Say 'Woke'

I know when I am being referred to as a Black person by a white person, specifically as the N-word, when I hear it… When Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers referred to the woke mob in an interview, he was referring to Black people. Make no mistake, that’s exactly who he was referring to. I know because the term “woke”, defined and used in the context of being enlightened about America’s white supremacist social order in all its iterations, didn’t come from white folks. It came from us.

Black Dads Are Great, So Are Black Teachers

In response to violence at the Southwood High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, a group of 40 Black fathers have come together to ensure that the violence stops. They actively monitor the hallways of the school in shifts, resulting in fewer fights, students attending class and an overall morale boost in the school. For many, this is a feel-good story. On the surface, Black fathers assisting to maintain order at a school of predominantly Black children sounds like a good idea, akin to Black men w

The Revised Southern Strategy As Seen In The 2021 Election Cycle

During the 2021 election cycle, Republicans put education front and center and it showed throughout election night results. However, nothing on the ballot concerned improving education for Black children. Rather, education as an issue was used to manipulate white voters so that Republicans, in this case, could regain power. Certainly, white parents storming school board meetings in protest of what they consider “critical race theory” and covid-19 protocols may seem like something unique to the

Using the Socratic Method In Your Classroom

For two classes, I was able to skirt by without being called on. The third class was my turn, and although I was still nervous, I was able to engage because I had done my reading. I didn’t get every question right, but I was in the fight. The same will be true of high school students as they engage in Socratic learning. I can remember the first time I sat in the lecture hall for my civil procedure class. I hadn’t read all of the assigned readings prior to class, but I figured that I could skate

'Will I Get Fired For This?' Rejecting White Supremacy Has a High Cost in Education | Opinion

In early October, just before Indigenous Peoples’ Day, I sent an email to my whole school district to offer resources to my colleagues for discussing Christopher Columbus with their students. I included links to articles, book recommendations, and peer-reviewed journal articles. After I hit the send button, I wondered: Am I going to get fired for sending this? A question originally posed to myself as tongue-in-cheek suddenly became serious as I considered the gravity of what I did.

Ignorance As Bliss: Dismantling Racism And Anti-Blackness Requires Education

A California school district has suspended a math teacher for mocking indigenous Americans by wearing a fake headdress and “performing” a dance around the classroom. A video taken by a student in the classroom was posted to Twitter with comment. Sadly, there is more video of this debauchery in the classroom. While there are questions that need to be answered—Why would a math teacher or any teacher do this and think that it’s OK? Was this in their lesson plan and if so, how was this not flagged

Black Labor And Prevention Of A General Strike: By The Super Bowl Halftime Show, This Will All Be Forgotten

Within a capitalist society, Black labor matters. Black labor has value. To be clear, I did not say Black laborers, which is to say Black people. I said Black labor, which is to say the product or services rendered by Black people. There’s a clear distinction. Black labor will cease to matter only when a suitable replacement can be found. Bob Moses speaks to this in his book “Radical Equations,” when he talks about a cotton-picking machine used on a Mississippi plantation in the 1940s. Even af

Opinion: Athletes Get Criticized For Vaccine Hesitancy But Politicians Who Spread Ignorance Look Evil

Numerous high-profile NBA players have chosen to not take the coronavirus vaccine, including Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards and Andrew Wiggins of the Golden State Warriors. Wiggins and Irving play for teams in the District of Columbia and California which both have vaccine mandates. Wiggins recently chose to get vaccinated. Irving was recently told he cannot play any games anywhere until vaccinated. Unvaccinated players, Irving specifically, have faced

Camden residents hear they don’t care about their city, but that’s never been true | Opinion

A few weeks ago, I watched a video on Facebook posted by a community activist and educator highlighting the scene at the Seventh and Clinton Street Park in Camden. What she saw was alarming: drug paraphernalia and drug use happening alongside children playing, at daytime, and in the full view of police. This activist rightly called out that such a scene isn’t tolerated in the suburbs, and rightly asked: Why is it tolerated in Camden? She declared at that moment, as others had as well, “not in my park."

Teaching Black History Year-Round Requires Rigorous Sight

Dr. Carter G. Woodson is best known for his creation of Negro History Week, which became Black History Month. The genius of his creation was in his desire for it to culminate in a weeklong celebration after a year of learning about the accomplishments of Black people. Negro History Week was never meant to be a one-off acknowledgment, recognition, and celebration of Black history. It was meant to serve as a short period for students to display what they’d learned about the history of Black peopl

Teaching Juneteenth in schools is crucial amid debates about how to tackle U.S. history | Opinion

The month of June is very important in Black history. Mother Bethel AME was founded in Philadelphia on June 10, 1794, by the Rev. Richard Allen. June is also Black Music Month, thanks to Philadelphia’s own Kenny Gamble and the Black Music Association in 1979. But maybe most important of all Black history commemorations this month is Juneteenth. Juneteenth marks the occasion of June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce all enslaved peoples were free upon the surr

Why The Fight Against Critical Race Theory is Rooted In America History

The masses of teachers aren’t teaching Critical Race Theory. Roughly 80% of teachers in the United States are white – I can almost guarantee you that they’re not teaching Critical Race Theory. Many of them are uncomfortable teaching about enslavement, do you think they’d be comfortable, let alone knowledgeable, enough to teach Critical Race Theory? The masses of individuals against the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools are largely white and conservative politically and more than likel

States want to prevent schools from telling the truth about racism in America. Here’s what educators can do about it.

At least half a dozen states have introduced legislation to prevent the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools. Educators in states where such bills become law would be blocked from teaching about the racist roots of Western society, generally, and the United States, specifically, and how racism continues to plague us. Some states are trying to

A Pathway to Our Peace

Death is something that each of us process differently. I can attest to that. The passing of my great-grandmother was the first time I processed the pain of a relative moving on to the unseen realm. But I was 10. I knew my great-grandmother, but I didn’t know her as well as I knew my grandmothers. I knew them intimately. When each of them died, I processed their deaths differently than I did with my great-grandmother. I sorely lamented their passing on. However, my faith helped me absorb the blow of the pain I felt. When my unborn son passed, it was a different pain altogether and processing that pain was entirely different.

The invisible tax on Black teachers | Opinion

For six years, I taught social studies in both high school and middle school; the bulk of my time was spent working with high school students. Working with those students, students who look like me and reminded me of myself, was a privilege and a joy. Sadly, the joy began to fade away as my job became more about managing behavior versus teaching young people. I taught courses where we ditched whitewashed textbooks. My students and I read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, They Came Before Columbus by Ivan Van Sertima, and Africa’s Gift to America by J.A. Rogers. We discussed how history has played a role in shaping their circumstances and how to use the skills they acquire in school to address those circumstances both at home in and in the community. But as the only Black male teacher almost everywhere I worked, I was the go-to person to encourage student compliance and be the de facto disciplinarian. I went from teaching the resistance of Black people to demanding the compliance of Black children.

Educating as Both Prophetic and Political

Earlier this year, I gave a professional development presentation to colleagues at a directors meeting. My topic was “cultural competency and the brain” and the crescendo of my presentation centered on the thought: educators must confront and eradicate anti-Blackness within their schools. When I said the words anti-Blackness, you could hear a pin drop. At one point, I spoke of the pervasiveness of anti-Blackness in our society; citing Black women who die due to child birthing complications as

The Benediction

First and foremost, there was the music. The juggernauts that are the Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind, and Fire were on display as a reminder of the richness and beauty of Black music. This was no competition (although if it were, Earth, Wind, and Fire were the clear winners). Rather it was a celebration of Black brotherhood and Black music. It was also a masterclass in music history for the ignorant and incompetent alike. From your favorite hip hop sample to that incredible HBCU Band performance

During our son's diagnosis, Black nurses showed us the care we deserved

During our son’s diagnosis, Black nurses showed us the care we deserved As a parent, I’ve had my fair share of hospital stays. However, for our family and specifically for my oldest child, the most recent visit was very different from previous hospital experiences. We experienced a level of care that had not been present prior. During our stay, it was confirmed that our son was a type-1 diabetic (T1D). Meaning his body no longer produced the insulin needed to live. In that moment, all of it

A Bad Precedent

Last week in racism, we learned that it took Papa John 20-months to stop saying the N-word, that a high school basketball announcer called Black basketball players the N-word for kneeling during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner while blaming it on his diabetes, and a teacher forced a 5-year-old Black child to clean feces with his bare hands to teach him a lesson. The revelations from the Meghan Markle interview deserves an honorable mention. However, of all the things that transpired
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