Episode 176 - Akilah Richards, Liberating People of Color through Self-directed Education
Akilah Richards is a published author, digital content writer, and Self-Directed Education advocate who writes passionately about self-expression, womanhood, modern feminism, location independence and the unschooling lifestyle. She is a storyteller who believes in the power of expressed personal narrative and deep self-acceptance as tools for authentic self-expression and community enrichment. She produces podcasts, books, classes, and articles on radical self-expression in practice and in study. Her online home is akilahsrichards.com/podcast where she works to support, connect, and highlight people of color designing their own liberation through self-directed education and love-centered community building.
Quotes: "Radical self-expression" is a term I thought I made up and then I heard it was at Burning Man The Steve Harvey Show "We have to be around people who are willing to have these discussions or to let us have these discussions without feeling like they need to defend it. You know like, my empowerment doesn't mean that I think you're less than. We need to start getting clear about that." "There's no way if we keep it in the same school system...we're gonna get to a point where we can understand each other and everybody can feel free and empowered." "Understanding doesn't mean that I agree with it or even that I get it, but I can respect, I can appreciate it, I can release the need to fully understand it....I say a lot but I don't feel like we have a lot of 'language' or even practice around this liberated way of being because all of us are dealing with some sort of master."
The Love of Learning with Laini Liberty "One of the main reasons why school can't work is because it is very much a microcosm of all the same things we just talked about." "To bring learning more into a space of 'community' then all people, including people of color, can be more connected to the community. We can solve things together, we can work together to innovate and pivot, and really do things that are serving what is happening now in the world. Instead of trying to maintain the structure that really didn't include US. It was designed to pitch us against each other, to compete." some links because I've written extensively about this sort of issues that we face and the implications of that in our home "We really need to get more comfortable with designing spaces where learning happens, where learning can thrive I should say, because learning happens everywhere. We really need to do that, and when we do that, then design organically emerges. Kids self organize, they know what they're interested in and they are very versed at finding ways to get to resources. Our job is to help them with that."
"There it is again, this idea of trying to replace one master for another. We are not saying how can we mirror aspects of schooling at home, we are saying how can we facilitate learning. This reminds me of the idea of like missionaries and even abolitionist going into communities and saving the children, saving the families, by deciding what they should do and what they should and shouldn't speak. 'You can't speak your native language, you can't dress this way.'" "There are many ways that [learning] can look. We don't need to design that in advance, we just need to have that collective goal of facilitating learning and listening to the kids in our community, seeing what they want and then tapping into the resources around us. You don't have to be upper-middle-class to do that, you don't have to be white to do that, and you don't have to be rich to do that." "Personal leadership is at the core of a lot of pain for us. We don't know how to lead ourselves because we've never been trusted with ourselves."