About Writing About Blackness

Black culture ≠ pain.

Recognizing our marginalization is vital but we are not defined by the pain inflicted by white supremacy. Recognize our holidays. Our cuisine. Our dances. Our music. Our languages. How we raise our children. How we treat our elders. Our spiritualities.

I read an Atlantic article recently that alluded to a culture clash between Black students and educators in schools. Title: “What’s Lost When Black Children Are Socialized Into a White World“. I was excited to read about Black child-rearing. I was sorely disappointed. The article didn’t focus on how Black parents raise Black children, or specific cultural clashes with whiteness. Instead, I got the much-covered topic of disproportionate discipline of Black students.

The topic deserves attention. As an educator it’s very real and something I think about and see daily. My problem is with the framing of the article. As if it would be about culture when it was in fact about marginalization. That misdirection plays into the narrative that Black culture is complementary to Whiteness. That our culture is what whiteness does and does not do to us. It misses how Black families raise children as cultural and in ways unique to our culture. Continue reading

Teaching Reflection: Week 12

  1. Responsive pedagogy: The kids love anime/manga. I knew this, and made a conversation assignment using a manga strip. My 6th graders FLIPPED OUT. Adorable and hopefully will help them actually do their homework.
  2. Teacher identity: I’ve gotten the attention of a random 6th grade Caps fan after he noticed my Flyers gear in the hall. I learned that his middle name is Gretzky while he showed me his Gretzky hockey card and told me about his dad’s collection and his Jari Kurri card when he was definitely already late to class 🤣
  3. Queer teacher identity: I’m beginning to suspect I’ve become the *queer* teacher to the queer kids after I knocked over my very gay hydroflask and one of my (suspected) queer students yelled, “Not the sacred bottle!”

Continue reading

Teaching Reflection: Week 7

72712601_10157799783623921_693593044565360640_o

  1. Goals: Next year, I want to start a creative writing club. I want to start a LGBTQ+ club. I want to start a black liberation club. So, you know, realistic goals 🙃
  2. Black students & teachers: I made a list of missing/incomplete assignments for my second period class because as a group they need more attention than I can give them in 50 mins a day. I sent the lists home to their parents as well and got so much positive response from those parents! I ruined a few weekends and they’ll def be mad at me come Monday 🤣The class is also the one with the most Black students. I just keep thinking about all the research I read on how Black teachers tend to have higher expectations for Black students and how Black students tend to do better when they have teachers who look like them. I’m happy to be living that reality, even if it means they’ll be mad at me for a few days.

Continue reading