My heart is so heavy. So so heavy. I’m emotionally….spiritually…..physically drained with the events that have transpired this week. Last night I was so exhausted I couldn’t even talk….literally. I crawled in the bed and was asleep by 9:30.
On the way to work today, I was listening to the Steve Harvey Morning Show and there was an officer who was on as an interviewed guest. There was a question asked of him about things that could be done to better prepare officers so that they’re not afraid and don’t overreact when they encounter people of color.
Immediately I thought about a conversation I’d just had yesterday with a few colleagues of mine about teachers who are afraid and/or overreact when they deal with children of color. We talked about how sometimes people get into this profession for the wrong reasons, how frequently they’re ill equipped to handle difficult students who are not like them, how sometimes they become jaded and apathetic to the needs of children, or how truthfully…..I don’t even think they even LIKE kids.
The correlation between our conversation and that interview was startling! Do we all think that preparation programs (higher ed and police academy) do an effective job of getting these babies (and I mean no offense by that) ready for what they’ll encounter when they walk into that classroom, police car, office on their very first day? Heck No! They come in bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to change the world. And then that exuberance is beat out of them through the pressures of being overwhelmed and under supported, lack of mentoring, and sometimes being led astray by cynical colleagues who just don’t give a crap anymore.
But since these situations aren’t just happening with young fresh faced darlings, that cannot be the entire problem. So what’s really missing is tolerance, empathy, and a refusal to acknowledge our own biases. Someone shared a Facebook post where a teacher shared her passion and desire to teach her kids to be color blind. Frankly, that’s straight up bull. 9 times out of 10, race is the most effective way of identifying someone. No one should be afraid to say that someone is White or Black or Hispanic as a way to describe them. That’s NOT the problem. If we’re completely honest with ourselves, it’s not the fact that someone is a different color, race, or religion than us that’s the problem. It’s the biases that we associate with those differences that are the problem. It is unrealistic to say that we are completely unbiased. It is only when we acknowledge those biases and work towards changing them and healing our country.
Our country is in peril and we will all perish if we don’t work towards being better….each and every one of us.
Until the next time,