Elevate Difference

Love, Race, and Liberation: ‘Til the White Day is Done

The subtitle of of JLove Calderón and Marcella Runell’s curriculum, Love, Race, and Liberation, comes from the poem “Dream Variations” by Langston Hughes.

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.

Love, Race, and Liberation is a multimedia project that aims at heart-level transformation, even while it equips activists for ground-level work for racial justice. The work is sponsored by NYU’s Center for Multicultural Education and programs, Eradicating Racism (1 + 1 + 1=ONE), and World Up.

This text includes twenty lesson plans, which can be used together or individually, and eleven love letters from performers, writers, educators, and activists. The lessons, suitable for grade eight (approximately age thirteen) and above, are designed to take 90-120 minutes. Extension activities are included in many lessons, as well as supplemental resources. A couple of the lessons make use of the PBS film, Race: The Power of an Illusion (California Newsreel), and the film is recommended in the introductory notes. The topics covered include social identity, racial socialization, white privilege, immigration, cultural appropriation, and being an ally. There are lessons on newsworthy aspects of racial justice, notably housing, education, health care, and criminal justice.

Love, Race, and Liberation makes an excellent resource for a classroom teacher or community organizer. Whether a reader uses every lesson in the book, or chooses those topics most relevant for a given group of students, this guide will be very useful. From my reading of this book, I have already covered a couple of index cards with book titles, author names, and websites to explore.

The lessons on social identity had me remembering my undergraduate Sociology courses, when many of my classmates had not considered the multifaceted nature of our identities, or the ways in which our ideas of ourselves are socially constructed. As a white woman, I continually welcome lessons on being an effective ally in the struggle for racial justice, and Love, Race, and Liberation includes many practical reminders in this vein.

I found the love letters sprinkled throughout the curriculum very powerful. All of them reinforce the question that is the heart-matter of this volume: why are we in this struggle? To paraphrase Sofia Quintero: I am not in this to save anyone, but to liberate myself. Love, Race, and Liberation provides a welcome new set of tools for the job.

Written by: Lisa Rand, August 23rd 2010