This week was filled with multiple conversations about intersectionality on Twitter, Voxer, and at dining room tables. For those of you who are tired of reading my writings about this subject, your perusing journey is over. Click the X on the top right of the browser because guess what I am going to talk about again? Yep. Race.
Before I go on I would like to address why I keep writing and talking about how race. Everywhere I look I see race impacting our country. The elections in Georgia and Florida showcased just how important race is in our electoral process. The number of People of Color who had their votes suppressed in the last election was ridiculous and without a doubt swayed the elections in favor of the party who did partook in the suppression.
In the past two weeks, two different black men were shot by police when they were not the shooters the police were called in to respond to. This is a trend we see again and again. This is the exact reason why #BlackLivesMatter was started and why Kaepernick doesn’t have a job! Race impacts every aspect of our lives in America and not learning about it and naming white supremacy when we see it can not continue to happen.
Speaking of Kaepernick, this was one of the conversations I had during the Thanksgiving festivities. “I can’t support Nike because they support Kaepernick and in some countries, he would get shot” is how the conversation started. After informing the person that Nike is playing both sides as evidenced in this article, I explained how Kaepernick is fighting because black people are getting killed here for no reason other than their skin. The exact problem that they alluded to in other countries!
Another conversation that occurred was about good ole Paula Deen. This was a much more nuanced conversation about how long ago did she say her comments and had she acknowledged the harm she had caused and tried to repair it. The conversation started because of butter (her favorite) and one of the guests wondered aloud how her restaurants were doing. Before I could censor myself I blurted out, “She’s probably raking in the dough! did you see what happened during the election in Georgia?” The conversation went well with the points being brought up that what we have said and thought 20 and 30 years ago has drastically changed. The key is to own up to our harm and continuously work to better ourselves as people.
A conversation I had on Twitter revolved around my blanket statement that if you celebrated Thanksgiving you were also celebrating the annihilation of the Indigenous People of America. After much debate and reading the writings of Indigenous People that celebrate Thanksgiving I have moved my position to a much more knowledgable stance. Celebrating Thanksgiving is fantastic in my opinion as long as we explicitly talk about how the Pilgrims murdered and stole the land of Indigenous People as well as support them today. Here is a great article that explains how we can support Indigenous People. This line of thinking is the same when we talk about playing Thanksgiving games in #PhysEd. It’s great to play the games just make sure that we are explaining what happened after the feast. If not then we become part of the whitewashing of history and continue to be the problem.
I am sure that many of you had similar conversations. Some people may have spoken up while others remain silent. At this point in my life, I am no longer able to stay silent. The key to me is speaking from a place of knowledge. We can not have conversations about race and politics if we do not know the history behind the subjects.
Finally, I would like to talk about room for giving grace. When we speak about ways to teach children, different units to incorporate into our schools, or the way to bring student voice and choice to the forefront I am all about grace and open-mindedness. When the conversation turns to ignoring intersectionality (which includes race, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and gender plus more) I have no room for grace. This is because to disregard these subjects is to continue the system of white supremacy that runs our schools. This does not mean that I will not engage in conversations about it I just have no room for debate because we are talking about students who are being harmed. This leaves us no room to “debate” these topics. We are either anti-white supremacy or we perpetuate it. There is no in between. I will tell you my thoughts as respectfully as I can. You can either choose to listen or ignore it. Do not expect me to change my mind though because again we are talking about students being put in harm’s way.
My learning journey has taken me to this place. This is a result of reading a boatload of books, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, and listening to People of Color whose jobs are to write and teach about Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. My thoughts today will not be the same as my thoughts next year or in ten years. I will probably look back in ten years and shake my head at my ignorance at 35 just like I am looking back and shaking my head at my ignorance when I was 25. The more I learn the more I will change my views.
If you made it this far in the blog I thank you for your time after all this is the most important resource we have. I am growing and hopefully, you are as well. Please respond if you feel the want or need. Comments are always welcome!