Carmen Kynard, "Vernacular Insurrections: Race, Black Protest, and the New Century in Composition-Literacies Studies" (SUNY Press, 2013)


You know you are not going to get the same old story about progressive literacies and education from Carmen Kynard, who ends the introduction to her book with a saying from her grandmother: "Whenever someone did something that seemed contradictory enough to make them untrustworthy, my grandmother simply called it runnin' with the rabbits but huntin' with the dogs." Kynard persuasively illustrates throughout her book the extent to which progressive and liberal educationalists hold up progress toward truly liberatory education for African Americans and Latinos because they seek to please both rabbits and dogs in the 21st Century. In her own words, Kynard begins with this critique: "American schools and universities, through their scholarship and instructional designs, have often upheld a racial status quo alongside a rhetoric of dismantling it. These [are] not the workings of contradictory and confused individuals merely locked within their space and time. My grandmother understood that such contradictions happen inside of a totemic system. And once she pointed out that someone or something was runnin with the rabbits and huntin with the dogs, the expectation was that I would question the process and work to achieve an alternative awareness, ideological approach, and set of cultural practices" (19). Kynard is not taking the easy road. She looking calling out the racial double-tongue that characterizes the current educational discourse on cultural relevant teaching and learning. This is why a book such as this, which traces the histories, legacies, and influences of black protest movements (mostly student lead) on education and literacy is a must read now. Please listen in as I discuss this book with Kynard.

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