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Showing posts from July, 2020

An Anti-Racism Journey, Part 2

Part 1 is here. I feel like this could be as many parts as I had time to write, and I really hope that people offer some feedback.

After I started teaching Black and brown kids, I quickly realized the work I needed to do, and in fact that all white educators need to do. Realizing that we have work to do, however, is a lot easier than doing the work.

If you've never thought about it, take a minute to consider how public school systems are entrenched in white culture. The hand-raising instead of calling out, looking adults in the eye, lectures, sitting still... many of these are not necessarily best practices and are not what many non-white people do at home, but we force kids to adapt to this mold. I remember when I first thought to question this. I was a student teacher in Sacramento and didn't think twice about asking a child to "look me in the eye" to show respect. A Hmong parent gently pointed out that, in their culture, it was extremely rude for a child to look …

An Anti-Racism Journey: Part 1

This is a slogan that I'd love to adopt. However, I don't think it's accurate. Because there is no time in the history of America when everyone agreed that racism was wrong.

It's easy to see it now: Trump is stoking the fire of racism and bringing racists out of the woodwork! Why can't things just go back to the way they were before him?

The problem, of course, is that racism was still around before that. Yes, even when Obama was president. It was just easier for white people to ignore. I know it was easy for me to ignore, right up until I started teaching Black and brown kids and saw it up close. And I will always regret not realizing sooner that not only was racism still present, but that our country was founded on it. That this IS who we are and always has been.

I found a picture of myself during my first year teaching. I was 24 and looked about 15. I was surrounded by five boys: three Black kids and two Vietnamese kids, all in my first-grade class. I had a bad…