I'm doing a lot of either freelance writing or writing to fill in for other people in so many place that I wanted to pull them all together in one space.
First, my friend and the founder of EduColor, José Luis Vilson, took a much needed vacation and let Rusul Alrubail and me take over for the week. I wrote about both microaggressions and macroaggressions of my experiences in the public school system. Here is a part of the second one:
When I go down the list of things that I have had to endure as a Black woman in the classroom as a teacher as well as in an office as an administrator I think the offenses are fairly common.
Has a parent or teacher called me a racist? Check.
Has a colleague told me my curly hair didn’t look as ‘professional’ as when it was straightened?Check.
Have I been summarily dismissed when I try to bring up race as connected to discipline or lack of representation? Check.
School culture can, however, be far more nefarious than those obvious and jarring examples. It took me a long time to notice that how we talk about work ethics and what makes a ‘good’ educator are actually damaging parts of the cog in the institutionally racist school systems. To tell that story, I have to go back a good decade.
I wrote another piece for Tue/Night.
I have spent the better part of two decades realizing that what people don’t know about me is that I am always going to stretch boundaries about issues of equity and race. I’m perfectly happy having difficult discussions. I’d argue that school systems should be glad people like me will challenge them within the system.
Alas, that was not the case.
Instead, I’ve been labeled as ”difficult” and ”hard to manage” when, in truth, the only managing done to me was to move me forcefully to different schools. That’s happened twice in my career. Yet it always came without bad evaluations or disciplinary letters in my file.
So, two weeks ago, I quit and started working on an initiative to respond to Illinois Senate Bill 100 on restorative justice. My reasons for quitting are complicated, but one was that I felt motivated to come up with actionable items to tackle systemic racism, something that SB100 seeks to address by responding to how we as a school system unequally distribute discipline for Black and Latino students.
Arnebya wrote about Being Black at School as well as her own experiences as a parent of public school students.
A few places did some roundups as well about what people were talking about last week.
This is all a building up of the work I'm doing on Being Black at School and the partnerships are (already!) happening very quickly with people who want to support this work. Stay tuned, sign up, make a donation. Do what you can for now.
It's going to be very big.