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On Thursday I will be at a conference in Houston, TX. The conference is about multicultural education – teaching about issues of gender, class, religion, race, sexual orientation issues. It’s solely for independent schools and it’s the largest conference of its kind for that population.

At the conference, I’ll be leading a workshop I created with one of my teacher colleagues. The title of my workshop is “Who Gets to Tell the Story?” It’s a workshop about authenticity and credibility, specifically within literature and cinema. The idea is, what does it mean to have an authentic voice? What gives insider status? Who can speak for whom?

Specific questions to consider:
Can a man write a novel as a woman, and still be to speak truth to women’s issues?
Could a Christian make a documentary about Islam that would do justice to the faith?
Can a White teacher teach a book written by a Native American about Native Americans and be able to be authentic?

It’s a different time now, with people having no formal authority are able to plant a stake online and declare themselves authorities. Perhaps you feel this makes sense, you feel anyone can talk about anything they want. If you do feel this way, how do we know what’s “truth” and what’s not? What creates authenticity? Does trust have any say in today’s time?

That’s the idea of my workshop. Sound interesting? Would you go?

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