I am always on the lookout for practical ways to for parents and teachers to raise anti-racist children. So, when I found these “Embrace Race Action Guides” I knew that I wanted to mention them in one of my regular anti-racist posts. The guides can be read online or downloaded in PDF form in Spanish or English. I counted 28 guides altogether (be sure to click on the “next” button at the bottom of each web page to find more), and the ones that I looked at were brief and down-to-earth advice that could easily be implemented. From “Tips to Drawing Across Color Lines with Kids” to “5 Ways to Raise More Inclusive Kids if You Live in a Segregated Neighborhood,” I wish had access to these resources from the beginning of my teaching career and parenthood. There are many other topics, webinars, book suggestions, etc… on the site, so I encourage you to explore. I’ll be adding this to my Anti-Racism Wakelet, and I hope that you will also take a moment to visit some of the other 58 links I’ve included in that collection.
Although I don’t spend as much time on Facebook as I do on Twitter, I do belong to a few Facebook groups that include a lot of creative educators with great ideas. One of these fabulous groups is the Distance Learning Educators Facebook Group. When I recently saw a post from Shannon Nicole about a bulletin board that she and her 9th graders created, I asked her permission to share the idea and the pics on this blog. As some of you know, I’ve committed to doing regular anti-racist posts, and I’ve been collecting them in this Wakelet as a resource for educators. I hope that some of you will also be inspired by Shannon’s idea and find a way to discuss and combat stereotypes in your own classroom.
Here is Shannon’s introduction to the pictures below: “I asked my 9th graders to write one stereotype they wish they could get rid of, and this is what they said. The last 5 minutes of class, I pull a few off the wall for us to discuss. This has been an amazing lesson for all involved, including myself!” Click on each image to see it more clearly.
With all of the controversy about Critical Race Theory in the news (see this explanation if you would like to learn more), Colin Seale of ThinkLaw has recorded a video that reminds us that we are once again fixated on the wrong issue when it comes to educating our children. Instead of worrying about what information students are getting in our schools, we should be concerned about whether or not we are helping young people learn how to think independently. In other words, let’s switch the narrative from Critical Race Theory (CRT) to Raising Critical Thinkers (RCT). I don’t know one parent who would want his or her child to grow up “gullible.” So, let’s teach our students how to be curious, ask questions, look at topics from multiple perspectives, and weigh the reliability of information. Watch and read about Seale’s video here, and consider that the most oppressive governments in history have been the ones who have actively discouraged critical thinking by restricting access to information and establishing strict educational curriculums that allow for no divergence of ideas. We can make sure this never happens while maintaining the uniqueness and diverseness of our nation by raising critical thinkers.
My good friend, John Hinds, former principal of 17 years and current leadership consultant, just published a video that I wanted to feature on the blog today for my weekly anti-racist post. Though his video does not explicitly address racism, it does encourage us to examine our own biases as he relates a story about his first tour of a school to which he had been assigned. It brings me back to a couple of books I reviewed, Talking to Strangers and Bias, in this post, and the idea that our brains are naturally wired for bias to help us bring order to our world. As many administrators and teachers are returning to work in the next couple of weeks, I think that it is important to be conscious of our tendencies to make assumptions and how those assumptions may be detrimental to ourselves and others. One way to combat this is the Bias Toolkit, which is one of the many resources you can find in my Wakelet of Anti-Racism Resources.
As school boards, districts, and states pile on bans of teaching Critical Race Theory in the classroom without even understanding what they are censoring, others are substituting vague language in weak attempts to disguise these racist laws. I am not a lawyer or a history teacher, but I oppose any efforts to restrain students from learning the truth and exercising their own critical thinking on the lessons that could be learned from that truth. I also think it’s important to keep things relevant in the classroom, and that means that current events should not be ignored. Facing History has a free checklist for educators to use for planning purposes when considering current events. You will need to create a free account on the site in order to download this editable PDF, which also has links to reliable news sources as well as suggested strategies to use during student discussions. Armed with this and a list of the state standards you are addressing, you can be prepared to help students make connections between the past and the present, as well as to their own personal experiences.
I will be adding this post to my Wakelet of Anti-Racism Resources. Click on this link to find more!
One of the sources I cited in last week’s post on Critical Race Theory as sketch-noted and outlined by Sylvia Duckworth was Dr. Kate Slater. You can learn more about Dr. Slater’s work here. I find the Anti-Racist Roadmap by Dr. Slater and Mira Stern to be very helpful as it breaks down the goals for your own Anti-Racism journey into five impact areas (such as the workplace and community) and a mission statement. I sometimes feel like what needs to be done to eradicate racism in our country is so overwhelming that I can’t even find a place to begin, but this organizer is incredibly beneficial. It includes examples and resources, as well as space to type the specific actions you would like to take in each impact area. Other important elements are to consider what you will do to learn more, and who you will rely on to hold you accountable for these goals. Personally, I feel like this roadmap can help me to spend less time feeling guilty for what I haven’t done, and more time taking action. In fact, I realized that I haven’t been completely idle (though I want to do more) as I have been using my “Talents and Skills” to write these weekly anti-racist blog posts and create this public Wakelet where I have been collecting resources. If you want to do more anti-racism work, and you aren’t quite sure how to help, the Anti-Racist Roadmap could be your first step.