Ep 172 - Parent Discovers Emergent Structure


“If you travel down a long ass road and find the intersection— of art, feminism, fashion, Buddhism, social justice and motherhood— you’ll find me standing there in a MuMu, having a yard sale, raising money for Black Lives Matter.” – Melinda Alexander

Melinda is an LA-based mother, activist, and entrepreneur. Influenced by her parents work as longtime anti-racist, civil rights organizers, both art and social justice kept at her center. 

After having her baby in a tumultuous transition/divorce, her life changed. The work she does now, which she calls Women’s Work, helps other women find their voice as part of a liberation and unlearning process, “Getting Free”.

Melinda is raising Raider, her Black son in an anti-Black power structure, with a feminist, social justice-oriented focus. 


Akilah and Melinda talk about the questions that are driving us in the direction of committing to raising free people and how deschooling and unlearning show up in that experience. 

Raider was depressed and did not get used to the school structure. Melinda saw this and advocated for her son by emailing the teachers, it ultimately ended up in them transitioning to unschooling.

In her own experience as a former school teacher, Melinda shares some insights on how a schoolish structure can limit the children in certain contexts. Intrinsic value is not possible in a school setting, unless you are completely self-directed. Based on the pursuit of validation (did I do well?), the children have never been given a choice and always have been told what to do, and how to do it. By the time they finish school, they don’t know anything about themselves. 

They conclude that partnership and listening are what facilitate an emergent structure. The child is the curriculum and the parents are the facilitators, both are students and teachers. 

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