Quotes from Lisa Delpit’s article Other People’s Children:
- “We cannot justifiably enlist exclusionary standards when the reason this student lacked the skills demanded was poor teaching at best and institutionalized racism at worst.”
In this quote, Delpit is explaining the notion of the educational system’s failure to properly educate students of color and then the system fails to take responsibility. This failure, as she states, is either the product of inadequate teaching or an engrained racism. Both of these pose major problems to the education of so many students in this country. In this same passage, she says there is a tendency to blame the victims for these failures. In this quote and the article, Delpit wants the reader to acknowledge the culture of power and the codes and rules this culture has established that everyone must follow in order to be successful in life: and it is our jobs as teachers to provide those rules to our students, especially students of color that have not been taught them previously.
- Students need “to be taught the codes to participate fully in the mainstream of American life, not by being forced to attend to hollow, inane, decontextualized sub-skills, but rather within the context of meaningful communicative endeavors; that they must be allowed the resource of the teacher’s expert knowledge, while being helped to acknowledge their own “expertness” as well, and even while students are assisted in learning the culture of power, they must also be helped to learn about the arbitrariness of those codes and about the power relationships they represent.”
Throughout the article and in this quote, Delpit emphasizes the need to have students that are not members of the culture of power learn the rules of the culture of power. She wants teachers to understand how to go about teaching these rules. According to Delpit, the skills need to be taught, but through authentic and meaningful ways. Delpit wants the students to learn about these rules and how they will effect their lives. However, she also wants them to understand how these rules should not replace their own cultural norms, but instead that the codes and rules need to be used in specific situations and settings.
- “We must learn to be vulnerable enough to allow our world to turn upside down in order to allow the realities of others to edge themselves into our consciousness.”
This quote pinpoints the beginning of the solution to the “silent dialogue” in Delpit’s article. She explains that in order for people, especially educators, to listen to other‘s perspectives on the inadequacy and ingrained racism of the education system, they must be willing to listen to topics that we might not be comfortable with. Later in this passage she says teachers are in the best “position” to start these conversations.