Day 1 thoughts

Thanks for sending these two pieces.

I found the podcast to be entertaining, but the overall message that folks of color are treated much worse by our criminal justice system to be not very revelatory. Like you, I wanted some more suggestions for 'what should I do?' and didn't fine many, but did find one clue that I thought was helpful.

The commentators mention that John Walker Lindh said in his defense something like "If I had known then what I know now..." about the Taliban. The host rightly points out that white people are often given the opportunity to plead ignorance, while people of color are not. Given that we as white people have the opportunity to plead ignorance about the law and about important social facts, it's not a surprise why so many of us choose to remain ignorant to the workings of racism. People of color have no choice but to confront racism, because it confronts them; we, on the other hand, have the opportunity not to confront it in any serious way, or can feel like we've confronted it with a few small donations or solidarity social media posts, etc.

Obviously that's extremely unfair to people of color. But surely it's also damaging to us white people, that we can live what most people would consider successful lives while barely engaging with what is arguably the biggest problem in our country today. I feel like even though I work in a space that all but requires me to engage with it, I've avoided the pain of doing so and haven't engaged in nearly a deep enough way.

That makes me think about Robin DiAngelo's video, which I mostly find myself agreeing with. I want to have conversations about race but too often want to have them on my terms. I've definitely been too quick to take feedback about my biases as accusations. I do feel more confident as I have (recently) started more to begin with the premise that I have blind spots and need to listen to what those are and take advice on how to correct them. But I have a long way to go, and so does everyone - just look at the comments on this video, which I presume are mostly from white folks. They're awful - not even engaging with the argument, just writing it off as 'snake oil' and the like.

Anyway, thanks for posting these, great way to start things off.

Tomorrow's learning pieces:

Teaching While White, "Schools Succeeding at Failure" (45 min)

Jeremy O'Brian, "Here's How White Supremacy Shows Up in Education" (8 min)

Both of these are obviously personal to me. At the time of writing this, I've read the Medium piece but not listened to the podcast. It's scary to think about being blind to a lot, and even actively causing harm, when I've been trying so hard. But I definitely need to face up to my own myths and blindnesses, and I think that starting to do so has made me increasingly uncomfortable about being a school leader (especially with black students), or even being in education at all. The latter at least doesn't seem like the right answer, though. More thoughts once I've been able to digest each piece...


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