This post is a work-in-progress as folks share other resources with me. It contains three parts: The Story, The Reason, The Resources.
I shield my children (ages 7 and 9) from the news because I want them to hear it from me, not the media.
But when I said “I have something I need to talk to you about,” my 7 year old, who is black, groaned and covered his eyes. “Did something bad happen to another black person?” he asked me.
“Is that going to happen to me?” he asked me.
“I’m scared,” he told me.
My answers, my responses, were powerless and furious: Yes. I hope not. Me too.
No mother should have to look her son in the eye and say “I hope not” instead of “No. That could never happen to you.”
One of the problems with processing these events in the summer months is that I am not with you, my beloved students, and I can’t help you.
- For those of you hurting and grieving, I can’t hold your hands and hug you and listen to your justifiable rage and tell you I’m on your side.
- For those of you who are more distant from the experience because of privilege, I can’t help you think critically about what’s happening. I can’t help you access resources and articles that can inform your understanding about these terrible events.
So I’m putting together some resources here. These are mostly aimed at my white students, since I know most of my black students are likely engaged, aware, and more in need of hugs than words.
(* indicates top-recommended resources and [own voices] indicates a resource authored by or attributed to a person of color)
- *I, Racist: Understanding the Difference Between a Black “we” and the White “I.” Reading and re-reading this article slowly, taking the time to think about each thing he says, will never go amiss. [own voices]
- Advice For White Folks In the Wake of a Murder of a Black Person
- *Strategies for Fostering Race-Consciousness. This site is targeted to parents/teachers of young children, which you are not (so is their 100 Race-Conscious Things to Say To Your Children)–but the truth is simple: sometimes hearing how someone might explain something to a young child really helps me understand it.
- If you haven’t seen the Jonathan Bachman/Reuters photos out of Baton Rouge, particularly this one and this one, it’s time to take a long look.
- A Black Lives Matter analogy (political cartoon)
- Why it’s “Black Lives Matter” and not “All Lives Matter”
- A professor’s response to a student critique of his Black Lives Matter T-shirt. I have NO IDEA if this is verifiable, but either way it is a very useful lesson in persuasive writing while also addressing some of the basic premises of the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” [own voices]
- This NYT article about DeRay Mckesson’s release also links to a lot of coverage of Black Lives Matter protests, info about Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and the Race in America series.
- Campaign Zero: Explains The Problem [own voices]
- *Campaign Zero: Explains The Solutions (you have to keep scrolling to see them all; they’re excellent and balanced and wise, looking at ALL angles of the solution) [own voices]
- Good Bones and Let’s Not Begin, two poems by Maggie Smith that might help with the emotions we are all feeling; they sure helped me.
- Those students from Christian faiths may also find this prayer litany helpful. If any one has prayers or reflections that might be helpful for students from Jewish, Islamic, or other traditions, please let me know. You can use the contact form here or tweet me @AliBG.
For Breaking News
Follow Deray McKesson (@deray) on Twitter. He is an educator turned activist, and his arrest record suddenly looks startlingly like Dr. Martin Luther King’s. He’s also on Instagram (iamderay) and Snapchat (derayderay) and Vine. [own voices]
Follow Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) on Twitter. Despite their title, they were the media outlet writing about Deray McKesson’s arrest as it happened.
Other Additions From Comments and Email:
A student emailed to say he thought this NYT article about Dallas police Chief David Brown might help explore the perspective of officers feeling scared and overwhelmed, too.
A teacher-friend suggested I add:
- *Ta-Nahesi Coates’s book Between the World and Me [own voices]
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely [own voices]
- “The Ballad of Birmingham” (which some of you have already studied, but deserves a re-read in light of the last few weeks)
Another educator on Twitter suggested “On The Subway” by Sharon Olds, though I should warn that it has the potential to be triggering at the outset because of a set of assumptions the speaker makes. However, it lands where Ta-Nahesi Coates begins.