…and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish… (Esther 4:16)
What is it about bad situations that make them usually go from bad to worse and worse to unbearable?
One day after another senseless mass shooting, the semblance of a mob that endorses rudeness is making me feel sick.
Ready to resign,
I wonder where is the thinking that is supposed to parallel the critical in public discourse.
I feel like Esther standing before her judge and in protest. As an educator and colleague of people who are being demonized for promoting change, this school year feels like I have suffered a personal assault.
Change makers have the awesomely terrible task of thinking different. A 5-year ad campaign for Apple, challenged us to see diversity as strength even as it corralled us into accepting a new definition and standard of meritocracy. On the surface, it convinced us of individual genius but deeply embedded in the shallow message of anti-social distance created by an MP3 player and headsets was a unique thread of interdependence and community.
Whether we elicit the school histories of Mamie Tape in 1885 or Sylvia Mendez in 1946 or the immigrant, Black and brown children of Witherspoon-Jackson in 1947, we are all made better when we grow to value difference. Every person and group of people who comes into this community bears witness to greatness…making profound sacrifices to be a part of it in wildly hostile environments and in pursuit of equality, equity, and excellence.
These early battles for Civil Rights are now a fight to simply be civil…to see each other’s humanity and consider that beneath the tip of every iceberg is a mountain or maybe a volcano of other stories that may never be told. We are experiencing divisiveness and shamefully deceptive storytelling that ignores our history, dismisses the need for process and leaves all of us vulnerable to destruction.
How do we heal from years of harm when we remain enamored by political rhetoric, where violence is ignored and self preservation is normalized as common uplift? We teach about fallacies (ahistorical, legalistic, individualistic, fixed and tokenistic) in the classes where I have led and somehow we are in a moment where all five are colliding to form one giant fallacious iceberg. It is the worst kind and the children are watching.
How do we move forward when we allow ourselves to be stuck in an emotional and intellectual space that breeds contempt instead of community? Is this what we have become? The canopy created by tree-lined streets filled with people and organizations that welcome innovation and divergent thinking for the fruitful outcome of sanctuary and protected growth is not here anymore. I miss that and know that I am not alone.