Teachers Without Borders
teacherswithoutborders.org | Issue 7 | June 2020
Spotlight on Anti-Black Racism

In a June 2020 article in The Atlantic, Pirette McKamey writes:
Anti-racist teachers take black students seriously. They create a curriculum with black students in mind, and they carefully read students’ work to understand what they are expressing [...] making black students feel valued goes beyond general “good teaching.” It requires educators to view the success of black students as central to the success of their own teaching. This is a paradigm shift: Instead of only asking black students who are not doing well in class to start identifying with school, we also ask teachers whose black students are not doing well in their classes to start identifying with those students.
In this issue, we worked with four dedicated educators (bios below) who subscribe to the definition of anti-racist teaching articulated by Pirette McKamey. Below, they recommend resources that can help all teachers work towards anti-racist practice.
Not Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom is essential reading for educators looking to develop a concrete how-to on building an actively anti-racist classroom and school. Changing the collective mindset of a community, nation, or country is a daunting task. This informative book offers practical advice on how to give students a safe space to dialogue, question, interact, and reveal implicit biases in themselves and their everyday lives.
The Conscious Kid is a non-profit education, research, and policy organization that offers a collection of 41 children’s books to facilitate conversations around race, racism, resistance, and activism. The collection promotes self-love for Black and Brown students while also offering stories about influential Black figures and their courageous responses to racism. The books can be incorporated into a variety of elementary and secondary curriculum areas. Donations to this non-profit help provide free books on combating racism for low-income schools.
Teaching to Transgress weaves together anti-Black racism with the intricacies of feminism and classism. Because anti-Black racism cannot occur without anti-sexism and anti-classism, Teaching to Transgress is necessary for educators wanting to explore creating and curating an educational craft aimed at freedom. This book delves deeply into anti-racist, multicultural, and feminist education thought as a way to re-think the classroom. The book discusses education reform as a political act which centers anti-Black racism efforts in education as the catalyst for anti- (fill in the "ism") efforts in education reform.
Whiteucation. Privilege, Power, and Prejudice in School and Society
This book explores the many varied contexts of racism in the American education system and situates white privilege as an approach to analyzing the system. The reader should consider each chapter as its own work, seeking to understand the multiplexities of racism in the education system and their interplay that leads to glaringly contrastive racial opportunity gaps in schools. Educators can use this book as an informative and enlightening resource, but also equally unsettling because it reveals the idea of a racially swayed education system.
Curriculum Resources
Simply being "not racist" is not enough, but taking measurable steps towards building an anti-racist classroom and society is difficult without a crystal clear definition of individual, institutional, and systemic racism. 21 Anti-Racism Videos To Share With Kids is a collection of informational videos that break down the what of racism and the how of talking to children about racism. The collection also serves as a springboard for discussions and meaningful conversations for elementary school children. It can also be used with higher grade levels.
Teaching Tolerance: Classroom Resources
Teaching Tolerance is a valuable resource for teachers as it provides engaging lesson plans for K-12 schools on a vast array of anti-racism topics. Additionally, the collection offers classroom-friendly film kits to aid in developing a social justice lens, along with probing questions to challenge bias. Teaching Tolerance also provides interactive social justice professional development for teachers to equip them to effectively implement the curriculum.
Black Past
The Black Past website is an excellent anti-Black racism resource as it provides valuable educational content about African Americans and the abundance of contributions that they have made to the United States and the world. How can Black Lives Matter if they have been repeatedly left out of history books? This resource provides historical content to help students learn more about the important historical contributions African Americans have made. This knowledge allows them to change perspectives and engage in meaningful conversations about race relations and the role they would like to play in improving quality of life for all.
Teacher Development
21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge
This is a list of resources to support a 21-day challenge to support racial equity habit building. This is a resource that teachers could begin to use during the summer to build the habit of educating themselves on anti-Black racism. The site encourages participants to choose their own focus. There are numerous resources and modalities for learning, including books, films, podcasts, and activities. By learning from the resources within this challenge, teachers will be better prepared to develop curricula that effectively address anti-Black racism.
Building Anti-Racist White Educators (BARWE)
BARWE is an initiative by a group of educators based in Philadelphia. The website provides guidance on developing anti-racist teaching skills and establishing anti-racist academic communities. BARWE offers a summer reading series, with thoughtfully selected noteworthy books. Prearranged Zoom book group meetings support accountability, processing of the material through participation, and community building with other educators. Additionally, the site offers a how-to guide to building school-based BARWE groups and involving administrators.
What Teachers Should Learn From the Death of George Floyd
In this Education Week article, teachers share their reflections on what teachers can learn from the tragic death of George Floyd and how they can advance their own classroom practice. There are recommendations regarding systemic change, school reform, and one's own professional development.
This comprehensive set of resources and recommendations from ChildTrends explores how to talk to children about racism, how to discuss law enforcement, how to listen and validate children's feelings and experiences, and how to stay focused on hope and positive messaging.
Anugraha Chacko (United States) is an elementary education teacher who has taught in low-income schools in America for the past six years. She has also volunteered as a guest teacher in Delhi, India. Recently, Anugraha completed her MA in International Education and Development at the University of Sussex in the U.K. She is looking forward to teaching 6th grade World Cultures starting in August 2020.
Deborah Randall (United States) is a teacher and a lifelong learner. She graduated from Whitman College with a degree in anthropology and a minor in education. Her interest in culture and education led to work designing and teaching the first curriculum for a vocational and linguistic training program at a non-profit serving refugees in Idaho. She subsequently taught English at a university in the Galapagos and in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. Deborah's work with refugees inspired her to earn a Masters degree in education from Western Governors University. Utilizing her Masters, she taught elementary school students in Costa Rica and served as an education advisor in the Dominican Republic. In the fall of 2020, Deborah plans to enter a PhD program in Multicultural and International Education at University of San Fransisco.
Teneshia Taylor (United States / Nepal) is a doctoral student at the University of Northern Colorado where she is studying education reform in the area of equity, with a concentration in educational leadership. Her interest in education and equity began while working as an assistant principal in an urban school in Colorado and, subsequently, as an instructional coach and curriculum coordinator at an international school in Haiti. While teaching in Haiti, she learned of the depth and damage that racist policy, pedagogy, and perception have on learning. Since then, she has lived and worked in two other international schools, including her current position in Nepal. Teneshia’s professional practice is driven by the deep need for social justice. She works to establish social justice policies in schools, both in the United States and internationally.
Marilyn Williams (United States / Egypt) grew up in southern Alabama and has enjoyed teaching history, science, and English for the past four years. She has taught middle school biology in Bogotá, Colombia; high school English in Cairo, Egypt; university ESL in Zhangjiajie, China; high school integrated science in Kentucky, USA; and elementary science and history in New York, USA during her summers. In the fall of 2020, Marilyn will be teaching secondary social studies and middle school science. She graduated cum laude from The University of Chicago with a BA in Classical Studies in 2013.
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