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This is America.

During the insurrection at the Capitol, we experienced in real-time, the tale of two different Americas. We witnessed America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave'' for White America (capital W, we are referring to people, not a color), and America, the land where “freedom isn’t free” for BBIPOC (Black Brown Indigenous People of Color) communities that have paid with blood, sweat, tears, and ultimately their lives for as long as they can remember.

Across the media, from the mouths of our future presidential leader, all the way down to the everyday news reporter interviewing domestic terrorists who lived with no fear of retribution, it became increasingly apparent that in this country, there are two different vantage points that govern experiences in this world; White Right versus BBIPOC Repression; the intentional genocide and waging of war on BBIPOC beings for the last 500+ years.


The Pretty Lie vs. the Ugly Truth


Fiction: "America is so much better than what we’re seeing today." President-Elect Joe Biden

FACT: This is America. And the events we witnessed on January 6th are as American as America gets. This America, is not better, but rather represents a spitting image put on display for the world to see the true and innate nature of what America has been and continues to be. From inception, our history books, feed a white supremacy narrative that says, White is right. White is entitled. White is privileged to what they believe they should have, not what is given, or earned. To be fair, this is the America that celebrates Christopher Columbus, and the colonization of American Indian land. This is the America that chooses to view the Confederate flag selectively in a positive light though it remains and painful reminder and symbol not of patriotism, but a distinct desire to preserve the also American institution of slavery. This is the America that fights against basic human liberties and rights for not just some Americans, but all Americans. This is that America.


Or how about this one . . .

Fiction: "The scenes of the "chaos" at the Capitol do not represent who we are..."

FACT: The scenes of the treason and domestic terrorism at the Capitol, to the contrary, represent exactly who White America historically is, likely to everyone other than White America. We have witnessed Tamir Rice, a 12-year old Black boy, who was killed in Cleveland, for holding a replica toy gun in a park, Breonna Taylor who was shot while sleeping in her home. George Floyd who was publicly assassinated as a law enforcement officer, sworn to protect and serve held his knee to his neck for more than 8 minutes on the suspicion of a counterfeit $20 bill. We witnessed Jacob Blake be shot in the back seven times and to the point of paralyzation for failure to comply. And in response to protests for each of these, we witnessed the use of National Guard to cities across this nation to control protests from Black and Brown communities. Then last week we witnessed a failure to authorize the same National Guard as white terrorism was waged on a national monument of this nation.

This is that America.


NPR NEWS


"Wednesday will go down as one of the darkest days in American history."

This begs the important question for communities that have historically been marginalized; for BBIPOC (Black Brown Indigenous People of Color) communities across the nation, if Wednesday will go down as one of the darkest days in American history, what is to be said of the BBIPOC experience for the past 500 years? For the last 50 years? 5 years? Or even the last 5 months?


In your role as educators, as you consider ways to hold space for students, fellow educators, and even families that were grossly triggered by the events of Wednesday, I implore of you to consider the following:


This is America.

Black and Brown communities continue to experience injustice by another name on daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and lifetime basis. Over the last decade, research on the idea of Epigenetic Trauma; the idea that trauma can leave a chemical mark on a person's genes, which then is passed down to subsequent generations has become more prevalent and clear.

Thus, it's not back to business as usual but rather a time to discuss and reconcile the wrongs of this nation as they relate to BBIPOC communities and their children.


What Can You Do?

If you're an educator reading this post, please consider what you can do to be a part of the solution. In your sphere of influence, how can you make a difference?

  1. Engage honest self-reflection. Learn more about your own gaps and take action to learn.

  2. Be vigilant about incorporating equity practices into your classroom.

  3. Become involved in changing systems that are continuing to oppress BBIPOC communities.

  4. Confront microaggressors and teach them about the impact of microaggressions.

  5. Demand that your institution conduct an equity audit and infuse a culturally competent approach into the educational system.

We are Here to Help!

If you need resources, want to talk about equity and inclusion or are looking for consultation or training, contact us. We are here to help. We know it will take a concerted effort to shift the culture of marginalization.


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