Why the Handshakes Matter: The Violence of Whiteness in the Classroom

Form Follows Function

There are a couple videos circulating right now of teachers greetings their students as they come in the door. One is of a Black male teacher, Barry White, in Charlotte, North Carolina greeting his nearly exclusively Black students. The other is of a white female teacher, Jerusha Willenborg in Wichita, Kansas doing the same with her class of nearly exclusively Black students.  One of these is much more positive than the other! One is the expression of a shared experience and a shared culture. One is not. One is, probably, a well-intentioned attempt at building relationships that ends up doing what so many other white teachers do, perpetuate whiteness through appropriation and only serves to further entrench white supremacy in our schools. .

So let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first. Nobody. Let me say that again, NOBODY is mad that Ms. Willenborg is trying to build…

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I’ve always heard the people parent the way they were parented. so people who have good grandparents have a leg up. 
Personally I believe that no matter how bad your parents are, each generation attempts to improve and most succeed. 

The thing is nobody starting off in the same place from the same standardized even starting point because it all depends on what your parents gave you.   

The other thought, there’s so many variables involved in parenting that even an individual parent isn’t starting from an even starting line.

Sunday posts, pics and tweets.

Fred Klonsky

12370787_1089811097726510_8027615324837016169_oChicago this week. Photo credit: Frank James Johnson.

If you haven’t signed the petition for save historic DuSable High School’s librarian position, you still can. Over 1,000 have signed it in the last 24 hours.


Retired LAUSD librarian Joan Kramer, a friend since my childhood, sent along this video that they made in 2010 as Los Angeles school libraries were being closed.





I actually wanted to begin on that theme by talking a bit about the inaccessibility of libraries, and I’m thinking about my own childhood, when I saw this incredible building in Birmingham, Alabama, made out of Indiana limestone. It was the Birmingham Public Library, but of course it was only for white peoples. The one black library that…

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For our children 

I wake and think of you and am thankful. The longest life is too short and we all have so many dreams. I wish you laughter in the face of dispair and courage in the face of opposition. I wish you special connections with special people that take your breath away and make you acknowlegde the divine. I wish you every simple pleasure and every complex thought. May your wings grow strong and support you as you soar to unimanged heights. May your roots grow stronger and support you against the trial and tribulations of life. May your voice be clear and strong as you express your hearts desire. May love and forgiveness – for yourself and others, be ever present that you may move ever forward.

Black Lives Matter to Black People who have been taught that Black Lives Matter…

First you Survive/ Then you Thrive

the struggle is real

when Black people ask me why dont Black Lives matter to Black People…

I wonder what fucking planet they live on.
“do they speak English in WHAT?”

I live in a society that tells me at EVERY turn that I and mine ain’t shit.
When I rant about oppression, I am called “militant” and “revolutionary” and “troublemaker”. im black yall
“we aren’t like you, Dee” “I cant be angry all the time” “Girl you need JESUS”
and then some fucked up shit happens to a child and there is the ritualistic wringing of hands, gnashing of teeth and weeping and wailing…


when did we teach Black folks that Black Lives MATTER?flag bondage

I believe that a community as oppressed as ours,
needs to stop blaming itself for evidencing oppression.
we don’t control guns, schools, policing in our community.
we don’t even control most churches as…

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#Assault At Spring Valley

First you Survive/ Then you Thrive

I come here tonight to plead with you. Believe in yourself and believe that you are somebody. I said to a group last night: Nobody else can do this for us. No document can do this for us. No Lincolnian emancipation proclamation can do this for us. No Johnsonian civil rights bill can do this for us.

If the Negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with a pen and ink of self-assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation.

Don’t let anybody take your manhood. Be proud of our heritage…we don’t have anything to be ashamed of.

Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything Black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionaries and see the synonyms of the word Black. It’s always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word White…

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