This weekend Solange Knowles addressed a hot button topic, “the angry black woman.” She shares an incident that occurred while she and her family were attending a concert and were told by a group of white women to, “sit down now” as she and her family danced to the music of the artist they came to see. And when they did not immediately oblige the “request” of the other attendees, food was thrown at them.
I saw this story unfold in pieces, first her tweets describing the incident and then this piece: And do you belong? I do where she gives her full perspective. I immediately shared it on all my social media platforms.
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As I read through the piece a second time, I wondered about all the white spaces where I’ve felt anywhere from unwelcomed, to uncomfortable, to definitely unappreciated. And then I thought about how one of the most unwelcoming places for black and brown bodies is our schools.
Yale educator, Deena Simmons, points out the challenge of ensuring our students feel valued when the world around them seems to reject them. She explains, “… I showed my students that they mattered despite everything else in their lives that told them otherwise…I included their narratives and stories into my lessons so that they learned how to value and love themselves, so that they felt proud to be who they are, and so that they did not have to endure the trauma of having to erase themselves like I did.” Simmons makes clear that our students may often face a daily reality that is harsher than what Knowles relates. Her full column can be found here:
The tone that Knowles experienced is the tone I hear in hallways across America as I travel throughout the country, working with schools at the intersection of race and education. It is a tone that more often than not rejects, overlooks, dismisses, demonizes or condemns our students to the margins of schooling.
Beginning the 15th of this month, we will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. I use the term celebrating hesitantly because as we dug into our combined 25 years of teaching experience, Cathleen and I could not really identify the times that we have formally celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, in our classes or in our schools.
So, we set out to investigate, why?
Throughout this school year we will be looking at holidays, festivals, traditions and histories that we either do or do not celebrate and speaking with educators to hear their perspectives on why some people, cultures, and identities belong more than others in our schools, through the hidden and the explicit curricula. More importantly, we will offer recommendations, ideas and instruction on how to make sure we all belong in our schools.
So, Hispanic Heritage Month, from September 15th to October 15th. Why?
We’ll share that with you later this week. But for now, let’s dig into what it means to be considered Hispanic or Latino both terms holding major political and social weight.
The New York Times has a powerful piece on race that we think all educators should engage in, first as adults and then, for those of us bold enough, with our students. It begs the question, when it comes to race, is it more than just black or white?
NY Times Doc A conversation with Latinos on race. You need a good 10 minutes to watch and digest.
Enjoy and as always we at CREAD,
Deep thinkers only!