Attending ISTE While My Country Puts Children in Prison

2 min read

In a few days, I'll be traveling to Chicago for ISTE 2018. I'm curious to listen to what people talk about, and what they don't talk about. 

Crying child separated from parents

Image credit: John Moore

If people are unwilling or unable to discuss the reality - the well documented, indisputable reality - that our government is putting children into makeshift jails, I will be curious to know why. We are living in a time when our government is attempting to call putting babies - some as young as 6 months old - into cages, alone - and calling it a "tender age" shelter. When we torment children, and then torture language to mask the torment we are causing, we have multiple problems, but we cannot and should not pretend this is normal.

If, at ISTE, people try and retreat behind the veneer of "politeness" I will observe that demands for politeness in the face of the obscenities of xenophobia, racism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry, misogyny, and/or white supremacy are not polite: demands for politeness are another form of erasure. 

I will be listening to how people attempt to position technology as neutral and apolitical in a time when the ability to retreat to the pillars of neutrality and apoliticism are clear definitions of privilege.

If we can't see and acknowledge that a government policy of hurting kids and destroying families is an educational issue, then we have problems.

And my recommendation here: if, in a conversation, you have a choice between polite or candid, choose candid. It might not go over well at the time, but long term, it's the kindest thing you can do.