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

Serving All Girls in the Classroom: An Interview with Arianne Thomas

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on March 26, 2020

In a recent interview, I spoke with Arianne Thomas, Director of the Aspire Program at Hathaway Brown School—Ohio’s oldest continuously operating college preparatory school for girls. The program delivers three years of tuition-free academic enrichment and leadership development programming to girls from Cleveland and Greater Cleveland communities underrepresented at the elite day school. In this conversation, Thomas addresses some of the best practices that she and colleagues use within the Hathaway Brown community to center the developmental needs of girls, alongside the diverse array of needs and experiences that different learners bring to the classroom.

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Topics: Teaching, Women's History Month, race

Ready or Nought, it’s Time to Face Race in the UK

Posted by Aneira Roose-McClew and Amran Farah on March 19, 2020

Tonight sees the third episode of the BBC’s adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s book Noughts and Crosses. The first two episodes received incredibly positive reviews - even from many who found it uncomfortable viewing - alongside, perhaps predictably, negative ones: a minority of reviewers even went so far as to say it was ‘anti-British’ and ‘anti-white’ and ‘a masterclass in ‘race-baiting’. The series release comes at a time when people in the UK are finally starting to talk about race: the hounding of Meghan Markle by the tabloid press, the rise in racism since the Brexit vote, the BBC’s treatment of Naga Munchetty and the subsequent fall out, and the work of writers such as Reni Eddo-Lodge are just some of the things that have pushed combating racism higher on the agenda. It is no longer easy to look the other way and feign ignorance about the structural racism operating in society, which prioritises the needs, experiences and interests of white people at the expense of people of colour, but there is still so much work to do. The TV series has arrived at a critical time and its existence will no doubt contribute to the dialogue about race, encouraging the action that we need if we are to create a fair, just society that serves all of its citizens.

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Topics: United Kingdom, race

Understanding the #TakeAKnee Controversy

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on February 3, 2019

 

Amid the sheer number of social justice movements across the political and cultural spectrum, we are met with daily opportunities to find our voices as upstanders. And yet, it may not always be obvious who constitutes an upstander. The array of approaches by key actors in the #TakeAKnee controversy reveals that upstandership in action does not have a single definition and invites us to examine which approaches to social change are most aligned with our own values.

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Topics: Democracy, race

Charlottesville and the Meaning of Nationhood

Posted by Daniel Osborn on August 12, 2018

August marks the one year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Last summer’s events saw demonstrators gathering under symbols- Confederate flags, swastikas, and the Iron Cross, to name a few- that connote hatred, exclusion, and are associated with the persecution of African Americans, Jews, Muslims, and many more marginalized communities. Marchers chanted slogans: “Jews will not replace us,” “White lives matter,” and “Blood and soil.” While the event was steeped in symbolic violence, it concluded in physical violence and the death of an anti-racism activist. To many onlookers across the country and the world, this episode was shocking, frightening, but all too familiar.

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Topics: Democracy, race

Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird Through a New Lens After 35 Years

Posted by Deborah Hibbitt on May 15, 2018

I have spent my whole life living in the south but often find conflict between my roots as a southerner and the complicated history of racism. As a teacher for 35 years, I’ve tried to use literature to develop empathy and understanding to combat bigotry and hatred. To Kill a Mockingbird has long been one of the novels I’ve used to attempt this.

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Professional Development, Teaching Resources, workshop, race

Teaching To Kill a Mockingbird Through a New Lens After 35 Years

Posted by Deborah Hibbitt on April 11, 2017

I have spent my whole life living in the south but often find conflict between my roots as a southerner and the complicated history of racism. As a teacher for 35 years, I’ve tried to use literature to develop empathy and understanding to combat bigotry and hatred. To Kill a Mockingbird has long been one of the novels I’ve used to attempt this.

I am always ready to learn something new so when I learned about Facing History’s workshop, “A New Approach to Teaching Mockingbird,” I was intrigued. It turns out I found deeper connections to the novel than I had ever anticipated—some that took me all the way back to my childhood in the south.  

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Professional Development, Teaching Resources, workshop, race

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

History through the Lens of African Americans

Posted by Valerie Linson on February 2, 2017

In honor of Black History Month, read what it was like for Valerie Linson, Editorial Director for Facing History, to walk through the National African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington DC for the first time. 

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, Identity, History, Museum Studies, Judgement and Legacy, legacy, Slavery, race

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

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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