I am a white privileged girl living in the suburbs. That being said, I have my ownexperiences with power structures, and many that have occurred via my activist work, in my personal life, and via my teaching in the public schools. I want to share a few today in the hopes that thinking through these ideas might help others consider how to move forward as activists and teachers as public intellectuals. Right now, we are losing in our efforts to save public schools and the teaching profession. If anyone tells you otherwise they have not done the research or they are intentionally using their power to keep you in the dark – it’s all out there – in writing – for anyone interested to peruse.
One would hope that power is used for the good of humanity, for the good of our world and each human, plant, and animal walking this earth. That’s what it should be. Seems like a silly thing to even point out, doesn’t it? But in this country – that idea – doing things for the common good – has vanished for the most part.
My chickens have taught me a lot about power. I have eight. We got six about three years ago and added two to the flock two years ago. The youngest two, named Lucy and Phoebe, are thick as thieves. Lucy is a stark white and black beautiful Brahma and Phoebe is a deep black and rich brown red laced Wyandotte. The two girls stick together – it gives them power to ward off potential bossiness or meanness from the older girls. As a young hen Lucy was as fierce as the wind. She would jump and fly up into the face of one of the strongest and biggest leaders in our flock. She would take the older girls off guard and they weren’t quite sure how to put her in her place – they typically backed off. I kept waiting for a coup – as Lucy tried to take the lead in the flock. Early on we noticed that Lucy had a crooked claw on her foot. I worried about that for fear that it might someday cause her to lose some of her assertiveness and power within the flock. Phoebe could fly up high and jump on perches quickly whereas it took Lucy a bit longer to learn to grip the perch. Eventually she did. However, never, did she reach the heights Phoebe could reach. And oddly enough, Phoebe still allowed Lucy to take the lead in everything. At night on the perch she would try to bury her head under Lucy’s body to go safely to sleep. Lucy’s potential for being the lead in the flock was strong.
Several weeks ago I noticed a change with Lucy. She looked thinner. She was always one of the biggest girls in the flock. I went to pick Lucy up and Phoebe charged at me and pecked me and then pecked Lucy hard on the neck. Lucy cowered. I had never seen her cower. Phoebe charged at me again and in shock I pushed her away hard. She then flew at me and attempted to bite me again. Lucy continued to cower. I was blindsided by these behaviors. Lucy had always protected Phoebe! As I watched throughout the day I noticed that Lucy had become a target. The girls were letting her have it left and right – pecking her neck – Power | BustED Pencils: