12 things white people can do now because Ferguson – Quartz -
For the first couple of days, almost all of the status updates expressing anger and grief about yet another extrajudicial killing of an unarmed black boy, the news articles about the militarized police altercations with community members and the horrifying pictures of his dead body on the city concrete were posted by people of color. Outpourings of rage and demands for justice were voiced by black people, Latinos, Asian Americans, Arab American Muslims. But posts by white people were few at first and those that I saw were posted mostly by my white activist or academic friends who are committed to putting themselves on the frontlines of any conversation about racial or economic injustice in America. And almost nothing, silence practically, by the majority of my nonactivist, nonacademic white friends—those same people who gleefully jumped on the bandwagon to dump buckets of ice over their heads to raise money for ALS and those same people who immediately wrote heartfelt messages about reaching out to loved ones suffering from depression following the suicide of the extraordinary Robin Williams, may he rest in peace. But an unarmed black teenager minding his own business walking down the street in broad daylight gets harassed and murdered by a white police officer and those same people seem to have nothing urgent to say about pervasive, systemic, deadly racism in America?
They have nothing to say?
Why? The simplest explanation is because Facebook is, well, Facebook. It’s not the New York Times or a town hall meeting or the current events class at your high school. It’s the internet playground for sharing cat videos, cheeky status updates about the joys and tribulations of living with toddlers, and humble bragging about your fabulous European vacation. Some people don’t think Facebook is the forum for serious conversations. Okay, that’s fine if you fall into that category and your wall is nothing but rainbows and happy talk about how much you love your life.
However, I think the explanation is more complex and mirrors the silence of many people that I witness in real life. A lot of white people aren’t speaking out publicly against the killing of Michael Brown because they don’t see a space for themselves to engage meaningfully in the conversation so that they can move to action against racism. It’s not so much that they have nothing to say but rather they don’t see an opportunity being opened up for them to say something or to do something that matters. Or they might not be sure what to say or how to do it. They might have a hard time seeing a role for themselves in the fight against racism because they aren’t racist, they don’t feel that racism affects them or their loved ones personally, they worry that talking about race and differences between cultures might make things worse, or they think they rarely see overt racism at play in their everyday lives. And, sometimes, they are afraid. There’s a real fear of saying the wrong thing even if the intention is pure, of being alienated socially and economically from other white people for standing in solidarity with black people, or of putting one’s self in harm’s way, whether the harm be physical or psychological. I’m not saying those aren’t valid fears but I am challenging white people to consider carefully whether failing to speak out or act because of those fears is justified when white silence and inaction mean the oppression and death of black people.
Ways you can help:
Firing bullets into the air is illegal. They can be lethal coming back down.
You took my son away from me. Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many black men graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down to this type of level, where they feel like they don’t got nothing to live for anyway. “They’re going to try to take me out anyway.” — Lesley McSpadden (Mike Brown’s mother)
(Source: kaziym, via p-paw)
You asked some excellent questions regarding teaching, current events in Ferguson, and race. Similar questions that have been rolling in my mind since Treyvon Martin was killed and recent unarmed people of color being killed by police. I’ve been rolling it around in my head all evening since I saw I was tagged in your post. I can’t write an adequate response right now because it was the third day of school and 4 kids were sad (but fine on Monday and Tuesday) and decided today was the day to cry all day.
So someone, please remind me to post about it on the weekend.
That said, when I do post, it is only as a reflection on what I can do as a white teacher of children of color and perhaps a search to do better.
I’ve always struggled with what the role I should play in general in racial matters, as obviously, I am for the fair and compassionate treatment of all races, genders, and religions. But at the same time do not want to speak for or over a group of marginalized people.
Someone recently said on Tumblr (and I forget who it was, sorry) that the role of a Ally is to be a microphone rather than a speaker for a group of people being attacked, mistreated, etc.
In that light, I post to tumblr (reblogs) and facebook news stories and blog posts on these issues — particularly when written by people from these groups — in order to spread the word.
I can only encourage you (my readers) to do the same.
After trying to resolve the issue related to my A/C being broken and the warranty that should have been in effect until 2020, I was told that there was nothing that could be done by Maytag or the company that owns Maytag, Nordyne. Considering the repair was going to put me out about $2,000 — I decided that it was worth another shot. I wrote an e-mail last night to some Nordyne higher ups explaining my situation (first time homeowner, single income, teacher in Title I area) and the problem with my a/c and the warranty. Due to the heat in Florida, (current temp is 94 degrees, but weather report says it “feels like” over 100 degrees) I had to move forward with the repair.
Today I received a lovely call from Bob Marx at Nordyne who was able to arrange for the replacement part be provided. I still have to pay for the install that was done, but as I read the warranty, I would have been responsible for that anyways. I haven’t gotten the final bill, but by my estimate it should cut it in half.
I am happy to see people do the right thing and to see this company stand behind their product.
Once I get the final bill, I assure you, I will find small ways to pay it forward.
All of the bill is taken care of. The repair only cost me about $850 which is a lot less than $2,000. I can’t thank Nordyne/Maytag enough. I was actually able to buy some of the basic school supplies our classroom needed like some tissues, new colored pencils, finger paints, etc.
(Source: indasuryani, via geofaultline)
Trans 13-year-old banned from returning to school as herself -
Rachel Pepe is a 13-year-old transgender girl from Middletown, NJ who’s gearing up to go back to school. The problem is that because she’s legally registered with the school as male, officials say she can only return to school if she “acts” and “dresses” as male.
Thorne Middle School says they won’t accommodate Rachel’s request to use women’s restrooms or even the single-stall bathroom in the nurse’s office, and they will refuse to call her by her name. No out-of-district educational opportunities will be made available, either.
"He was going to school last year as Brian," said Angela Peters, Rachel’s mother, adding that her child developed stress-related seizures, depression and panic attacks. "How can I send her back as Rachel? And I am not sending her back as Brian because the depression will start again."
Rachel remained deeply isolated from the rest of the student body but still, her mother said, the children would bully her because she was so quiet.
"She would get off the bus and just cry," Peters said. "Then she would go to sleep for 17 or 20 hours and refuse to go back there."
There is no reason in the universe to treat a child with such hostility and meanness. Rachel is incredibly brave for sharing her story on a national level when there’s so much hate brewing in her own community. School should be a safe place, but it so often isn’t; when a student has to fear mistreatment from teachers for being who she is, the school is failing her.
Friday was orientation for our Pre-K Parents. Most of the parents from my class came and also brought their children. The children were all very well-behaved during the super long and boring presentation that we have to do. I felt like this: While the parents were filling out paper work, one of the active (but not misbehaving) boys was making it hard for his mom to get the paperwork done. I called him over to me and we had a long conversation about cars and by the time his mother was done with the paperwork he was laying on the bench I was sitting on with his head in my lap.
Then there was a little girl who kept on coming over to give me hugs and kisses. She is also in my class.Later in the afternoon, I got to watch all of my students from last year come in an inch or two taller and find their new classrooms during meet the teacher. Not going to lie, I totally charged them all and gave them the biggest hugs. Got lots of hugs and kisses from the moms as well.
In the afternoon, one of my ESE kids came. He had just been registered that day. I took him to see the room. He walked up to my alphabet poster and said, “A - apple, B - Ball…” while pointing to letters.
I am so excited about tomorrow that I don’t know that I’ll be able to sleep.
Tomorrow is the first day of school and I am so excited!
Engineers: Would this idea work? Why or why not?
Not cool. Not cool.