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Thinking Out Loud

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  What is this persistent babying our school kids all about?

  As an aging baby boomer in grammar school during the ’50s and early ’60s, we went to school to learn. How radical. Sometimes with 35-40 students per classroom, too. We amazingly learned a lot. We learned to read and write. Writing isn’t even taught today in our classrooms. Students in high school graduate and think they can print their way through life. Listen, I am a full-time substitute teacher, and I can tell you from firsthand knowledge, most kids think it’s okay to print your name on the back of a check.

  Today, schools are pushing all sorts of questionable theories that only seem to divide all of us from each other. One time we HAD TO STAND and pledge Allegiance to the Flag. Today, we are asked to stand, if we can. If we cannot, that’s okay too. This is the state of public education today. Now, educators and administrators are all about being sensitive to everyone in their milieu. Whatever that is, understanding our diversity and fighting against systemic racism wherever it rears its ugly head.

  I bring this all up after hearing about “The Innocent Classroom” at the Paul Revere School in Revere, a new social curriculum, apparently a so-called model for antiracism education. We should all believe the world is wide open and not affected by societal stereotypes that seemingly stand in the way.

  “The Innocent Classroom” appears to be just another outgrowth of Critical Race Theory. These theories, whatever terms are used, remain dividers when we need to be finding ways that bring us together. I hear terms like “whiteness,” “silent whites,” and “equity” – they all seem connected by guilt rather than empowerment. Our premise should be on being proud of who you are and not by connected bondage in victimhood.

  Aren’t we all negatively stereotyped at times? I am the grandson of Sicilian immigrants who came to America to shake off the chains of the Old World and to start anew with families free to grow. I ended up being a police officer for 28 years, yet, I was stereotyped as someone who must have known gangsters due to my ethnic roots. That bothered me but it didn’t give me a victim mentality. I know being an Italian-American is not the same as being a person of color, but all of us have felt the sting of being put down for our roots and not for who we are.

  Most of us want classrooms free of racial bias. We want a city free of racial bias. We want a nation free of racial bias. I grew up in Roxbury in the projects. I didn’t have white friends or black friends – I had good friends. My neighborhood was quite mixed and those differences gave us our unity, too.

  We would be better as a society if we all just looked at one another as equals. As a kid, I remember the last thing I wished to be was a victim. I am not helpless nor look upon such a positive attribute.

  The last thing society needs is an educational program that begins with stereotypes of its own about children regardless of race and culture. Children already have natural equity as they look at each other and take each other as a classroom full of children excited about learning.

  I found two quotes years ago that have served me well. All of us might be much better off remembering these two quotes. The first is by Dr. King, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” and the second quote, “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated,” by Maya Angelou.

  We must all be more than anti-racist – we must be antiracist. We just can’t be anti-racist. We must be antiracist, always standing up and speaking out for equality in our humanism.

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