Besides the pandemic, my heart is heavy from the news coverage of the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. This story, like too many others like it, deserves a response from all of us. Whatever your politics, whatever your faith, whatever you believe — we all need to do our part to make this world a better place for all of our Children. Making the world a better place includes doing away with racism.
I have no answers. But I have spent many years as a white female Teacher trying to become an anti-racist ally and to talk to my own children and the children in my class about what I am learning and what they can do to make a difference. One thing I do know for sure: until white people are just as outraged by these events, we’re going to see these news stories over and over again. We also have to realize that many things happen that we never hear about in the news.
This is absolutely no criticism of the police. I am grateful for the work of our police. I know they do a very dangerous job every single day. Their lives matter as much as anyone else’s.
My sadness and anger are because of the systemic racism that is at the root of evil behavior on the part of police or neighborhood watch people or anyone else who has been guilty of taking the life of an unarmed black man. My sadness and anger are also directed at the ones who stood there and said nothing while George Floyd died in the street.
I have to question my own beliefs and attitudes and biases on a daily basis. I have to, because if I say that I am here to teach all children, then I have to look out for the well-being of all children. As Bob Goff tweeted today:
Not just some people, sometimes.
I’m sharing some books and articles that have helped me in the hope that something here will help you as well.
First, here is an excerpt from an email newsletter I follow. Erin Moon is the writer and you can read more about her on her website. Here’s what she said in today’s email:
“You can go to justiceforbigfloyd.com for ways to aid in the fight for justice for Mr. Floyd. And while it’s never the responsibility of a person of color to teach me how to not be racist towards them, or how to be a good person and ally, I am so grateful for the work of several teachers on this subject. Osheta Moore, Ekemini Uwan, Dr. Lucretia Berry, Lisa Sharon Harper, and Latasha Morrison are just a few. I urge you to follow these women, learn from what they give, and listen to what they say. Support their work (I’m super into courses right now and just signed up for Dr. Berry’s Brownicity community. One of the modules is called “Raising Anti-Racist Kids” and it looks great and it’s actually my first Lil Treasure), if you can. I thought something that Dr. Berry’s husband said the other day was incredibly prescient for white people: he talked about how he’s been married to Dr. Berry and they have three children together but he STILL finds racial bias within him. It’s okay for us to admit we have racial bias, we’re not perfect, but we want to do better. I hope you’ll give these women a follow and a listen.”
This article “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice” by Corinne Shutack on Medium gives us actionable ideas for things to do, starting today.
Angela Watson’s article “10 Things Every White Teacher Should Know When Talking about Race” has so many good thoughts. A couple of her quotes at the beginning of the article struck me when I first read this:
“Teachers are smart, thoughtful people tasked with raising up young people to be leaders. We cannot be ignorant about race or avoid talking about it.”
And this one:
“People of color have no choice but to think about and understand race on a daily basis. It’s really up to us as white people to educate ourselves to the same level.”
This recent article by Georgina Dukes “When My Beautiful Black Boy Grows From Cute to a Threat” breaks my heart and gives me much to think about.
This is a great collection of resources on anti-racism.
If you are a white teacher or parent and interested in reading more, here are some of my favorite books.
Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain by Zaretta Hammond
Multiplication is for White People by Lisa Delpit
Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit
Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know But Are Afraid to Ask About African American Students by Gail L. Thompson
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
For White Folks Who Teach in the ‘Hood – and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy & Urban Education by Christopher Emdin
The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African-American Children by Gloria Ladson-Billings
Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real about Race in School by Mica Pollock
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys by Eddie Moore, Jr. (and other editors)
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust Society by Jennifer Harvey
There are so many great books out there. If you are serious about making a difference, I hope you will start with one of these or some other book you find that I have not listed. And I hope you will share your book findings with me. We are all still learning.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment or email. And if you are a person of faith, please pray.
The post A white teacher’s reflections on the murder of George Floyd appeared first on Still Teaching, Still Learning.