Politicians and government officials make their appearances at community centers and churches. They show up routinely during their 2 or 4 -year election cycles.
University researchers arrive in ‘low-income, multi- lingual, multi-cultural’ communities and schools saying they’ll gather the necessary data to affect change and social policy.
Private Training Establishments show up in the same communities and schools promising employment at the completion of a free, certificate-level course inclusive of ‘unpaid work’ opportunities.
The media lures the little ones of the same communities and schools into their ‘token’ story with promises of national fame.
The politicians and government officials get elected; the researchers get published; the PTE’s get rich; and the media gets ratings.
What becomes of the people behind the won election, the research data, the money and the ratings? Time and again their narratives are raped and pillaged and their knowledge and intellectual property is dislocated; reduced to someone else’s story, vote, or signature.
I was lucky enough to sit through an hour and a half presentation delivered by a government bureaucratic the other day. In short, his diatribe made clear that not only are ‘you’ to tell ‘them’ how to educate ‘their’ kids, but also how to organize ‘their’ economy and community. Additionally, ‘you’ are to tell them to offer only one vocational pathway, not many learning opportunities, because that will limit the ambitions/possibilities of ‘their’ little ones, give ‘us’ the data we need, and ensure ‘we’ all have jobs in the future .
Whose story is it?