Steven Becton

Steven Becton is Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer at Facing History and Ourselves.

Recent Posts

We, Too, are Tired

Posted by Steven Becton on August 28, 2020

“We are tired of the killings and injustice.” What can be clearer? What can be more reasonable? Those are the words of George Hill of the Milwaukee Bucks when asked why he and his teammates decided to boycott their scheduled NBA Playoff Game on Wednesday. These are young men deciding to walk away from not just the game they love but also from their livelihood. Many of these young men are fulfilling a lifelong dream of playing professional basketball. But they, like countless others, are tired of the killings and the injustice. It’s reasonable to expect that after all the media attention, protests, conversations, tears, sweat, and countless organizations claiming a renewed commitment to racial justice that one would give serious pause to shooting a Black man in the back. Yet here we are again. 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by police officers while entering the driver’s side of a vehicle with his children in the back seat. Thank you, Milwaukee Bucks, for not playing, for not defaulting to business as usual. There is a lot in our country to disagree about, but it’s hard to imagine how anyone cannot be tired of the killings and injustice. This has to be bipartisan, one cannot say that there are two sides to these senseless and too often lethal shootings.

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Topics: Racism, race

How You Can Guide Decision Making in the Presence of Unjust Laws

Posted by Steven Becton on June 15, 2017

Most would agree that one of the hallmarks of a successful civil society is an expectation that people will follow the law. But what about the presence of unjust laws—those that are morally reprehensible, discriminatory, dehumanizing, and privileges one group over others? They present an interesting dilemma, especially since one aim of civic education is to teach students to be good law-abiding citizens.

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Topics: Democracy

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

Resilience in the Face of Hatred

Posted by Steven Becton on June 19, 2015

It could have been me. In fact, it could have been any of us. By us, I mean the people all over this world who enter churches, synagogues, mosques, and other sacred places of worship to study, to pray, to listen, to sing, and sometimes even to mourn.

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Topics: Classrooms, Teaching Strategies, Choosing to Participate, Students, Teaching, News, Upstanders, Facing History and Ourselves, Teachers, Civil Rights, Critical Thinking, Community

Raising Ethical Children: Discussing the Film "Selma" with Young People

Posted by Steven Becton on February 6, 2015

It can be so very difficult to discuss race with our children.

The conversation is particularly complex when it's about some of our nation's not-so-proud moments.Rather than face such moments head-on, sometimes we instead seek to protect our children (and even ourselves) from the pain and shame of the past, and so we often gloss over physical, emotional, and psychological suffering in history to get to a more palatable, less troubling version of those events. Moments like 1965 in Selma, Alabama, too quickly become "the victory of voting rights" rather than the painful history of a tired, yet determined, African American community that stood toe-to-toe against those who used terror, intimidation, and unjust laws to deny them opportunity to freely exercise the right to vote.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Film, Democracy, Voting Rights, Choosing to Participate, Selma, Raising Ethical Children, Civil Rights, History

After Eric Garner: One School’s Courageous Conversation

Posted by Steven Becton on December 10, 2014

As I prepared to write this post, I had to confront the most difficult, yet most important, person that I would be in conversation with: myself.

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Topics: Classrooms, Teaching Strategies, Democracy, Students, Human Rights, Safe Schools, Teaching, Schools, News, Identity, Teaching Resources, Teachers

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.

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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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