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We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
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We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  469 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Drawing on personal stories, research, and historical events, an esteemed educator offers a vision of educational justice inspired by the rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists.

Drawing on her life's work of teaching and researching in urban schools, Bettina Love persuasively argues that educators must teach students about racial violence, oppression, and how to
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Hardcover, 200 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Beacon Press
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Average rating 4.54  · 
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 ·  469 ratings  ·  64 reviews


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Start your review of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
Emily
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some books you read fast because you can't take in information fast enough. This book is one you read slow because every morsel of information is big and powerful and makes you think.

All educators should read this. I wish I could take a class with her.
Jenell
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one goes in the “Required Texts” section of my Autumn 2019 syllabus.
Elizabeth Langa
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every educator should read this book. Period.
Maya McKenzie
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: social-work
Should be MANDATORY reading for all educators
Kimberley
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Abolitionist Teaching" is what Bettina Love says we need more of in our schools and, as a mother, I couldn't agree more with her analysis: Racism is not exclusive to one political party or a particular type of White person. White, well-meaning, liberal teachers can be racist too.

From that point, Love lays out where it all went, and continues to go, wrong. However, she also offers a solution as to how we can make a difference--as educators, parents, activists, politicians, etc.--in the lives of
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Becky R.
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a white teacher in a very white school, I've desperately been seeking ways to challenge my own bias, my own culturally taught racism, my own bigotry. This is a systemic problem, and it had to start with me looking at myself. I have an MA in ethnic literature and spent an entire higher educational career challenging norms and reading about experiences outside my own. But now as a professional, how do I pass on this personal journey to my own students? How do I challenge them, without pushing ...more
Lynn
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent essay in the injustices put upon African Americans in the past and currently. Very direct and to the point. Bettina L. Love comes from Rochester NY where I’m from so I identified with what she said about Rochester. Once a thriving city in many ways, it has become a city with a huge concentration of poverty. Heartbreakingly so. Important book.
Bob
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Summary: A plea and argument for abolitionist teaching that advocates for educational justice in our schools, that understands and is in solidarity with the struggle people of color face in our often racialized schools, and affirms the goodness and joy of one's ethnic, sexual, and gendered identity.

This book is an impassioned argument for "abolitionist teaching." The writer, educational theorist Bettina L. Love, offers this definition:

"Abolitionist teaching is the practice of working in
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Zoe's Human
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lt
In We Want to Do More Than Survive, Bettina Love, a lifelong educator, paints a clear picture of the systemic nature of racism in our educational system. She examines the role of for-profit organizations in undermining true learning and the role of whiteness, including that of well-intended white folks, in killing the spirits of children. She persuasively argues that there is another way forward, a way that not only makes room for black students to breathe and thrive but also creates paths and ...more
adeservingporcupine
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I would love to read this with other educators so we could discuss it. It’s a challenge to us all to dismantle education as it stands in the U.S. There is mostly theory here and not exactly action steps. Which is great for planting the seeds of radical change but leaves me with questions of what is next. I love that Dr. Love does not shy away from tearing apart so many celebrated aspects of education policy (character education, grit, charter schools) and how they are rooted in white supremacy.
R
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a white teacher in a very white school, I've desperately been seeking ways to challenge my own bias, my own culturally taught racism, my own bigotry. This is a systemic problem, and it had to start with me looking at myself. I have an MA in ethnic literature and spent an entire higher educational career challenging norms and reading about experiences outside my own. But now as a professional, how do I pass on this personal journey to my own students? How do I challenge them, without pushing ...more
Monise
I finally finished. My copy has lots of underlined sentences and paragraphs. Reading this book has helped me understand one of the more pressing explanations behind the 'slump' I feel right now: I'm not working or have enough contact with Black teachers who are ready or willing to be abolitionist teachers.

It's too risky. Their (perceived) place in the hierarchy is at stake. They aren't ready to not be included or praised.

I need to be surrounded and motivated by abolitionist teachers. This book
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Sarah
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every educator in America needs to read this book yesterday. Every teacher, counselor, administrator, OST provider, school support personnel, parent - if you love black and brown kids, you need to read this book.

Dr. Love is articulate and well-researched and REAL in this book. And it’s the first thing I’ve read that’s given me the tiniest of tiny shreds of hope for the future of education - at least in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, where I work.
Chalida
Brought up a lot of interesting discussion in two book clubs over two weeks. Makes me think that freedom dreaming is more important now than ever and we have replaced civics ed with character ed. The value of homeplaces and abolitionist teaching in every way possible in a system that is spirit murdering is necessary. Very excited to hear Love talk about these principles next week.
Jony SoRo
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every educator should read.
Brittany White
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Every person on earth should read this book. Wow.
Viral
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent and powerful short book about systemic racism and inequality in our educational system, and why we cannot simply solve the problem with "better teachers", but instead, we need to systematically rethink education, politics, and society. The classroom can be a place of liberation, but it also can reinforce systemic oppression. A great book for people looking to learn more about the problems we face.
Gabriella  Schiller
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
great material and concepts for education. she tended to go on unrelated tangents. that's a personal pet peeve of mine when reading essays so maybe I'm biased. Overall, I would reccomend it though! She is highly intelligent and I appreciated her wisdom, especially as an educator. ...more
Becky
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a School Nurse at an elementary school where the majority of children are a different race than I am. I appreciated this book more than words can say. My educational background is in complex developmental trauma in children and adolescents. This book took what I already knew to be true about trauma and the developing brain and gave me so many new things to think about when it comes to the students I serve. I loved it.
Stephen Rockwell
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Certainly a must read for all people. Inspiring, raw, and a staple in the field of education.
Zachari Curtis
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
"See me after class."

While I'm in no position to actually call the author in, there were several times while I was reading where I wanted to highlight the paradoxes she seemed to be creating by collapsing rather than wrestling with the complexities of the interlocking theories she prescribes to abolitionists. The book initially is very engaging but, perhaps in an effort to cover ground and provide historical or cultural context to anchor her stories, it devolves into a rushed list of historical
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Lori
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
I wanted to like this book. We need more discussion about the systemic ways in which the various intersecting systems of American life contribute to poverty and oppression of POC, driven by racism rooted in White privilege. Unfortunately, this book does not fill that purpose well enough for me to pass it on to my friends who need to be introduced to Critical Race Theory in a non-technical setting.

I came here hoping this book would do for education what Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow gave
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bellatuscana bellatuscana
I don't think I still understand the book as much as I could have even after reading it. It is part auto-biography, part current events. I first heard Dr. Love's talk at Auburn Avenue after nearly running into her, and I felt that it was something imperative I should read. She talked about "respecting, not loving" dark children, whiteness being synonymous with racism, and being allies in social justice. I found her conversation very sympathetic, and in line with some of the work I've already ...more
Megan Gafvert
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education, africana
“The ability of education to be a mechanism for freedom, particularly for dark students, is suspended in midair by Whiteness, racism, sexism, and neoliberalism.”

“I often conduct workshops on racism and White supremacy, topics that make many of my participants uncomfortable. I remind them that it’s okay to be uncomfortable but also to understand that while you may be uncomfortable for 45 minutes, other people are uncomfortable their entire lives dealing with oppression.”

4.5/5, really great work
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Tom Crehore
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Much of this book is revelatory and contains writing that bounces from cloud to cloud. I agree with over 90% of what is in here, but there are some faults. There are a few too many sweeping generalizations, and a real sense of "If/Then." If something does not contribute to her personal "sense of blackness," then it must be the result of white rage or the flaming sword of oppression. While I am guessing she is probably right, I can't help but think that a "sense of blackness" varies by region, ...more
Julia
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you!

I feel like I missed something in this book. The writing was serviceable, but not memorable. The autobiographical bits were interesting to learn a bit about the author, but I wanted more on education. There was more memoir and more general race theory than I expected, and less concrete focus on the education system. I recognize that it is challenging to disentangle from a lot of other aspects, but the discussion was too surface level. It
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Hannah Darr
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Abolitionist teaching is asking a lot of all teachers, but any good pedagogy should. Any pedagogy that does not interrogate and challenge Whiteness is inadequate, especially since more than 80 percent of the teaching force is White. Any pedagogy that does not help teachers contextualize students' realities is inadequate because no student is solely responsible for their reality. And any pedagogy that does not challenge injustice is useless because survival is not the goal. Abolitionist teaching ...more
Stephanie
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book that highlights important aspects of societal injustice that disproportionately erases dark bodies. By interweaving theory, history, and current events, Love analyzes the educational-survival complex that affects dark students. But instead of just centering the ways that dark children are consistently maligned in US schools, she also advocates for the wellness and freedom of Black people. She asks all of us to really grapple with what it would mean to be abolitionist teachers in the ...more
Kesi Augustine
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Love is an insightful and important writer. I am a young Black educator and I am just starting my third year of my career. I heard Dr. Love on 8 Black Hands and then immediately bought her work.

This was a book that was deceptively short but quite thorough, I read it slowly over the course of about a month, hoping to commit it to memory. Dr. Love taught me that I must teach my students not just about injustice but to also offer them models of resistance. I appreciated her for calling out the
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Abigail
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that you read and then immediately want to read again. Dr. Love effortlessly weaves together theory, history, and memoir, and manages to answer questions and give questions before you even know to ask them. The content of this book is direct, challenging, and expansive. I need to read this again slower and dig deep into the questions that this makes me ask about myself and my identities as a white person, as an artist, as a member of community. Every question and idea ...more
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