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  • "Black Bodies, Black Language" Meet the Author: Dr. Wonderful Faison

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"Black Bodies, Black Language" Meet the Author: Dr. Wonderful Faison

  • Wed, February 12, 2020
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Online (Link to be sent one day before discussion)


  • For non-members of the RMWCA.
  • This special Meet the Author discussion is a benefit of RMWCA membership

Registration is closed

"Black Bodies, Black Language: Exploring the Use of Black Language as a Tool of Survival in the Writing Center"
(The Peer Review, 2.1) [linked above] 

Writing centers, Faison notes, are positioned as “anti-institutional” yet at the same time they reify systemic inequities such as racism, homophobia, sexism, and classism rather ironically by being a “safe space” or a “cozy home” as Grutsch-McKinney identified (2005)—a seeming protection against the institution at large.  The primary focus of the piece is on how black tutors—in order to ensure their own safety--navigate the space of a predominantly white writing center through the use of black language. Using interviews, Faison explores how tutors negotiate the inequity of not being able to write in academia in their own black language, the perils of putting on metaphorical “white face” while writing, as well as how that helped them to better respond to black students they worked with. Students who speak dialect variants are usually required to change and adapt, versus speakers of so-called standard white dialects rarely change or adapt. Faison’s participants also address white colleagues usually unaware and unchecked macroaggressions, and how they typically respond:  through non-verbal communication. Faison concludes by encouraging readers to adopt a “black lens” to understand “how linguistic oppression functions in the writing center.” She also encourages black tutors to continue to find solidarity with their fellow black tutors through use of black language, and identifies writing center practices that could address inequities. This article will be useful for writing centers to address inequities within their staff, and build better awareness of the lived experiences of tutors of color.

Dr. Wonderful Faison

Dr. Wonderful Faison is an Assistant Professor of English and Foreign Languages and Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma.  She received her PhD in the Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures program at Michigan State University. Her research centers on African American Language, African American Rhetorics, Cultural Rhetorics, and Queer Rhetorics.

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