Whether or not you tuned into the final debate for the 2016 Election, my guess is you have grown weary of this election cycle. On the bright side, it has proven to be a boon for the generation of memes inspired by the debates. Here are some of the latest…
But despite the laughs these images offer us, they are little consolation for those of us who are already feeling inconsolable about the departure of our favorite first family, the Obamas. Many of us are struggling with the reality that we will no longer have regular opportunity to look with pride and admiration on our POTUS and FLOTUS. I think New York Times writer, Tim Egan put it best in a recent column, “And those who praise Obama as a model father or husband for the black family do him a disservice. He’s a model, without asterisk for race. It’s a hard thing to go nearly eight years as the most powerful man in the world without diminishing the office or alienating your family. He’s done that, and added a dash of style and humor and a pitch-perfect sense for being consoler in chief.” It is therefore understandable that this election cycle is extra difficult because it signals the end of a period for African Americans and many others who were so elated to see history made eight years ago.
It was an exciting time to be Black in America. We understood the import of that moment not just for ourselves but most importantly for our children. We understood that they had new role models in the highest office in the land and that their sense of what is possible was somehow expanded by that fact. Yet as these nearly eight years has taught us, the euphoria has been tempered by the ugly and inescapable truth of institutional racism and racialized violence in the form of police brutality.
More importantly, with the absence of virtually any substantive discussion of education policy by either candidate, we must be that much more committed to educate, to liberate. We must be unrelenting in our desire to ensure that our students learn the full story of the human experience and not the one mired in lies, half truths, racism, white privilege and the perspective of the oppressor. We may not be excited for what the next four years hold politically, but for the sake of students, we must be more emboldened in our work. In the words of Paulo Friere, “The educator has the duty of not being neutral.” I know what side I am on, how about you?
Deep thinkers only