In Thursday’s post, I indicated that racism, bias, and discrimination are as much a part of our educational system in New York as they are in any other formal institution. Although some would like to quench the thirst of those — like me — who are eager to expose and eradicate the misery of this three-pronged agenda, Chancellor Richard Carranza is not interested in appeasing the masses. If it means that roles are reversed and those used to being in power are now in the uncomfortable position of looking long and hard at the foundation of human enslavement, free labor, and institutional racism upon which their societal “leg-up” is built, so be it. Isn’t that what’s best for the greater good?
I firmly believe that one reason why we can’t address racially-driven inequities in America is because we’ve never come together — the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners — and hashed out our ugly past. White privilege is the law of the land and that’s the way too many would like it to remain. These are the ones who question the need for implicit bias trainings and complain about state-wide equity education initiatives under review.
Honestly — how dare they?
For every blog post I write exposing the injustices that teachers and students experience in our education system, there are a whole lot more whose stories with never be told. The educator I referred to in Thursday’s post — the one who called out a white co-worker for making racially insensitive remarks — sat with me for an interview and then, right before publishing, decided that even though neither her name nor her likeness was being used, she no longer wanted her story told. The driving force behind that decision was fear of retaliation from the people with whom she works in an already hostile environment. These are the situations I believe Chancellor Carranza is hoping to address so that school administrators and staff members navigate knowledgeably and effectively. The goal is not punitive results, but rather, enlightenment and positive change.
This will only work if knowledge of one’s implicit biases is received openly and honestly. It must be seen as knowledge worth learning. But while I am proud of Chancellor Carranza and the state-level educators who are pushing this curriculum, I am disappointed in my colleagues who push back against the equitable changes being proposed in New York City schools. They are not going away, just like our stories, our feelings, our needs to be made whole, will not go away. Our humanity will not go away. Don’t push back: Instead, lean in. The disruption has begun.