Thursday, December 23, 2021

Is Santa Burned? Are People of Color Represented in Your Classroom/School?

My teacher-friend hung a Black Santa in her room. One of her 4th graders asked her why Santa was burned. 

The other day, I received a presentation on the dangers inherent in social media. I scrolled through the slides, and then something made me scroll through the slides again.  There were 30 slides and there were no people of color. None. Are there no situations where people of color use social media?

Look around your classroom. Do your students of color see themselves? Do your other students see people of color?

I went into a classroom where the teacher's theme was superheroes. Superheroes were all over that room. Not one superhero of color.

And it doesn't matter what the population of your class is. People of color should be depicted in some way in order to acknowledge that they exist. That they matter. That their contributions to the world aren't only faces plastered as mug shots on the nightly news. And I'm not just talking about February. Every month, in every classroom, our children of color should see themselves or the students in your room should see people of color.

It is almost the end of 2021, and the fact that a Nigerian Medical student/artist went viral for drawing an illustration of a black baby in a womb is appalling. A black baby in a womb! He went viral. Why? People of color are not represented in textbooks and diagrams, and for many, this was the first time they had seen a black person in a medical illustration.

You might say, "It doesn't matter" or "What difference does it make?"

I remember growing up, watching television with nothing but white actors. Reading books with nothing but white characters. Learning history, from the majority of my teachers, that did not reflect the contributions of my ancestors. I remember taking a white sheet, twisting it on my head, and shaking it around, trying to mimic straight long, flowing hair. 

Because of this I am very deliberate about the images I use, the books I read aloud to my class, even the videos I show. I make sure that people of color are represented.

Be deliberate about what is hung in your room and around your school.

Be deliberate about the books you choose.

Be deliberate about the images you use in presentations or the videos you show.

Our children need to see representations of themselves, and other children need to see these as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment