I've been conflicted of late about the usefulness of my blogging and advocacy of Indigenous education, both online and in person. Does it matter?
I was recently struck by several different items in the news, as well as some personal communications, that have been troubling the mind. My recent mania (?) about the Levant and Bieber commentaries and a few offline interactions have left me wondering about the effectiveness of advocacy. Even with social justice advocates I have found myself having to defend a position or way of being, repeatedly, eventually having to abandon the conversation with the thought that they just don't get it, and I lack the necessary skill to explain it.
Or is the challenge of a different sort entirely? I know in my commentary regarding the above mentioned people I have been attempting to maintain an educational focus; in the unexplained personal contacts, the issues were Aboriginal with only a slight connection to education (though I could link very easily). The problem, however, appears to be the response to the issues put forth. I was impressed that I received a response from the BC Ministry of Education regarding my open letter, but it was a form response that didn't really say anything I wasn't already aware of, and didn't address my specific concerns. Am I preaching to the converted? Are the unconverted just paying lip service if they are even paying attention?
Is this where the ally comes into the picture? Will I always be viewed as having an agenda when I speak about Aboriginal issues? Will I always be frustrated by open minds who just don't get it when I try to explain the concept of what the Rez means or the fact that expecting our youth to change to fit into the Ed paradigm is inherently unfair? Do my discourses need to be presented to the unconverted by allies to be considered acceptable?
I value allies. I am forever grateful that they go out and make the case for Aboriginal Education. I worry that no progress will be made until the allies have convinced the rest to change because at least the allies are being listened to.