September/October 2020

Anti-Racist Work in Schools: Are You in it for the Long Haul?

Commentary by Elizabeth Kleinrock

Last year I received a consultation request from a school after two students posted pictures in blackface on social media. When I asked what time and resources they were committing to this issue, they said they had set aside 45 minutes of their upcoming staff meeting to address bias and racism. They were not interested in investing beyond that session.

Being called in reactively to support teachers and staff after a racist incident has never sat well with me. But now, as Black Lives Matter protests have swelled throughout the world, our entire country is reacting to centuries of white supremacy and violence experienced by the Black community.

As an anti-bias anti-racist (ABAR) facilitator and educator-in-progress, I’ve had the opportunity to partner with public, charter, and independent schools across the United States and can tell you firsthand that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to this work. There are, however, a number of things schools should consider as they create objectives for the short- and long-term future.

Read the complete commentary via Teaching Tolerance.

Elizabeth Kleinrock is an elementary educator currently working on her first book. She is also a 2018 recipient of the Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching. Reprinted with permission of Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center,  Reprinted with permission.