Last Monday was the first day of the school year and I must say I was very eager to get to school so I could meet my students for this school year. As I began to look at my class list, I noticed that 14 of out 17 of my students were African American Males. But as the week progressed and the coverage of the situation in Ferguson as well as other cases of police brutality to other African American Males began to surface, I cannot lie, I became a tad afraid for myself and more importantly for those 14 African American Males in my class.
As I stated in my last post, no one knows what it is truly like to be an African American Male in this country unless you are one. I am grateful that my experiences has not be as troubling as some others. But I cannot help but wonder, is that day coming soon? Am I going to have the experience of being followed again in a store? Am I going to be pulled over by a cop for a minor traffic offense and the simple movement of my hand going to cause me to be put in jail or worse leave me dead? These are fears I truly have! Am I going to become someone's stereotype of a black man?
And what makes matters worse is I have been deeply troubled thinking that my students may face far worse. I have not made mention of Ferguson out right with my class this year; however, I have made hints towards it when just providing life skills and tips. I just pray for them. I also want to provide them skills necessary to survive in this life far beyond math, science, and technology. I want them to think critically about a way to help solve this issue and others like it!
Maybe I just care too much, but enough is enough. And while the conversation is needed with students, it is not happening enough with the adults. It is amazing after viewing tweets and conversations on Twitter, which many educators use talk about how technology is helping to make the world better and help to create products that bring awareness, no one really talked about this topic! I participated in a chat earlier on Maker Spaces. I brought up "How could we get Students to make something in relation to what is going on in Ferguson?" I was curious just to see what others would say. Someone asked me how I would do so and I responded with my answer. But I also asked how they would do so. Interestingly enough, the person did not have an answer. It made me wonder though, how many educators, who talk the talk about students thinking critically and collaborating, are truly doing just what they are saying and not putting on airs?
These are just my thoughts! Ultimately, the conversation about race and the experiences African American Males face are hard! But it has to occur. If not, the fear that I have and many others have as well are going to continue to fester since people won't have the conversation and deal with personal prejudices!