The first weeks of January 2021 brought several of our nation’s deep, enduring, painful and unaddressed failures into stark relief. Millions watched the violent storming of the Capitol by self-identified white nationalists and Trump supporters, ending with five people dead. What just happened? How could it have happened? Is this the beginning or end? In our so-called post-truth era, more information emerges, interpretations abound, and spin turns to dismissal and denial of facts. Yet, much has been revealed as the insurrection and the treatment of white nationalist insurrectionists is juxtaposed with the atrocities of racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement for intersectional justice.
How can we, as educators, engage our students in making sense of these critical issues? How can we use the classroom to harness our current moment and augment the shift in individual and collective awareness? How can we support students’ in translating increased awareness into responsible action for social justice? Using an intercultural praxis approach, Kathryn Sorrells addresses the pitfalls and possibilities of dismantling white supremacy, grappling with “post-truth” realities, and re-imagining our roles in creating a just, multicultural nation and world.
Kathryn Sorrells is a professor of Communication Studies at California State University, Northridge.