Writing courses

OSU Writing Center is looking for ‘anti-racist’ tutors who will ‘accept all English’

Oklahoma State University’s Writing Center is looking for undergraduate tutors to serve as “anti-racism cluster recruits” and asks applicants to demonstrate a “willingness to accept all English.”

Oklahoma State University’s Writing Center, part of the College of Arts and Sciences, says it exists “to develop effective communications regardless of skill level and background.”

In a document obtained by the Oklahoma Public Affairs Council, the OSU Writing Center advises applicants for tutoring positions: “The OSU Writing Center is seeking peer tutors/consultants from undergraduate for our anti-racism cluster hires, which we created in the fall of 2021. to build sustainable anti-racism programming.

Anti-racism tutors “will play a huge role in our new integrated tutoring program with freshman composition” and will work in particular with students in “high enrollment courses that have historically resulted in Ds, Fs, withdrawals and incomplete, especially for low-income people. , first-generation and historically underrepresented students.

“We are looking for undergraduate students who have a particular interest in working on anti-racism and social justice issues.” —OSU Writing Center

“These consultants will also help develop anti-racism policies, procedures and training for writing centers, with a particular focus on the OSU WC and will participate in peer mentorship programs,” the document states. “We are looking for undergraduate students who have a particular interest in working on anti-racism and social justice issues, with a focus on language, power, identity, literacy and community writing, in especially marginalized communities of writers.”

Applicants are asked to have “an understanding and willingness to accept all English”.

The OSU Writing Center did not respond to a request for comment on what it considers “all English.”

However, in other similar contexts, the phrase “all English” has been used to indicate that an organization will not insist on the “correct” use of English as practiced in the countries where English is the dominant and/or official language, such as the United States or Great Britain. Great Britain, also known as the “English of the inner circle”.

According to Language Magazine, “The exclusive or predominant use of inner-circle English in English Language Teaching (ELT) materials creates and perpetuates myths about the ownership and legitimacy of English. It maintains the hegemonic structure which privileges the English of the inner circle.

Among some teachers and scholars, the emphasis on grammar and standard English is now decried as a form of white supremacy.

In 2018, Jennifer Williams, co-editor of the Oklahoma English Newspaper, the official publication of the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English (OKCTE), wrote, “I was one of those people and teachers pushing the politics of respectability. I wanted my students to speak “proper” English. It was the first thing I dropped. »

Williams said that sometimes “slang and cursing are the perfect words” and that “being gatekeepers to Standard English” is something that “perpetuates whiteness and what is ‘acceptable’ English.” “

Among some teachers and scholars, the emphasis on grammar and standard English is now decried as a form of white supremacy.

The OSU Writing Center website states that Oklahoma State University has long embraced racism and claims that the writing center played a significant role in this racist history.

“The Oklahoma State University Writing Center demonstrates our commitment to equity, inclusion, and accessibility by recognizing the ways our institutions (academic and otherwise) have excluded, neglected, and marginalized from many members of the community because of their race, religion, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, national origin, language, ethnicity, gender, ability, socio-economic status, age, body type and other aspects of identity, and seeking to understand and resist these failures both obvious and hidden,” writes the Center for write.website states.

In another section, the OSU Writing Center states that as part of its “commitment to further strengthening anti-racist strategies and acknowledging our own complicity in practicing institutional racist policies”, the center “recognizes that the language has been used to promote and encourage racism and that we, as teachers of writing, have been complicit in our own practices and policies.

This section also states that the Writing Center will commit to “[h]most letter writing campaigns to officials, coordinating events to create protest signs and other local activist campaigns.

The OSU Writing Center’s website notes that the students it serves include “elementary school children in community engagement programs.”

In a statement on “Combating Systemic and Institutional Racism,” the OSU Writing Center denounces “the recent and brutal killings of black people in the United States, and the issues of systemic racism, police brutality and racial violence that played a key role in these killings. .” The Center goes on to say that recent incidents of alleged racial violence against black people are “just some of the most recent lives lost to prejudice, victimization of the language of hate and racism that continues to exist at the heart of American culture”.

Among the resources the OSU Writing Center directs students to is an “Being Anti-Racist” site which states, “Being anti-racist is different for white people than it is for people of color. For white people, being anti-racist evolves with the development of their racial identity. They must recognize and understand their privilege, work to change their internalized racism, and interrupt racism when they see it. For people of color, this means acknowledging how race and racism have been internalized and whether they have been applied to other people of color.

This site, in turn, links to a document from the “Racial Healing Handbook: Practical Activities to Help You Challenge Privilege, Confront Systemic Racism, and Engage in Collective Healing,” by Anneliese A. Singh, Ph.D. In this document, Singh advises white people that part of anti-racism is that you can be rejected by black people based on your skin color.

“Rejection is something you will experience as an anti-racist, because sometimes you will make mistakes and get it wrong when it comes to identifying and addressing racism,” Singh’s document states. “Because of your white privilege, sometimes it will be difficult to identify how something you are doing may be harmful to people of color. And people of color can reject what you say and even more so hold you accountable for those missteps. Learn to understand and accept rejection. People of color have justified their anger at racism, and they can harshly reject you or white people because of it.

The document also warns that “for people of color, this first step in the development of racial identity is often ignorance of existing racism” and that many racial minorities may need to “challenge internalized white supremacy.”

The OSU Writing Center website informs visitors that the center is “a non-profit organization through the OSU Foundation, whose ability to create a better writing community relies on the donations of exceptional people. If you are interested in donating, please visit our “Donate” page!”

[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit AimHigherOK.com.]