Where are we now, and where are we going?

1.16.2012

On this Martin Luther King Day, I thought I'd take to my blog to share a few things that have been on my heart this week centering around this day. Can I just start by saying that hands down Dr. King is one of my top 5- most inspiration people, and I get chills (and massive amounts of tears) every time I listen to his "I Have a Dream" speech...this happens yearly because my students always break apart his speech and put it into "Kid-friendly" language!


This whole past week my students and I have been having some amazing conversations centering around Dr. King, the civil rights movement, race, and where we are today. I'm lucky to be in a profession that is so dedicated to equity and embracing diversity. I'm lucky to be in a profession where I am constantly exploring having those often uncomfortable but totally powerful conversations. I swear it's my favorite part of teaching. And, I love having those conversations with my students, too.  My students have such innocent hearts when it comes to all of this, but they also have some real questions that blow me away.  They're questions that they think about and wonder but are afraid to ask sometimes. I think it's SO important to talk about race directly with children so that they don't get the idea that race is taboo.

One of my favorite questions they ask is if racism still exists. They obviously know that we've come a long way since we all go to school together and can choose our seats on the bus. They know we have our first Black president. And I think on the surface, it seems like we're doing pretty good. Especially in their eyes. But, I also hear some of the things that they say that they've obviously picked up from their parents or family members, and it's the perfect reminder that we still have a long ways to go. And it's not just a Black-White thing, either. I hear some of the comments made about Hispanics and other races, sometimes from people I respect, and it breaks my heart. I think about my students that I teach and just want to shield them from this world that can be so cruel sometimes. I want my Jansens, Maritzas, Nias, and Adrians to grow up in a world that sees the beauty in difference...that knows we can't let one bad experience we've had with a person of a particular race define that whole race.

And what do I say to them when they ask me how it will ever stop. I say it takes bravery. It takes bravery to stop the close-minded attitudes from being passed down to the next generation. I say it takes people willing to realize that even the people they love and respect the most can be ignorant. It takes people willing to recognize when an attitude is wrong and not pass it down to their own children.

I say this to them, and I secretly pray that they will listen and take it to heart. After all, they are the future.

When You Turn Off the Light

Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant,
We're all the same size
When we turn off the light.
Rich as a sultan,
Poor as a mite,
We're all worth the same
When we turn off the light.
Red, black or orange
Yellow or white,
We all look the same
When we turn off the light.
So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light!
-- Shel Silverstein

7 comments :

  1. I love this post. Thought provoking mondays :)

    xx,
    Ellen
    http://www.mintgreensubmarine.com/

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  2. Thanks for a little perspective today :) And love the shel silverstein poem!

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  3. Ooh I like that poem. I read a book about MLK on Friday and the kids were adorable as always. They just can't believe there used to be "Whites Only" signs and that MLK's mom wouldn't let him play with a little white boy when he was younger. They said "Aww...that isn't fair!" I heart them and their innocence.

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  4. Love it! My husband is a teacher as well and he teaches the same thing! "Love knows no race" <3

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  5. Great post. I like the poem! I also wanted to let you know that I've sent you an award. Here's the link: http://randomlyreese.blogspot.com/2012/01/cute-blog-award-thank-you.html

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  6. Tag, you're it! :)
    http://pre-medprincess.blogspot.com/2012/01/ive-been-tagged.html

    <3, T

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  7. I loved reading this, I don't think MLK day gets enough attention nowadays. Shel Silverstein always has the right words to say, doesn't he? haha.

    PS - you seem to be quite popular this week, I tagged you too!

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