After an in-depth conversation during our last class session, and considering what is going on in the world right now, I have had sometime to think about my role as an educator for promoting anti-oppressive behaviour. Much of our class’s discussion revolved around the Black Lives Matter protests, and some of the social media trends that have risen from this. As a Black man, it is uplifting to see so many people bond together by creating awareness about what the Black Lives Matter movement is about. The online world is a great way to convey information to people in a short period of time, and it can be very powerful. I have seen more people sharing resources and doing their best to educate themselves about the oppressive issues that Black people have endured for centuries. It is unfortunate that the murder of George Floyd has just now opened the eyes of some to how the racial discrimination of Black people has to change.
In our class discussion last night, we talked about how there is some controversy about whether to stay silent on social media platforms and online spaces in general when it comes to social justice issues. Most of this controversy comes from a place of discomfort because people do not want to say the wrong thing, or offend anyone. Personally, I feel as though speaking out in a professional manner is beneficial, but to be cautious with your language and word use. Speaking out shows that you’re not afraid to stand up for what you believe in, but choosing the right words and conveying a professional message is extremely important. As a future educator, I believe in providing resources and interacting with people in a non-condescending way is the best approach to posting online content.
On the other hand, what you post online is important, but acting on and staying consistent with your beliefs that are conveyed to others via social must be replicated in the real world. Teachers and people in general can post just about anything they want to create a positive identity for themselves online, but can contradict those posts with their behaviour. It is also important to educate yourself and be sure of the content that you post. There is a lot of false information and underlying meanings in resources and posts. Gathering information from trusted sources is crucial, especially when you are sharing content on your own personal accounts.
Lastly, opening up conversations with students in a classroom setting is going to be the difference that we want to see in the world. The next generation of people are largely in the hands of educators, and providing them with an opportunity to learn about race and equality is only going to help them. It is an uncomfortable topic for everyone, but race needs to be acknowledged. Understanding that there is difference in the world, and accepting that difference is what we need to strive to achieve. Introducing race and the acceptance of race to students from early on in their schooling can be as simple as picture books and colouring activities. It does not always have to be an extremely intelligent and political conversation, especially with younger students.