Hedreich Nichols

Peaceable Kingdom

Small Bites Friday Five 09-11-20

20-30m – Listen to the podcast Whiteness Visible part 2 from the Teaching While White website to gain perspective on various stories and viewpoints taught as history.

15-20m – Read how our country’s reckoning with race affects students—in their own words, also from the TWW website.  

10-15m – Comb through the Center For Restorative Practice resources for a rich selection of materials for SEL and culturally responsive culture building.   

5-10m – Watch this PBS Black Folks Don’t episode to find out about the complicated history of Black people and the medical community.

0-5m – Watch students talk about their first experiences with racism and reflect on what you can do to make sure other children don’t keep having those experiences.  

BONUS: If you are looking for an excellent set of quality resources on the manifold, oft untold stories of Americans, visit the Pulitzer Center’s educational programming page.

On the anniversary of one of the most devastating attacks on American soil, I cannot help but think about how hatred causes so much pain. I can’t help but think about the loss that mothers, husbands and children endured because of hatred. I can’t help but think that even though we know that nothing good comes of it, we so often choose to hate.

Love and hate are not feelings, they are verbs. If you say you feel love but your actions don’t back that up, it’s not love. If you say you hate no one but spend your time relentlessly attacking those who think, believe or look differently, you may want to redefine what hatred really means.

The destructive forces of overt and covert hatred are ripping our nation apart because of our refusal to reckon with our origin story. Our nation is great but our greatness is in peril because we refuse to confront our flaws in order to fully realize that greatness.

Some of the the saddest moments for me in recent history have been watching our nation’s status as a full democracy erode when our country was downgraded to a flawed democracy. The UN has warned us about racist rhetoric and admonished us about criminal justice reform.

My patriotic soul wails. WE are the protectors of democracy. WE are the ones who issue human rights sanctions and warnings. And now, WE are the nation being warned. We don’t need foreign terrorists to destroy us. Our hatred is as powerful and destructive as any terrorist act.

This morning, I had the honor of speaking for the New York Public Library’s back to school kickoff. I was asked what we should do in our libraries, classrooms, lives, to dismantle systematic racism. My reply was simply that we can’t–unless we do it one brick at a time. We can’t change the system until we change ourselves, our families, our own spheres of influence. We can’t do it until we confront our flaws with the purpose of being better.

As we remember the incredible loss at the hands of terrorists, the best possible way to honor loss of life, whether through wars or acts of terrorism, is to finally reckon with the hatred and incongruence woven through our nation’s fabric.

In support of our nation’s greatness, we have to confront our past together, no matter how painful. As Benjamin Franklin said, we must “join or die”. If we don’t, we won’t need outsiders to bring destruction.