Hedreich Nichols

New Rules

Small Bites Friday Five 07-10-20:

20-30m – Listen to a conversation between Barbara Bray and I on embarking on the journey to create more equity in your classroom and community.

15-20m – Go to Openculture.com and sign up for free courses on “Black history” from Yale and Stanford.

10-15m – Buy a book, toy or doll that represents a culture other than your own.

5-10m – Read the doc that accompanies the reflection at Bbray.net for some hands-on try this, not that resources.

0-5m – Send whenweallvote.org to 5 people, tell them to check their registration status and remind them to vote in upcoming local elections.

If you are a white person born in the early 80s or before, I can only imagine that the world looks a little different today than the world you grew up in. And if you were born even earlier and were raised in a That 70s Show southern or heartland community, it must look downright crazy.

It must be difficult to understand that Mt. Rushmore and confederate flags aren’t just symbols of American pride or why “10 Little Indians” or “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad” might be fine for history books but not university football fields or primary classrooms.

It must be hard to understand why there is protesting when the blacks have come so far and when there was even a black president. (Or, why you don’t say “the blacks”).

I can imagine that it hurts having your character impugned because your thoughts and opinions don’t line up with those on “the other side”. All of the new rules must be confusing and it can’t be easy to see the need for change when things have been chugging along just fine within your circle.

On the flip side, it must be difficult for people not satisfied with just drinking at the same fountains or going to the same schools. Maybe it’s exhausting pushing a train uphill all day, every day because job and economic opportunities are still too often just out of reach.

Perhaps it’s defeating for people to know that their sacred land was stolen under the harshest of conditions, but to still see how people flock to those lands, many unknowingly, to celebrate the American Heroes who perpetuated and sanctioned the violence.

If you are an American, it must be unthinkable to hear calls for shooting and tear gassing instead of calls for unity, especially when you grew up pledging allegiance to “one nation, under God, indivisible“.

Fact; if you are white, you may have a hard time “getting” what all the fuss is about and you may feel defensive when you hear words and phrases like Black lives matter, racism or white privilege.

Fact; if you are black, you likely can’t imagine why people don’t understand that you just want your life to matter as much as the next guy’s and that black communities are still playing catch up in every way. (FYI, Indigenous people, females and other minority groups, with the exception of some Asian males, likewise.)

Now that we know how hard it is for everybody these days, how about we talk about how we will handle those facts as teachers on one side or the other? If we are spending hours on Facebook ranting about “the other side” as portrayed by our favorite news outlet, we are all in for an even worse school re-opening than we fear.

Now that we know how hard it is for everybody, what will you do between now and August to make sure you can do your best for each and every one of your students?