My hope with all my content is to help educators create meaningful and memorable experiences for their students.
In creating those experiences for our black and brown students, working to understand what their experience is as a black or brown person is in the US will be critical in informing our work as educators.
This applies even if all our students are white; what experience are we giving them to learn about the current racial injustices in the US.
We as educators, particularly non-black educators, have to put the work and effort and time in to understand what’s going on in our country and what that means for the work we do in our classrooms.
I thought I would share a few things I’ve come across the past few days that have helped me process the protests, the larger picture of inequity, the experience of black Americans, and it’s implication for our work in the classroom
REFLECTION BY TREVOR NOAH
Trevor Noah shares his thoughts on the killing of George Floyd, the protests in Minneapolis, the dominoes of racial injustice and police brutality, and how the contract between society and black Americans has been broken time and time again.
What stuck out to me was his point on how the Amy Cooper situation was really just a little peek behind the curtain; that while many people say ‘what do you mean there’s still injustices and racial inequality,’ for her to know that she could say ‘I’m going to call the police and tell them an African American man is threatening me’ and know that it would work to her favor shows that we as a non-black community may know a little bit more about it than we let on.
ON WHAT THIS WORK LOOKS LIKE FOR EDUCATORS
This thread by Joe Truss:
I’ve bolded the sections that caused reflective pause for me.
To my white educators: Today, you’re posting about social justice, buying antiracist books, following brown folks, and temp changing your profile pictures. (thread)— Joe Truss – Culturally Responsive Leadership (@trussleadership) June 1, 2020
Here’s what I need you to do tomorrow:
The thread continues:
Find more white folks to talk to about whiteness and anti-blackness
Keep reading about history, narratives of black people, written by black people please,
Think about how you can elevate and center the black experience in your curricula, year around, not just a negative stories of oppresssion but lift up stories and examples of resistance, affirmation, and empowerment.
Turn on the news and realize that shit ain’t changed, just because you woke up a bit more and acknowledged a little more of what’s in your invisible knapsack of privilege. (There’s more in there)
Learn about restorative justice & restorative practices so that you can have a different relationship with your black students. Realize there is a whole lot more you need to do before RJ/RO, nothing to do with classroom management, all to do with you.
Do an inventory of your previous votes as far as propositions, measures, and elected officials and check their record. Look at it with a. Critical race theory lens. Vote them fools out of office. Do better. Stop compromising.
If you got tired of talking about race and thinking about race after a few days or weeks, multiply that shit by lifetime and get back to work. You probably need some help from other wife folks. Don’t ask around people how they keep fighting. That’s offensive coz we have to
Now that you see that racism can be systemic within the police system or the health system accept the fact that it’s in every system and get to work
If you feel like you need to go to a person of color to tell them you support them don’t, just support them
If you feel like you need to go to a person of color to ask them where to start, don’t, go find a white person is further along in their consciousness development, talk to them, and wait until partnerships naturally develop
When you’re done reading books written by white people 4 white people,
read books written by black people 4 white people,
then read books written by black people 4 black people.
Theres a difference. Notice subtleties. you should be able to hea all forms but explore why u can’t
Listen in white spaces and in mixed race spaces for racist remarks, micro aggressions, racial equity myths, white fragility, white rage, and white supremacy culture. (it’s not enough just to listen)
See something say something do something.
Think about what would it take for folks not to feel comfortable around you less they get challenged
Pay attention to what other white folks say in staff mtgs, small breakouts, & even better informal conversations in the staff lounge, parking lot, or copy room. Be ready to go to war at any moment. Be prepared for it to happen often enough to make you think you’re tired, your not
Pay attention to what type of media you consume and content you patronize. Diversify and blackify it.
Stop kicking so many damn kids out of class.
Take half if not all of the adopted textbook and throw it out. Create what will engage and interest your most marginalized and oppressed students. What will empower them?
Stop correcting students’ expression of their identity. Hats and hoodies and jewelry aren’t hurting anyone. Neither slang, students accent, and language. Appreciate it. See it as an asset.
Stop talking so much in class and monopolizing the time. If your kids want to talk let them learn through talk like we all do. Give them something to talk about that is interesting, challenging, and meaningful, to them.not you. Them.
Get your kids moving, active, out of that individual desk, and out of those four walls of confinement. There’s a whole world out there to explore, spoiler alert, learning can happen there too. If you do it right you can even be a part of it
Pick up another book to read, join another discussion group, sign up for another seminar about your content and pedagogy, but even better about continuing to unpack your privilege. dig through the cobwebs of colonialism. Better than white affinity groups.
By now another atrocity of racism & anti-blackness should’ve happened. U will be more prepared & more versed in the process of awakening & reckoning w/ anti-racism. Help white folks on their path. Hopefully U have some brown folks to be in solidarity with. They will let you know.
rinse and repeat.
A CONVERSATION ON RACE IN EDUCATION
Fellow Teacher-YouTuber CJ Reynolds had a conversation with several educators talking about race in education.
I think the examples of the way some white teachers hold a bias against their black students without realizing it was helpful to hear.
There was also discussions about what can be done at the systemic level to level the playing field for all students in our districts.
A COUPLE MORE RESOURCES:
- A book on racism in the context of the evangelical church. Worth the read for anyone who identifies as a Christian. My thoughts on the book here.
- My conversation with Roberto Germán on the multicultural classroom; what this work looks like for both the white teacher teaching in a predominately black and brown school as well as the white teacher teaching predominately in a white school.
I hope this is helpful to my fellow educators.