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Publisher's Summary

A revolutionary new educational model that encourages educators to provide spaces for students to display their academic brilliance without sacrificing their identities

Building on the ideas introduced in his New York Times best-selling book, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood, Christopher Emdin introduces an alternative educational model that will help students (and teachers) celebrate ratchet identity in the classroom. Ratchetdemic advocates for a new kind of student identity - one that bridges the seemingly disparate worlds of the ivory tower and the urban classroom.

Because modern schooling often centers whiteness, Emdin argues, it dismisses ratchet identity (the embodying of “negative” characteristics associated with lowbrow culture, often thought to be possessed by people of a particular ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic status) as anti-intellectual and punishes young people for straying from these alleged “academic norms”, leaving young people in classrooms frustrated and uninspired. These deviations, Emdin explains, include so-called “disruptive behavior” and a celebration of hip-hop music and culture.

Emdin argues that being “ratchetdemic”, or both ratchet and academic (like having rap battles about science, for example), can empower students to embrace themselves, their backgrounds, and their education as parts of a whole, not disparate identities. This means celebrating protest, disrupting the status quo, and reclaiming the genius of youth in the classroom.

©2021 Christopher Emdin (P)2021 Beacon Press

Critic Reviews

Ratchetdemic is a timely and essential resource for teachers, parents, and whoever else needs this compelling and accessible and above all absolutely refreshing take on pedagogy. Here’s to more and more classrooms being filled with learning, healing and joy.” (Jacqueline Woodson, MacArthur Fellow and National Book Award winner for Brown Girl Dreaming)

"Offers an illuminated guide to decentering Whiteness in the classroom in order to allow students of color to thrive.... This impassioned and richly detailed call for change will strike a chord with teachers in historically marginalized communities.” (Publishers Weekly)

“What Christopher Emdin offers in Ratchetdemic is not only a call for us to uplift the rigors of bringing our full selves to the epistemological foundations associated with the pursuit of educational justice; it is also an invitation to explore the ancient truth that being a little ‘ratchet’ can be healing for all of us.” (Monique W. Morris, author of Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools)

What listeners say about Ratchetdemic

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Absolutely brilliant!

I love both his books! This one in particular spoke to me as a black woman trying to navigate academia and being my true authentic self with my students.

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innovatively logical

If you work with students, you need this read. Being and helping students be authentic. Read this with an open mindset.

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Get this today!

Great guide to connect with the truth of the challenges facing educators and students today. Great tips for classroom management and for folks working to a more liberated educational experience!

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I feel seen, heard and empowered to continue being me!

Dr. Emdin’s reading takes you on a journey that flows in rhythm, love and joy. It provides us with a vision of what it means to hold onto everything you are because everything you are is freedom. I have never felt seen in this work as an educator because I have always done things in a way that is untraditional, authentic and artistic to who I am. The education system wishes for creativity yet expects compliance and sameness. But it fails to recognize the genius in who we are as ratchet educators. I have never felt more heard, seen and valued! I am empowered so much after I read the book I had to listen to the audible!

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Audio quality is off

I love Christopher Emdin. This is more "uncomfortable" and urgent than "For White Folks" in a good way. Audible needed to clean up this audio. It sounds tinny.

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He’s Done It Again!

Thank you for blessing the world with your brilliance yet again Dr. Emdin! I encourage all educators, school leaders, community members and students to do a village wide book club and co-construct a Ratchetdemic educational experience for everyone!

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A Manifesto for Educational Revolution

I highly suggest the audiobook version accompanying a fiercely and fervently annotated hard copy of this tome to liberatory and reality pedagogy. Literally listening to Dr. Emdin speak his truth—THE truth—about finding, using, amplifying, and celebrating the truest, core identities in ourselves and our students is a clarion call to arms for the brothers, sisters, and family of the ratchetdemic army.

This text is for the warrior caste—the ones who are researched, ready, wily, willing, avid, and able. If you’re just dipping your toes into #realitypedagogy, start with Dr. Emdin’s previous text, “For White Folx Who Teach in the Hood”—more of a “how to” primer on the what and how of racthetdemia—and lay the ground work.

After you have the theory and practical considerations under your belt, this is when it’s time to get amped for “Ratchetdemic” to rouse you into the revolutionary act of TRUE teaching and learning. This text, especially when listening to Dr. Emdin’s actual voice while reading, is like a pump up jam on steroids for over 200 pages.

Long story short: this is absolute, revolutionary fire, and if you’re ready to dismantle the white supremacist culture of American public schooling, only to rebuild a system of emancipatory educational institutions, and you’ve been lusting for some passion to keep your inner flame from being stifled by the shushing of the pearl clutching status quo clenchers, “Ratchetdemic” is your next read.

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Eye opening

Love the historical facts snd life lessons of why we need to be better teachers.

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required reading

Christopher Emdin is absolute gold!!! this book changed how I teach and view many facets of life.

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Manifesto for real change in black schools

For this white 70 year old, Emdin's brilliant and passionate writing helped remind me that school is a terrible place for black children, and that black teachers can and must fight to change that by bringing their genuine selves to the school, rejecting the structural racism embodied in the system itself.
As a science teacher, Emdin reveres knowledge and learning, but also sees how school is structured to destroy the souls of children entrusted to it. he argues for teachers to resist being complicit in that process and to support each other.