Posted in Anti-racist work, ELL, Equity & Cultural Competency

Cement.

In my drafts folder is a post of what I really want to say, things I want to expose, but experience tells me to censor myself. For now. Reframe it, be mindful, professional, and progress.

[TL:DR Skip to the last paragraphs if you want to know what EL teachers do.]

Context: I’m in my second year of EL teaching, and my fifteenth year overall. Straddling between imposter syndrome, confidence, and COVID19 building closure, I stepped in my usual gopher holes. But fortunately (and this is an understatement) I work with an admin and district person who could not be more supportive, intelligent, insightful, and there. And while I had to let go of my institutional expertise and community standing (whatever the heck that means) to leave the district I was in for twelve years, it is hard on my ego to admit that I just don’t have the credibility or trust that others do. And my Ego and I had a long talk, a few, actually, and decided it was okay, that what I do have are these two women who are in the work with me to help our students. Do I wish folks would listen to me? Yes, of course, because it would sure make things easier for our students in the short and long term.

The issue, mixed with lack of trust, an unmanageable amount of stress and fear, is this: I was having difficulty coordinating the support time for the ELs in their other classes. Most districts call this the “Check and Connect” time, and having been on the general education teacher side, I have seen my share of great EL teachers who truly support and help scaffold, and those who just saunter in the room, chitchat about football or the weather, and then walk outside again. I am definitely NOT that teacher. Nor am I a paraeducator (and this contains multiple meanings).

Turns out I was not the only one who met with challenges about how to best proceed to support students during the building closures/remote learning. A few weeks ago, however, I sensed the need for clarification on my role in the building, and put together a pretty cool slide presentation to share. However, I didn’t get the chance, and the reasons are painful to write about. But things converged and aligned, and my admin invited the district point person to share at one of our staff meetings.

But– before all this–I have one student who does her work. She shows up. She’s highly motivated to graduate, and it is in her personal character. I am not suggesting that other students don’t care, aren’t motivated, or any of that. They are trying to survive. And while I was helping her with a science lesson, one of the words was “cement.” For some reason, I asked her if she knew what cement was, and she said no.

Think about that for one minute. Or two. Or sixty. A simple scaffold I’ve done for native English and English learners alike is to pull out the vocabulary from a lesson, do anticipatory guides, comprehensible input, etc. Background knowledge building is critical. Contextual information, also critical.

I wanted to share this with a meeting with my admin and the science teacher, but alas, the science teacher had to back out of the meeting at the last minute.

Last year, one of those quick meetings would have been no big deal. I worked in other teachers’ classrooms, sat quietly, listened. pulled out vocabulary and created support instruction and shared. My colleagues seemed genuinely pleased to have me in the building, and collaboration and cooperation was heartfelt and beneficial to our collective students.

This year, I’ve been accused of lying for my students, giving them “the answers,” and helping them cheat.

Yeah, it’s been awesome.

I am just going to put it in the mental bin that year has been too much. Others have unseen pressures, sorrow, grief, and fear that I do not see, nor do they see mine, and grace is not easily bestowed. I’m not sure some folks know what grace means. If it came in the form of a crystal necklace owned by a pointy-eared woman named Arwen and we could pass it back and forth, sure, it would be easy. Maybe we need to make “grace passes” like bathroom passes for when we need each other to back the heck up and think twice about sending that long, nasty email?

This year, I’m not allowed to sit in on their Google classes. I hope that changes, because the EL students need me there. Not “me” but an EL teacher. One teacher has taken me up on my offer for the SIOP protocols and I wait for students to seek help, but I know it would be better if I was there in real time. Believe me, I do understand other teachers’ fears of having teachings ‘observe.’ We had an instructional coach who blatantly said she would tell admin what we were doing, which is a cardinal sin of instructional coaching.

Trust between colleagues is thin and broken now among many teachers across the country. Why wouldn’t it be? We don’t trust each other to wear a mask. Why would we trust each other in the workplace? I’ve seen it firsthand, and felt the long lasting damaging effects. And I hope one day I get a chance to tell a few colleagues this, to share my story, and because of that I have vowed not to harm and try to maintain trust.

My independence is tethered for a bit, and that is the cost. I will pass everything through my admin, and we’ll do what we can. Moving forward, I will still continue to do the best I can, continue reaching out to students, make my little instructional videos, send my notes and letters, and telling students to reach out to their content area teachers first.

Oh, and we have some cultural misconceptions to clear up, too, but that’s for another post.

Posted in Anti-racist work, Equity & Cultural Competency, History

not so nice

This reporting deserves a Pulitzer. Now that’s out of the way, Chana Joffe-Walt and the Serial podcast is a must-listen.

While I sit in my rage, my fear of personal hypocrisy, and memories of my own education and the parallel worlds of Black and brown children alongside mine and my sons’ I cannot help but feel this odd sense of inevitability, hopelessness, and also drastic change and revolutionary, explosive change. But maybe that’s just life now; maybe many of us waver between hope and despair. But if we don’t get this right, if we don’t solve this, it is my prophetic conviction we’re headed toward doom. What this series reports is a history, the heart-pumping, breathing in and out contextual poetry of history. How did this happen? How did we get here? What might happen next? And my hopelessness is rooted in the 40% of white Americans right now who have done everything and continue to fight this war the rest of us don’t want, we reject, and we swing and miss, swing and miss, swing and miss, and strike out.

Let’s get this right.

Understand that this isn’t some other white woman speaking. This is me. These are my wealthier friends who struggled with where to send their children. This is me when my husband and I bought our first (and only house) and moved to where the reports said the schools were good. The schools, and the community, is still predominately white. Did I subconsciously think about race? I can’t honestly say. Knowing how I feel now, and knowing my own past with living overseas, I think it was a drawback because it was too homogenized. It’s my family member who lived in a very wealthy area and whose PTSA drew in thousands of dollars for already privileged children of very wealthy parents.

I’ve told this story before. I lived in Tehran for about a year, and then moved during 7th grade to a white Denver suburb. I went to a large, predominately white high school. The students had affluent parents, and many drove BMWs, Mercedes, etc., to school. I had one friend who lived in a bona fide mansion. My boyfriend’s family belonged to the Denver Country Club. Later he would tell me the reason he didn’t marry me (one reason, anyway) was because his parents wanted him to marry the daughter of their other wealthy friends. He did, they later divorced, and I am still wondering what happened to that Cinderella path. Bippity, boppity, boop. I moved my senior year to a suburb of Wilmington, Delaware. Yes, that Delaware. With Joe-Biden-as-Senator-Delaware. The high school was said to be “formerly one of the best in the state, but since busing has deteriorated.”

Understand moving my senior year was traumatic: I left the boyfriend, left my friends, left my rank as a senior to move to a state that was not nearly as beautiful as Colorado. Sorry, Delaware, you’re just not. Okay, the beaches are pretty wonderful, but yeah.

And this is where memory may falter: I don’t really remember how I felt about being around other students of color. I really don’t. I think I just thought they seemed annoyed at being there, and of course many of the other white kids were racist shits. The entire framing of the school and the experience there was surreal to me. My English teachers at the other school put me through my paces, while my senior English teacher had given up. The whole thing seemed weird, and whatever opinions I had about race, integration and school were wonky and wrong. But it seems like that’s many white people’s views: they were just wrong.

It’s in the voices of the white people on the podcast –the guilt, shame, and false naivety.

And think about Episode 3: poaching students. What the hell is this? Is every damn thing a sports arena?

“It’s like a secret they didn’t tell us.” Nadine Jackson, Episode 3

When my younger son was in middle school, he, well, was having a rough time. Following in the shadow of his highly achieving brother, school was a struggle. At one point, I wanted him to come to where I was teaching–it was objectively better. Better because the teachers wanted to be there, the programs, the freedom for project based learning, better math and science, all the way around. I’m still friends with many of the teachers who taught when I did, and while the school has many problems, it always comes down to the adults in charge. Though a Title I school, which in this context means the students’ families have financial obstacles. (I say it this way because I am raging over how our nation handles money, but that’s a story for another time.) My son would have thrived there, but he decided to stay locally because of some of his close friends, friends he still has to this day. Was I trying to replicate some kind of global or world experience for him that his mostly white school couldn’t do? Maybe. I wasn’t successful. And when I see social media posts by my white neighbors, I see they’re content and satisfied with the status quo. And even vote for a dangerous man to keep it that way.

But more integrated schools have greater flexibility: I and the counselor worked out a structure that “honors” classes were open and available to all. Contrasting, the mostly white middle school in my same district used a triage of tests because so many of the white parents wanted their children tracked in honors. And, I taught my core ELA classes with the same Honors content, and told them so. It wasn’t more work, it was offered to all, and the only difference was pacing. That’s it. We didn’t get it right when inclusion came around, and again, not the fault of the students. Inclusion was not introduced well, at the expense of many students. By the time I left, they brought back honors, but only one teacher was allowed to teach it, one of the admin’s darlings, and she would not accept late work. Period. I think she’s now teaching in my sons’ district. Interesting how that works, isn’t it?

Another memory is when our neighbors, who have a son between my sons’s ages, said how “scared he was to go” to my school during sporting events. I told him that was ridiculous, the kids were great, and I loved teaching there. But I knew it was code for “I”m scared of the Black and brown kids there.” And the power and white supremacy goes unchallenged.

My sons’ schools had active PTSAs: money, events, socials, and expensive supply lists. My teaching school had two years of an active PTSA because a white mom ran it when her daughter went to the school-within-school on campus. Now, some white women know how to get money and resources for their buildings, and keep it going. But it feels too fragile and unsustainable when the white savior is centered.

I’ve tried to get three buildings on board with ProjectLit, and they look at me askance, with polite, cold “no’s.” I’ve had to tamp down my enthusiasm many times.

Now — recently my older son and I had a great conversation about the white savior trope in teaching. He is interested in becoming a teacher, and wants to do a great job. I am keeping a weathered eye on his perfectionism, but will only assist if he asks. And in our conversation about saviorism I had the opportunity to say out loud what lives in my teaching soul. Students don’t need saving. They have parents who love them. They want the best for their child. That’s it. No need to ‘save.’ Just provide the best education you can. Keep learning. Listen. Honor the human in front of you, and be humbled–parents send their hearts to school.

But in terms of the inequities between schools, white, wealthier parents you are on notice: listen to the podcast and do your homework. Shed your defensiveness. We all make mistakes and missteps. I’ve only worked in Title I schools, and I’ve seen these programs, initiatives, etc., come through constantly. Going on 15 years, it’s 15 years of this. It’s decades of this for this nation.

Enough.

Take time to find out who’s on your local school boards, whether you have children in the district or not. Find out the demographics of the schools in your area. Find out the building sizes, and how many students go to each school. For example, my former middle school has almost 900 students for a building intended for 600. There is another that has empty classroom. Busing doesn’t work, so what does? Maybe we need to overhaul how schools are ranked? Demand that money be spread equally to the schools,

Keep reading, but more importantly, reach out. Donate, no strings, no agendas.

Reading List: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/podcasts/nice-white-parents-reading-list.html

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, burning questions, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Equity & Cultural Competency, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework (28) Money: support the work

This is what I wrote in 2018, and my question ‘is this the best we can hope for?’ lacked in hope and vision. But thank goodness others have taken up the work, and helped us (teachers) continue to grow and learn.

My inadequate hope.

Fortunately, Shea Martin, Lizzie Fortin, and many others keep sharing their thinking.

And it’s almost payday: donate to this, even if they’ve exceeded their goal:

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, book recommendations, Books, burning questions, Burning Questions Book Lists, Classics, Culturally Relevant Teaching, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Curriculum Ideas, ELA, ELL, Equity & Cultural Competency, Genre Studies, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework (22) ‘Canon’ Fodder

I’m going into year 15 next school year, and during this time I can vouch that I continue to seek answers and strive to be a better teacher for my students. This is built on my master’s thesis, which was using engaging children’s literature–I contend this was a solid foundation for my practice. But I’m out of patience waiting for others to catch up. And I’ve encountered this request and steerage multiple times. I’m not a patient person by nature anyway, or so I’ve been told by a friend. It would be my life lesson. I’m beginning to think patience, when it comes to children and education, is highly overrated and is not, as painted, a virtue, but a sin.

And I saw this:

And this:

I would add that I am here for any conversation about books, novels, problematic texts, and the approved “canon.” Districts and district leadership: I beseech you: do not make it so difficult to get great literature written by BIPOC writers in our classrooms. We don’t have time to wait.

Book Recommendations for my current teaching position: link here.

This is a screenshot from a recent Webinar sponsored by the International Reading Association
Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, being a better colleague, Being a better teacher, Best Practices, Big Questions, Communication, Creativity, Culturally Responsive Teaching, ELL, Equity & Cultural Competency, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework: Let’s talk (15)

In a Facebook group whose mission is to discuss anti-racism and equity issues (one of about a thousand of these groups) a member asked if it’s “okay to compliment an accent.”

My short answer was “no.” She was not satisfied with this. I told her I would research it further, but my first response comes from being an ELA/ELL teacher, and complimenting someone’s accent or dialect may make them feel singled out, “other” ness. It may discourage students who speak one or more languages other than English, and while they’re working on English will feel self-conscious.

And I am wondering why I am still so irked. Why wasn’t it enough for me to say “no?” The reason is because when a white person doesn’t get the answer they want, it takes a trajectory of time (confirmation bias strength) and friction (cognitive dissonance). She wanted to continue her behavior. I get it. I still like to tell students they’re amazing, beautiful, smart, loyal friends, courageous, and creative. When we’ve done pop-up toasts as a class and they need to speak to/about other students, it’s my honor to help them find ways to compliment one another that’s healthy, loving and profound.

Further Reading:

Note: even the word “microaggression” sounds like “small racism.” They’re aggressions.

What exactly is a microaggression?

This is from a person who works as a dialect coach: http://accenteraser.com/blog/4-things-people-with-accents-wished-you-knew/

“And maybe, just maybe I don’t want to tell you where I’m from because I might look at this country as being my home. I’ve worked hard to become part of your world. And I love it here.”

Please Know This Before You Comment on My Accent

Micro-aggressions in the Classroom: https://www.messiah.edu/download/downloads/id/921/Microaggressions_in_the_Classroom.pdf

YOU HAVE AN ACCENT, I HAVE AN ACCENT, EVERYBODY HAS AN ACCENT….by Larry Ferlazzo

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Argumentative Reading and Writing, being a better colleague, Being a better teacher, Big Questions, Close Reading, Communication, Culturally Responsive Teaching, ELA, ELL, Equity & Cultural Competency, Series: White People Homework, Writing

Series: White People Homework- What’s in a name? (14) (Updated)

We’re not a football family in our house. And like many areas of fandom, it’s okay–no judgment on those who love football, and as far as we know we aren’t judged by others. Wouldn’t matter. So forgive me for not knowing who Emmanuel Acho is. Turns out, he’s pretty amazing! And I am so grateful for other media formats who bring people such as him into my life and help me learn.

And I am an ELA/ELL teacher; however, full disclosure, I was not an English major in college. Most of what I learned about mechanics, style guides, and conventions I relearned and created lessons while teaching. My next question is what are the current grammarians and style guide writers determining about the capitalization of Black and White. Here’s what I’ve found:

Black should be capitalized. “White” — not as clear. From the Diversity Style Guide, they link further articles. The consensus isn’t clear (as are many grammatical discussions).

The National Association of Black Journalists does not capitalize Black in its publications, including the NABJ Style Guide. Many of the terms related to Black and White people in The Diversity Style Guide come from 100 Questions & Answers About African Americans. The team that put together that guide decided to capitalize Black and White, according to editor Joe Grimm. After much research and consideration, the editor of The Diversity Style Guide elected to capitalize Black and White when used in a racial context, but most would say it’s not incorrect to lowercase those words.

https://www.diversitystyleguide.com/glossary/white-white/
This article was written in 2011: When referring to race, should ‘black’ and ‘white’ be capitalized?
Original Post: http://dcentric.wamu.org/2011/10/when-to-capatalize-black-and-white/

However, when words labeling an entire people are at the root of a language dispute, that’s reason enough to seek direction outside of our usual resources, especially if the resources are outdated. If your editorial directive is to call people what they want to be called—including names, pronouns, and labels—then look to Black media outlets like Ebony and Essence for accepted usage and avoid overriding their terminology. By capitalizing black and white, we also make necessary distinctions between color and race—black hair and Black hair—similar to distinguishing between native and Native. Don’t wait for your style guide to catch up, because it’s waiting for you to demonstrate sufficient usage.

From https://consciousstyleguide.com/capitalizing-for-equality/

This article lead me to this page: Center for the Study of Social Policy: https://cssp.org/2020/03/recognizing-race-in-language-why-we-capitalize-black-and-white/

This is the dilemma we need to address:

We believe that it is important to call attention to White as a race as a way to understand and give voice to how Whiteness functions in our social and political institutions and our communities. Moreover, the detachment of “White” as a proper noun allows White people to sit out of conversations about race and removes accountability from White people’s and White institutions’ involvement in racism. We are also reckoning with the threatening implications of capitalizing “W” in “White,” often used by White supremacists, to establish White racial dominance. The violence of capitalizing White in this context makes us grapple with the history of how Whiteness has functioned and thrived in the United States; acknowledging that, yes, White people have had power and still hold power in this country. While we condemn those who capitalize “W” for the sake of evoking violence, we intentionally capitalize “White” in part to invite people, and ourselves, to think deeply about the ways Whiteness survives—and is supported both explicitly and implicitly.

https://cssp.org/2020/03/recognizing-race-in-language-why-we-capitalize-black-and-white/

Language is powerful, and oftentimes I think ELA teachers don’t teach the true power of capitalization, punctuation and syntax. Because it “wasn’t on the test” we spent the past 14 years teaching to a test that uses excerpts like out-of-context entrails on an autopsy slab. I am going to call on my other experts on history and language to ask their thoughts. I will and do capitalize Black when referring to race, and have been using lower case “w” for white people. My instinctual response was because capitalizing the “w” felt like a nod for white supremacy. However, CSSP makes a strong case. (No pun intended.) Language is ever-evolving and shifting, sometimes for honest, descriptive and precise communication and sometimes for nefarious and subtextual racist communication. This article was written in 2015 by the Columbia Journalism Review: I think we can all agree that we need to be mindful of language and do our best to stay current and mind the impact.

And also, ELA teachers, be especially mindful of your use of Martin Luther King’s, Jr. works.

Update:

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Being a better teacher, Big Questions, burning questions, changing the world, Creativity, Culturally Responsive Teaching, Equity & Cultural Competency, History, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework: Statues (13)

Bree Newsome climbed up a flagpole and took down the racist, Confederate flag of South Carolina in 2015. I was teaching 7th grade Humanities that year, and her actions were shared with my students.

Newsome’s move, for many, was nothing short of cathartic. Weeks before, white supremacist Dylann Roof gunned down nine parishioners and injured three more during Bible study at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The day before Newsome climbed the flagpole, former President Barack Obama gave a moving eulogy for South Carolina state senator Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the shooting’s victims, in which he called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds, describing it as “a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation.”

https://www.vox.com/identities/2017/6/27/15880052/bree-newsome-south-carolinas-confederate-flag

Bree Newsome reflects on taking down South Carolina’s Confederate flag 2 years ago

The debate over whether or not to take down statues of the Confederacy began to heat up, and information and background history of when and why those statues were erected shared, but still the debate waged on. And nothing was done. We forgot about this work.

Just this past week, a mother of one of my favorite people, and she is a loving, Christian woman who is on his side, loves his bravery and voice, and shares his convictions, stepped out in one way –she believes the taking down of the statues is a form of censorship. Now, I am sensitive to the word ‘censorship.’ (This morning a colleague said, unequivocally, that “racist texts need and should be burned.” She didn’t cite specific works. She said it would be an anti-fa act. I said it is also a fascist act. One of the paradoxes of our times. But the book burning post is for another day.)

Instead of debating or making a case whether or not taking down statues is censorship, I had this epiphany this morning, and I am going to explore further. It came to me while listening to the news about Britain putting barricades around statues to protect them from protestors:

Statue Of Winston Churchill Is Covered Up In London

I do not know everything about history. I know quite little, actually, and this lack of knowledge affords me this opportunity to think about the statues and monuments I’ve encountered. If I see a statue of a man on horseback dressed in military gear, I assume he’s a famous person who has performed some act of bravery. The statue is shorthand and communicates an agreed-upon statement. If there is a statue of someone that means they did something worth getting a statue for. Right? I mean, we don’t honor horrible people, do we? We honor brave, kind, intelligent, worthy people who save lives, heal others, tell stories, or share a greater gift with the rest of humanity, right? There are statues that are works of art, fountains, monuments, that bring beauty and joy. But think: when looking at them, what assumptions do we make?

When we see Confederate military statues, or statues such as James Marion Sims, we assume heroic deeds. And that is where the true censorship happens. It happens when the voices of those enslaved, tortured, harmed, killed and exploited are silenced. The censorship happens when we don’t know whose land we’re on. And in the cruel legacy of Sims, medical students still think BIPOC don’t feel pain the same way white people do. Still. To THIS DAY. Or what treacherous and heinous acts they performed. If we do keep colonizers, slave owners, and religious zealots statues present, why not put up a huge sign that tells the whole story? Would you have known what Sims did if you just walked through the park, saw his statue, and went about your merry way? Or Columbus? Would you have known about the Taino he slaughtered? If we’re going to keep Christopher Columbus status should we put the hands of the slaughtered around his neck? And how is Georgia planning on blasting off Stone Mountain? (Look it up.) Because that one is large and horrifying.

Now, of course, I would prefer that the statues just come down. Go in a museum basement somewhere. Or melted down and made into beautiful bells and chimes. For every statue that’s taken down, if we need to replace them we have thousands waiting who truly did do wonderful things. Brave things. Acts of courage and generosity. People half-joke about putting up statues of Dolly Parton. What about Harriet Tubman? What about Ida B. Wells?

And I wouldn’t mind seeing his work in every city across this nation:

For further reading:

Monumental Error: Will New York City finally tear down a statue?

How the US Got So Many Confederate Monuments

What should replace Confederate monuments? See 4 ideas from New Orleans students

People Are In Love With These Kids’ Ideas For What To Replace Confederate Monuments With

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Being a better teacher, Best Practices, Big Questions, Critical Thinking, ELL, Equity & Cultural Competency, History

Series: White People Homework: (11)

What I tried to say in this post, But Justin Schleider (@SchleiderJustin) said it so much better:

I am specifically talking to White people because we are the ones who created the problem and we are the ones who need to work towards rectifying what we have done. Plus I can only speak to the groups I am a part of and understand.

https://slowchatpe.com/2020/06/09/and-we-still-need-you/

Still, others may be young and just entered the field of education. You have been raised in a White bubble (like myself) and through the purposeful guidance of our communities and family, you have not fully grasped the magnitude of the problem that permeates school. Now is the time to listen before you act. Listen to queer Black feminists and the leaders in social justice within the world of education such as Val Brown and Dr. Rosa Perez-Isaiah. Listen to professors of sociology like Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom. Once you have listened follow the people who have been doing the work for years. Nothing you are thinking of is new. Activists have been working toward collective liberation for years. You as well are just coming into the fight in the 10th round. And we need you.

https://slowchatpe.com/2020/06/09/and-we-still-need-you/

And to my fellow white teachers, whether you teach English/Language Arts, History, Science, Math, an Elective, Music, etc.–we need to talk about language and literacies. Everyone, and I mean everyone, code switches. No one speaks the ‘standard’ or “formal’ language all the time. So if you’re using language or policing BIPOC students’ language as a mean to silence them, stop. Thanks.

This is an area of study I must do more research: since becoming an ELL teacher with my ELA endorsement, it’s important for my students for me to do my best and do better.

Posted in #Deconstruct, #ProjectLit, Anti-racist work, Argumentative Reading and Writing, Equity & Cultural Competency, History, Series: White People Homework

Series: White People Homework: The Cost (9)

The emotional, spiritual, education, and economic costs of racism are complex, chaotic, and connected. But there are verifiable receipts to these costs, and if I was a better statistician or social mathematician perhaps I could write with more scholarly credibility. But I do know the data are available, and historically white people have ignored these costs to others, themselves, and future generations. It costs billions to clean up fractured lives, and it can’t possibly cost as much to build sustainable, equitable lives for us all. Think about the amount of money and conscious choice it takes for Republicans to maintain their racists infrastructure of voter suppression. Think of the economic health of our nation if we ended racism and racist practices in law, civil interactions, and upheld our principals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This post provides links to articles and data regarding the economic cost of racism.

The economic impact of racism is nearly immeasurable. Life is precious and priceless, yet we treat each other as commodities. And the enslavement of people in our own nation is a sin that demands reparations.

Read these articles and consider using them in a Socratic Seminar, argumentative reading resources, etc. Ask students if they think racist policies and practices in this country have affected them, either by privilege, benefit or disadvantage.

One of the costs of racism in American society by Michelle Singletary

The economic impact of racism by Michelle Singletary

The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehesi Coates

ACLU: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/students-rights/

Why should students know their rights? What if their rights are violated? What does that cost them in time, emotional and mental health, money, and opportunities? How do students advocate for themselves and others safely?

Anti-racist work for white educators: prioritize understanding how this looks like in your own classes and your relationships with students:

Finally, consider the economic costs of trauma. Racism and violence cause trauma. While trauma and injuries are not always connected with racism and racism violence, it is clearly a portion of the costs represented in the $671 billion dollar figure.

From the Center for National Trauma Research

Childhood exposure to trauma costs society $458 billion annually

https://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/childhood-exposure-trauma-costs-society-458-billion-annually

There are real, calculated costs to racism. Racism and systemic racism props up wealthy white people. It maintains their vast wealth. It maintains their infrastructure of police protections and brutality. If we continue to work toward a more just nation and world, always consider the money: who benefits, and who seeks to maintain the status quo. And speak directly to that with your voice, power, votes, and information.