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Developing a Disruptor's Ear

A workbook for learning how to listen (despite schoolishness and pervasive whiteness) and what to do with what you're hearing.

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This information and exercises in this workbook stemmed mostly from the Equity in Self-Directed Education training sessions that we conducted in September 2019. We call this a workbook for learning how to listen (despite schoolishness and pervasive whiteness) and what to do with what you're hearing, because those pain points (how to listen and what actions to take when you finally start hearing) are among the primary pain points of who we intend to support with this particular project. Developing a Disruptor's Ear is designed to support all people who are dedicated to nurturing healthy, successful SDE spaces while recognizing and valuing the intersections of personal identity, race, and culture.

What You'll Focus On:

  • Identifying the characteristics, patterns, and problematic outcomes of harmful, normalized practices
  • Operating beyond the fear of being wrong or offensive
  • Proactive ways to avoid anti-Blackness and other dominant behaviors
  • Discovering language for conveying your needs as a BIPOC family in a predominantly white SDE space
  • Knowing what to do or say when your attempts to heal, actually end up hurting
  • Being in community with groups of people you didn’t grow up seeing or knowing much about

This is work for all of us, and what we've observed is that for white people, it will be deep work, because you have to deschool from so much of what you’ve been taught about BIPOC folks, about living and learning together, and even about yourself.

The BIPOC folks closest to your community are the best people for you to listen to, in whichever ways are consensual and convenient for those people. While you learn to nurture those relationships, we are here, willing to offer our insights and strategies for easing the work of BIPOC folks in your community who do not have the space or time to educate you on what to unlearn.

Use this workbook to work toward more human-centered, less oppressive, less schoolish, less harmful communication, starting with you.

Authors: Maleka Diggs & Akilah S. Richards


Course Curriculum



CO-AUTHOR: Maleka Diggs is a racial equity and inclusion trainer and founder of Philadelphia-based Eclectic Learning Network; a secular, Black & Brown centered home education network with a focus on supporting families who utilize unschooling or other forms of Self-Directed Education through community, connection, and awarenesses that reflect the cultural and interest-driven needs of our young people.

CO-AUTHOR: Akilah S. Richards is the founder of Raising Free People Network, a social enterprise focused on resolving the ways that unexamined bias and oppression disrupt families' and organization’s capacity to sustain a culture of belonging. Families, social profit organizations, and corporations rely on Akilah's expertise and unique unschooling and deschooling methodologies to name, navigate, and resolve issues of privilege and power that relate to age, socio-economic class, race, and culture.

Frequently Asked Questions


How long do I have access to this workbook?
You have lifetime access. After enrolling, you will have unlimited access to the downloadable pdf inside this course.
What if I am unhappy with the workbook?
If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first five days and we will give you a full refund.

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We don’t think we have to tell you why this workbook is necessary, right?

There is this pervasive Kumbaya Myth in SDE spaces that leaves many people shocked, angered, triggered, or otherwise harmed when they realize that a shared appreciation for natural learning and liberated living don’t automagically equip us with the tools to effectively understand each other as people from varying backgrounds, cultures, and norms.

In fact, our shared values can often make it even harder for us to see our biases as people in general. Add to that the reality for white people, who have more privilege than BIPOC (Black people, Indigenous people, People of Color) folks, and you quickly see the ways that white people’s lack of understanding of BIPOC people outside of media misrepresentation and historical, systemic prejudice make it harder for culturally and racially diverse SDE spaces to exist, let alone thrive.

EXCERPT FROM THE WORKBOOK:

We’re taking this Kumbaya Myth out of the circle here.

There is no time for insisting that love will conquer all. It won’t. Not without good communication, real accountability, voluntary grace, and consistent, deliberate effort in place.

Love is a catalyst, not an engine. So, we will strengthen love with deliberate effort, proactive efforts even, and we will face the reality that if you are not doing this work, then you are for sure causing harm.

Change is required, and we are offering space and practice for change to begin or continue in your community now.

#learningtolisten