Who is Mo the Educator? Born Maurice Dolberry, called Reece, Mo, Mr. Dolberry, Coach… He’s a hip-hop head, teacher, pop culture connoisseur, University of Washington (UW) student, (former) athlete, orator… and part-time Jedi knight? Somewhere amongst that conglomeration of words lies “Mo the Educator”, a nickname given to me by my friend, the co-founder of alumniroundup.com. Think of it as an alter ego/nom de plume – not the anonymous kind, of course – for some of the social and educational commentary I present. It’s also “what I do and how I get down”, so it’s a descriptor as well.
Academically, I am a doctoral student in the College of Education. My concentration is Multicultural Education. I’m also a fellow in the UW Certificate in Public Scholarship program – kind of like a “minor” for PhD students interested in public scholarship. As a multicultural education student studying the intersectionality of science education, culturally responsive pedagogy, and hip hop as culture, I’m constantly assessing and challenging things from that unique context.
A great example? The picture to the above right. I could be delivering a captivating, awe-inspiring speech on social justice and the proper education of children. I also might be asking a group of rowdy kids to sit down. Am I holding my finger up to emphasize some incredibly witty and poignant point that I am making? Or am I in the middle of rockin’ my second verse as the headliner at a hip-hop concert? (Okay, probably not, but there definitely is some “hip-hop” going on in that picture).
And how do my race (Black), ethnicity (African American), and gender (male) affect how you see me in that picture because of those factors? What’s the “real” answer? And what if instead of a mic and those clothes, I had a purple lightsaber and Jedi robes on instead? How about how I am dressed? Are you more or less likely to believe what that person is saying?
Problematizing. That’s what I do as Mo the Educator, the former K – 12 classroom teacher and administrator who writes social commentary about education, pop culture, and hip-hop culture. While I offer my (sometimes peanut gallery) opinion and what I conceive are solutions, my goal is often to challenge commonly held assumptions to push us to replace solutions that aren’t working with others that will. At the same time, I also believe that oftentimes there’s no true “answer” to something, just the ability to think differently about it. Whatever the subject or the conclusions you or I draw, my hope is that you look back up at what I’ve written and at least find it entertaining!