Listen to the episode by clicking the link to your preferred podcast platform below:
Author of Open Windows, Open Minds: Developing Antiracist, Pro-Human Students, Afrika Afeni Mills is back on the podcast! Afrika wants to build community and help folx keep their chins up through this challenging work.
The Big Dream
For us as educators to be courageous and strategic. (The kids are doing it, but they shouldn’t be alone doing it!)
Mindset Shifts Required
White-identifying people should do antiracist work for themselves. All people want to be whole and healed. We can look to white antiracist role models as guides and for motivation and encouragement to do this work.
Many white folx have heard they need to decenter themselves, and so they may lean back. Instead, we can offer an alternative way to be. There’s a nuance to decentering. It doesn’t mean silence or to not be represented at all. It means what’s beautiful should be represented.
Young white-identifying children don’t have great books to learn about people who look like them that have been doing antiracist work (both in the past and the present).
Caterpillar to Butterfly Metaphor: The hard transformation happens in the chrysalis, and we can’t open it up early or the caterpillar will die.
Actions Educators—Specifically White Educators—Can Take
Pause and reflect. (Engage in these activities as you read Afrika’s book!)
Write an obituary of the way we used to believe something. It’s hard to face this stuff!
Write a letter to your younger self as part of your racial healing. Maybe even create a story to share with your students based on your story.
Do these things to understand our own foundations and how things got to be the way they are before taking action. This will sustain the work.
Leaders: Make space for teachers to 1) Do racial healing and identity work, and 2) Take action with students. Do this work yourself too!
One Step to Get Started
Use a framework. A great, free example is the CARE Framework!
Also: Give teachers space to do this. Partner with families. Have the will to do it, have a plan for how we’ll keep this work going in the face of inevitable resistance.
You can find this week’s guest on www.afrikaafenimills.com, on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
To help you do anti-racist, pro-human, healing work, Afrika is sharing an amazing resource-packed Padlet with you for free. And, if you’re looking for more details on the ideas in this blog post, listen to episode 113 of the Time for Teachership podcast. If you’re unable to listen or you prefer to read the full episode, you can find the transcript here.
If you enjoyed this episode, check out my YouTube channel where I explain how to revolutionize behavior management in school:
For transcripts of episodes (and the option to search for terms in transcripts), click here!
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Lindsay Lyons (she/her) is an educational justice coach who works with teachers and school leaders to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice, design curricula grounded in student voice, and build capacity for shared leadership. Lindsay taught in NYC public schools, holds a PhD in Leadership and Change, and is the founder of the educational blog and podcast, Time for Teachership.