Like a lot of you, I’ve been consumed by the Brock Turner case, and its particularly egregious form of privilege-soaked injustice.
Then again, we’re continually bombarded by stories that make it impossible to ignore the extent to which our society perpetuates different rules for different people, based on nothing more than the color of your skin and/or your proximity to power.
This week, it’s a Stanford swimmer who rapes an unconscious woman, yet still evokes sympathy from the judge who worries about the consequences an excessive sentence might have on his future — not how a lenient sentence might exacerbate her pain.
Another week, it’s a Black woman who dies in jail after being pulled over for a trivial offense.
Another week, it’s a young Black man who loses his life simply because someone else decided that he looked “suspicious.”
And so on. And so on.
As a human being, I wonder how we can continue to tolerate the inequity of the world we have created.
But as an educator, I wonder how our schools can become more effective at equipping young people to dismantle the conscious and unconscious ways of seeing the world and one another that hold us prisoner — and allow a rigged system to roll on, unimpeded.
So it was through that lens that I watched a powerful new film about racism, and how to become more proactive in combatting it. The film is called I’m not Racist . . . Am I? It follows a diverse group of twelve NYC high school students through a series of Deconstructing Racism workshops. And it is an urgent, up front exploration of race and privilege and power — and a powerful way to seed similar conversations in schools and communities across the country.
If you’re an educator, I urge you to screen the film at your school, and use it as a foundation for becoming more proactive in the ways in which you help all members of your community understand that racism isn’t just individual meanness — it’s the systematic inequity that comes from disproportionate collective power.