p. 6). Style was only one tool of the orator; ethos or moral character was also a big part of early expression. It is imperative that the difference between the cathartic writer’s voice—expression wrought from defining life experiences, nurtured under a caretaker, then published as a method of healing, and literary voice—an individual’s writing style made up of recognizable sentence structures, themes and idiosyncrasies, be established. This is not to claim that the two are not related. In fact, it is my contention that the former is inextricably linked to the latter. Although Yagoda admits voice is the most popular metaphor for writing style, he also claims it is not the best. He offers “presentation” or “delivery,” as equally suggestive of style. Yet the metaphor remains, and writers in both camps and neither seem to want to budge. If we are to accept, as Yagoda (2004) contends, that “style matters” and is made up of two corollaries, our “fingerprints” which have nothing to do with our selves, and our “handwriting,” which not only identifies us but “reveals our essence,” then we would also have to accept his notion that... Style in the deepest sense is not a set of techniques, devices and habits of expression that just happen to be associated with a particular person, but a presentation or representation of something essential about him or her—something that we, as readers, want to know from that writer that cannot be disguised, no matter how much the writer may try (p. xvii) Yagoda goes on to point out that there are contradictions to this effect even in The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White, which is both a classic—if not somewhat abused—reference book of “dos and don’ts” for writers. Voice, according to M. M. Bakhtin (1981), exists in every utterance of the individual based on the tension between the specific and general interpretations dictated by the social environment of the speaker. “Every concrete utterance of a speaking subject serves as a point where centrifugal as well as centripetal forces are brought to bear” … and … “answers the requirements of its own language as an individualized embodiment of a speech act” (p. 272). This is how writers, and human kind for that matter, make sense of our world, by bouncing words and symbols off of what we already recognize in our experience; from the general to the specific and back. Once described as “perhaps the greatest twentieth-century theorist of literature,” Bakhtin approached literary concepts in such a wide spectrum of theories that his work is not easily classified. His early depictions of voice development, however, bring clarity, possibly offering the best of both worlds, technical and spiritual. We are taking language not as a system of abstract grammatical categories, but rather language conceived as ideologically saturated, language as a world view, even as concrete opinion, insuring a maximum of mutual understanding in all spheres of ideological life. Thus a unitary language gives expression to forces working toward concrete verbal ideological unification and centralization, which develop in vital connection with the processes of sociopolitical and cultural centralization (Leitch, 2001, p. 1198). Bakhtin’s “forces” coincides with the agency present in the writer and is fittingly combined with “ideology,” both working toward the concrete. This may be another way of unifying cultural and social experiences expressed through the cathartic writer’s voice. Bakhtin addresses why it is individual values, beliefs and forms of expression that are so important in one’s unique voice in a world of voices. He also downplays the mechanical side of language, making it secondary to expressing one’s true voice. What is important to us here is the intentional dimensions, that is, the denotative and expressive dimension of the ‘shared’ language’s stratification. It is in fact not the neutral linguistic components of language being stratified and differentiated, but rather a situation in which the intentional possibilities of language are being expropriated: these possibilities are realized in specific directions, filled with specific content, they are made concrete, particular, and are permeated with concrete value judgments; they are knit together with specific objects and with the belief systems of certain genres of expression and points of view peculiar to particular professions (p. 1212). He emphasizes that language is not just a sequential series of words stratified to make meaning, but that the author “realizes” them and sends them in a purposeful direction guided by the individual, which—when “knit” together with expression and content—create voice. Having found this “shared language” among the findings in my original study, the implications suggest that CWVD could positively impact any oppressed population. It is within every author to reject the walls that inhibit the cathartic writer’s voice. The key is having the practical tools, freedom, encouragement, and support necessary to do so. Although the tools, freedom and encouragement might come from an external environment, in order to solidify voice with an authentic perspective, some of the transformation has to come from within. Communities, students, teachers and administrators must all have a willingness for healing to occur and to arrive at a cultural critical perspective. Key to developing writers is the capability for them to go beyond their history, experience, and prejudices and put up a certain amount of what Fenwick (2000) calls “resistance” to both the unfavorable elements of their environment and to some of their instincts. “Writers in critical cultural pedagogy claim that when these mechanisms of cultural power are named, ways and means to resist them appear” (pp. 256, 257). Critical cultural perspectives embrace many ideas outside the dominant culture such as, gender issues, ideology and discourse analysis, post colonialism and subaltern studies, queer theory, race and identity, and techno culture theory. Resisting established cultural mechanisms frees writers from imbedded associations to those mechanisms, thereby allowing their individual voices to dominate the discourse. Critical cultural perspectives suggest that learning in a particular cultural space is shaped by the discourses and their semiotics (signs, codes, and texts) that are most visible and accorded most authority by different groups. With resistance, people become open to unexpected, unimagined possibilities for work, life, and development (p. 257). To develop one’s cathartic writer’s voice, then, breaking down the established signs, codes and texts is only the beginning. In discussing the groundbreaking work of Lévi-Strauss, Derrida encourages the use of our languages and mythologies to break away from the mechanisms. “He [Lévi-Strauss] uses the word bricolage—roughly speaking, ‘the ad hoc assemblage of miscellaneous materials and signifying structures’—to describe how mythologies operate and make sense of the world in a way quite remote from our own, more logical and regimented habits of thought” (Norris, 1987, p. 134) Expanding on theories of Lacan and Lévi-Strauss, Derrida urged a reconstruction of our discourse by fully realizing our partial and mostly borrowed knowledge. By embracing our “mytho-poetic” level, we can create some fluidity to our gained experiences. As resistance to the Platonic interest in ideal essences this position echoes the kind of oralist epistemology …that might keep specific, local selves…such as local students burdened with traumatic memory flexible and thus available to the power of language to resist the totalizing nomoi, to promote change, and to bring about healing” (Johnson, 2000, p. 106). This dichotomy is the essence in unveiling one’s cathartic writer’s voice, and employing such an accomplishment to other aspects of one’s life. It is an epistemological “sorting” of good, renamable experiences and those that impugn and hinder. Lee (1994) suggests that a writer’s authentic “voice” is always recognizable because it carries a ring of truth (114). The “voice” of a writer often shows up in the writing as mirroring his or her speech patterns. But it’s more than that. It’s the mirror of who we are, all the inflections and articulations of our true nature (115). When we are “in voice” we speak plainly, from the heart (117). The same thing takes place in our writing. Often the true voice emerges only after a false voice has had a long say and is silenced by exhaustion. And our true voice can contain many voices. It is not restricted to the speech patterns of our particular personality, because the true voice is that of the inner self (117). The false voice, then, is often the voice used by the marginalized until their true voice can be heard. Gardner (1994) in On Writers and Writing talks of defining life experiences during written voice development as intuitions. “To put it another way, writers work out in words their intuitions—their private certainties—of how things are” (p. 14). Settings, description, character, dialogue, conflict, climax and denouement are inanimate and can not create themselves from words; there is always an author, a person and a history behind them. This, “place of creation” will be visited again in the multicultural section of this chapter. So, although emotions can be depicted and recreated through an author’s style, authentic expression comes from individual emotions forged in experience and crisis. Just because an author’s goal may be to escape personality, style or recognition, the content will most often relay these feelings anyway. “How you feel about yourself is probably the most important feeling you have. It colors all other feelings, and if you are a poet, it colors your writing. It may account for your writing” (Hugo, 1979, p. 67). When applied properly, developing a cathartic writer’s voice may have a relationship to increased self-efficacy and healing. To negate or ignore these feelings is to deny our own origins. Furthermore, even if our process is a mystery to us, it is better than denying that the process exists. Summary To summarize, the literature suggests the development of critical, unbiased, contributive identities in our elementary learning environments, and the free unencumbered encouragement of CWVD in middle and secondary schools can be a unified agency to re-asses early expression and celebration of difference, which, in turn, will empower people—not just students, staff, and faculty of difference in that community— to act as a tangible tool in in the success of a safe, empowering, revolutionary educational movement.
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