Most people agree that racism is wrong and police brutality must be eradicated.
Fewer people support the protests — adversaries focus on the violence, looting, and the destruction of property.
But the protests and the violence around them are not the same thing.
Even more important is to ask the question, “Why are they protesting?”
Try not to judge the protests or the looting. Ask yourself why it is happening.
If you understand the answer, your view of everything changes. Leaders, keep digging to understand the inequity motivating the behavior. What I bet you’ll find are racist policies that we can change.
In a school setting, racist ideas sound like:
- But we teach those kids.
- The parents aren’t interested/engaged/care.
- They’re not ready for AP/IB/Honors.
- They don’t care about school (as seen in grades, tardies, and attendance).
Which lead to these racist policies:
- Tracking and students of color have less access to the best courses.
- Fewer parent contacts because “the parents don’t care.”
- Disproportionate discipline for students of color.
Antiracist leaders think:
- Our kids are amazing, bright, and beautiful. It is an honor to serve them and help them meet their potential.
- Our parents love their kids
- Our students will thrive given the right support and a teacher that cares
Antiracist leaders ask:
- If we believe all kids can achieve at a high level, how can we make adjustments to our instruction so that all students thrive?
- How welcoming is our school? What could we do to be more welcoming? What programs could we create that would be more engaging? Have we even asked how/what/when parents would like programs offered (or are we doing it the same way we have always done things)?
- What would inspire kids to have better attendance or get to class on time? What obstacles may exist outside of the school that we could eradicate to make it easy for students to attend?
And as a result antiracist leaders create policies that:
- Create equitable conditions where students of color thrive in rigorous courses.
- Increase class attendance, school attendance, and graduation rates for students of color.
- Increase access to rigorous courses for black and brown students.
It’s in your control as a leader. Now go make a ruckus!