I credit my dear friend Sharon Clarke for reminding me of this lesson we learned at a PSWP Social Studies course
Here is the lesson in brief detail:
- Have students write about a recent event that they would remember.
- Take all the voices and then randomly throw some away: you can provide the educational theater by saying things like there was a flood, or war, or destruction of a library, or digital files, were lost…
- Read the few remaining ones and try to piece together a historical event. Are all voices and perspectives represented? Whose are missing? Why does this matter?
The students will get it, immediately understanding the value of voice and story in history. If their voice was one of the lost ones, they will come to understand privilege and marginalization.
This is the story about how one student faced harassment after Trump was elected. It’s emboldened the white supremacists and racists in our nation. Years of propaganda from sources like Fox News and Breitbart fueled toxic masculinity and hate, and continue to do so. Imagine just walking down the street with your family and someone believes not only is it okay if they display bigoted, racist threats, but know nothing will happen to them?
Hate crimes increased in the U.S. last year. We cannibalize our own protectors. Teachers: be brave. Speak up. Help students find their voices. We can learn from history.
I urge everyone who still has their moral compass intact to fight. Those who are silent and think that these days are normal political shenanigans are on the wrong side. We are all welcome to our conservative and liberal views, and our First Amendment rights: write your story down and make sure it isn’t lost.