Guiding Question: What are the priorities of Black teachers? How do they differ from those of white teachers? Please comment below the blog with your response.
We’ll be discussing this live next week in a 5 day series (Monday-Friday around 9ish) via Periscope @banketheauthor and Facebook live @ https://www.facebook.com/concreterosepublications/
**Author’s note: This blog was written before the Dallas killings. It is not our intention to ignore that tragedy (Dallas actually has one of the most community orientated police departments in the country) but to focus on the parallel between Black Lives Matter and the role of today’s Black educator.**
Black Teacher Matters
Two more Black lives have ended at the hands of the police and people have questions, outrage. I say two more Black lives because I don’t know their names and I really don’t want to. Is that shameful? Probably. I say two more Black lives at the hands of police, because that is factual. No one can argue that. Words like “killed” and “murdered” are too strong for the fragility that stands in the way of true discourse. It’s crazy how law enforcement and their families will argue you down about even that. Like, uh, are y’all looking at the same numbers we’re looking at? Watching the same videos? No one is saying all cops are bad, but by sticking to the “don’t snitch” code and the “blue wall of silence”, in response to obvious misconduct, cops are saying that themselves. My brother is a cop. And not a play brother and not a play cop. People say fuck the police and I speak up and check ‘em. “No, not fuck all police. There are some good police and we need good people to sign up to police.” Yet, in their aggressive delusion, ill logical denials, misguided boycotts, proclamations that “Blue Lives Matter” and noisy silence police say, “fuck the people” and who amongst them speaks up against that?
Fuck if these bodies, these numbers don’t indicate a racist system. Like, can’t we even agree on that? But denial runs deep and so does fragility. So we bottle our own anger and our own hurt to sit down and have these same kind of conversations with teachers about suspensions and classroom removals and expectations, they flex the same bullshit and say we’re accusing teachers of being racist. No, we’re saying the system is racist and any teacher who can’t admit that and explore their own role in that racist system isn’t fit to teach our kids. Straight like that. Black teachers need this exploration first. 3500 teachers in the RCSD, I wonder how many of them are Black, and how many of them are ‘woke, and then I wonder what would happen if those Black teachers had a press conference and said anti-racism training is needed, and so are restorative practices, a curriculum that is culturally responsive (and therefore by definition socioemotional), and the new code of conduct too. But very few are willing to bite the hand of a union that’s been the only stable factor in a fundamentally fucked up district who needs to acknowledge its own wrong doing.
All of our hands are equally bloody. We kill our students slow when we can’t even admit the realities of the world we claim we’re preparing them for. We kill our students through our silence when our allegiance to the profession is stronger than our allegiance to serve. We kill ourselves when we stay in positions we know we’ve outgrown. And we all kill each other by not seeing and tapping into the power that we each have.