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In January, Black lawmakers in Mississippi withheld their vote in the Senate’s attempt to pass a bill banning critical race theory. Lord, I can’t believe people are still on this!

Make this make sense for me: Kids are too young to learn critical race theory and their role in dismantling systems of white supremacy in a country that preaches equality. Yet, they’re not too young to internalize privilege, stereotypes and hate for Black people? 

That’s actually a rhetorical question–no one can make it make sense because it doesn’t! It’s resistance to what’s become a politically charged framework being used as a justification for the continued erasure of Blackness and whitewashing of American history in public education. 

See, I knew this “Black lives matter” sentiment wasn’t going to last too long—I called it when everybody jumped on the bandwagon after George Floyd was lynched in public. And since then, we’ve seen more Black lives stolen in white rage. 

history george floyd justice in policing act
The Bipartisan group of Senators working to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has failed to come to an agreement (MGN photo).

Black lives only matter when…

Truth be told, our lives only matter when it comes to sustaining structures of capitalism and white supremacy. They matter when America wants us to stop burning shit down in protest of racism and oppression. They matter when elected officials need our vote. And they matter big time when y’all need our kids in these raggedy-ass schools.  

This rolling ban and criticism of teaching “critical race theory” has become a grander pile of shit in the existing cesspool of policies and practices that are anti-diversity, culture and truth. Bottom line, they’ve politicized and polarized “critical race theory” to keep public education the same—oppressive, biased and basic. And while we do have lawmakers trying to protect our rights and represent our history, they’re outnumbered by the ones that want to make America “great” again

Meanwhile, our kids will continue to sit in schools where there’s no accurate representation of their history or identity, no teachers that look like them, and in company with other students who—through their parents, media or socialized “norms”—think it’s O.K. to judge, look down on or mistreat people who“appear” to be different from them. 

Actions speak louder than words

The system will continue to teach our kids that slave owners were upstanding gentlemen. As if they were patriots that saved uncivilized Africans by bringing them to America and giving them jobs,  our history lessons often reinforce white savior-ship and privilege. 

Black people, these lawmakers are counting on us to just take their word for it and trust that they’re acting in all of our interest. They want us to believe our lives matter in the long run, but I hope we know that their racism and privilege continue to manifest in policies and practices. Their actions say otherwise.

I hope we know that they use scary language like “indoctrination of youth” to befuddle the masses in their crusade to curb truth and representation in education.

Schools not safe places for Black students

I hope our kids are smart enough to question and challenge what they’re being taught. Because if everything’s all good in the hood, equality is real, and race doesn’t matter, then why’d we need a Civil Rights movement in the 60s and a Black Lives Matter movement now? 

I hope we’re aware of the Karens who call themselves “parent advocacy groups” but are really modern day women of the Klan. Many have harassed and threatened the lives of Black school administrators for attempting to diversify curriculum and leadership in school districts.

Finally, I hope we’ll one day remove our kids from this system that hates who they are, who they came from and what they could be. Their self-actualization can be realized and will be embraced in schools built by us, for us—true Freedom Schools.

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...

2 replies on “If Black lives matter, stop resisting the teaching of our history in schools”

  1. At the time of Reconstruction Mississippi had a black majority population that was effectively re-enslaved when Andrew Johnson unleashed the Confederate Veterans KKK organization and removed Federal protection of the innocents. This has gone on way too long. The white replacement government usurped the vote then and continues to do so now through gerrymandering to prevent any more than a few black folks to be in leadership positions. This must end! We need a Free Mississippi Movement funded nationwide to bring lawsuits and tie up the racist leadership with confrontation after confrontation. Their unnatural grip on power far in excess of their number must fall. Where are the leaders for 2022 in Mississippi? Georgia and North Carolina are within our grasp. We must break the racist grip on the deepest South.

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