Culturally considerate

Kim Anderson’s career path has been a diverse and divergent one.  Prior to obtaining a graduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, she was a free-lance writer, photographer and graphic artist with interests in “outsider art,” expressions of oppression and liberation beyond conventional artistic borders or boundaries.  After many years of private practice as a licensed clinical social worker, clinical supervisor and educator, Ms. Anderson received a post-graduate certificate and board certification in art psychotherapy.  She is the author of Culturally Considerate School Counseling:  Helping Without Bias (2010), co-author of Creating Culturally Considerate Schools:  Educating Without Bias (2012, released this week), both published by Corwin Press and a contributor to How to Teach Students Who Don’t Look Like You:  Culturally Relevant Teaching Strategies, 2nd Edition (2012) and The Biracial and Multiracial Student Experience:  A Journey to Racial Literacy (2008) by Dr. Bonnie M. Davis. Ms. Anderson presents her eclectic work at numerous local, regional and national events and venues, engaging her audience through compelling narrative, careful research, evocative experiences, and instructive storytelling.

Recently I presented an experiential workshop at a wonderful conference on Equity and Social Justice in Education.  I do this kind of workshop often but this one stands out not only as a prototype of my work, but as an archetype of sorts.  The strand in which I presented was “Othering.”

Borreo, Yeh, Cruz and Suda (2012) define “othering” as a personal, social, cultural, and historical experience involving a) cultural and racial ambiguity, b) categorization and labeling, c) hierarchical power dynamics, and d) limited access to resources.  At worst, “othering” is motivated by hostility; at best by indifference or even sympathy, but in each case, individuals are seen as “other,” rather than as part of the dominant and/or normative group (Lister, 2008).

As a non-academic researcher (not currently attached to a university), non-educator educational advocate (no experience as a classroom teacher), and person of non-normative aesthetics (facial scars), I often find myself in the company of teachers, administrators, and higher educational scholars.  In each identity, I am Other.

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