Our teaching should encourage students to ask critical questions of our world. It should prize activism and struggle, and also kindness, joy, and cooperation — a curriculum of empathy that builds essential academic skills and powerful understandings. It’s a time for audacity in our work, not timidity.
I thought it would be best to have this in a separate post from this one with some of my reflections on white supremacy. Below, you can find a number of resources that I found challenging, comforting, inspiring, and helpful, in various and powerful combinations, in the weeks since the events in Charlottesville. Some quotes and annotations will give you an idea what you'll find in each link. It got so long, I just couldn't help it. Even if you don't read all of the articles, there are some really spectacular quotes to check out; the one at the top is a teaser, so you'll keep reading!
Articles & Blog Posts
The Paradox of Tolerance by Shea Kerkhoff (NCTE)
"But an educator's job is not that of peacekeeper. It is that of peacemaker. Peace is not made through a lack of violence, but through social justice, when the righteous are declared and the evil condemned."
White Supremacy, White Progressives, and Netroots Nation, by Karen Gaffney (Divided No Longer)
"Real racial justice requires us to actively confront our complicity in white supremacy…White progressives, we need to look ourselves in the mirror and recognize our participation in white supremacy and recognize that that process of recognition and dismantling our white supremacy is never-ending."
This is a deep and thorough post about defensiveness and self-reflection in white progressives in discussions of white supremacy. At the center is the idea that the instinctive reaction of "but I'm not one of those 'real' racists" prevents white people from looking at the real presence of white supremacy in our everyday lives. It also includes the author's presentation "Never Woke Enough: Talking to White People about White Supremacy."
For Educators After Charlottesville: Teaching in the Time of Trump (Rethinking Schools)
This post aims to place the events in Charlottesville within a larger context, framed in the work that Rethinking Schools has been doing for the past 30 years.
"Under these circumstances, we not only have to become more effective social justice educators, but also guardians of our students' safety and the fundamental health of public education."
I have to quote more, this fills my heart: "We’ve championed the beauty and strength of classrooms that prefigure aspects of the kind of society we’d like to live in. We have promoted engaging classroom practices that draw on the liberatory theory of Paulo Freire and others. The characteristics of a social justice classroom that we first articulated in Rethinking Our Classrooms still animate our work and publications today. Our teaching should encourage students to ask critical questions of our world. It should prize activism and struggle, and also kindness, joy, and cooperation — a curriculum of empathy that builds essential academic skills and powerful understandings. It’s a time for audacity in our work, not timidity. Trump may be president, but he is not president of our classrooms."
AND: "Given the unfolding political uncertainties, the creation of community schools as centers of renaissance and resistance — anchors of hope in our communities — will be one important way to fight the Trump agenda."
AND: "When students act on their beliefs and values about what is fair and just, they learn that democracy happens every day, not just on election day."
Resources for Educators Focusing on Anti-Racist Learning and Teaching (Early Childhood Education Assembly)
This includes resources for teachers to deepen their own understanding of racism and educational institutions, anti-bias teaching, understanding privilege, as well as teaching resources on deeper instruction in African American history and contributions, colonization, and enslavement. It would be an excellent resource for putting together professional development in this area.
There Is No Apolitical Classroom: Resources for Teaching in These Times (NCTE)
"We feel that silence on these issues is complicity in the systemic racism that has marred our educational system."
NCTE explains that they're working a full-bodied set of classroom resources "as statements of love and support" to release at their upcoming annual convention, but they're sharing an incomplete version, because it's needed now to "continue the daily work that is antiracism." And I think that's awesome. This has a TON of resources, organized into topics, and including books for teachers and for students, and websites (including three of my favorites, We Need Diverse Books, Lee & Low Books, and A Mighty Girl <3) Topics include teaching white students and understanding bias and white supremacy.
Resources on Charlottesville (Karen Gaffney, Divided No Longer)
I shared an amazing post by this writer above. This is a very thoughtful collection of posts offering both analysis and action.
Everything at Rethinking Schools!!! The Facebook has regular helpful links, and the site has a blog and TONS of their own books and curriculum guides (I basically want all of them).
Seven Ways That Teachers Can Respond to the Evil of Charlottesville--Staring Now (Xian Franzinger Barrett, Rethinking Schools)
"White supremacy is also a deeply embedded feature of our educational system even as it runs counter to the values we claim to hold in pursuit of education."
"It is our duty to our profession, to our society and to the students to lovingly teach them to learn and grow beautifully as complete humans."
"I ask you to consider how it is that we've grown accustomed to narratives regarding the failings of segregated schools that serve students of color, but not the schools that educated those who defend and promote that segregation."
This post is a powerful reflection (as evidenced by the fact that I couldn't stop quoting it), and includes concrete, classroom-based suggestions, each of which comes with supporting resources.
In general, everything on Teaching Tolerance. Some highlights:
"But What About Antifa?" on addressing counter-protest and false equivalence
"Standing Up Against Hate" on the role and responsibility of educators to both challenge hate and work to prevent hateful activities in schools, as well as protect students' right to learn
"Why I Will Not Be Teaching About Charlottesville" on a teacher's approach to the fatigue of continually engaging in painful issues of racism, with students of color, by thinking deeply about how to shift her teaching practice to build real skills that can help them take action in their lives
"So I remember that I choose to view my work as art, as a form of healing."
Writing about practicing literacy and freedom with my small humans.