Essential Knowledge

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Resources for White Boomers

So you’re white. Maybe you were out there on the streets in the 60s and the 70s and helped to start some of the progressive work of the last 50 years. You think of yourself as a progressive and now you are feeling hammered. Perhaps you shake your head and say to yourself or to others I’m one of the good guys. DT Susuki, an astute Zen Buddhist teacher named it well: you’re perfect, and you could use a little improvement!

Cherrypick here. Do not try to read everything. That’s just another kind of retreat. Read a bit, find a challenge. Do something that makes you uncomfortable. Do something.

Here are some more resources to help you on that journey.

The Annenberg Learner team – funded by the Annenberg Foundation, which has a 30-year body of philanthropic work around racial equity, justice, and criminal justice reform – would like to respond to the focus on racial injustice, oppression, and violence that black and brown communities are facing. The recent discussion has centered on systemic anti-black racism. We acknowledge the trauma of that history and its profound impact on communities of color. We acknowledge that the pain and fear that people of color too often experience living in America is real. 
We believe that Black Lives Matter and support the collective call for change.
As educators and parents navigate challenging discussions about race relations, incidences of police brutality, and systemic racism, Annenberg Learner is committed to its mission of doing what we can to provide the tools needed to enable the learning and conversation driving toward change. 
Our Essential Lens: Analyzing Photographs Across the Curriculum series surveys the history of the Civil Rights movement across the nation in Change and Resistance. In Story, social studies teacher Kim Kanof uses photos from the Protests and Politicscollection to teach about the protests that swept the world in 1968.
The American Passages: A Literary Survey series covers 500 years of American history from a literature perspective. Southern Renaissance with Zora Neale Hurston and Richard WrightBecoming Visible with James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison, and Search for Identity with Toni Morrison and Alice Walker are especially powerful units that can inspire thoughtful conversations about racism. 
Democracy in America, a course in civics, provides a deeper understanding of the principles and workings of American democracy. The Civil Rights: Demanding Equality unit brings to life the roles that individuals played in changing our understanding of equality both socially and politically.
And here are some additional resources you may find useful: 
You may find these resources illuminating as well:
  1. The Brown Bookshelf hosted the KidLit4BlackLives Rally on June 4, 2020, led by Kwame Alexander, Jackie Woodson, and Jason Reynolds.  The Rally featured inspiring words, music, and call to action in support of equity and justice.  
  2. The Brown Bookshelf website has links to many other organizations providing resources and book lists. Also access their 28 Days Later blogs which documented children’s and YA literature about African American children and topics during February as Black History Month. 
  3. Betsy Bird has a regular blog for School Library Journal and created an extensive list of antiracist resources and reads that includes YA and children’s fiction and nonfiction but also a huge number of links to articles and other information on teaching from an antiracist stance.  It’s an incredible resource.  
  4. Booklist created a starting list of those who want to read for change and to work towards an antiracism stance –
  5. For those who want to learn more about anti-racism, The New Yorker recommends 7 anti-racist books for educators to read  
  6. Black Lives Matter has toolkits available, such as Healing Action, Conflict Resolution, and How to Talk about Trayvon: A Toolkit for White People.  
  7. Teaching Tolerance is a website filled with resources, look particularly at the section on resources about race and racism, including articles on What is White Privilege, Testing Yourself for Hidden Bias and how to talk with kids about race and racism. The site is filled with lesson plans and books to support that teaching. 
  8. A YA book which is frequently mentioned is the nonfiction Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynold and Ibram X. Kendi, so that is another good place to start.

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