Racial Literacy Development…

…is Bi-directional. The Kids Are Alright…in spite of us.

For the eldest among us, it–this destination we call literate–is a state of ascension from the abyss of past pain, past harm, past violence and past drama…at the hands of whiteness at a confusing time in the midst of a chaotic history in a nation whose need to classify stops abruptly at an A vs. B existence…thank you Ms. Morrison for the reminder that what we have today is better than before but there is so much more we must do.

For the youngest among us, it–this destination we call literate–is a baseline from which we make sense of the awkward interactions of past generations…as they tip-toe around the obvious pain, past harm, past violence and past drama…at the hands of their own whiteness…at a confusing time in the midst of a chaotic history in a nation whose need to classify stops abruptly at an A vs. B existence…thank you Ms. Maya for the reminder that we must do today what was done in our former days…employing that survival apparatus at every possible chance we get to love and save and celebrate our selves.

So I write this…this something, like a poem, outside of others’ gaze…for KSC, SJT and the women leaders who lead and give us courage…to pursue racial literacy in a box made for equity even though it doesn’t quite fit…moving beyond the table to places of kinship and joy. This is for you. This is for us.

The conversation I see Yolanda (Sealey-Ruiz) having with us…I do not want to be too familiar on this journey

How we start at the bottom of our selves…

Where we ask our selves to look at who we are in critical love, humility and reflection.

She calls this model, this thing that we can’t quite figure out, in spite of our own wonderings, our own wanderings, archaeology. Scientific and deeply personal.

The conversation I see Sonya (Douglass Horsford) having with us…I am more familiar with bound volumes than the person whose work inspires on this journey…

How we stand by and smell the stench of fire…

Where we sit in rooms among those in leadership asking our selves what social justice and inclusion look like as we imagine.

She calls this model, this thing that looks something like a staircase that we can’t quite figure out, in spite of our wonderings, our own wanderings, steps. Practical and deeply personal.

Then it hit me.

The eldest among us may start their journey with Yolanda as their guide. The youngest among is with Sonya. Hopefully we cross paths along the way and learn to walk together through the garden of my familiar…

Additional inspirations, readings & references:

Maya Angelou (1987) We Wear the Mask [spoken word] https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=_HLol9InMlc&app=desktop

Douglass Horsford, S. (2014). When race enters the room: Improving leadership and learning through racial literacy. Theory Into Practice, 53(2), 123-130.

Toni Morrison (1998) interview with Charlie Rose https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCMoS6UJoxs

Sealey-Ruiz, Y. (2020) Arch of Self https://www.yolandasealeyruiz.com/archaeology-of-self

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