Far from Alone
As a parent of two kids in the Guilford schools, I strongly support the district’s efforts to expand social justice, equity, inclusion, and awareness. It’s time. All our kids (including White kids like mine) need to learn how to be socially and culturally literate to make it in the wider world. More pressingly, I can imagine that our neighbors of color—only 10 percent of the population—will benefit greatly not only from the new forms of institutional support included in the budget, but also from the recognition those budget items convey.
Theorist William Smith defines “racial battle fatigue” as the “cumulative result of a natural race-related stress response to distressing mental and emotional conditions […] from constantly facing racially dismissive, demeaning, insensitive, and/or hostile racial environments and individuals.” Beyond the concrete support these new positions will provide, they’ll be visible markers of Guilford’s commitment to supporting the specific and previously unaddressed needs of students of color, and a signal to all students that addressing and eradicating racial and ethnic discrimination is an urgent, community-wide engagement.
I remind those who see this as “indoctrination” or “coddling” that curricula over the past 200 years have in fact been the indoctrination, subtly or overtly teaching students that whiteness is greatness, and that far from coddling, providing some extra support to students of color is one small necessary step toward addressing generations of largely invisible extra mental and emotional (not to mention physical) burden.
I know I’m far from alone in thinking this is a very worthwhile use of my tax dollars, and I’m proud to send my kids to school in a district that is addressing these issues head-on.