Creating a school culture where we all understand and embrace differences is ongoing work which requires us to first see and acknowledge difference. When we nullify differences in favor of likenesses, the “likeness” is often anchored in culturally dominant norms. This invites “color blindness,” a well-meaning gesture that attempts to find commonality among different groups but instead can further divide us through its use of a single lens. It is crucial that as adults we develop the self-awareness and humility necessary to have courageous conversations with our children about differences and diversity.
When we set aside time to impart to our students the powerful and compelling stories of people whose achievements are often veiled, we create opportunities to build racial and cultural understanding. We understand that we don’t want Black history to be a side issue, but one that, along with the contributions of other underrepresented people, helps us to build a richer, more accurate, and more nuanced picture of where we have come from, and more importantly, where we are going.