Let all our kids explore Black History Month

58
3363

I would like to thank our PTC Target store for offering Black History Month merchandise. The beautiful display just inside the door lifted my spirits (something we can all use these days).

I purchased two t-shirts; one for myself and one for my sister, living in Texas and spreading the Love.

Then I went home and learned all about the names printed on the shirts — Sojourner, Garrett, Phyllis, Frederick, and Edmonia. I was familiar with only two out of the five. All amazing black men and women.

Thankfully, it is never too late to learn. It is never too late to acknowledge greatness. It is never too late to teach truth.

Or too early. School would seem to be the logical place. Students can handle the truth. They are capable of learning from it and applying its lessons. They can be changed by it. They can be better than us.

I hope we can set aside our fear and have a little faith. Faith In the truth; and faith in the kids.

Wishing all an enlightening and inspiring Black History Month!

Suzanne Sports

Peachtree City, Ga.

58 COMMENTS

        • Yes. Not sure if you have noticed but seems like over the last couple years there has been some increase in debate over what is beginning to be taught in schools regarding race relations/history. Suzanne does seem to say this is something new as to what kids can handle since Black History Month has been around for a while now. It’s more to your comment of what Suzanne was referencing. You said it was already taught which I took to mean what has been taught since the get go.

          • It’s nothing new. Everything she mentioned has been part of GA’s social studies curriculum for years. I fail to see what CRT and BLM have to do with the letter beyond what some want to glean.

    • Tchr1 – my reason is why now, after all these years? Why have to come out and say, “I hope we can set aside our fear”? I don’t remember fear being mentioned during Black History Month or that children can “handle the truth” like there is a truth that some say children can’t handle. That seems new to me.

        • She’s talking about the opposition to Critical Race Theory which is in the news now.

          “Or too early. School would seem to be the logical place. Students can handle the truth. They are capable of learning from it and applying its lessons. They can be changed by it. They can be better than us.”

          There seems to be a move to keep the truth about slavery and the racist early foundations of the USA out of the history taught in schools, and Suz is saying that white kids can handle it, learn from it, and do better.

          When you say, ”

          This is already taught in GA, K-12,” are you talking about CRT? Because that’s what Suz is talking about.

          • It’s all part and parcel in allowing teachers to teach the truth.

            That includes Black History Month, Critical Race Theory, and Black Lives Matter issues (not to mention the treatment of Native Americans, Asian-
            Americans, and other minority groups; also the issues faced by LGBTQ+
            students; and most recently in the news, the
            shameful trend of banning
            books from the school libraries).

            Thank God for teachers that tell their charges the truth. If it starts with one (short) month in February, so be it.

          • NO! Because she didn’t say CRT. All the black history she mentioned is, though. CRT and BLM have no place in school beyond a current issues class.

          • The schools already teach the truth about the historical treatment of all American minorities and people of color. FYI, CRT is not truth. It’s existence as a theoretical framework for interpreting society is a truth. After that, it’s a graduate level of study.

          • Hello, Tchr1–
            Sincere thanks for this link. And welcome to the exchange of opinions, by the way!

            Both the writer of the letter and yourself have proven that learning is always timely.

            It has been a perfect example of how commemorating Black History Month (and the subsequent related discussion) have taught me new lessons.

            This freedom should be protected in schools. And
            sadly, it does seem to be under attack currently.

            Thank you again!

          • Tchr1–
            Surely ATL school board members are extremely familiar with the curriculum; more than I would ever be, no matter how many times I re-read it.

            I have relayed their response in answer to your question–“what is under attack?”

            I agree with their concerns and the stand they are taking. I applaud their statement. I support them.

            And I respect that you
            do not.

          • brewster, that would align the cryptic letter with the cryptic comments. Certainly seems like the same person to me, but maybe not. If this letter is indeed a response to HB 888, know what’s is in the bill:

            HB 888 would “ban teaching that individuals “bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible” for past actions by members of the same “race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin” or “that any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish” or other psychological distress on that basis”.

          • Not to speak for Suz, but as an addition to whatever her answer may be, according to the ACJ: “Republicans in Georgia’s legislative chambers have vowed to rid the state’s schools of critical race theory.” What is under attack is presenting students in Georgia with the truth about race/history in Georgia and the USA.

          • Tchr1__
            From today’s AJC:
            “Atlanta school board members slammed a bill aimed at limiting how race is discussed in GA classrooms, saying it would silence teachers and stir division. The board voted Monday to oppose House Bill 888 and other legislative proposals they say, “stifle classroom instruction and are solutions in search of a problem.”

            This legislative session, Republicans have filed at least 4 bills on how race is taught in schools.

            The article continues:
            “Educators must be allowed to teach in a way that allows our students to see the beauty and the blind spots in our democracy.”

            It concludes:
            “Board Chair Eshe’ Collins, a former teacher, said educators need the freedom to connect textbooks and materials to experiences, something the curriculum doesn’t always do. I think it’s very important for us to protect that.”

            So do I.
            And not only during Black History Month.

            (Thank you, Visionaryjax)

          • CRT shouldn’t be taught in grade school; it’s not truth. It’s a graduate level theory. You think teachers should be free to teach history through a CRT framework?
            FYI, our curriculum is determined through a democratic process; historical truth is already taught in our schools, year round. Teacher’s have to teach the curriculum. Please review the curriculum I linked and inform us where truth is lacking.

          • Suz, do you think teachers should be free to teach history through a CRT framework? If yes, why didn’t you just say that in your letter?

          • No, you didn’t. In fact, I got on to Brewster (see thread) for jumping to crt with what you submitted. Guess he/she was right. My bad.

            I had no idea “Truth in one place is truth everywhere. Black History Month should not end in February”, actually means you’re ok with “teaching that individuals “bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible” for past actions by members of the same “race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin” or “that any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish” or other psychological distress on that basis”, the exact wording in HB888.

          • Tchr1 – I don’t think the Suz you are swapping posts with is the same Suzanne that wrote the Letter to the Editor.

          • brewster, when you brought CRT into this, was it in reference to the letter to the editor, or the comments section? For the life of me I don’t see how crt or HB 888 have anything to do with this submission. If that’s what this letter was in reference to, say it! Don’t beat around the bush with cryptic abstract spiritual nonsense like “Truth in one place is truth everywhere”.

          • It’s OK Tchr1 – deep breaths. Serenity Now! I stand by my post as to this Letter to the Editor having CRT and BLM in the back of her mind when it was written. Regarding cryptic abstract spiritual nonsense, I think for this instance you want to direct that to the poster Suz. Don’t worry – it’s all going to be OK.

          • brewster, that would align the cryptic letter with the cryptic comments. Certainly seems like the same person to me, but maybe not. If this letter is indeed a response to HB 888, know what’s is in the bill:

            HB 888 would “ban teaching that individuals “bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible” for past actions by members of the same “race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin” or “that any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish” or other psychological distress on that basis”.

          • Me again, Tchr1–
            As friend Brewster no doubt knows, I do indeed speak fluent “cryptic abstract spiritual nonsense”.

            I am sorry that it frustrates you.

            To me, my statements are easy to understand.
            So was the original Letter To The Editor.
            And so were the points you made, which I appreciated.

            I don’t claim to have all the answers. I don’t expect I ever will.

            However, I am convinced we can trust students with the complete truth.
            And we must allow the educators and school librarians to teach it.

            There I go…being all cryptic, abstract, and spiritually nonsensical again.

            Surely there is room in the discussion group for an old hippie!

          • Suz, are you ok with teachers teaching that “individuals bear collective guilt and are inherently responsible for past actions by members of the same race, ethnicity, religion, color, or national origin. And that any individual should feel discomfort, guilt, anguish or other psychological distress on that basis”?

          • Of course not, Tchr1.

            What I am ok with is allowing educators to teach the candid and complete truth about history; even the unsettling parts.

            And I am ok with having confidence in young students to struggle with the facts, learn from them, and be better for it.

            What I am NOT ok with is
            House Bill 888. Just like the ATL school board.

            Since you asked.

          • Suz, do you think teachers aren’t teaching our candid and complete historical truth, even the unsettling parts, in GA public schools now?

          • Tchr1–
            I’m not sure how much longer we can rehash our opinions on this subject!

            It is abundantly obvious that we disagree. Which is fine.

            I hope we are able to end this on a note of good will; even mutual respect.

            For my part, I have done my best to display both
            throughout.

          • I oppose the Republican”Preserve the snowflakes” bill because it demeans students’ ability to think for themselves. Educators must teach history in its cultural contexts and elucidate the short and long term consequences to society. The United States’ triple original sins of its treatment of Native Americans, Africans (slaves and free), and women should be clearly presented to all students in age-appropriate formats.

            Students will then feel however they feel when they learn of this history. I’m sure that they will experience a whole gamut of emotions. Good! That means that the teaching is effective.

            Deciding what truth is good and bad in the service of protecting the little snowflakes’ feelings is a slippery slope that authoritarians can easily manipulate to their nefarious ends.

          • Stranger, agreed on all points. But people need to understand that the public school system is already teaching a comprehensive history of the US (see the curriculum I linked above). This letter to the editor suggests that it’s not, with no evidence whatsoever.

  1. Yes Suz, the aspects of teaching / learning of history is very challenging since the “truth” as you mentioned, cannot always be fully accepted by others, so they set out to distort and corrupt the storyline. You see it today (pundits and groups) and in the past like The United Daughters of the Confederacy at the turn of the 20th century. Typically, they set the tone and message with a flag waving in the background. Agreed, it’s never too early and never too late to educate oneself to learn the truth.

  2. I find the long list of attention seeking days, weeks, and months to be exhausting and divisive. Doesn’t matter if it’s Black History Month or national taco day, there are too many.Of course, the greeting card industry might feel differently 🙂

  3. Hi, the_wing_t
    You are no doubt correct that I view all issues “emotionally.” Hopefully if the lens I look through is Love, I won’t go far wrong.

    In the case of Mitch McConnell’s comment, I believe my approach served me better than your factual one. That is, you missed the point; you didn’t grasp why the words were so repugnant.

    When I originally heard McConnell’s statement, I audibly gasped.
    “African Americans vote in the same percentage as Americans.”

    African Americans ARE Americans.

    Again you are correct–at that moment, my emotional response clouded any rational judgement. Or perhaps it was simply my tears.

    • Do you REALLY think McConnell meant to infer that blacks aren’t Americans? I mean come on. Put politics aside for just one second….don’t you think people can leave out words by accident – in this case I’m assuming what McConnell meant to say was “as all Americans” or “as the rest of Americans”. If you’re THAT offended by this tiny slip up then I can’t imagine how furious you must be with Biden for saying about Obama “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy….” Do you find that off-putting also?

      • The main difference between the two, Biden apologized afterwards despite there being no offense taken by the remark. He (Obama) knew what he meant. Meanwhile, Mitch went on the defensive and did not apologize even though there was much offense taken by the remark.

          • Hello again, the_wing-t

            Umm…I think it is closer to feeling that both were gaffes. Perhaps revealing truths we find easier to deny.

            Biden (like all of us at some time) acknowledged an uncomfortable and yes, humiliating moment One that he apologized for.

            McConnell, however, refused to own the comment and the implied bigotry it revealed. And yes, he offended others.

            It is my opinion that I must be careful in my own life not to settle for not being racist; but rather to be anti-racist.

            Admitting my failures and seeking to do better, day by day, is what I hope for (since you asked).

          • Wing, to be clear, I was not rendering an opinion within my statement but merely stating a fact. Please reread. One man apologized and the other did not.

          • Dear Doon–
            Thank you for your words.

            It seems ironic that this discussion began with a plea to teach history completely and accurately.

            The way in which you recounted the comments
            by McConnell (and Biden).

            It was met with an immediate attempt to deny and rewrite them.

            The lesson of our past is lost is we insist on “white-washing” it. Pun fully intended.

      • the_wing_t
        “Put politics aside…”? It is McConnell’s politics and policies that make it easy to believe he said exactly what he truly thinks.

        I, a white old woman, was stunned at his statement, I cannot even imagine how
        offensive it was to black people.

        And yes, by the way, I DID find Biden’s comment about Barack Obama off-putting.
        I also admired both men for handling the aftermath with humility and grace.

        • Bingo. So you’re strictly offended because he’s a conservative and not a Democrat. Thank you for clarifying. You can see where it was just a slip of the tongue with Biden, but with McConnell you know his intent. See – there is no hope for reasoning with someone like you. Zero.

          • Wow, Wing, if anyone is demonstrating their inability to reason, it would seem to be you …

            “Put politics aside,” you say because … you don’t want to have to face the fact that Mitch McConnel’s politics are exactly what caused his truth to leak out in a slip of the tongue that neither he nor you will apologize for (although it created the impression he believes POC are not “real” Americans) — you want to be able to divorce yourself from is racism, so you demand that others put politics aside despite that politics are, in fact, the issue here.

            Suz astutely shows why what you demand is impossible –” It is McConnell’s politics and policies that make it easy to believe he said exactly what he truly thinks. I, a white old woman, was stunned at his statement, I cannot even imagine how offensive it was to black people.”

            And your response: “There’s no reasoning with you!”

            I think it might have been more reflective of reality for you to say, “I can’t argue with that” rather than “there’s no reasoning with you.”

  4. As a person of ‘No Color’, the kind of ‘Black History’ that I witness unfolding before me every day – that of self-segregation, lifelong dependency and permanent victimhood, criminal and violent misbehavior and total disrespect for our Law Enforcement Officers and disregard for The Rule of Law – is NOT something deserving of respect nor does it merit teaching in our schools. I am obliged to disagree with your suggestion. Additionally, I am much more in favor of the teaching of AMERICAN HISTORY in our schools and elsewhere as it gives us a basic, shared and common foundation to move forward and thrive as ONE PEOPLE and ONE NATION – INDIVISIBLE, UNDER GOD!

    • No Color? When you’re born you’re pink, when you grow old you’re white, when you’re scared you’re yellow, when you get too much sun you’re red, when you’re cold you’re blue, when you’re sick you’re green, and when you die you’re grey.

    • Hello, Crashing Boulder–
      I maintain that no one benefits from an edited history account
      (when we were all united and noble). We should also honestly acknowledge the times when we, as a nation, fell far short.

      Perhaps in facing the entire truth, we can understand how we have arrived at such a tumultuous time; and why. Perhaps we can make it right.

      Perhaps together we can write a history lesson that all children will be proud to learn.

  5. “when frightened white folks are terrified of allowing the honest history of people of color in the USA to be taught in the schools”

    Care to cite some examples of this locally so we can all share in your your outrage?

    And in regards to McConnell’s comment – according to Pew Research, blacks voted (participated) on average around 3% less per presidential election since 2000. But the participation of blacks and whites was nearly equal in 2008, while black voter participation was actually 3 points higher than white participation in the 2012 election. So as a race, blacks are not oppressed at the voting booth. If you want to be outraged, maybe you can claim that Asians are being suppressed as their participation is nearly 15% less than blacks and whites, and is even lower than that of hispanics.

    Suz I think your heart is for good, but I think you’re being played and your emotional response clouds any rational judgement you have. Facts and figures from reliable sources should be considered and regarded much more than our agenda-driven media.

  6. Wow, what a beautiful and enlightened message for Peachtree City and all of Georgia! In this benighted time when frightened white folks are terrified of allowing the honest history of people of color in the USA to be taught in the schools (and when Mitch McConnell assures us “African Americans vote in the same percentage as Americans”?!?!), your call for truth in the schools and for all folks of all ages to learn something new is refreshing and timely. Thanks Suz! I will join you in celebrating Black History Month.