Hansen and Cultural Response

Immediately I think of bringing Tupac lyrics to the guys to discuss internal rhyme and slant rhyme as poetic techniques. This was a minefield as far as culturally responsive literacy work goes.

First of all, how did I pick Tupac? I’d never heard any of the guys mention him by name. I came to pick him because (a) he is a respected lyricist and (b) the guys did frequently mention and visibly appreciate hip-hop. But that could have gone over quite poorly.

For instance, I could have come in trying to tell them what the song was about. That would have been a poor decision, because that’s not my culture. It’s like how I was talking with Vince about Hansen and the traditional dancer. We never did reconcile how Hansen decided that would be appropriately representative of the culture. We ended up giving her the benefit of the doubt on that one. That could have been disastrous, however, if she had just decided that since the families were Mexican, that a traditional Mexican folk dancer would represent their culture to them. To be an outsider, and tell people who they are and what their culture is… this is a dangerous, and not culturally responsive, thing to do.


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