I feel very blessed and honored to be a part of this movement at VLA…we can call it that right? The conversations we have as a staff (although heated with passion, fueled with confusion and desperate for understanding) challenge me each day to grow into the person that I am presently envisioning for my students.
Why are these conversations hard? As young people, we may choose to believe that America is color blind; that’s the easy presentation that nice, middle-class America likes to show off. Stepping out of that box, you eventually come to accept that our society has an archetype. And we say okay America may be bias … “BUT NOT ME, I’m a good person.” Sure all my friends might be of a similar ability, sexual orientation, social-economic status, educational level or race but that’s not because I’m biased… I just hang out with the people I have common interests in. The next step is realizing you own biases and then re-evaluating your identity completely. Reorganizing your mind. First, you’re mad that you have been lied to… by everyone… all the time and you wish that the whispers of mother culture could just hush for a moment so you could THINK. You come to see that your entire thought process you utilize is developed by this prejudice or other biased categorical mindset that lives in the smog of our world. Like it or not, I breathe that air: it’s everywhere and it has shaped all my decisions. So am I prejudice? Am I racist? Sexist? Classist? Can I be void of bias? Who am I without it?
I’d like to just say thank you to every person on my staff for being yourself. For always being loud, opinionated and wanting to interrupt. That fire for change is exactly what separates this school and that is my engine for becoming a better teacher. Push me and allow me to push back because it’s nothing but love here.
I figured our blog needed a poem. Here is one I wrote with this topic in mind.
Puzzle me a new
Spinning the globe with her finger
A single painted nail travels through worlds and cultures unknown
Passing through an endless timeline of rules, wars and religions,
a blue sphere holds the puzzle pieces of human kind
Broken and ripped at the edges
We have been torn apart
Divided and determined to be different
Conditioned since the cradle we now sit together
A small group of people attempting to rewrite the wrongs done to us
Unlearning the time we spent in institutions that trained us to hate gracefully
Confused if we should scream the tones of skin color
Dance within our shades and drink up our physical contrast
Or hide it in an effort to embrace our similar heart and common dream
Do I speak against my own if I speak up for yours?
We are one argues the child.
And all that I am…
You see because I am not anything you can define by a quick glance or visual study
Just as you
Conversations guided by a desire
Moments where I do not meet the standard
I require love.
In any language a heart beats to the same rhythm
In any prayer a listening God
In any land the earth is bleeding
In any smile is sadness gone.
The child again. We are
And the voice grows louder.
The language may change but the words being unsaid are the same in each.
Let the voices find their words and let the volume grow
Let the children write their own and let all of history know
That we are one in earth and beating soul
We are one amongst the many
We may be one today my friend
But tomorrow we write the ending