Failure to Connect or And You Wonder Why They Don’t Like You….

This post has been weighing on me for at least a week now.  As I’ve gotten angrier and angrier, I blamed myself – I should have NEVER engaged in a Facebook post, it’s only what I deserved.  The post, from a former coworker, insinuated that the #BlackLiveMatters movement was created on the basis of hate and that it will cause for America to be lawless, because in essence it was THOSE men’s fault that they were killed and we’re wrong for defending the bias and racism that initiated the initial action and subsequent reaction.  I shared my feelings on the reality behind the movement, the fact that NOTHING those men did warranted the death penalty without judge and jury, and how black lives have not been valued for as long as we have been in this country. Slavery, Jim Crow, the influx of crack into black neighborhoods, anyone?

The response?  “As long as everyone stays calm and respectful, there shouldn’t be any problems”.  And I call straight up bull on that!  How long has this been the preference – the quiet negro….the mild negro…..the “go along to get along” negro….?  But what happens when enough is enough?

Meek Negro

Once the “Negro/Black Man/Person of Color” has had enough and initiates a movement, they are considered disrespectful, hate filled, dangerous.  Whatever happens – they “had it coming to them”, right? A comment on that particular post said this:

The whole reason the police were called is because a homeless man was asking Alton Sterling for money and he couldn’t give it to him.  Instead, he flashed his illegal gun.  So the homeless man had the cops called.  I bet now he wishes he had been a literal more generous with his CD money, or at the very least, been cooperative with the police.

Wait, what?  Alton Sterling didn’t want to give a homeless person money and he deserved the DEATH SENTENCE?? Seriously…..

In a state of denial, I asked a friend to look at the post.  I had to ask, was it just me?  Am I wrong in my thinking? Her response:

Well I’ll be!  And I’m not so ignorant to believe that everyone will understand our plight, but to be an educator and to have this mindset, let alone publicize it, parallels perfectly with her inability to have never been able to build a relationship with her students of color.

I immediately thought of this quote by the incomparable Rita Pierson from her 2013 TedTalk, “Every Kid Needs a Champion”.

Rita Pierson

If you refuse to understand your kids….if you refuse to empathize with them…make connections with them, what are you doing?  Why are you even here? Being an effective educator, no matter the race, color, or creed, depends on not only having a mastery of the subject matter but mastery of what it takes to build positive relationships. And as long as we make no effort to do better….be better – we are a part of the long suffering and corruptive system that all those years ago as pre-service teachers we passionately said we wanted to change. If you are going to do the work in those places, it is imperative that you understand the plight of children of color….children of poverty.  And not only understand it, but digest it, use it, believe in it to make this world a better place for us all.  Or, as a 50+ year sorority sister member said to us (in something totally related)….”Get the HELL out!”

Until the next time,