Elwood David Watson delivers a collection of powerful essays in his new book, Keepin It Real: Essays on Race in Contemporary America. The symbolic evolution of African Americans over the last five years comes into clear focus. In the first section, Whitelash, Watson delivers a diagnosis about the misunderstanding of Barack Obama’s presidential administration between 2009 and 2017. The second section, Woke, examines the ways that a new generation abandoned the illusory dreams of tolerant and inclusive cultures after the Red Summer of 2015. In this moment, it is the reassertion of racial violence that becomes the subject of the third set of essays. Autocratic white supremacy in Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Australia rely on the random imposition of violence against the African, Indigenous, and Chicano diasporas to reassure European elites and their global allies about the stability of the modern Christian world. The final section emphasizes the crises of Black celebrity as the major figures of integrated commercial middle class status in movies, television, and music are destroyed by their greed and idolatry. Ultimately, Keepin It Real sorts through the assorted trauma of the Donald Trump presidential administration after 2017. It is an invitation to the long historical patterns of racial and religious terrorism that defined American presidents as varied as Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, and Ronald Reagan.
Octavia Butler’s gift for examining the nuances of human processes shines in the graphic adaptation of her novel, Parable of the Sower. Damian Duffy and John Jennings have exceeded the standard of excellence that they established with their historic bestseller, Kindred. The new text delves into a layered experience of collapse as a human process. Structured as a ‘future history’ that examines the period from 2024 to 2027 in suburban California, PotS drags its readers through a dystopian landscape too similar to the world we see around us today.
The characters move from a stable fragility behind temporary barriers through stages of social change that reflect common experiences of the twentieth century often obscured by the emergence of global consumerism. The action rapidly accelerates as terrorism consumes the suburban remnant that Lauren Olamina calls home. A physiological disorder forces her to experience the pain she perceives around her. Butler names the condition, hyperempathy. Today, billions of people empathize with Olamina’s experiences due to the ongoing trauma of autocratic revolutions in Europe and North America.
In the graphic novel, Olamina’s syncretic faith in pursuit of an escape from the planet brings survivors of the apocalypse into her migration tale. By the end of the story, against considerable odds, Olamina and her adopted families find a rural settlement and begin to adapt to a more difficult and unstable reality. The concepts that sustained her crystallize this community around a belief system called “Earthseed.” It offers a transplanetary animism that pursues a balance in the aftermath of national terror.
Duffy and Jennings provide a crucial tool to negotiate the apathy and nihilism that threatens to destroy the liberal state in the present day. In the classroom, the multimedia adaptation challenges teachers and students to engage images, text, and sound simultaneously. So much of the twenty-first century world has turned to data, specifically numbers in attempts to make sense of our lives. The danger posed by data aggregation firms from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to Amazon and Google represent a digital catastrophe with untold consequences for human freedom over the next century. PotS helps its audience to escape these potential traps by seeking refuge in relationships with other people and the natural environment.
If you have expressed a concern about the possibility of social collapse, Butler, Duffy, and Jennings give you a detailed portrait of resilience to focus your efforts to maintain family and community.
“Stand Beside Her, And Guide Her”
One of the most iconic lyrics that describes America is that “America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. However, that lyric should have come with an asteroid attached to it explaining that it’s only free if you’re white and people of color have to be brave enough to try to live in White America. Authors Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds co-writes the novel Stamped Racism, Antiracism, and You, to highlight the issues rooted by racism. The reality that Kendi emphasizes in the introduction, is that people of color aren’t the problem in America and in fact racist ideologies and stereotypes are. As a woman of color, I am completely aware of the disadvantages that come simply because of the race I check off when identifying myself to an establishment. I understand and realize that white privileged most certainly exist in American culture. And I also understand that every one of the American systems was not created for POC but instead was built to only benefit the oppressor, white people. However I also want to believe, just as Kendi explains at the end of the introduction, that “there will come a time when we will love humanity, when we will gain the courage to fight for an equitable society for our beloved humanity, knowing, intelligently, that when we fight for humanity, we are fighting for ourselves. There will come a time” (Kendi Reynolds xx).
In the midst of today’s political climate and division in this country, change is inevitable and urgent. Kendi, already alludes to the struggles that people of color, specifically Black people, deal with on a daily basis. Such as, the constant overhanging fear of being a victim to police brutality or another hashtag as well as having to battle the negative sterotypes that have been generationally made about Black people. These negative misconceptions that have been put on POC due to racism, is not going away with the current Administration, in fact racism and prejudice is actually being amplified. The frequent use of racial rhetoric stated at such a national level, gives encouragement for ignorant people to mimic the same language locally. Due to the fact that racism is an intersectionality issue, it is pivotal for all groups of people to mobilize together to demand and fight for change. Furthermore, living in a world free of racism is an idealistic point of view. Getting rid of racism, particularly in the United States, is going to be a long a rigorous journey simply due to the fact that the United States was built on racism and the backs of Black people. However the only way to fight and attempt to overcome racism is together, because at the end of the day people are just people and they shouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin but rather their character as a whole.
Ibram X. Kendi was right. He was right that the time is now for POC to come together to fight for equality. Now it’s time for people of color to Stand Beside Their Freedom, and to Guide America into the melting pot it is meant to be.
Graduate Student Michelle Sholk presented with Dr. Stephanie Bobbitt, and Michael Bobbitt at the ACES 2019 Conference in Seattle, Washington. She reflects on her experience of presenting her research presentation “Successful Integration of Social Advocacy in Supervision”.
“To reflect upon my experience at ACES is almost as surreal as the experience itself! I am extremely honored and greatly humbled by my involvement in a national, top tier conference, and I find myself at a loss for words to express my gratitude for Dr. Bobbitt, the support of all of the Educational Counseling and Leadership faculty, and Monmouth University for granting me the opportunity to expand both my personal in professional growth. In April, Dr. Bobbitt and I were notified that our research proposal, one that we worked on for about a year, was accepted to present at the ACES conference, which was held in Seattle from the 10th-13th of October. During the conference I was able to network with several prominent Counselor Educators, meet Dr. Bobbitt’s mentors that inspired and motivated her, and continue my work as a social justice advocate by presenting on the need for social justice advocacy in supervision. During the presentation, we were able to hold open and honest conversations concerning personal biases and becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable, as well as discussed personal anecdotes on our work to promote equity. Overall, the ACES conference was a remarkable experience that I will always treasure.”
“Stay-at-Home Dads’ Experiences With Their Children’s Elementary Schools”\
Author(s): Davis, Eric S.; Wolgemuth, Jennifer; Haberlin, Steven; Smith, Vernon S.; Smith, Sharlene
ABSTRACT: The role of fathers in elementary education has shifted drastically in recent years. In particular, stay-at-home dads (SAHDs) have become more relevant in the lives of children. Despite these changes, there remains a paucity of research on SAHDs’ experiences with their children’s schools. This qualitative study examined SAHDs’ perceptions of and experiences with their children’s schools. The research identified three themes: (a) involvement, (b) interactions, and (c) communication. The researchers discuss implications for elementary school counseling practice as well as future areas of research
“Telemental health and student veterans: A practice perspective through voices from the field”
Alyson Pompeo-Fargnoli, Amanda Lapa & Courtney Pellegrino
ABSTRACT: The area of human services is constantly adapting to best meet the needs of a changing client population. One group that is at an increased need of mental health services is the rapidly growing student veteran population. Through the use of telemental health, this population’s unique mental health needs can be addressed while also considering their concerns for stigma and accessibility. With telemental health gaining credibility, there are a number of technologies, such as Avatars, Gamification, videoconferencing, mobile health applications, and short message service (SMS) that are being utilized during counseling sessions to provide quality mental health services. Based upon a practice perspective, the authors interviewed multiple clinicians, or “voices from the field,” who are at the forefront of telemental health, in an effort to share the most novel forms of telemental health and best practices. Recommendations from these experts, as well as ethical considerations are included.
Pompeo-Fargnoli, A., Lapa, A. & Pellegrino, C. (2019): Telemental Health and Student Veterans: A Practice Perspective through Voices from the Field. Journal of Technology in Human Services, 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/15228835.2019.1674764
Vernon Smith, PhD
Lastly, one of the Department of Educational Counseling and Leadership Faculty Presenting at the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision National Conference in Seattle, Washington.
Title of Presentation: Parent Involvement Factors from the Perspective of Academically Successful Black Male College Students: Enhancing Counselors’ Competencies
Abstract/Program Description: Despite decades of research on Black males’ academic underachievement, the achievement gap persists. Some researchers have suggested one cause may be lack of parental involvement, while others have highlighted positive statements from Black males regarding parental involvement factors that contributed to their academic success. This presentation will highlight original data from a strength based study that identified the role of parent involvement in the success of Black male students. This interactive session will enhance counselors’ competencies regarding the use of culturally sensitive strategies to engage parents of Black male students. Discussions will also focus on the barriers that impede parent involvement for this population at the school and collegiate level.