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How Can I Help Dismantle Systemic Racism as an Educator?
posted by: Tamia | June 08, 2020, 12:55 PM   

Systemic racism has been a hot topic following the unnecessary and tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. There have been a number of protests across the country calling for the dismantling of systemic racism and for police reform, including the defunding of police. Many students may not understand the full capacity or severity of everything that is happening, and it's important that you know how you can help as an educator.


1. Learn more about the issue

  • Before speaking to your students, research systemic racism. Explore the history of oppression in the African-American community that dates back to the early 17th Century. Many history books leave out poignant and detailed stories of African and African-American struggles, from slavery to present-day. 
  • Carefully explain to students what is going on right now in America and why it's happening. These topics can be difficult for young children to understand.

2. Learn from those around you

  • While taking a look at history is important, there are many lessons to be learned from those around you. Talk to your Black friends, colleagues, family members, and others about their experiences. There are personal stories that you can learn from to gain knowledge about how others may feel.

3. Respectfully educate those around you

  • As an educator, you may experience discrimination in the workplace. Whether the racist dialogue comes from a colleague or a community member or a parent, make sure you speak out and explain to someone why that is inappropriate. Educating those you care about on why something may be deemed racist or offensive is extremely important.

4. Advocate for yourself and colleagues in the workplace 

  • Should you experience discrimination in the workplace, report it to the appropriate person.

5. Promote diversity and inclusion

  • Make sure your students understand the importance of diversity. It's vital that you have posters, toys, books, and other classroom materials that accurately represent those from all walks of life. It's important that your classroom feel like a safe space for ALL students.
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