LEARN WITH MARGINAL SYLLABUS (June)—Even Cinderella Is White: (Re)Centering Black Girls’ Voices as Literacies of Resistance

June 03, 2019
By Educator Innovator

Our June, 2019 reading for Literacy, Equity + Remarkable Notes = LEARN turns our attention to schools’ treatment of Black girls particularly in the English Language Arts classroom. In a piece written for the English Journal, authors Jemimah L. Young, Marquita D. Foster, and Dorothy Hines call out the oppressive ways our society depicts Black girls in media, and the ways schools, and English education in particular in America compounds their mistreatment. The piece describes a framework for composing counter fairy tales with Black girls as a way of empowering their voices in the development of stories that they can relate to culturally.

This is the eighth month of LEARN, a Marginal Syllabus co-developed with the National Writing Project (NWP) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Each month during the 2018-19 academic year, we’ll collaboratively read and discuss an article, published by NCTE, that investigates the intersection of literacy and equity. Refer to the syllabus for information on all the annotatable readings, which will go “live” on the first Monday of each month, along with related events hosted by CLTV and others.

June Topic: Composing Counternarratives Through Youth Participatory Action Research

Aside from providing affirmation for Black girls and women, we also posit that this process can inform teachers and other students to the nuances that distinguish the realities of Black girls from their teachers and peers that can lead to cultural discontinuity.

Even Cinderella Is White: (Re)Centering Black Girls’ Voices as Literacies of Resistance

In June, we learn about a framework for composing culturally relevant fairy tales with Black girls as a way of engaging them in Critical Race Feminist writing. Authors Jemimah L. Young, Marquita D. Foster, and Dorothy Hines paint a sobering picture of the experiences Black female students have in schools as a result of racism, sexism and the criminalization of students of color. They identify the English classroom as a space where the marginalization of Black girls is compounded by the texts teachers use which uphold white supremacy by devaluing Black women authors in favor of majority White literary texts. Their piece is a profound call to action that provides an instructional approach as a countermeasure to the cultural forces working against Black girls.

Readers will learn about Counter Fairy Tales (CFT), a resistance literary strategy that promises to affirm Black girls while informing teachers and other students about the realities Black female students face. The CFT approach draws from oral traditions, capitalizes on children’s early exposure to fairy tales, and engages Black girls in the explicit development of counternarratives as a means of (re)centering Black Girl’s voices in the English classroom. This powerful text proposes the inclusion of counter fairy tales as a promising avenue to relevant literacy instruction in the interest of empowering a group of students who are systematically marginalized in school.

Join the Annotated Conversation

We invite you to read “Even Cinderella Is White: (Re)Centering Black Girls’ Voices as Literacies of Resistance,” and annotate the text with your own thoughts and reactions. Annotations may be added using the web annotation tool Hypothesis. To add your own annotations, as well as to respond to others, sign up for your free account.

Share your annotations as you read or any time throughout the month. We also encourage you to use these readings and the opportunity to annotate however it best works for you—organize a study group, bring a class you are teaching, engage as an individual, or connect it to a meeting.

Author Discussion