Category Archives: education

Liberal Racist/White Fragility Two Sides of the Same Coin

This month Virginia Governor Ralph Northam admitted to dressing up in black face. His yearbook page featured a white person in black face and someone dressed up in a kkk outfit. What’s amazing is he really didn’t seem to understand why this is wrong until others explained it to him.

“It’s been a horrific week for Virginia. A lot of individuals across Virginia have been hurt,” he said, strategically employing the passive voice to absolve himself, adding, “And so this has been a real, I think, an awakening for Virginia. It has really raised the level of awareness for racial issues in Virginia. And so we’re ready to learn from our mistakes.” (Link)

His white privilege allowed him to either be ignorant of why white people wearing black face is wrong or he is a liberal racist who thought it was funny even though he knew it was wrong.

You may be asking yourself what is a liberal racist? According to Commonweal Magazine:

“Liberal racism…assumes that racial differences are so profound that they are almost primordial,” Sleeper observes, adding that “the fascination with racial differences that prevents many liberals from treating any person with a nonwhite racial physiognomy as someone much like themselves only begets policies and programs that reinforce nineteenth-century assumptions about race that are patently racist. (link)

Dressing up in black face definitely fits into the category of being fascinated by racial differences for sure. Liberal racism seems to walk hand in hand with white fragility. Both ideas interfere with seeing People of Color as being fully human and equal to white people.

White people have a hard accepting that we are racist simply by living in the United States of America. Robin D’Angelo, the author of White Fragility, explains how this happens.

“All of us have been shaped by the cultural water that we swim in. All white people have internalized a racist worldview. Let me own that. As a result of being raised as a white person in this society, I have a racist worldview. I have deep racist biases. I have developed racist patterns, and I have investments in not only the system of racism that has served me so well.” (link)

This week I saw white fragility pop up with the #TMC (Twitter Math Camp) conference. It started when I saw the resignation of Marian Dingle.

I know Marian from #ClearTheAir and it was clear if her values do not align with TMC then they probably weren’t taking Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion into action. I asked some questions and found their blog which gave me a glimpse as to what was going on:

However, we noticed room for growth in the equity statements, both for people who submitted for the equity strand and people who submitted for other strands.

Since this question is new for TMathC we want to communicate our observations. We did not use the equity statement as a factor in determining which proposals we accepted this year. (link)

This clearly shows that the TMC committee was not committed to EDI 100%. How do I know that? I know because if they were committed THEY WOULD HAVE FACTORED THE EQUITY STATEMENT IN THE PROPOSALS!! I asked their Twitter handle why they asked the question if they weren’t going to actually use the information they gathered.

This is where white fragility popped up. Elizabeth Stratmore (@cheesemonkeysf) started to respond very defensively to me. I then saw she posted a couple of blogs about the conference.  In one blog she writes about the conference:

“I do think there was some inartful language in the acceptance letters — and I believe it caused more distress than was necessary. Communication matters, and sometimes we just get it wrong.”

Let me get this right. Elizabeth was upset that white adults had their feelings hurt in their acceptance letter? She cared less that our Students of Color are being harmed by teacher’s color blindness and bias then the fact that grown adults may have been upset that their equity statements were garbage? THIS IS WHITE FRAGILITY!!

In her most recent blog she writes this:

We are still not anywhere near the point of identifying or understanding the unconscious, unspoken, equity-blind, harm-causing assumptions in TMC’s structures. We’re just not. This needs to be a whole-community effort. We’re trying to set new goals but we’re still walking around in the same old consensus trance.

There is no way that a small group of people could tackle this problem successfully. It’s not realistic. It will take everybody in our community to surface and and interrogate the hidden assumptions in our structures. The problem with blind spots is that they are blind spots. If we don’t work together on surfacing and transforming our assumptions, we will continue to just tinker around at the margins and that’s not going to be satisfactory to anybody. It is also not going to unleash the liberatory potential in a a whole-community effort.

This is how white fragility muddles things. You read that and go wow that is revolutionary. She really gets it. But then we have to remember that this is the same lady that pushed back against the “inartful” language that TMC used in their equity proposal responses that weren’t even counted towards the proposals! We can write all the flowery prose about liberation and starting over but it means nothing if you are actively working against progress as it is occurring! In addition, the people who were working together to make sure this liberatory potential came to fruition resigned! I say, people because Tina Cardone has also resigned from their board after Marian!

Liberal racism and white fragility will constantly push back against the progress of equity, diversity, and inclusion. It will be done with the idea that this is all happening too fast. People will object that the language being used is too harsh. They will play the devil’s advocate or explain how some people may take offense to what the organization is attempting to do. Tears will be spilled at being “attacked”. All that will be done under the guise that they actually want progress. It is a smoke and mirrors show. A magician’s trick. Look at my left hand while you continue to be harmed by the right.

Here is why I followed this so closely. I was part of an organization that created an equity statement that showed we were one hundred percent committed to creating an atmosphere of inclusion, diversity, and equity. I was also there when liberal racism struck back from one of the organizing members. You see it is easy to talk about EDI, but when it comes time to sharing power and walking the walk some people will push back. I too left that organization because I am not going to be a part something that doesn’t align with my values.

I will leave you with this final thought. TMC board member Glenn Waddell wrote this to me during our dialogue.

Glenn TMC just hit a huge bump in their journey of equity. Two of your board members have resigned from your organization and it appears to be because the values of TMC do not jibe with equity, diversity, and inclusion. We need organizations to step up now more than ever. Good luck on your journey.

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Dear Physical Education Teachers,

Can we talk, please? It is time that we come to a consensus about what our job is. I understand we can’t fight the past, so articles will come out that pick at the low hanging fruit of horrible past experiences. However, this isn’t just about correcting the ills of the past. We already know playing dodge ball psychologically and emotionally traumatizes students. We also have the other side of the spectrum that believes that Physical and Health Education should be all about fitness.

We are not fitness experts. We do not run fitness classes. We are not fitness trainers. I am not knocking fitness nor do I believe that teaching about fitness is an issue. What I am saying is fitness is only one part of Physical Education and Health. I vehemently disagree with using MVPA, heart rate monitors, fitness testing or the Perceived Rate of Exertion as the sole focus of my class. The reason I believe this is because we are losing sight of our students. We are boiling our children down to numbers.

Now that I have told you what I believe Physical Education isn’t let’s delve into what it is. I will use Dr. Lynch’s words because I haven’t heard it phrased any better yet.

Educating the whole child means understanding that they are gifts that walk into our class and we need to appreciate them as such. I know that sounds like kumbaya hippie garbage but it is the truth. When we realize that each student is a gift walking through our doors we will see them. I am not talking about watching the children enter your area, I am talking about actually seeing them for who they are. We will see the gift of their race, sex, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, language, family, sexual orientation, and everything else that makes up their identity. We will see their humor, their energy, their enthusiasm, and even their attitudes as being a part of the class. This will erase the deficit mindset that we will have to “overcome” what they bring to our class. Once we fully see them then we can start to provide meaningful experiences for them.

Meaningful experiences are created when we can get to the core of the students. This takes hard work and lots of listening. We need to ask our students how they feel about our class. Figure out how to tweak our teaching so that we provide an atmosphere where our kids want to be there. Together we can co-construct a program where students walk away feeling ownership of their learning.

When we explicitly focus on the interpersonal aspect of our class we are allowing the students to focus on their social wellness. We can teach students how to engage in conflict resolution, interact with people they don’t like, and be assertive with what they want and need.

There are few people more critical of a theory or idea than myself. Here are some critiques that you may have that I can address right now.

Do I just let my students run the show? Why do I even need to be there then? I am not saying that you as the educator should turn your program over to the kids. What a co-constructed program looks like is the room for voice and choice. Our job as teachers is to know when to facilitate and when to direct. There is a need for both in our classes. Their knowledge and our knowledge work in tandem to create a learning space that allows everyone including ourselves to learn.

It sounds like fitness has no part of this “dream” program. Fitness is a part of a quality physical education program. We should teach about fitness and incorporate fitness into our program when we can. This means limiting the time students are standing around and not being engaged. I refuse to believe a student doing jumping jacks in line is learning more than a student who is blindfolded and being given directions by a partner. Fitness has its place in our program but it should not be the main focus.

The system of school doesn’t allow me the freedom to do this. I get it. Mortgages need to be paid. What we can do is slowly work identity, voice, and choice into our program. We give out surveys to students and show our administrators the how and why we are progressing towards a more inclusive program. We read and learn about child development, play, movement, and pedagogy. Then we can challenge the status quo with facts and data.

School is not a place to speak about identity. Identity is who our students are. If we ignore who they are then we are teaching what WE want them to learn and who WE think they are. This doesn’t bode well for creating meaningful movement experiences. Our students will go through the motions and then either forget our class or worse begin to hate our class. This negative association can have a long-lasting impact that may never be unlearned.

What about physical literacy? Here is the best part! Physical literacy will be in our class like it has always been!! Students will want to move more because they have a voice/choice and they are being seen as a human being. They will not be afraid that they will be made fun of because of the way they look, act, or their physical skills. The more they move and participate the more they will become confident and competent. The more confident and competent they are the more likely they will become life-long movers. Physical literacy is a result of our quality program that we have created just not the reason for it.

Physical and Health Educators let’s come together and start to figure out how to produce a program that starts creates a love of movement, educates the whole child (socially/emotionally) de-emphasizes hyper psychomotor focus (strength, flexibility) and start to teach through a sociocultural lens. Only then will we able to say that we are truly doing what’s best for kids.

 

World Read Aloud Day

Confession: I am a book nerd. I took Harry Potter books on a ski trip and curled up by the fire reading when I was in college, read a book in the middle of a party in high school, and would sneak a flashlight under my covers and read till the wee hours of the morning as an elementary school child. Growing up my friends all made fun of me because of my affinity for reading.

My parents had the most ingenious way of helping me read. When I messed up they would punish me and send me to my room. Now when I was a kid (I am laughing so hard at that phrase and how that sounds in my head) I had nothing in my room but books. No radio, no television, no toys, nothing. What was a boy with attention issues going to do in a room with nothing but books? He is going to read! And read I did. I read everything and anything. It didn’t matter if it was written by James Patterson, Nora Roberts, or Sun Tzu. If it had words on paper I was devouring it.

I have plowed through books that are windows, doors, and mirrors. “A window-type book is one that engages children into imagining what the world looks like in places and circumstances that they have never experienced.” Books allow me to see the world through the lens of characters that don’t look and act like me. I recently read Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. The story is told through the lens of a young black girl. I was able to see life from a different vantage point. We need to “see” through these windows if we hope to grow as humans.

Books open doors to places that my mind couldn’t possibly create on its own. I have traveled across galaxies, been to foreign lands, battled impossible odds, and have even climbed in the middle of a giant peach!

Finally, books can be mirrors that show characters that look and act like me. It is important to see characters that reflect myself because it allows me to identify with the characters and normalizes how I look and act. As a child I read Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys, and The Outsiders identifying with the characters who either because of the illustration on the cover or the description stated I identified as white males. It was easy for me as a white cisgender male to find books that acted like mirrors. This was not as easy for black and brown students, although #DisruptTexts is making sure this is changing.

I tell you all that above because February 1 is World Read Aloud Day. This is not to be confused with Global Read Aloud created by Pernille Ripp which, “picks a book to read aloud to students during a set 6-week period and during that time tries to make as many global connections as possible.” “Every year, on World Read Aloud Day, people all around the globe read aloud together and share stories to advocate for literacy as a human right that belongs to all people.” Andy Milne has organized the hashtag #HPEReadAloudDay for Health and Physical Education teachers to post under if they want to participate. #WorldReadAloudDay is the official hashtag of the event. You can read all about his idea here.

I am going to be reading a variety of books that are doors, windows, and mirrors for my students. I will start off with my 2nd-grade class reading Donovan’s Word Jar. The cover shows a black boy who is approximately 9 years old.

“Donavan Allen doesn’t collect coins, comics, or trading cards like most kids. He collects words—big words, little words, soft words, and silly words. Whenever Donavan finds a new word, he writes it on a slip of paper and puts it in his word jar.
But one day, Donavan discovers that his word jar is full. He can’t put any new words in without taking some of the old words out—and he wants to keep all his words. Donavan doesn’t know what to do until a visit to his grandma provides him with the perfect solution.”

https://www.amazon.com/Donavans-Word-Trophy-Chapter-Book/dp/0064420892

My kindergarten class will be reading Skin Again written by the queer feminist writer bell hooks. They will also be reading the book Dreamers by Yuyi Morales.

“Celebrating all that makes us unique and different, Skin Again offers new ways to talk about race and identity. Race matters, but only so much–what’s most important is who we are on the inside. Looking beyond skin, going straight to the heart, we find in each other the treasures stored down deep. Learning to cherish those treasures, to be all we imagine ourselves to be, makes us free.

This award-winning book, with its myriad of faces, introduces a strong message of loving yourself and others that will appeal to parents of our youngest readers.”

https://www.amazon.com/Skin-Again-Bell-Hooks/dp/148479923

“Dreamers is a celebration of what migrantes bring with them when they leave their homes. It’s a story about family. And it’s a story to remind us that we are all dreamers, bringing our own gifts wherever we roam. Beautiful and powerful at any time but given particular urgency as the status of our own Dreamers becomes uncertain, this is a story that is both topical and timeless.”

https://www.amazon.com/Dreamers-Yuyi-Morales/dp/0823440559/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1548623356&sr=1-1&keywords=dreamers+by+yuyi+morales

My third graders will be reading the Giving Tree. It is a classic book that for brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.

“For those of you who don’t remember, The Giving Tree is a 1964 children’s book about a tree who happily gives what she can to a young boy.  First, she gives him shade.  Then apples.  She even lets him carve initials into her.
As the boy grows up, he needs more. So he takes her branches and eventually cuts down her trunk. At that point, the tree is alive, but nothing but a stump.  Yet the boy, now an old man, still needs more.  He needs a seat.  She gives it to him. “And the tree was happy.” (The last line of the book.)

https://thewritepractice.com/the-giving-tree/

My first graders will be reading the book Princess Truly in I Am Truly. I picked this because the main character is a young black girl. This will be a book that is both a window and a mirror for the various students in that class.

“Brimming with warmth and color, Princess Truly’s rhythmic rhyming adventures are a celebration of individuality, girl power, and diversity. A perfect graduation gift, this heartfelt story is a reminder to young girls everywhere that they can achieve anything if they put their minds to it and dream big!”

https://www.amazon.com/Princess-Truly-I-Am/dp/1943806047

My fifth graders will be reading two books. The book is called For Boys Only: The Biggest, Baddest Book Ever. I am choosing this book for two reasons. First I want to start the conversation about what exactly gender is. This will be a perfect lead into the idea that because you may identify with a gender does not mean that you will automatically like certain things or that certain subjects are off limits to you. The second book is my favorite book of all time called Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. This book shows various women (including Women of Color) throughout history and give a one page summary of their accomplishments. The illustrations are fantastic and will hopefully help combat the idea that only white men have made all the major breakthroughs throughout history.

As you can tell it will be a busy day. I hope you will stop your class and read a book aloud even if it is for five minutes. It doesn’t matter what the subject area is; we all need to support reading. Lastly, remember to post on Twitter under the #HPEReadAloudDay as well as #WorldReadAloudDay. If you want more resources or to register for World Read Aloud Day go to this website created by the creators of the event Kidlit.

World Read Aloud Day

Who wants to participate in this with Andy and I on February 1?

#slowchathealth

The tenth annual World Read Aloud Day will be celebrated on February 1st and I’m inviting #PhysEd and #HealthEd teachers to join in with this global celebration of the power of words. World Read Aloud Day asks everyone to celebrate the day by selecting a book, finding an audience, and reading out loud – it really is that easy.

World Read Aloud Day is a global literacy movement that spreads the message that the right to read and write belongs to all people. Here’s why that’s important:

screen shot 2019-01-07 at 9.08.08 pm

World Read Aloud Day was started by LitWorld and in addition to raising awareness of global literacy, at least 793 million people remain illiterate, it also aims to promote the power of reading aloud to children. In this World Read Aloud resource, Dr Monica Burns writes:

Young and old we all know the power of a picture book or short story. The…

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I Have A Dream

This year I have picked some quotes from Dr. King’s most famous speech that most people have not read in its entirety. If you would like to read the entire speech click on this link.

“So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”This

This speaks of the urgency that Dr. King felt in 1963. Too many white people have accepted the “tranquilizing drug of gradualism”. We allow People of Color to suffer believing that as long as there is some progress towards racial equality that is enough. While we stand on the sideline observing this slow progress to occur, our black students are being harmed. If you are not addressing race in your class you are willingly ingesting the drug “tranquilizing drug of gradualism”.

“The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

White people need to stop feeling anything but a need to help our Black brothers and sisters attain equality. We feel ashamed when we learn the ghastly history of our past without using that to fuel our anti-racist actions in the present and the future. We should be conscience-stricken about the past because it was vile and we (white people) are benefiting from that abuse of Black People today. However, if that is where our actions stop it is not enough. Black People statistically don’t have the power to do the work of changing society alone.

As educators, we have the ability to co-liberate our students and ourselves. White people fail to recognize that we are suffering from racism as well. You see we (white people) have separated ourselves from other Black People who deserve equality. Together we can make a more equitable world where “we could join forces to bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth that would benefit us all”. (link) Most importantly,
“we are missing out on the benefits of deep human relationships with people of other “races” and cultures, and all that can be learned and enjoyed in such relationships.” (link) Segregating ourselves has negatively impacted our souls.

“There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.”

Here we are 55 years later and we are still speaking about police brutality. It is more than just the police however. “Bias by decision makers at all stages of the justice process disadvantages black people. Studies have found that they are more likely to be stopped by the police, detained pretrial, charged with more serious crimes, and sentenced more harshly than white people.” We have to look at our criminal justice system and understand that is not working for everyone equally.

Voter suppression is still alive and well. Shelby vs. Holder decimated the voting rights acts. Just look at Georgia in the last election. “African-Americans make up thirty-two percent of the state’s population, but they represent nearly seventy percent of the suspended applications.” (link) We need to call for election day to be a national holiday. Need a day to get rid of? Cancel the false worship of Columbus and now you have the opening to make election day a national holiday.

I will leave this blog with the part of Dr. King’s speech we all know. Honestly, I need some hope right about now.

“And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Mary Turner

Saturday was my son’s eighth birthday. To prepare for his birthday dinner I stopped by Amish market after work on Friday and dropped 25$ on pickles as part of his hamburger bar toppings. I also picked up some chocolate covered bacon as well because well, it’s chocolate covered bacon and it was in the same place as the pickles and I am in impulse consumer with very little will power.

After working my second job at the liquor store till 10:30 and then going shopping at Wegmans after that I was exhausted. I came home and fell asleep. It seemed like 30 seconds later, although the clock told me it was 8 hours, and Saturday morning was here. It was time to go coach basketball. Being my son’s birthday and the fact that I have an addiction to bagels, we stopped and grabbed some delicious pork roll, egg, and cheese bagel sandwiches topped with ketchup and hot sauce. The day was going well.

Practice ended and it was time to clean the house and get it ready for the birthday dinner. This means that headphones go on and I clean for about six straight hours. I started cleaning the kitchen and all was going well. I had a clean dishwasher ready to be loaded and the pots and pans were soaking. Motown was blaring in my ears and life was moving along.

I moved upstairs to clean the bathroom and I switched over to Audible and continued listening to #ClearTheAir book of choice White Rage. I had already learned about Reconstructing Reconstruction and was now learning about Derailing the Great Migration. The book is hard to read (listen to) because it shows how black people have been systematically kept down every time it looked like there would be progress. I am ok with hard. Then it became unbearable.

WARNING: The historically accurate narrative I am about to relay is brutal and may cause an intense emotional reaction. The rest of the blog is emotionally charged as well.

Dr. Anderson, the author of White Rage, recounts the tale of Mary Turner. The story starts out explaining just how horrible of a human being Hampton Smith was. Smith was a plantation owner who abused his workers to the point that he couldn’t pay any more people to work on his farm. “Smith often had to resort to the debt peonage system as a way to find workers for his farm. Back then, it was common for cops to arrest black people on frivolous charges, then give them fines they couldn’t pay. But employers like Smith could pay off those fines, then force the black arrestees to work off their debt—a system that took the place of slavery in many parts of the South.” (link)

One day Hampton Smith had the tables turned and he was shot by 19-year-old Sidney Johnson after he had beaten him for not showing up to work because he was sick. It didn’t matter that Johnson had already paid his debt back and was in no way shape or form obligated to work for Smith. Days later Sidney Johnson grabbed a shotgun and killed Hampton Smith. “The following week Brooks County saw a mob driven manhunt which resulted in the lynching of 13 people including some who were in the local jail.” (link) Sidney Johnson was one of the 13 people killed.

There was no evidence that any of the other people killed had anything to do with the death of Hampton Smith. One of the other men who was hung was named Hazel “Hayes” Turner. Turner had a wife named Mary who was 8 months pregnant. She denied that her husband had been involved in Smith’s killing, and threatened to have members of the mob arrested. What happened next is one of the most brutal things I have ever heard.

“According to investigator Walter F. White of the NAACP, Mary Turner was tied and hung upside down by the ankles, her clothes soaked with gasoline, and burned from her body. Her belly was slit open with a knife like those used “in splitting hogs.”[11] Her “unborn babe” fell to the ground and gave “two feeble cries.”[11] Its head was crushed by a member of the mob with his heel, and the crowd shot hundreds of bullets into Turner’s body.” 1

“In their mind, they’d taught her a lesson, made of her an example. And despite the fact that a full report, including the names of instigators and over 10 participants, was given to Hugh Dorsey, the governor of Georgia, no one was ever charged with the murders.” 2

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazel_%22Hayes%22_Turner
2 https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/sayhername-100-years-ago-mary-turner-was-lynched-1826019454

There have been not been many times when I had to stop reading or listening to something because something shook me to my core. This was one of those times. I started to take long deep breaths. Tears flowed from my eyes. I had to sit down in the bathroom. I paused the book and opened up my Voxer and tried my best to explain to the book chat just how hard that was to read.

I imagined what it was like for Mary knowing the mob was looking for her, what she felt when they found her, and the sheer fear and terror of being tied upside and have gasoline poured on her. She had other children who had just had their father taken from them. She had a baby in her stomach. She knew that she and her baby were going to die a painful excruciating death. The scene played out in my head and I just sat there all sort of shook. It took a good 10-15 minutes for me to get up and start cleaning again.

How do we get people, specifically our students, to understand exactly how brutal it was for black people? Obviously, we aren’t going to unleash this emotional fecal bomb on elementary or middle school students. We teach about slavery, lynchings, and poor conditions for Black people yet I never understood exactly what that entailed. They were words or phrases that did not paint a very clear picture in my head. It took me seeing pictures to truly understand what a lynching was. How do we shield our children from the trauma of understanding rape, hangings, and physical abuse yet expose them to the truth about just how sickening those things really are on a level they can take meaning of?

Speaking as a parent, I want to shield my kids from this; yet I feel a responsibility that they fully grasp what our country legally sanctioned. They need to understand the true history of our country in order to grasp the conditions that exist for Black people today. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Mary Turner and her child were executed in the worst possible way only 100 years ago. I don’t have any answers for this. I don’t know how we have people grasp the depth of the brutality of the history of the United States. I do know that I will always err on the side of giving too much information to my children instead of too little. At some point, my children will learn about Mary Turner from me and I will be there to hold them as tears flow from their faces.

Blog Alert!

If your timeline did not have stories about #SurvivingRKelly you need to follow more black women. I say that for two main reasons. First, the black women I follow are brilliant and are tweeting some of the most important events going on in the world. This includes the government shutdown, astrophysics, mathematics, and history. Secondly, black women live at the intersection of both racial and gender oppression. This gives them a point of view that NO ONE else has. Black Twitter was going crazy tweeting about the repulsive story that is R Kelly. Andy Milne’s blog addresses both dating violence and sexual assault.

Andy Milne’s #SlowChatHealth blog Uncomfortable Listening is a crowd-sourced resource of podcasts dedicated about dating violence/sexual assault. I know this is not light listening but if you interact with students there is a really high chance that one of them will experience dating violence or sexual assault. As a teacher, we have to understand what experiences our students are walking into our classes with as well as understand how to broach the subject of violence and sexual assault if the need arises. As a health teacher, we need to be explicitly discussing sexual assault with our students starting in 1st grade. Yes, 1st grade. It should be a simple as discussing what your bathing suit area means and that you have control over your body. If you can listen to the podcasts that were crowdsourced. Surviving R Kelly is linked at the bottom of the blog.

The next blog I read was penned by Sherri Spelic. It was titled Weight Gain. I love reading Sherri’s work because her heart and soul shine through her words. You feel her emotion when you read her work. This weeks blog was no different. In her blog, she relates shame, disappointment, guilt, struggle, expectations, being a woman, the past, the present, and the future all related to her body weight.

Her blog made me think about my weight related to my job, which is Physical Education and Health Teacher and my gender. As a teacher of both Physical Education and Health, I have an expectation that I look a certain way. I don’t need to be jacked but I do want to show students, parents, other teachers and the community that I practice what I preach. This means that I have to be physically active and keep my weight somewhat under control. This will be something that is harder to control as I age. As a male society also gives me a little more leeway in how I look. That will definitely impact how I view my body as I age. I highly recommend you read her blog and see her insight into how her husband, society, and her own views influence how she sees herself.

The third blog I recommend you check out was written by Dr. Ash Casey. The Concept of Physical Literacy breaks down this simple yet complex idea of physical literacy presented in Margaret Whitehead’s 2001
European Journal of Physical Education article The Concept of Physical Literacy. Every teacher should know what physical literacy is just like every like they know what numeracy and literacy are. Specifically, Physical Education and Health Teachers need to understand this concept because SHAPE America has built our future upon it. Here is an excerpt from Ash that sums up why we need to understand this concept:

…”She did, however, conclude by saying “as an aspect of human potential integral to a fully realised human existence and influencing much of life as habitually experience, the achievement and exercise of Physical Literacy plays a significant part in the development of self-realisation, self-confidence and positive self-esteem” (p. 136). Taken this way, Physical Literacy deserves a place in our discussions about the future of physical education.

The final blog I recommend Physical Educators check out is Shane Pill’s blog Closed and Open Practice. The basic premise of the blog is that closed drills serve a purpose.

“Closed drills are those that provide a relatively stable practice environment. For team sports, that means a practice environment where defenders or opposition are removed from the action, or placed in passive roles.”

We are in education so we know that the pendulum swings with gusto instead of gently swaying. There is still a place for working on skills in and of themselves whether they be physical skills or mental skills. Practicing your math facts will make you better at math just as practicing dribbling with your hands and feet will make improve your physical skills. I am not advocating for drill and kill of either math facts nor dribbling. What I am saying is that there will always be a place for honing your skills by yourself or in a closed drill environment.

Hopefully, I have given you something to think about as well as highlighting some people doing great work in the field of life and education. I highly recommend that you subscribe to the blogs I have listed above. As always thank you for your time.