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“But Do They Feel Affirmed?”

Repost from @aundreatsmith

Many of the educational institutions that now “stand in solidarity” with Black folx are the same ones that were quick to include diversity and inclusion in the mission or share the percentage of Black and brown students or post an image of the five Black students on the website or hire a DEI Director, who is usually a person of color, and work them to the bone.

There was a recent post by @teachfortheculture that stated, “being a Black educator is vacillating between: “should I just walk away?” and “I have kids to feed.” and also “who will advocate for my school kids if I leave?” That is a position that no one should ever have to be in, so when I ask “but are they affirmed,” it’s because you constantly have to ask yourself that question.

There are so many schools that are redoing everything. They are taking a closer look at what they’re teaching, which they should be doing, they are ordering new books, which they should be doing, they are re-wording the mission statement, which they should be doing; however, when all of that is said and done you still have to ask yourself, “do the Black and brown students feel affirmed in that space?” Because if you do all of that and a child still walks into your classroom, walks into your institution and they can’t be their full self while they are there everything you have done is for naught. So we really should be looking at how can we affirm - that very first anti-bias goal for children (google Louise Derman-Sparks) that self-awareness, confidence and pride for simply being themselves - how are we affirming Black and brown students?

What actions are we taking to affirm? Yes, revamping your classroom library and restructuring curriculum are actionable steps, but there has to be another layer to that because you can just go through the motions of restructuring curriculum, go through the motions of buying new books. Unless we are living this, unless we are working on restructuring and revamping ourselves then buying all things does not matter.

Our own identity work is essential in our ability to affirm.

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