More than anyone, white kids need explicit anti racist instruction.May 12, 2023
Let me preface this entire blog post by saying that all white kids are not evil or bad. They are not our enemies. This isn't an 'all white people' blog post. This is about what is missing from education and how it's disproportionately affecting white children.
Recently, we posted on Instagram a mini thread on the explicit anti racist instruction that white kids need. It definitely resonated with many. We want to argue that they need anti racist role models. In the Instagram post we included a super short list of white antiracist models that white students can learn about. It's so important for them to see that white people have also been on the right side of history. They need to know how white people have rejected the institution of whiteness, have thrown away their privilege and struggled alongside people of color in the fight for liberation. The silence around these important and historic allies is instrumental in sustaining white supremacy and the status quo. This silence is why so many white people are confused and say things like: "It's not my place" to talk about racism. FRIEND- it is absolutely your place because it was YOUR ancestors that started this mess. You better get your hands dirty and destroy what they built because you are dealing with the consequence of it now.
Then, we posted a follow up, of sorts, where we talked specifically about what white boys need in schools. We argued that they need explicit anti racist woman-focused instruction. If we think about the mass violence and the current racist system we have, the group that is at the top, benefiting the most, and keeping the system alive is white men. This doesn't inherently mean they're bad. AND YET, they have the power (financially, socially, professionally...) to change this. In the Instagram post, we listed some women they need to learn more about and whose philosophies, ideas, and work should really stir in them the desire for social justice.
Teaching about anti racism and for anti racist purposes, is something we can all learn to do. We offer resources that can help with this work. First, there's The Anti Racist Teacher: Reading Instruction Workbook. We published it in 2019 and in addition to theory, we intentionally included very practical content for application. Second, we published the corresponding course to the workbook called The Anti Racist Teacher Course. This is self paced with access to so many additional resources not included in the book. Consider doing the course in community so you can support each other through the process.
Doing this work in predominantly white settings can be challenging and uncomfortable. However, it is necessary. If you're a white educator, leverage your privilege and bring this work into your classrooms. Do it wisely, because we need you in there. In other words, don't get fired. Push, nudge, demand, question, and be an ally.
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