- Moving Beyond Diversity to Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging: Lessons from a Sunday Sermon - January 24, 2023
- Teachers Need Trauma-Informed Practices Too - January 5, 2023
- Trevor Noah's Farewell Speech Was an Ode to Black Women in Education - December 22, 2022
- Our Son's Paraprofessional Changed Our Lives. Paraprofessionals Deserve Higher Pay. - December 9, 2022
- Use 3 I's to Rediscover Your Purpose for Teaching - October 19, 2022
- Racial Equity Work That Actually Works: Lessons from Dr. Lori Watson - October 7, 2022
- Mythical, Fictional, Make-Believe...as Long as They Ain't Black - September 20, 2022
- Should We "Flatten" Education? - September 12, 2022
- Voices from the 2% - September 8, 2022
- Educators Need Safe Spaces Too - August 10, 2022
Rage. Grief. Fear. I felt a plethora of emotions as I watched, listened, and read about yet another racially motivated mass shooting. Something as simple as a “normal” day of shopping on a beautiful and seemingly peaceful Saturday afternoon has reminded us, yet again, how fragile life truly is for some more than others.
“The shooter traveled hours from outside this community to perpetrate this crime on the people of Buffalo, a day when people were enjoying the sunshine, enjoying family, enjoying friends,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a press conference on Saturday night. “People in a supermarket, shopping and bullets raining down on them. People’s lives are being snuffed out in an instant for no reason.”
But there was a reason. There is always a reason, at least in their racist delusional minds. The validation and justification of said reasoning does not have as much impact as the personification of the “isms” they chose to perpetuate on their victims. So here we are, yet again, watching others pick up the pieces of shattered lives, curtailed futures, and stunted dreams."How can we talk about such horrific realities to our students? How can we explain this type of hate?" The Exhaustion of Black Educators on Another "Day After" Click To Tweet
And as Black educators, we are asked again to walk into our classrooms the day after another atrocity was committed against our people. We have to again put on a brave face, when many of us are still in the process of dealing with our own emotions, our own responses, and our own trauma. As I stated in “The Trauma of Being a Black Educator,” “These are members of my culture, this is my history, and this is my trauma. As the kids say, ‘it hits different’ when it hits home.” But this is not about me. As we process this latest tragedy, I think of my fellow Black educators, I think about our Black students, but most of all, I think about the family, friends and co-workers of those who lost their lives.
America has a way of reminding us over and over again that there are those who will never be able to see past the color of our skin. There are those who have no care for the lives they have taken, nor the loved ones or communities they have destroyed. These extensions of the victims’ lives will be forever shattered and left with only memories. How can we talk about such horrific realities to our students? How can we explain this type of hate?
In words of W.E.B. Dubois:
“It is a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others. … One ever feels his twoness — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
Peculiar indeed, is the plight of Black educators in America. We are fully American and we are fully Black. The “twoness” often creeps into our lives in ways we do not always realize. Anticipating what tomorrow may bring, I want to hide under the comfort of all that is beautiful in my Blackness and take back the hate that is often attributed to being Black by those who choose to commit these heinous acts against my people.
Adding “educator” to this Black identity does not allow me this luxury. I must muster up the “dogged strength”, and while inside, I may feel like I am being “torn asunder,” I will put on that brave face. I will find a way to talk about this tragedy without shedding the tears that are burning even more ferociously from being held back. I will continue to provide safe spaces for students to express their feelings. I will choke out words of comfort to my students when I am struggling to find words to comfort my own soul. I will find a way to turn this tragedy into yet another testament of the courage our people find to rise above the hate and press on. I will find courage in the face of adversity that plagues the life of all Black educators in America on these seemingly never-ending “days after.”
Editor's Note: If you appreciated this article, please become a Patreon supporter by clicking here.