Published on 2/23/2019
OPINION|By Tanesha Peeples
Calling teachers Klansmen is a strong statement. But, it’s not far off.
With all of the teaching certifications and professional development, diversity and inclusion trainings, and Black History month celebrations that they see every February, some White teachers are too insensitive and can’t get our history right.
Or, they just don’t want to.
They’d rather infuse our Black kids’ spirits with feelings of inferiority, self-hatred and doubt—in addition to filling their minds with lies about our history, leaders and ancestors.
Like this teacher who told her students that Dr. Martin Luther King committed suicide.
‘She was trying to put us black kids down’: Sub resigns after class says she spread MLK conspiracy theory https://t.co/AaF6E9rHOn
— deray (@deray) February 13, 2019
Now, you could’ve been living under a rock your entire life but the first things you’ll learn once you crawl out is, you have to pay taxes and MLK was assassinated.
And she didn’t stop there. She also said anyone who doesn’t love Trump isn’t a real Christian and that the Black boys in the class were destined to go to prison because of the clothes they were wearing.
— Action News on 6abc (@6abc) February 12, 2019
Then there were these teachers in New York who thought it would be funny to display images of nooses in their classrooms and call them “back to school necklaces.” Are you kidding me?!
The school district in Long Island claims to have taken appropriate action, but all the teachers received was a vacation in the form of paid administrative leave.
Listen, I don’t know who Principal Victor Tam is but these ignorant teachers need to take a page out of his lesson plans instead of following a hateful MAGA playbook.
A1 (2): For us to make a better world, we need to focus on #Education because it is then that we can open the minds and hearts of our children. Ignorance and fear breed racism. Education is the antidote. #Teachers and #edleaders carry the hope for a better future.#Love#WeLeadEd pic.twitter.com/u4zGE15IMv
— Victor Tam (@PrincipalTam) February 13, 2019
As a matter of fact, I bet you it’s idiotic teachers like these that have Ralph Northam thinking Africans came to America as indentured servants. Like they came voluntarily on the promise of employment, union contracts and free land.
I’m sorry my dude did you just say ✌🏾indentured servants from Africa✌🏾 https://t.co/R9pvSCpj8u
— ⚖️Imani Gandy ⚖️ (@AngryBlackLady) February 10, 2019
And real quick Ralph, if you truly believe our ancestors came over here for the aforementioned benefits, it’s 2019 and we still haven’t gotten our 40 acres and a mule. Work that out.
Why does racism still rule America?
Because of botched Reconstruction.
Because our education system whitewashes history.
Because America was built on the backs of slaves & their descendants STILL haven't secured equal economic & political power due to systemic white supremacy. https://t.co/6AJTC4HWho
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) February 6, 2019
But meanwhile, some people on Twitter think this is a joke.
"Half the community saying 'This is an atrocity,' another half defending it, 'Oh, it was supposed to be a joke. You have a generation of youth so desensitized to it that they don't understand the graphic nature." #noose #hanging #lynching https://t.co/HCHyP4mGni
— The Noble Journalist (@BrittanyNoble_) February 12, 2019
Well guess what? Black people ain’t laughin’ at all!
Not when some of our kids have to attend schools named after Confederate leaderswho fought a war to keep our ancestors enslaved.
Certainly not when our kids are taught a very whitewashed history of Black people in America.
And I’m calling these people Klansmen because teaching our kids to question and hate who they are while simultaneously denying them access to a quality education and feeding them into the school-to-prison pipeline is the equivalent of stringing them up with a noose.
They’re murdering their culture, existence and potential while also perpetuating slavery—institutionalized slavery.
But thank God we have people combating this foolishness.
There are teachers around the country who are expressing how beautiful their Black is by decorating their classrooms with Black art because our kids need to see positive images and representation of themselves.
— KIPP DC (@KIPP_DC) February 13, 2019
For Black history month, some educators and students participated in the “Black Lives Matter at School” week of action—a growing national coalition and effort to promote racial justice in education.
— Rethinking Schools (@RethinkSchools) July 6, 2018
We have legislators dropping facts about our history.
On this day in 1909, the @NAACP was founded in response to ongoing violence against African Americans across the country. Ever since, the organization has played a pivotal role in defending civil rights all throughout history #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/FvurdPbYvb
— Congresswoman Nikema Williams (@NikemaWilliams) February 12, 2019
NFL players writing and publishing books that encourage Black boys to push past the labels and stereotypes society has placed on them.
And schools like Butler College Prep that are guiding their students towards HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) over Ivy League schools whose presidents were slave owners.
The c/o 2019 is racking up the purple shirts! Congrats to our latest recipient, Shenea Austin, who garnered a full-ride scholarship to @fiskuniversity! Who’s more excited, Shenea or Ms. A (a Fisk alumna)? pic.twitter.com/BXj22rJGqK
— Butler College Prep (@BeNobleButler) January 24, 2019
Bottom line, educators have so much influence over our students. They have the capacity to help fight racism, oppression and inequity but also the ability to endorse it and perpetuate the dehumanization of people of color. Much gratitude to those educators who are making all students feel safe and accepted and in their classrooms.
First published on EdPost
Tanesha Peeples is the Deputy Director of Outreach for Education Post. Her mission is to use her education, passion and experience to empower marginalized populations. Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, she is a Chicago Public Schools alumna and proud Englewoodian. Check out her blogging about “Hope and Outrage.”