Teaching Anti-Racist, Anti-Bias Themes in a Racial Pandemic

In her essay “Don't Say Nothing," Jamilah Pitts exhorts educators that teaching as an act of resistance and teaching as an act of healing are not mutually exclusive. That when teachers choose to remain silent about moments of racial tension or violence—violence that may well touch students’ own communities or families—these children are overtly reminded of their inferior place in society. That engaging in dialogue about mass incarceration rates; the militarism of police and the killing of innocent black men and women is but one antidote to systemic racism. That essay was written FOUR YEARS AGO, in the fall of 2016, after the murder of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, and Philando Castile and before the killngs of Delrawn Small, Botham Jean, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Last week, after the murder of George Floyd, Fund for Teachers reposted Jamilah’s article and reached for her thoughts on what, if anything, has changed on the racial pandemic landscape since she wrote her piece in 2016.