Since we launched CREAD in September, we have been inundated with requests for resources. We are excited by the clamor for ways to engage your black and brown students in their education.
But, family, we have a slight problem.
A Culturally Responsive educator doesn’t look for resources. They become the resource.
Ok, let us clarify. Of course you look for resources. But if you mean, look, as in already created curriculum that is centered in the diasporic experience, common core aligned and Danielson/Marzano approved with extensions for students with disabilities and English Language Learners.
That doesn’t damn well exist unless YOU create it. That’s like a lawyer calling up a judge and asking if they have any really great closing arguments for a murder charge that the court stenographer has laying around somewhere.
Yeah, that’s how you sound.
I mean because, honestly, if you need resources randomly, why wouldn’t you randomly consult the Google?
So, I can hear you now; so why am I subscribed to this blog?
Because Culturally Responsive Educators need inspiration and ideas and thought partners. Without it, fighting white supremacy and-anti blackness in our schools, well that would be an uphill and lonely battle. So with that said; let me give you a resource.
WARNING WARNING WARNING: Woke Lit on Deck!
It is still Native American Heritage Month and though we absolutely have to continue to deal with our current socio-political context AND keep up with our pacing calendar and prepare students for state exams, we ALSO have to decolonize their minds and hearts.
We are here to educate, not forgive.
We are here to enlighten, not accuse.
–Willie Johns, Brighton Seminole Reservation, Florida
Let me tell you how this book is a history teacher’s wet dream! Oh, inappropriate, maybe it’s more like a history teacher’s best friend. That’s nice and Rated G. The text, “attempts to tell the story of the United States as a colonialist settler-state, one that, like colonialist European states, crushed and subjugated the original civilizations in territories it now rules.”
This is some “woke lit” for that ass because it constantly asks you to question how we have all been socialized to believe in a false myth of the cultivation of this land by European settlers. “The history of the United States is a history of settler colonialism—the founding of a state based on the ideology of white supremacy, the widespread practice of African slavery, and a policy of genocide and land theft.”
As I read the book, I was inspired in so many ways to teach children differently about the indigenous of this land and how they have been erased from our psyche, their lives, their struggles and the capture of their land. I also couldn’t help but think of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest and how this is truly another assault on the humanity of the original people of this country.
Writing US history from an indigenous people’s perspective requires rethinking the consensual national narrative. That narrative is wrong, deficient, not in its facts, dates, or details but rather in its essence. Inherent in the myth we’ve been taught is an embrace of settler colonialism and genocide. The myth persists, not for a lack of free speech or poverty of information but rather for an absence of motivation to ask questions that challenge the core of the scripted narrative of the origin story. How might acknowledging the reality of US History work to transform society? That is the central question this book pursues.
When becoming a Culturally Responsive Educator, because many of us did not graduate with our undergrad or grad programs as such, we must accept that this mindset requires a lot of work, for as long as we are teachers of children, we have the duty to pursue learning fervently and to ask ourselves as Nas does, “who wrote the Bible? Who wrote the Qur’an, and was it a lightning storm that gave birth to the earth and then dinosaurs were born? Who made up words? Who made up numbers, and what kind of spell is mankind under?” (Distant Relatives Patience, 2010)
Ok, maybe you will ask different questions. The point is to ask questions. A Culturally Responsive Educator asks, why am I teaching this? Who decided this was pertinent to the development of my students understanding of the world? Is there another perspective? And if so, how do I engage my students in the varied perspectives and experiences of people who look like them or experienced the similar harm? This is not a passive endeavor, being a Culturally Responsive Educator; it requires YOU to unlearn all that you have learned.
And we’ll be here, to walk this road with you. Our children are depending on us.
On November, 14th 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges was escorted into William Frantz Elementary School by a team of U.S. Deputy Marshals, desegregating the public school system of New Orleans.
Deep thinkers Only