When White Folks Have That One "Black Friend"

Parents often know when their children have engaged in mischievous behavior. Sometimes, they become private investigators to get to the bottom of the mischief in question. Sometimes, once at the scene of the crime, the child may have told on themselves. For example, a rule in my home is no ice cream after school. Fruit, crackers and cereal are the available snack options. One day, I came home to find a spoon with chocolate ice cream residue on the kitchen table, in the spot where my oldest daug

Looking Back At 2021: The Not So Curious Case Of Prince George’s County

I teach and support teachers in Camden, NJ and I am very much aware that my presence is certainly more welcome where I educate versus the suburbs. I say that because the statistics show that there are more Black teachers in cities than there are anywhere else, as are teachers of color in general. But it is also because of the work that I’m doing as director of anti-bias and DEI initiatives. While there are challenges that come with my work, my work is needed, and the school community recognizes

Superintendents Must Know and Do Better

According to preliminary findings from AASA, The School Superintendents Association’s 2020 Decennial Study, only 21% superintendents said they were “very well prepared” for the responsibility of having district/community wide conversations about race and equity, although nearly 90% of school superintendents said those conversations are either extremely or very important. While the report doesn’t say, one could assume that of those superintendents ready to have that conversation, most, if not all

Does Ben Simmons (or Antonio Brown) Remind You Of Any Of Your Students?

In sports, teams have the luxury of giving up on a player; they can either release them or attempt to trade them for a “better” player. That’s not an option for educators, nor should it be. The job of an educator is to prepare students for the world ahead of them. Educators are charged to give their all to students, not to give up on them; no matter the challenge that comes along with educating. Unlike the Philadelphia 76ers, if an educator is tasked with working with a “Ben Simmons” type student

Looking Back At 2021: When Free Means Freeloading

Americans have a very romanticized view of themselves when it comes to the ethic of hard work. Certainly, being a hard worker in whatever it is that you do is important. Hard work is an ethic and/or trait parents hope to instill in their children, teachers hope to instill in their students, and cultures hope to instill in generations to come. Whether it involves one’s education, one’s career or one’s relationships, hard work is vital to making the most of any and everything that we do. Howeve

We Don’t Do That

Contrary to persistent racist opinions and traditions, Black people have always valued education. Whether formal or informal, the role of “schooling” serves as an entry point for Black liberation. It did so during enslavement as it does today. However, challenges to Black education continue to persist. Black education in Antebellum America was under constant threat; Black people were tortured and/or killed for attempting to learn and displaying acquired academic skills. Today, as Black childre

Ongoing Missed Opportunities To Lead With Equity

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work is important for any organization looking to reshape their workplace from a white institutional/white dominant space into an inclusive space where people of color, particularly members of the Black and Afro-Latinx communities, can help determine the course of their organizations, not simple be made to feel “a part” of their organizations. Concerning schools, DEI work initiated and accomplished by committees and school leaders is vital because these in

Black Administrators Are The New Targets of the Anti-Anti-Racist Mob

The current climate of political race-baiting has reached public schools whereby Black educators must be on alert and need anti-racist educators and community members to have their backs. White politician and white parents alike have employed the southern strategy to prevent the teaching of truth to students about American history. Words and phrases such as “Critical Race Theory,” “CRT,” or “Woke” are coded terms to mean “dismantling the myth of white supremacy and explaining the harm it’s caus

What Diversity Isn’t

Something that educators love to tout, particularly white educators, is the diversity that they have in their schools; specifically, the diversity of its students. I remember in a previous district where I worked, a guidance counselor, when talking about the pros of the district, mentioned the diversity of the district. She highlighted the student body configuration of Black, white and Latino/a students as proof of the diversity of the school. It was a point of pride for her.

The Makings of a Black Teacher

Kanye West once made a very poignant statement about identity in a song – yes, Kanye -said something poignant. He said, “everything I’m not made me everything I am.” There is plenty of evidence that explains why Black teachers are so important to America’s classrooms, especially those filled with Black students. But what may be more telling is the evidence of their lived experiences. I can certainly say the same for myself, that everything I’m not made me everything I am. This particularly tru

Your Diversity Efforts Are OK, But Hardly Enough

There is no debate concerning the significance of Black teachers. Black teachers are important for the outcomes of Black students; both inside and outside the classroom. In addition, Black teachers are not only preferred by Black students, but also by white students and other students of color. Considering those truth, various efforts nationwide have begun the work of increasing the number of Black teachers in America’s classrooms. Some efforts are led by non-profit organizations like the Cente

#WeNeedBlackTeachers

Black teachers are powerful and not simply because a body of empirical evidence says so. It’s because for many of us, if not all of us, our passion for our people fuels our pedagogy. I realized this when I became a teacher. This is not to brag or boast but it is to say that my students leaned on me to teach them truth (history) as well as to help them interpret living in dark skin in a white society. I welcomed the role because I sought to provide my student what I didn’t have.

Yeah, But What Do Black and Brown Teachers Have to Say?

Much of the rhetoric concerning Critical Race Theory (CRT) has come from politicians and parents, many who are white, Missouri serving as an example of that. Educators have offered some commentary as well. Nine out of ten teachers never taught CRT in their classrooms. Thankfully, both the National Educational Association and the American Federation of Teachers both pledged to defend teachers facing legal action for teaching CRT or anything “related” to it. I say “related” because the 1619 Project

An Educator In A System Of Oppression Is Either A Revolutionary Or An Oppressor

Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research. –Malcolm X So, you want to teach the REAL history… You’re a teacher; maybe a history or a literature teacher. You could even be a math or science teacher. You may not be as verse in all the history and all the terminology. Truth is, you didn’t learn much other than white supremacy propaganda during your formal education. But you’ve gotten a taste of truth. You’ve heard the terms white supremacy, systemic racism, and institutional

The Black Male Messiah In Our Schools

Just the other day I saw a tweet that cautioned Black folks to divest from the “Black Male Educator as the Messiah” myth in education and it got me thinking; is there a messiah myth about Black male educators in education circles? The answer depends on who you ask. I can say from personally experience that my Black-maleness was welcomed in schools by both Black and white educators alike, but for different reasons. Black educators welcomed my presence because my presence could serve as another

Educational Leadership from a CRT Lens

Much of the outrage against Critical Race Theory being taught in schools across the United States is misguided. Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a concept that asserts that historical patterns of racism are ingrained in law and other modern institutions, and that the legacies of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow still create an uneven playing field for Black people and other people of color. The theory is supported by a ton of research and is mainly taught in higher educational institutions, law

America, You Can’t Ban The Truth… No Matter How Hard You Try

“If one managed to change the curriculum in all the schools so that Negroes learned more about themselves and their real contributions to this culture, you would be liberating not only Negroes, you’ll be liberating white people who know nothing about their own history.” –James Baldwin Paulo Freire said in his classic work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, that the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed is to liberate themselves and their oppressors. No doubt, Black people are an oppres

Returning To Normal… With All Deliberate Speed?

Certainly, the masses of Americans are ready to return to “normal.” By normal I mean a return to engaging in all the activities and indulgences of life. An unavoidable truth is that for “normal” to return – activities that serve one or both functions of generating income and/or entertaining – young people must return to school. The Coronavirus pandemic is obviously why we’re far from normal, but is normal our preferred destination? For many Black students, normal wasn’t all that great. Public

No Respecter of Black Bodies: Neither the Living or the Dead

One of my favorite stories is Homer’s Iliad. Within are stories within a story. One involves the heroes Achilles and Hector. Both were the alphas of their sides and dedicated to meet on the battlefield. Hector believed he bested Achilles but it was actually Patroclus, Achilles cousin, dressed in Achilles armor that Hector killed. Achilles, by himself, traveled to Troy to fight Hector to avenge the death of his cousin… and he did. After he killed Hector, he took his remains with him – as insult

Black Principals: A Bridge for Black Teachers

The research is clear on the impact of Black teachers on Black student achievement. Black students who have had at least one Black teacher are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college and are less likely to drop out of school. Black students are also less likely to be disciplined at the hands of a Black teacher. But what about Black principals; what does the research say about their impact on Black students? A recently released report may provide us with some new insights. A Wa
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