On June 26th, 2016 Jesse Williams of Grey’s Anatomy fame was honored with a BET Humanitarian Award.
For most of us, school was over. We didn’t have kids in our classrooms demanding our attention. But when I watched this speech, I immediately thought about all the ways I would use this speech in my High School and/or collegiate classroom. The 1st 3 paragraphs would be enough to spark a discussion on our current educational system
“Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry
and Debbie Allen for participating in that .
Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.
This award, this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students, that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.
My first question to you reader; What are the schools afraid to teach? What are you afraid to teach?
CREAD is revolutionary. No, we do not believe in modesty. We are saying that it is vital at this exact time to finally teach one of the things the schools are afraid to teach. The greatness and glory of blackness.
We at CREAD will be supporting all of our followers in the discovery, rediscovery and USE of black excellence to teach every subject, every grade and every child.
My second question; What does it mean to focus on comprehension over career? What does that mean to you?
Tons of people ask me how I taught my students history from an anti colonial perspective. I tell them I had to reteach myself. I had to enroll myself in my own masters level history course. And I took a big risk in my career, I took a bet that if I could teach history from the perspective that we were not just mere slaves, that instead, slavery was a part of our long long history on earth, that we were the first humans on earth and that we discovered and invented almost everything. That we weren’t passive in our enslavement but constantly resisted and revolted and worked together with the indigenous on the lands we were brought to and fought for our humanity. I took that bet and was successful.
I ask you, educator, reading this now, you the chemistry teacher, the Kindergarten teacher, the engineer and math teacher and all of you reading this post. How can you focus on comprehension over career, and start to teach a new way?
Want a good book to start with, looking at indigenous culture and comparing it to our black youth? Check out Dr. Chris Emdin’s book, “For White Folks who teach in the hood and the rest of ya’ll too!”
Get a taste of Chris here:
Don’t forget to check out the rest of Jesse Williams speech and unpack some of his gems with your students.
Cathleen’s Fav lines:
…I just want to thank them…, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us… Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.
Khalilah’s Fav lines:
We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind, while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black gold. Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit.
**Side Note: We use the terms African Diaspora and Black interchangeably. Our stance is if you consider yourself apart of the African Diaspora then we are here to support you, explicitly.
As always CREAD,
Deep thinkers only!