Philosophy Ph.D. candidate Darien Pollock recently presented “Sounds about White! Race, Education and the Problem of White-mindedness” as part of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Alumni of Color Conference 2020. Pollock opened with a quote from the American ex-patriate writer, James Baldwin, “To be a white person in this country, and really, for the most part, the world, but especially this country, is simply a state of mind.”
Pollock’s thesis—that in order to overcome white-mindedness in educational spaces, a de-colonial pedagogy must also include a critical theory framework for students—takes into consideration works including Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton’s Black Power, Charles Mills’ The Racial Contract, Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, and Carter Woodson’s The Mis-Education of the Negro.
As a philosopher and activist, Pollock hopes to change the way people think and are educated about institutional and systematic racism and how it impacts the power structures in society. Through his activism, he has created the Street Philosophy Institute, a non-profit which promotes civic engagement and political literacy in marginalized communities, particularly in the rural South. He also continues his efforts in Florida to help ex-felons realize their franchise.