There is no escaping the reality that exists regarding social and racial injustices in this country, particularly now – 2016. Throughout our media platforms,there are constant images of “Black Lives Matter” protests, many prompted by an act of violence against an unarmed Black male by police. These protests have resulted in violence in communities AND against the police. You can’t ignore the fact that our society is ripe for “a revolution” that is definitely going to be televised.
This reality can’t be ignored, even within our schools and our classrooms. Our students are personally experiences many of the injustices being protested and have the scars (emotional and/or physical) to prove it. Trying to teach content relative to the academic core without infusing current events and realities is morally criminal. You have to be willing to talk about it.
The classrooms should be created as safe spaces for students to engage in dialogue around social and racial injustices. Our teaching should help them begin to sort out the emotional whirlwind they are experiencing. Our teaching should begin to help heal the emotional pains our students bear as a result of this societal impact. Our teaching should begin to demonstrate to our students how to speak out about injustices and how to create plans and strategies that will help bring about social change. Our teaching should promote safety not violence and hate. Our teaching should say to students, “It’s ok to get angry but you must use your angry to challenge the ‘institution’ and to do the right thing.” Our teaching should highlight that throughout history, change occurred because people demanded it. Our teaching should discuss the impact of a community’s voice about failures to recognize and respect their rights to our constitutional privileges as stated in the Preamble to the US Constitution;
Yes, Black Lives Matter. Yes, All Lives Matter.
And In our classes, in the midst of social unrest and a cry for justice, definitely, TEACHING MATTERS!