This past week, as part of the preparations to begin another school year, the middle school team I now belong to sat down with our leader and became as one. Nothing new about that. Teams of teachers around the world have the “pregame pep talk”. During her talk, she spoke of something that, at the time, moved me deeply. I intended to write about that today. Then Charlottesville happened.
I, as a teacher of future generations of Americans who will run this country and must have a sense of right and wrong, would be remiss in not commenting on the events in Charlottesville, Virginia the weekend of August 11th. I have no problem with frustrated people rallying to speak their minds and follow their convictions. I have no problem with those who disagree with them standing before them and speaking their minds and following their convictions. What I can’t condone is violence and terrorism in the name of free speech.
They aren’t equivalents.
Why does fear translate into a need to make others as fearful as one is? Is terrorism (yes, this was terrorism) how you control what is uncontrollable?
I made the following comment on Facebook, after my morning perusal of the overnight news:
“Generalizing a condemnation is equivalent to accepting the behavior you are condemning. Lay it at the feet of those to whom it belongs. Condemn them by name. Stop being as cowardly as they are. POC are tired of trying to talk this out. When will whites police their own? You think it’s horrible? TELL THEM. Stop telling those who already know.”
I wrote it as part of a tongue in cheek series I started in January I call “Dear White People”. Letters, if you will, to my friends, reminding them that their voices have power. Asking WHY. Listening to the silence.
Peaceful protest doesn’t require guns, sticks, shields, helmets, known symbols of hate, and murder. They. simply. do. not. How do we translate this all to children this year? What do we tell them about the world they are growing up in and how, it will be their inheritance… from us.
WHY? Why do we HAVE TO have this conversation with them? I read recently that this climate in our country is a final gasp of a dying culture. They know its dying. They know it must die. Yet, because it is all they have chosen to embrace, the sense of loss so profound, grasping for the ether that is “the end” is all they have.
I feel pain for it all in that sense. Yet, death is inevitable. We will mourn it all and move on. We have to, in order to remain a whole, powerful, vibrant society.
My team leader’s why… she asked us why we do what we do.
She then told us why she does what she does.
We reflected on it all. I’ll tell you what I’ve determined for myself…later.
We need to know our why, don’t we? Why we love. Why we hate. Why we’re brave. Why we’re cowards. Why we speak up. Why we stand silent. Why we condone. Why we say NO.
Why. Why. Why.