studying racism, actively working to dismantle it, and listen to authentic experiences, are some of the few things i’ve seen as “tips” to solve issues.
i like to believe that right now our world is trying to heal, but in order to heal, you have to know what’s wrong.
what’s wrong with america, as well as pretty much the world, is that there is this idea that black people don’t matter.
that our presence is unnecessary and that our lives are disposable.
so as we protest and gather and try to come up with solutions, where do we go?
how do we heal?
we make a plan- we research, we investigate and we figure out ways to support ourselves. your cup needs to be full to be able to support others. find ways to support yourself. yoga and therapy have helped me a lot.
we invest- we find avenues to support others. what activist work is being done in your area? how can you get involved locally? how can invest in your community?
we repost- we use social media and other forms of communication to get the word out. we share what we have learned with others.
we recenter- our priority needs to be on the health of ourselves and our community. what is your profession doing to support this issue? service to the community is a commitment. how can you commit? is it volunteering? is it teaching so our youth are educated properly?
i was told once by a reader that my life task/challenge is to learn how to forgive. i wasn’t surprised at all. i struggle with forgiving. it’s something that i had been working on before my chart was read, but after it was i have been focusing on it more.
earlier today i was thinking about toxic masculinity (thanks to Watch the Yard’s IG post) and how to dismantle it. i responded to the post (which is something i don’t normally do) explaining how toxic masculinity is a result of horizontal violence, specifically in the black community. paulo freire has written about oppression and horizontal violence is in his book pedagogy of the oppressed (10/10 recommend, it def changed my life). oppression according to freire is based on the desire to control. as a result, the oppressed embody some of the oppressors habits, leading to them wanting to control. this leads to toxic masculinity, in the context of the black community, because black men have very little they can control (due to institutional racism). so thus they try to control women and children, and other men. so what’s the key? what stops it? love. freire theorizes that the oppressed have to be the ones to free themselves- liberating themselves by recognizing the patterns of the oppressors they embody, as well as recognizing their own situation. the whole point is that if we understand the system, use our voices to talk about our experiences and educate, we can dismantle it. it’s a lot of work, but that’s a way to explain it simply.
so then i was thinking about love, and one of my favorite books, all about love, by bell hooks. in chapter 8, she talks about forgiveness. she explains that forgiveness is the act of truly understanding and allows the person who was hurt to turn from a victim to a co-creator in their own narrative. in the chapter she explains how she was hurt my people and took time to understand them, and forgave them. she even mentions how she’s encouraged others to do the same.
then my questions arise- well when does one truly know how to forgive? like how do you truly understand where someone is coming from? how do you maintain the space to allow someone to explain themselves? when is enough enough? how do you forgive and not let them back in?
mind you, i’ve done all of these things. it’s just that i feel like forgiveness is tricky. one thing i’ve learned from therapy is trauma rewires your brain. i know i struggle with identifying if the action was done to harm me or not, and it’s very hard for me to convince myself that people aren’t trying to hurt me. since i’ve had people who have, it’s not as easy for me to just say okay well they didn’t mean it.
i would love to get to that point where i don’t have a complete meltdown when something hurts my feelings. or when i don’t sit and cry for hours because i got a bad grade.
it’s hard for me to bounce back. and then when you factor in the concept of ego, and the idea that i don’t want to be hurt and am offended by someone hurting me, it gets even harder.
so what do i do? i meditate and do exercises to promote discernment (i.e. ego eradicator, receiving reiki treatments, healing sessions, yoga and a lot of praying). i ask for guidance and help.
i want to open my heart to forgive like bell hooks says. i want to be able to stand in spaces with those who have offended me and understand that their actions are a reflection of them and that they may actually not be personal. that’s the goal.
keep on trying to forgive. it may be hard but according to chapter 8, forgiveness allows love to exist. and we need love.
black women have a unique role in society. we are the most educated group of americans (college wise), creative, loving and all around amazing. some may argue that humans didn’t start off as black, but technically speaking you can’t go from white to black, only from black to white. so i would argue that black women were the first women and responsible for all human life. but that’s not what this post is about. this post is about black women and how we positively affect black students. since schools in the US are still segregated, there are black schools and white schools. in my blog about equity i talked about the fact that black teachers weren’t intergrated with the students and how over half of the black women who were teachers were fired. as a future teacher, i am a strong advocate that kids need teachers that look like them. it makes them feel secure. it helps them grow. i went to all black schools and i have reaped the benefits of being embraced during my educational journey. at the camp that i am working at, I have had the opportunity to be in the classroom with the only black girl at the whole camp (mind you all of the kids are brown but still). one of my other students, who is six, pointed out that i was brown just like Sara. and i was like I am! these things are important. students need to feel represented. they need to see someone who looks like them in a role of power to understand that it is achievable. having black women as teachers has made it so i always knew i could do it too. so i encourage any black woman or man who has an interest in children to please think about pursuing education. it’s a hard job but the reward of affecting lives positively is priceless.
I am writing this book review after reading the first three chapters, which I feel has given me enough information to thoroughly understand Linton’s message. I believe that this book is helpful- it defines what equity truly means and serves as a resource to understand and be conscious of privilege. This is a good book to start off reading, especially for the typical educator, whom is white, suburban and has little to no experience interacting with anyone who is not white. There is one major problem of this book- Linton is constantly arguing that black students can achieve. This is problematic. As a high achieving black college student, I know that black students can achieve. But why do people think otherwise? I recently listened to Malcom Gladwell’s Revisionist History: Miss Buchanan’s Period of Adjustment and one of the thing Gladwell talks about is this idea that black students cannot achieve. Glad well argues that the decision of Brown vs the Board of Education was that segregated school were wrong because they left black schools (and indirectly the students that attended them) were inferior. The court went on to say that educating black students separately caused retard the educational and mental develop of black students. This ruling was not what the families wanted- they simply wanted the ability to send their children to whatever school they wanted. But this principle is based off of a popular ideology. This ideology comes from slavery and the idea that blacks were inferior therefore selling them was acceptable. In my opinion, this is why Linton arguing that black students can achieve is problematic. But I do believe that this book is a good introduction to the issue. I just think that Gladwell did a better job explaining the issue. Black students are just as capable as white students. The lack of: opportunities, teachers who think the students are capable of achieving and resources leaves black students behind. But what I liked was that Gladwell mentioned a solution to the problem indirectly- black teachers. After schools were integrated almost half of the black teacher population was fired, which left black students at a disadvantage. As a graduate of a black school system I can confidently say the experience shaped me as a whole, made me proud of who I am and nurtured my mind and soul. I had strong black women as role models, in my family and in my schools. This shaped me. Gladwell discusses how having one black teacher between third and fifth grade decreases the drop out rate for black males by 39%. Black teachers are important and positively affect black children. So after listening to this podcast and reading some of Linton’s book I can confidently say that: 1. I am so proud to be a black teacher 2. white teachers need to work diligently to educate themselves on issues they are not aware of. Teachers need to love what they do and be willing to really help their students. But the first thing is removing the biases and searching for them (often they are subconscious biases). My message to white teachers is to please educate yourselves- we need you to understand yourself, our community and be open. What you were taught about us is only part of the picture and if you open your mind and heart, you will be able to see the whole picture.