Friday, May 29, 2020

Racism and America

I couldn’t fall asleep last night. I just kept picking my phone back up and returning to Twitter to see updates on the protests.


I watched as rage boiled over after another Black man in Minneapolis and Black woman in Louisville were killed by police.


I watched as protesters were shot with tear gas and rubber bullets… something White protesters a few weeks ago were not forced to experience.


I watched as White protesters created a barrier of protection in front of Black protesters.


I watched as gun violence victims in Louisville’s protest were treated in the streets for their injuries.


I watched as a police precinct burned.


I watched as a president threatened violence against Americans.


I feel at a loss for words, but also understand the importance of speaking in these moments. I am heartbroken. Heartbroken over the systemic racism on which our society is built, which disadvantages and marginalizes people of color in this country. I am horrified by the implicit bias that is so ingrained in our citizens that when people see Black men and women, they are afraid. That they do not believe someone when they say “I can’t breathe”.


Or do they just not care?


I do my best to teach my students about structural racism and implicit bias. So many of them are unaware of the impact of these factors on influencing the nation’s history prior to arriving at college. How can we change if so many do not even understand the problem?


It is hard to know what to do and how to help at times like these. So many people care, but do not know how to act. I struggle with this too. But what I have learned is the importance of listening to Black leaders of this movement. To take a step back and learn. To offer support in whatever way they ask me to, and to stand with them in whatever way I can. I do that by writing. I do it by teaching. I do it by trying to provide financial support to organizations that fight this fight.


If you are on twitter, I recommend you to follow the individuals below, who continue to teach me how to be an ally in this fight.



There are wonderful books available to help you learn more about this topic. I am happy to provide a longer list, but the first couple I highly recommend are:


So You Want to Talk About Race? - Ijeoma Oluo


The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration in the age ofcolorblindness - Michelle Alexander


Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?And Other Conversations About Race 20th Anniversary Edition – Beverly DanielTatum


Below are links to a couple of videos on structural racism. I hope some of you take the time to take in these resources to help you understand the scope of the problem protesters fight against.

Redlining – a video by Adam Ruins Everything that does a great job briefly explaining the racist policy and its impact on the structure of neighborhoods and school systems in the nation.


Health Equity – An outstanding video by Dr. Camara Jones on Health Equity in America. It’s an hour but absolutely worth the time.



It’s hard work to teach yourself to understand how we got here. It’s hard work to process that White Americans have benefited from the same system that has oppressed Black Americans. But it is not harder than being Black in America. It is not harder than having to live in a system that was built to work against you.


It is not harder than watching someone that looks like you, or your child, suffocated for eight minutes because of a police officer's knee on his neck while he's saying "I can't breathe".

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