I initially drew this image in order to speak to the return of the District Suits to our campus. The goal was to comment on how a huge number, both teachers and administrators, would be putting on a different form, a different shape, to navigate the politics of the day. I decided to dissent with taking the metaphor of Marvel Comics’ Skrulls, since many of them are Alien Americans now. Instead, I went with My Little Pony’s Changelings.
For those that dont know, Changelings are largely equine in appearance but possess insect-like characteristics. They have black carapace-like coats, webbed manes and tails, reflection-less eyes (unlike their queen’s), fangs, bent horns, insect-like wings, and holes in their legs. Unlike ponies, changelings do not have cutie marks. Like Skrulls, they are able to change their appearance to match that of ponies; in particular, Queen Chrysalis shape-shifts into Princess Cadance, and several changelings take the form of Twilight Sparkle and her friends.
You can see the metaphor. With Suits on hand, everyone is going to attempt to assume a friendlier, more obsequious form. Mostly administration, who is apparently being held accountable to operational problems, but I’m assuming the criticisms will sweep down to the teacher level…there are so many dysfunctions. Our Union Area Rep cancelled on the meeting that we were going to have with the Principal, as did the Secondary Vice President…both of those people showing their true colors early. I presumed an acrimony filled meeting, but since coming to school Monday morning, I feel somewhat differently about the art.
Last year, there were many conflicts on the Winter Holidays. Our new leadership felt that we should teach about the First Amendment, but not really practice it all that much, and our school became a Christmas filled environment. Trees, Santas, Nutcrackers, even a Nativity depiction in the Parent Center. This happened.
A small number of staff (myself included) were upset and marginalized. It became a Thing, and to this day, upper administration at the school still feels both raw about it, and that it was necessary to win against a small group of Atheists, Jews, and others. After an angry battle about it, I Let It Go, as “Frozen” tells me to.
Imagine my surprise, when I came into school with a week left, after cutting a DEAL for a different December, to find not one, but TWO Christmas trees in the main building. Last year, an e-mail was sent out saying that any such display needed to be “equitable’ and have “an educational purpose.” I just have two trees in the main hallway. Imagine my even greater surprise when it was revealed that the person who put them up claimed to support the small coalition of minorities that don’t observe Christmas the last time this came up.
In a much more personal fashion, the idea of the Changeling came up. I thought this person was about similar things, and could be trusted. More importantly, I felt like this person came at things with Heart, if not Organization, and was set in place to do right by the underdog or the “little guy.” Both the betrayal, and my complete failure to make a proper character judgement are sitting poorly with me.
Tomorrow is a Big Day. I’m glad things have come down the way they have, because where previously I might have tried to be a moderate, or be less outspoken, at this point…it is clear what the Powers that Be think of me, and mine. I will be exactly what I am, at the core, and if it is disliked…so be it.
It is better to stand up for what is right, or what matters, than to be liked. I’m hoping some of the Changeling Cohort will see that too, and stand with me, even without the support of our Union.