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(Re)Learning Moments

Take a moment and (re)learn with us!

These resource lists provide an opportunity to (re)learn a topic, idea, or concept. These educational resources consist of a short summary, list of additional resources, and action items. All resources on these guides can be accessed through the UT Library or free on the internet.

Spring 2023 (Re)Learning Moments

Critical and Liberal

Within diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, individuals approach their work from different viewpoints and stances. Two common stances are critical and liberal. While sometimes used interchangeably, these two approaches feature different values and practices within DEI initiatives.

Critical noun

a philosophical approach that seeks to critique and overcome social, historical, and ideological forces that harm people

Many scholars credit Immanuel Kant for founding critical philosophy, which evolved into critical theory within various fields such as education, family sciences, and communications. Commonly applied critical theories include critical race, feminisms, and queer theories. Individuals with a critical approach critique and challenge power structures. Critical ideology values human liberation, and people often utilize this worldview to reduce harm to peoples and communities.

Liberal noun

a philosophical approach that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise

Liberal philosophy (also known as liberalism) most often relates to politics and morality. Cited as a dominant modern ideology, President Franklin D. Roosevelt popularized liberalism in the United States through the New Deal program. Contrastingly to the critical philosophy, liberal individuals focus on individual rights and freedoms rather than critiquing systems in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

In 2005, the United Nations (UN) designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day (IHRD). This commemoration honors the memory of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism. Held on the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the United Nations urges member states to honor the victims and develop education programs to counter antisemitism, racism, and other forms of oppression. Since 2010, the UN has utilized themes to focus on specific topics during the annual remembrance. The 2023 theme is “Home and Belonging.”

How to Mark the Day

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum offers several ways to mark this annual commemoration. This year the museum invites people to watch a special episode of the Stay Connected Live virtual series. The Moment She Lost Her Family Captured in a Photo features Irene Weiss, a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau who now volunteers at the museum. Watch the episode live on Friday, January 27, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Being an Antiracist

Popularized by Ibram X. Kendi at the height of racial unrest in summer 2020, the concept of antiracism continues to permeate our national discourse.

Antiracist noun

an individual actively committed to identifying and opposing racism

While not an identity, individuals practice antiracism through an active, lifelong commitment to reflection and resistance. Engaging in antiracism work promotes critical thinking in bettering our current institutions for the inclusion of a multi-racial society. Antiracist practices begin at the individual level with reflecting on our own identities, values, preferences, and biases. Often, at this level, we need to (re)learn our history, policies, and practices, engaging in cultural humility by focusing on understanding others’ experiences through empathy.

Antiracism is

  • Understanding and acceptance of the racialized history of our society
  • Focused on how current public policies continue to maintain racial inequality
  • Consistent, active examination of our world to promote racial equality/equity

Antiracism is not

  • Promoting one racial group as inferior or superior to another
  • Placing blame on individuals for systemic issues
  • Promoting feelings of guilt based on race

Begin with the Self-Work

Journaling and debriefing within your network of support can help you grow and challenge implicit biases. To begin, try these potential prompts:

  • How do my lens/identities influence my engagement with others, particularly those with different identities?
  • How do those people closest to me reinforce and/or challenge my worldview?
  • Where do I see gaps in my knowledge or understandings around race/racism?

(Re)Learn About Being an Antiracist

Resources curated by Stefanie Benjamin, PhD

  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents – Isabel Wilkerson | E-Book
  • How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi | Physical Book | E-Book
  • The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander | E-Book
  • So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo | Physical Book | E-Book

  • How to Have Better Conversations about Racism with Your Parents – Sarah McCammon | Article
  • How to Talk to Your White Family about Racism – Sam Reed | Article
  • Racial Healing Workbook Select Pages – Anneliese Singh | Workbook
  • White Ally Toolkit & Workbook – David Campt | Workbook
  • What Is White Privilege? | Article

  • Be Antiracist with Ibram X. Kendi | Podcast
  • Debunking the Most Common Myths White People Tell About Race | Video
  • everything’s gonna be all white | Free Full Episode
  • Explained: Racial Wealth Gap | Free Full Episode
  • How “White Fragility” Reinforces Racism | Video
  • How White Privilege Works | Video
  • Systematic Racism Explained | Video
  • The Urgency of Intersectionality – Kimberlé Crenshaw | Video
  • What Is Racism – Toni Morrison | Video

World Day of Social Justice

On November 26, 2007, the United Nations (UN) declared February 20 as World Day of Social Justice. Since 2009, this annual observance focuses on creating a global effort to eliminate poverty, physical and gender discrimination, racism, religious discrimination, illiteracy, and biases. This global effort began at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen, Denmark where over 100 political leaders pledged to focus on alleviating poverty, increasing full employment, and creating stable, safe, and just societies. These individuals developed the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, which United Nation’s member states reviewed in 2005.

2023 Commemorative Event

On February 20, 2022, at 1:15 p.m. ET, the Permanent Mission of the Kyrgyz Republic to the UN and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are convening a commemorative meeting of the 2023 World Day of Social Justice with the theme “Overcoming Barriers and Unleashing Opportunities for Social Justice.”

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Each year, March is recognized and celebrated as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM). In 1987, President Ronald Reagan officially recognized this commemoration to increase awareness of “the needs and the potential of Americans with developmental disabilities.” The CDC defines developmental disabilities as a group of conditions impairing physical, learning, language, or behavior areas. Recent estimates show one in six United States’ children (or 17%) have one or more developmental disabilities such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, and hearing loss. Each year, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) creates a social media campaign to highlight this month.

Learn about FUTURE at UT Knoxville

The FUTURE Postsecondary Education Program is a two- or three-year course of study that empowers students to achieve gainful employment in the community. FUTURE is a comprehensive program that helps young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities make a successful transition from high school to adult life. During the program, we provide students with specially designed FUTURE classes, the opportunity to audit undergraduate courses, and an internship on or off campus.

Want to support the FUTURE program? You can donate, host an intern, and/or schedule an intellectual/developmental disability office training.

Four Waves of Feminism

Historians often divide the feminist movement in the United States into four waves, outlining the tumultuous and evolving history.

First Wave (1848 – 1920)

Sub-Groups/Movements: Women’s Suffrage Movement

First wave feminism focused on securing women’s right to vote during the 19th and early 20th century. Historians often tie the beginning of the wave with the first formal Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848. Some critics often note that this wave focused on individual rights over collective action, ignoring issues of Women of Color and working-class women.

Second Wave (1963 – 1980s)

Sub-Groups/Movements: Women’s Liberation | Reproductive Freedom

Second wave feminism lasted about two decades beginning in the 1960s. During this wave, feminists aimed to challenge patriarchal institutions and created spaces for women empowerment, specifically in the workforce. Similarly, to the first wave, the movement largely addressed the concerns of educated middle-class, White women, marginalizing the concerns of women from other classes and races.

Third Wave (1990s)

Sub-Groups/Movements: Riot Grrrl | Intersectional Feminism

Emerging from civil rights gains in second wave feminism, third wave feminists worked to redefine their movement to be more diverse and intersectional. Specifically, this wave challenged the universality of the previous waves, including LGBTQ+, anti-racism, and global solidarity in their goals. However, critics argue that the movement focused too much on personal choice and identities rather than structural inequalities.

Fourth Wave (2010s – Present)

Sub-Groups/Movements: #MeToo Movement | Everyday Sexism Project

Immediately following the third wave, fourth wave feminism marks the current movement phase. With similar goals as the previous wave, fourth wave feminists used internet and social media tools to amplify voices, challenge gender norms/stereotypes, and combat sexual violence. Some critics argue that the movement may be too reliant on social media activism, creating a superficial, disconnected movement without a clear agenda.

(Re)Learn About Four Waves of Feminism

Resources curated by Miranda N. Rutan, MS

Class and Classism

Class noun

relative social ranking based on categories such as income, wealth, education, status, and power (Leondar-Wright & Yeskel, 2007, p. 314)

Classism noun

the belief that people can be distinguished or characterized, esp. as inferior, on the basis of their social class; discrimination or prejudice against people belonging to a particular social class (Oxford English Dictionary)

the institutional, cultural, and individual set of practices and beliefs that assign differential value to people according to their socioeconomic status (Leondar-Wright & Yeskel, 2007, p. 314)

Class Culture noun

describes the norms, values, and ways of life shared by people with a similar class position, as intersecting also with ethnic culture. Class cultures develop in response to economic realities as well as other dimensions of experience… (Adams et al., 2018, p. 168)

Begin with the Self-Work

Journaling and debriefing within your network of support can help you grow and challenge implicit biases. To begin, try these potential prompts:

  • How do my classed identities (e.g., income, wealth, education) influence my engagement with others?
  • How do those people closest to me reinforce and/or challenge my worldview on class/classism?
  • How can I advance my knowledge and understanding of classism in society and academia?

(Re)Learn About Classism

Resources curated by Dorian L. McCoy, PhD

  • Class in America: An Encyclopedia – Robert E. Weir | Physical Book
  • Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents – Isabel Wilkerson | E-Book
  • Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City – Matthew Desmond | E-Book
  • The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Disadvantaged Students – Anthony A. Jack | Physical Book
  • Women, Race and Class – Angela Davis | E-Book

  • Classism in the University Setting: Examining Student Antecedents and Outcomes | Article
  • Cultivating “Generational Blessings”: Graduate School Aspirations and Intergenerational Uplift Among Women of Color – Dorian L. McCoy & Rachelle Winkle-Wagner | Article
  • Whose Culture has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth – Tara J. Yoss | Article

  • America’s Poverty Course | Website
  • Center for Working Class Studies | Website
  • CLASS Action | Website
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Classism | Socioeconomic Status | Website
  • Four Degrees to the Streets | Podcast

Cinco de Mayo

In 1861, Mexico elected Benito Juárez president. A lawyer and member of the Indigenous Zapotec tribe, Juárez faced financial repayment demands from France, Britain, and Spain, resulting in each country sending naval forces to Veracruz, Mexico. While Britain and Spain negotiated, France sent its armed military to Mexico to expand its empire. At the Battle of Puebla, 6,000 French troops battled 2,000 Mexican citizens (mostly Indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry). After a daylong battle, the French retreated, and this battle represented a symbolic victory. Today, primarily in the state of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo includes military parades, recreations of the battle, and other festivities to honor the unlikely victory at the Battle of Puebla. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo serves as a moment to celebrate Mexican culture and heritage.

Celebrate Respectfully

The Anti-Defamation League suggests several ways to respectfully learn about and celebrate Cinco de Mayo:

  • Seek diverse stories and educators
  • Avoid one-dimensional portrayals of Mexican people
  • Be proactive in addressing issues of stereotypes as “teachable moments”

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