This is an interesting perspective and catalyst of self-reflection. Sure, I am also buying books, working to be more informed, working to make sense of what is happening. But I’m not joining a book group. I don’t need to discuss and I don’t need to listen to others discuss their shame, sadness, or shock of how things are.
A poignant quote: “What they do is never enough. This isn’t the time to circle up with other white people and discuss black pain in the abstract; it’s the time to acknowledge and examine the pain they’ve personally caused. Black people live and die every day under the burdens of a racism more insidious than the current virus that’s also disproportionately killing us. And yet white people tend to take a slow route to meaningful activism, locked in familiar patterns, seemingly uninterested in really advancing progress.”
So today... what are you going to DO?
Dear educator friends,
This article is 10 years old. 10 YEARS. And not a thing has changed. This is an interesting read about data collection related specifically to the diversity of our teachers and gives us an opportunity to think about what message we are sending our classrooms which are becoming more diverse.
I know what it feels like to be the only biracial student in the room, the only person of color on the teaching team, the only person of color in a room. It's uncomfortable. It's awkward.
When I started teaching in Milton, I chose to go by Ms. Hannah. I made the excuse that saying Mrs. Assefa would be too many syllables, it would be different, it was too many S's. But really, I made the decision because I knew I was going to be one of a small group of educators who were of color, I was new, and I didn't want to stand out any more than I already would.
Times have changed. I am choosing a new path. I will be Mrs. Assefa from now on. Assefa is my father-in-law's first name (that's the way family names are passed on in Ethiopia) and, while I never had the opportunity to meet him, I know he was an amazing educator and I want to continue to celebrate that.
As always, I ask you to take the time to DO. If you're on Facebook, you're already using minutes towards something else... this took at most, 15 minutes to read. Another one of those, it's just worth it so do it.
Also, this is written towards educators but in this time of a pandemic, we have all become educators in one way or another. Pandemic or not, we are all educators of the class called "life." So, "We must commit to teaching in a way that totally disrupts and dismantles the system of oppression we have been operating within for over 400 years."
"We must teach like our lives depend on it, because for some of us, it does!" (Wing, 2020)
So, you (like I) did Black Out Tuesday. Feel like you’ve done your civic duty? Good for you.
It doesn’t really mean anything if you change your picture to something cute today. Or you share that cute video. It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t continue to DO something. Anyone can screenshot a little black square and post it. That’s what social media has tricked us with. It has tricked us into thinking we’ve done something. It’s tricked us into this topical form of pseudo activism... and it’s working.
Have you forgotten their names? Have you forgotten their families? Their faces? Do. Not. Stop. Continue to do more. Today, read this passage (because it’s important and if I can make time to read six pages you can too. Remember... it’s been YEARS that people of color have had to fight for their rights and THEY STILL AREN’T SEEN AS EQUAL).
If you don’t have time, sure... here are the “cliff notes.” But make time. Because this is important. This is a step towards REAL activism and yes, it’s going to take longer than posting a black square on your page.
A friend of mine shared a link about the National Museum of African American History and Culture Releasing a “Talking About Race” Web Portal. I have to be up front, as angered, hurt, saddened, and scared as I am... there are things about this time right now that are teaching me more about myself.
This is a time to reflect. YOU can take this time to reflect. What is your experience? What do you have to learn? What do you NEED to learn so you can DO and make meaningful change?
I am going to be brave and use this portal as a resource as I begin to become more comfortable talking about the difficult things that really, truly matter. JOIN ME.
About the blog
Facebook became my blog. A space where I shared the resources, experiences, and reflections with those around me. I hope that the same discussions can happen here and I hope you will share your reflections, experiences, and resources as you feel comfortable.