people in green and blue traditional dress standing near brown horse
Anti-Racism, history, Social Studies

Lunar New Year

As I was searching for links to add to my February Wakelet, I knew that I needed to include some for Chinese New Year, which will be celebrated on Feb. 1 this year (2022). I am always struggling to be more inclusive with my vocabulary, and was surprised to learn that there are other countries (notably Korea and Vietnam) that celebrate the New Year based on the cycles of the moon. This means that it is probably more fitting for us to call this holiday the “Lunar New Year” so that we are acknowledging all of those who observe this holiday, rather than just one large one. It might be interesting for your students to do some research to find out how the Lunar New Year traditions differ in each of the three main countries who celebrate it.

Though it may seem like just semantics to call it Lunar New Year instead of Chinese New Year, I am painfully conscious that centering the holiday around one country made me unaware that others also celebrated until I was 53 years old. It’s not a small thing to ignore something that is important to millions of people. So, now that I know, I will definitely try to use “Lunar New Year” unless I am referring to a country-specific celebration. Here are some student perspectives on why they believe the phrasing is important.

I’ll be adding this to my Anti-Racism Wakelet, and you can find links to educational sites about the Lunar New Year on my February Wakelet. Please let me know if you have more ideas to include!

By the way, Google “Chinese” or “Vietnamese” or “Korean” New Year, and wait a moment on the page for a special surprise!

decorative shiny chinese lanterns in new year holiday
Photo by Khoa Võ on Pexels.com

woman reading a book to the children
Anti-Racism, K-12, Teaching Tools

Talking To Your Child About Race

As regular readers know, I try to do a post each week focused on anti-racism. This week, I wanted to share the blog articles for discussing race with children that are on the Ensemble Therapy site. I like that these are broken down by age group. While they are targeted for parents, I think these articles give good advice on what is developmentally appropriate that can be helpful to teachers as well. There are also links to resources such as literature that could be useful in the classroom. Of course, some teachers are also parents, so these articles might perform double duty!

Since I am based here in Texas, I know that talking about race in the classroom is a sensitive issue. But we are not going to do our students any favors by ignoring history and current events. So, I will keep providing suggestions, archiving them in my Anti-Racism Wakelet, and hoping that education will open minds and make our world a better place.

mother and baby girl reading a book
Photo by William Fortunato on Pexels.com
3-12, Anti-Racism, history, Social Studies, Videos

Stories That Need to Be Told

On Monday, January 17th, 2022, we will honor the life of Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States. I say, “we,” though I know that not everyone, even today, appreciates this man’s contributions to the advancement of civil rights for all. And there is a disturbing amount of people in our country who would rather not acknowledge our past. Some will ignore the date, some will protest against it, and some will argue that commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. somehow harms the children of this generation.

My anti-racist link for this week is to a Storycorps video about one of the men who motivated Martin Luther King Jr. to become an activist, Maceo Snipes. Snipes was an army veteran who returned from fighting for our country in World War II, voted the next day, and was murdered for exercising his right — one of the many rights he defended valiantly as a soldier.

This egregious crime prompted a young college student, Martin Luther King Jr., to write a letter that was published in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. In that letter, King refers to the “scarecrow” arguments racists utilize to defend their terrible acts, attempting to justify themselves by claiming they were only protecting White people from Black people who want to take over. Sound familiar?

We often recall Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech this time of year, but I think we need to make sure we don’t forget why that speech needed to be made. It’s not pleasant to think about the horrific sins of our past, but we are in grave danger of returning to them if we choose to ignore them.

For more resources for teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr., you can go here. I will also be adding a link to this post to my collection of Anti-Racist Resources.

light landscape people art
Photo by Wilson Rodriguez on Pexels.com
two teenagers doing jigsaw puzzle
Anti-Racism, Games, K-5

Puzzle Huddle

I really needed a smile today, so I was happy to see the images on the Puzzle Huddle website when I clicked on the bookmark I had saved a few weeks ago. Even more delightful was watching the video in which Matthew Goins, who co-created the Puzzle Huddle company with his wife, Marnel, explains the path that led them to making these adorable puzzles. Although it’s sad that there is a need for more diverse puzzles, I admire that this couple is working to change that. “In my case, I got started because I wanted to make a difference for my three small children, so that now, hopefully, a few years and a lot of puzzles later, we will have made a difference for an entire generation of children.”

If I was still in the elementary classroom, I would absolutely want one or more of these in my room. The illustrations are fabulous, portray young people in inspiring situations, and allow children of color to see themselves in a fun medium that is often limited to white people. You can order from Puzzle Huddle (be sure to check out the Ada Twist series!), but you can also download some free coloring sheets. The company is also looking for Brand Ambassadors if you are interested.

Since I haven’t tried one of their puzzles yet, I can’t include Puzzle Huddle in my Gifts for the Gifted series, but I am going to add it to my Pinterest of recommended Games and Toys. I will also be adding this to my Anti-Racism Wakelet.

jigsaw puzzle
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com
laboratory test tubes
3-12, Anti-Racism, Science

What is Medical Racism, and How Can We Educate Our students About It?

I was listening to a show on NPR the other day that made my mouth drop. The program claimed that many Black Americans are automatically placed lower on kidney transplant waiting lists due to their race. Today. In the year 2021. It turns out that there is a formula used to calculate how well your kidney is functioning, and this GFR tool includes an adjustment for Black people based on an assumption made years ago that their genetic makeup enabled their kidneys to filter better than White people who had the same filtration rate. You can read more about this, and the faulty reasoning that that led to this biased math here. It seems that a task force has recently mandated that this variable should be removed from the calculation, and it has already been removed from some health care systembs, but how many people have died waiting for a transplant as a result of this widely applied algorithm?

I had, of course, heard about racism in healthcare before. For example, there are reports that Black patients are prescribed pain medication at much lower rates than White ones because of the stereotype that they are “faking it so they can get drugs.” And this is not isolated to Black Americans; other people of color are also victims of biased treatment. I think what surprised me about the kidney story was that there was an actual formula, embedded deeply in the medical field, overtly designed to ignore other symptoms in favor of a person’s race.

In other words, systemic racism.

There are movements to address these problems in medicine such as changes in medical school curriculums. But I wanted to find out if there are things we can do before students attend post-graduate school, as not all children will become doctors. Some of them may end up in fields like pharmaceutical research, marketing, or policy making that could also impact health care.

Parents Magazine has a good article by Danielle Broadway, “How to Teach the History of Racism in Science Class,” that gives some solid recommendations for teachers. Beginning with the “Teaching Hard History Framework” from Learning for Justice for K-5 to examining the cases of Henrietta Lacks and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in high school, students can learn lessons from past mistakes and analyze current ones. Another resource I would add is this TED Talk from Dorothy Roberts.

As with my other Anti-Racist posts, I will add this to my Wakelet. I hope that it is a helpful resource for teachers who want to make the world more just.

photo of woman looking through camera
Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

Anti-Racism, Books

Bookversal

If you are looking for a way to make your home or school library more diverse, Bookversal is a tool created for just that purpose. Aleksandra Melnikova and Laura Hobson are the women who designed the site, and they are based in the UK. This means that many of the links will take you to BIPOC-owned UK bookstores, but you can, of course purchase them wherever is most convenient for you. (Here is a list of BIPOC-owned US bookstores for readers in the States.) There isn’t a gigantic selection so far, which is kind of nicely not-overwhelming. There is a link for making suggestions for additions, and I really like that you can jump to the different sections you see below.

Sections of Bookversal

Of course, if you want a really comprehensive shopping list, you can always select your books from the 850 that Texas State Rep. Matt Krause wants our school districts to review for “objectionable content” including human “sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), sexually explicit images, graphic presentations of sexual behavior that is in violation of the law, or contain material that might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex or convey that a student, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” (You can read this article for more info.)

Don’t forget that you can find more anti-racist resources, like this “Teaching Living Poets” website and the real information about what Critical Race Theory is/is not in my Anti-Racism Wakelet, updated weekly.