I know a lot of people feel like there isn’t anything they can do in these moments, and I think that we should be pushing for community change.
I’d like the school to teach us how systemic injustice in the housing and labor market has been designed to perpetuate the overwhelmingly low racial and economic diversity in Rye and other parts of Westchester.
I’d like the school to teach us how our avoidance of “controversial” politics is a luxury most cannot afford. To teach us that the blatant, ugly racism of the past still exists today, and that the controversy and nuance of today existed in the past. To teach us that Martin Luther King didn’t just dream his way into civil rights, but argued to a dismissive, outraged white public that “a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.”
I’d like the school to teach us the long and ongoing history of police media-relations, and how conventional media is incentivized to show police kneeling in solidarity with protesters, and to not show things like them dumping water bottles and medical supplies into the street.
I’d like the school to teach us the long and ongoing history of discrimination in the criminal justice system, how explicitly discriminatory drug-criminalization policies are still in effect today, and how private prisons monetize and accelerate mass incarceration.
I’d like the school to teach us the long and ongoing history of discrimination in higher education and the reasoning behind affirmative action policies, in order to address the rumors that white students face discrimination in the college application process.
I’d like the school to teach us the long and ongoing history of exploiting foreign labor, and how this business has expanded over time. To teach us that systemic racism in general is not guaranteed to go away over time.
I’d like the school to teach us the long and ongoing history of discrimination in the electoral process, or really just anything about the electoral process because I’d think that would be an important thing to teach, in any public school, and in any democracy.
I’d like our teachers to avoid casually using the rhetoric that (referring to African Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction) “the South didn’t care how close you got as long as you didn’t get to high, and the North didn’t care how high you got as long as you didn’t get to close” as this is demonstrably false and attempts to discredit the ideals of racial progressivism.
I’d like our teachers to avoid idolizing the US Military and assigning classwork to “thank our brave heroes for their commitment” while “avoiding politics completely.”
Finally, I’d like the school to teach us why it is so important that this long and ongoing history is taught. Not teaching modern racism is perpetuating the myth that it doesn’t exist.