The Myth of a Post-Racial Society After the Obama Presidency

Posted by Jeremy Nesoff on February 8, 2017

As the first black president, Barack Obama's legacy will always include issues of race. At his farewell speech he acknowledged this: "After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. Such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society.” His presidency reveals the longstanding myth that American history has always been on a steady, progressive path towards embracing equality for all.

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Topics: Democracy, Reconstruction, American History, Civil War, Racism, Judgement and Legacy, legacy, race

Today's News, Tomorrow's History: Can Racism be Outlawed?

Posted by Monica Brady-Myerov on January 31, 2017

Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. We will take a look at the ways countries have tried to manage racism, especially in Brazil.

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Topics: News, Race and Membership, Journalism, Racism, Public Radio, Today's News Tomorrow's History, In the news, Listenwise

Facing Ourselves is Not Easy

Posted by Liz Vogel on December 8, 2016

A month since the US presidential election has passed and I'm still reflecting on events from the first days following the results. It has over-delivered on what I feared most: an open platform for bigotry, hate, and violence:
 
White students in schools chanted "Build the wall,'" "White power," and "Heil Hitler."  White students formed a "wall" to block Latino students from entering school.  Rainbow flags burned.  Confederate flags raised.  Muslim girls and women attacked on the subway, on the street, in stores, and in school.
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Topics: Democracy, voting, Racism

Why I'm Talking About Race in the Workplace and You Should Too

Posted by Mitra Best on November 7, 2016

I’ve always believed we can inspire young people to create a more compassionate future through education, both formally and informally.

While programs like Facing History educate our middle and high school students to promote a more humane and informed citizenry through examining racism and prejudice in historic events, I haven’t found much support for us, as adults, in tackling difficult topics like race, hatred, and bigotry in a respectful manner.  

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Topics: Racism, difficult conversations, race, civil discourse

When Talking About Race, Don't Forget the Biology Teacher

Posted by Stacey Perlman on September 1, 2016

In Emily Berman’s ninth grade biology class, social justice is a central theme. She’s part of a group of six teachers that brought an interdisciplinary approach to teaching Facing History’s “Race and Membership” unit last year at Blackstone Academy Charter School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

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Topics: Race and Membership, History, ELA, STEM, Racism, Race and Membership in American History: Eugenics

Bringing the “Beloved Community” Into The Classroom

Posted by Steven Becton on July 12, 2016

Bringing current events into the classroom creates some very interesting challenges for teachers. The classroom is a community of diverse people with diverse stories, experiences, and points of view. The teacher is not just an instructor but also a member of the community with their own stories, experiences, and points of view. How do educators navigate their own personal feelings while creating safe space for students to share? How do educators walk the fine line between teaching and telling, between educating and indoctrinating? These are important questions educators must grapple with when charged with creating social and emotional safe spaces for discussing current events.

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Topics: Safe Schools, Racism, Social Justice, reflection

Talking About Race with the New York Times

Posted by Adam Strom on June 29, 2016

Talking about race can be challenging and uncomfortable. Yet, recognizing the impact of race on the way we see ourselves and others can help us better understand how we see the world and, in turn, the choices that we make. The challenge, for many of us, is that we don’t know where to begin.  

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Topics: Identity, Race and Membership, New York Times, Racism

How I Faced My Identity When Teaching the Reconstruction Era

Posted by Brigid Rowlings on February 11, 2016

As an educator who has taught the Facing History Reconstruction unit several times, one thing has become clear: who we are and where we are shapes the way we teach our students about this critical period in history. I’ve heard my fellow educators grapple with some of the same questions I’ve considered. How do we approach the topic of race and racism? How can we talk about African American history with a predominantly white student body versus a predominantly African American one? Or, how can we talk about the legacy of slavery with a predominantly urban or rural student body?  

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Topics: Reconstruction, Teaching, Identity, American History, Lesson Plans, Racism

Facing Black History Month in the United States: Why We Need to Break the Norm

Posted by Tanya Huelett on January 28, 2016

When I was in elementary school, I was chosen to read aloud a poem I wrote about Martin Luther King, Jr. It was during a school-wide assembly to celebrate the United States’ Black History Month. I remember reciting my poem and the celebratory feeling in the room. The sense that we were united by the legacy of this wonderful man and our enlightened accomplishments as a racially diverse school community. Even then I understood that my presence onstage was meant to be evidence of that enlightenment and progress.

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Topics: Facing History Resources, Schools, Civil Rights, History, Diversity, Racism

Understanding Mockingbird and Watchman in Today’s World

Posted by Laura Tavares on January 7, 2016

In January and February, Barnes & Noble Booksellers is partnering with Facing History and Ourselves to promote our resources for teaching To Kill A Mockingbird to educators across the United States. Facing History’s Senior Program Associate, Laura Tavares, reflects on why Mockingbird is more relevant today than at any time since it’s original publication at the dawn of the American Civil Rights Era.

Six months ago, Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman revealed a different side of the beloved Atticus Finch. Lovers of Lee’s classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, were left confused as he is rendered a segregationist who clashes with his daughter over his racist beliefs. My colleagues and I saw this as an opportunity to explore Mockingbird even further. Since the book’s release, we immersed ourselves in this text to develop resources that can inform the way you read and teach Mockingbird in your classroom. 

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Books, English Language Arts, Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman, Reading, Racism

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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