Learn to recognize privilege and how to utilize social capital to promote equity and social justice.
Racial Equity Resources
for WCPSS Educators & Staff
“We encourage each of you to use this moment in history to strengthen your commitment to achieving racial equity. This means working to address the injustices that exist beyond education by the conversations we have with others, by speaking up when we see hate, by supporting efforts that oppose racism and oppression, and by directly engaging in advocacy work”
RACIAL EQUITY RESOURCES
The purpose of this resource is to provide educators with the tools to face racism, talk to students about racism, and become allies in racial equity spaces. You will notice that the content on this site lives beyond just a list of hyperlinked artifacts. It was important to the Office of Equity Affairs to situate these tools in a broader historical, social, and political context so that educators gain a full understanding of the resource’s utility.
Please know, talking about race and racism can be a sensitive subject that evokes intense emotions. But don’t let that be a reason to walk away from this important national conversation. Instead, we urge you to consider norms, strong scaffolds, connections to academic content, and deeper national/historical context while planning for courageous conversations about race to help students better understand the world around them. As always, feel free to reach out to OEA for any additional support needs. Onward!
Racism is a difficult topic to address. Among the primary reasons that racism frustrates even the best-intended people is that it has become a norm in our country not to talk about the social context of race. Many would rather stay silent than risk offending someone or becoming a target of abuse themselves. We’ve likely all been bystanders at one time or another when a friend or family member uttered a racist or racially offensive statement. It can be extremely uncomfortable.
So what should you do if you want to respond to racism but aren’t sure how? Well, the first step is meaningful self-reflection about your views and understanding about race and racism. Below are a few resources the Office of Equity Affairs uses to assist educators with self-reflection and creating racially affirming classroom environments.
“To feel is the most fundamental human desire. Yet, we are consistently punished for expressing our feelings and desires.”
Any educator who has practiced more than 5-minutes understands they can be thrust into current events at a moments notice. This moment in history is one of those times. Educators should not assume all their students are aware of the concepts of race and racism and how the social and political context informs the world around them.
Today, it is impossible to shelter students from the collateral consequences of the well-publicized killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and the many others before them. And to be sure, students shouldn’t be sequestered from the realities in which they will live, grow, and lead. Educators play a critical role in helping students navigate the maze of understandings around race. Below are a few resources that can assist with affirming our students so they are not left to navigate their feelings alone.
A Call to Action: The importance of addressing race and racism with our students cannot be overstated. Before diving into the next set of resources, take a moment to review this video, which gives insight about race and racism from a child’s perspective. Reflect on the implications of this video for teaching, learning and creating equitable classroom environments.
Teaching Young Children about Race: A Guide for Parents and Teachers
By Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards
Adults sometimes ask: Aren’t prejudice, discrimination, and anti-bias adult issues? Why bring children into it? In one sense, these are adult issues. Adults have the power to create, to teach, to maintain bias—and to eliminate it. In another sense, because the realities of prejudice and discrimination begin to affect children’s development early, it is developmentally appropriate to address them in our work with young children.
10 tips for teaching and talking to kids about race
by EmbraceRace with MomsRising
For this resource, EmbraceRace partnered with MomsRising to create 10 tips to guide children through conversations about race early and often. This is accomplished by lifting up age-appropriate activities that can be incorporated easily into daily life. These tips provide much-needed support for adults committed to building tolerance, racial equity, and a social culture where all kids and families can thrive!
10 Consejos Para Enseñar y Hablar a Los Niños Acerca de La Raza
by EmbraceRace with MomsRising
Para este recurso, EmbraceRace se asoció con MomsRising para crear 10 consejos para hablar y guiar a los niños través de conversaciones sobre la raza temprano y con frecuencia. Esto se logra haciendo actividades apropiadas segun la edad del niño que se pueden incorporar fácilmente en la vida diaria. ¡Estos consejos brindan el apoyo que tanto necesitan los adultos comprometidos con la creación de la tolerancia, equidad racial y una cultura social donde todos los niños y las familias puedan prosperar!
Race Talk: Engaging Young People in Conversations About Race and Racism
As a society, public discussions about race and racism have increased in volume and intensity. Educators feel a sense of responsibility to bring these topics into their classrooms—because young people want to be part of the conversation and should be. If handled effectively, these discussions provide opportunities for timely learning. This resource highlights a number of important considerations on which educators should reflect.
Supporting Kids of Color in the Wake of Racialized Violence: Part One
This resource by EmbraceRace is a live conversation from July of 2016 in the immediate aftermath of the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and 5 Dallas police officers. They convened by phone and over 700 people joined the call. For this conversation, EmbraceRace co-founders Andrew Grant-Thomas and Melissa Giraud frame and moderate a discussion between child psychologist Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith, educator Dr. Sandra “Chap” Chapman, and a group of parents, teachers, and other caregivers concerned about black and brown children.
How to Talk to Kids About Race: Books and Resources That Can Help
by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
This is the world that we inhabit; we talk about needing to talk about race without ever actually talking honestly about race. I believe that it’s vital that we help our children (and ourselves) walk and talk in a way that clears that air and breathes new life into these conversations and our world. Sharing stories, real, fictional, our own, and others’, is a powerful tool for that purpose. Here are a few resources and books to help us have those hard conversations with the young people in our lives.
Talking to Kids About Racial Violence
by Haig Chahinian
In this article, Haig Chahinian reached out to experts who help teenagers and parents make sense of violent racism and work toward something better. Enclosed is some of the wisdom they offered.
Estrategias para que los padres comiencen a conversar con sus hijos sobre la raza.
Young people have an important role in confronting racism and prejudice. They often bring a voice of moral clarity to these complex issues.
In the following video, some members of the Millbrook High School student government share an excellent example of what it means to live-out our core beliefs of valuing a diverse school community that is inviting, respectful, inclusive, flexible, and supportive. What starts here changes everything!
Art and music play an essential part in social movements and span many genres. The social movements that protest songs have influenced in the U.S. include the abolition movement, women’s suffrage, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, and the 1960s counterculture, among many others. Protest songs are often situational, expressing opposition to injustice and support for peace, or free thought.
Musician John Forté continues the long tradition of connecting the arts to social movements in his new song, "Shame Shame" that honors the death of George Floyd. We hope this song moves you to action as much as the OEA Team!
A 12-year-old gospel singer has emerged as a powerful voice for justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Keedron Bryant’s protest anthem with the chorus “I just want to live” quickly made the rounds on social media as demonstrations exploded nationwide over the death of Floyd.
So what does it take to become an ally? In racial equity circles, ally is typically considered a verb where one needs to act as an ally, and cannot simply bestow this title on themselves. The actions of allies must challenge institutionalized racism by calling out and dismantling racist policies and practices wherever they exist. Allies constantly educate themselves and build trust through consent and being accountable – this means not acting in isolation where there is no accountability.
Below is a three-step process the Office of Equity Affairs uses to assist educators with self-reflection and becoming racially affirming allies.
Learn to recognize privilege and how to utilize social capital to promote equity and social justice.
The Late Late Show Unpacks Privilege
In this clip Late Late Show writer, Olivia Harewood, and host, James Corden, use a comedic script, which is quite instructive, to unpack social privilege.
Educators must understand the do's and don'ts of allyship as to not cause more harm than good.
Reference: Guide to Allyship
Check out this video by Franchesca Ramsey’s for more information on ways of being an ally.
In the following short video clip Robin DiAngelo, author of "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism", discusses the don’ts of allyship.
Racial equity work is challenging. Accountability partners will push you forward when you feel like taking a step back.
Accountability partners are coaches that help us keep our commitments. The Office of Equity Affairs recommends that racial equity accountability work happen in small groups where members have similar goals. There is often a group leader who coordinates the calls/meetings. Members provide guidance on goals in a structured environment.
Here are a few steps to keep your racial equity work moving forward.
Choose your racial equity accountability group wisely.
The right partners will determine your accountability success. Select partners who are as committed as you, has similar values, can be available when you are available, and are genuinely interested in helping you succeed. It’s important that partners communicate in a way that is similar to you, and you must trust that they have your best interests at heart.
Know what you need.
Racial equity accountability must be tied to specific outcomes. We can’t expect to expand our understanding if we have undefined goals.
Make the work of your group a priority.
When committing to an accountability partnership, it's not just about you. It's about the group. It's important to establish core values and honor a structure.
Prioritize your group’s racial equity goal-setting activities.
It's great to have goals, but execution is what matters. Discuss often how group members are progressing toward their goals and help each other problem-solve when necessary.
Distinct terminology often emerges from social movements. Much like protest songs, these terms become artifacts that serve to build cohesiveness and clarity of message. Terminology also is situational, expressing opposition to injustice and support for peace, or free thought.
There are many opportunities to get involved with racial equity work. In the Office of Equity Affairs, we take an inside-outside approach. The inside approach means investing in yourself to expand your racial equity lens. The outside approach means connecting with someone who is firmly rooted in racial equity work that serves as a guide and mentor. Our office can help you build your inside-outside plan. Just reach out. We would love to speak with you!
Schedule a 1:1 time with a member of our team for a coaching and planning meeting. Consider your site context, SIP or department goals, and professional development plans so that equity can be a comprehensive approach rather than a side project.
Actually, studies show that kids are able to identify race as early as three months. Expressions of racial prejudice and bias peak at around age 5. But spending as little as one-week having explicit conversations with kids age 5-7 can dramatically improve their racial outlook.
Aside from the ableism in this statement (there are many people who are actually color blind), saying you are “color-blind” in terms of race negates/dismisses people of color and their identities. It is much more powerful to state that we see people for who they are, including all of the brilliance and struggles that go with their race.
It depends. We all come to racial equity work from different paths and experiences. The Office of Equity Affairs typically recommends resources according to the OEA Knowledge and Skills Continuum, which is outlined below. Feel free to reach out to the OEA team. We are confident that we could recommend quality resources for your racial equity journey.
OEA KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS CONTINUUM
OBLIVION – I have no knowledge of what this this topic or subject means.
AWARENESS – I’ve heard about this topic or subject and know what it means.
UNDERSTANDING – I know about this topic or subject and can talk about it with others.
APPLICATION – I regularly apply the learning from this topic or subject in my practice.
TEACH/COACH – I am capable of presenting this to others.
Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.
– James Baldwin
OEA is available during our weekly office hours June 18-30, 2020 (Tuesday’s and Thursday’s) 1PM-3PM. We would love to hear from you!