I just finished an engaging conversation with a cohort of educators (I'm lucky enough to work with) after reading this article. We were discussing education of young children and how we can talk to children about racism. I am so hoping the conversation continues.
Here's a quote for you to nibble on: "Ultimately, words and books should not be the end of your child’s education about race and racism. 'The best advice I can give parents is to be models for the attitudes, behavior and values that they wish to see in their children,' said Nia Heard-Garris, M.D., an attending physician at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago."
Here are three questions from our discussion.
I invite you to explore these questions and reflect on them.
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.
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.