Dr. K.O. Wilson, Director of Black Teacher Retention and Recruitment, traveled to Namibia in Africa this month to present at The 11th Teacher Education & Interdisciplinary Research (TEIR) Conference . Participating African Universities included University of South Africa, University of Namibia, Windhoek; Nelson Mandela University, University of Zululand, and others.
Dr. Wilson was joined by Dr. Martin Smith, Duke University-Dean of Academic Affairs, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences. Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Assistant Professor of the Practice – Program in Education Dr. Christopher Knaus, Professor of Education- University of Washington-Tacoma.
The presentation titled Schools as Anti-Blackness: Globalizing Black Affirmation focused on how global educational systems remain white-centric, white-affirming, and white-organized. As schools and universities continue to diversify the teacher, leadership, and academic workforce, the infrastructures of whiteness remain, ensuring that even as institutions become Black-populated, the scope and function remains anti-Black. The interactive workshop the led moved from recognising racism through a critical race theory lens towards lessons learned from the shared anti-Blackness across US and South African contexts. The workshop focused on how Black educational leaders must elevate Black intentionally, Black affirmation, and a multiply complex notion of global Blackness as transformative praxis. READ MORE
Dr. Wilson reflected on the event, “We discussed with Higher Education Institutions in the Southern Cape of Africa about Anti-Blackness, most folx were unaware of the concept of anti-blackness and believed it was an American concept. Our presentation pushed folx to acknowledge that anti-blackness happens in Africa.” He continues, “For example, throughout the Southern Cape of Africa ‘White schools’ learn English, German, or other languages rather than Bantu ( Native languages of Africa). This is a sign of anti-blackness because the ‘white schools’ deem it unnecessary to learn the language of the majority of folx in Africa [and instead] learn the language of power.”
Conference organizers were so impressed with the work KOO does in teacher recruitment , that the discussions have already begun for a U.S. South Africa Embassy Grant to Teacher Recruitment with the college partners from the conference.