There’s no denying that we are firmly into this 21st century. Our lives and the lives our students have changed immensely when we stop and think of the dominant role of technology and how it has impacted us all economically, socially and politically. Every day I am amazed at the ways young people are turning everything on its head. This cultural revolution-renaissance is happening not just here in America but all over the globe. Everywhere you look the social consciousness and global connection is being made loud and clear. Whether it’s French Montana making a rap video in Uganda or young Muslim women rapping about their hijabis “we’re not in Kansas anymore”.
Our youth are not here for all us grown folks who are stuck on limited ideas about race, power, who gets access to what, what it means to be creative, what it means to be ambitious and a slew of other issues and ideas. They are speaking out, starting their own movements, businesses and building their own coalitions. The children of the new millennia are committed to blazing their own trails and they are using music, technology, fashion and everything in their creative arsenals to make it happen.
Nonetheless it is clear that black and brown children all over the world are also having to confront racism and white supremacy, especially in the context of schools. So Xavier Davis in Baytown, Texas is dealing with the same hair discrimination as the students at Pretoria High School for Girls in South Africa.
They are receiving the message that their bodies, self expression and culture are subject to the approval and can be censured by the dominant white culture.
So what does the reality of more global identities and connections mean for our work as educators? I humbly offer these three suggestions from the CREAD Commandments, y’all remember those don’t you?
First, get to know your students better and dig a bit deeper to understand the many ways they self-identify culturally. Secondly, continue to expand your resources by including content that shows connections beyond the United States and dismantles racist ideas about the “undeveloped world”. Finally, collaborate with colleagues and community partners to create experiences that will help broaden students’ worldview and understanding of their place in it. It can be as ambitious as a trip abroad or as simple as inviting in a dynamic guest speaker. To truly be culturally competent and responsive educators means we must get global in our thinking and in our practice.
Here’s a resource to explore: Global Kids is an organization that focuses on global education and leadership for youth.
Peace and love good people.
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