Our nation has been going through some growing pains lately when it comes to race relations. A recent shooting incident at three spas in Atlanta, Georgia, where eight people were killed, six of the victims were Asian Americans, is another example of senseless hate crimes and reprehensible violence that continuously plague our society.
While the shooters’ intent is still under investigation and hasn’t officially been identified as a hate crime, many people believe it is nothing more than just that, a hate crime. Whether Robert Aaron Long, the suspect in the shooting, admits it or not.
This view is often echoed within the uncomfortable conversations some of us choose to engage in about race and racism in America.
Will racism and discrimination cease to exist in our nation? Most likely not, but it doesn’t mean we give up and stop fighting for racial justice because fighting racism and discrimination is everyone’s fight. When we see racism and injustice raise its eerie head, we need to condemn it at its core.
We must all be aware of and stand up against the plague of racism, discrimination, and injustice because it is not the imaginary monster hiding in the closet or under our beds. It is real and present. It feeds and grows off the food of naivety and denial of its existence.
We have to continue to have civil conversations about injustice and inequities in our society and, most importantly, the hidden biases within ourselves. We have to be open to engaging in respectful, productive dialogue about some of the most brutal attacks against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the six Asian Americans killed in Atlanta.
Having constructive conversations about racism can be very uncomfortable, regardless of who we are talking to. We can find many reasons why we should avoid the conversation. However, we hope that schools and educational institutions will continue to engage in real-life conversations to help change the narrative about what we can do as individuals to make our world a better place. If we want to change injustice to justice, we all have to acknowledge the truth and be honest that people are different and the world is diverse.
In an online article on the USC Rossier School of Education website titled,
“Why conversations About Racism Belong in the Classroom,” Mariel Buque, a race and culture columnist for Psychology Today, says, “The “colorblind” approach takes away from the experiences of people of color because when people refuse to see color, they are looking through the lens of the default in America: whiteness.”
Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools is one of the most diverse school districts in the metro area. We are committed to engaging in productive conversations with our students, families, and communities. We are not here to tell students what to think, but to help them learn how to think through constructive and healthy dialogue.
Ignoring the tough conversations of racism and bias doesn’t help any of us. Together, through civil discourse, we can all make a difference by being honest, acknowledging that racism and discrimination exist, and condemning the hate that killed the six Asian Americans in Atlanta.
Please join us in showing support for Asian community during this challenging time.
President, Board of Education
Alicia Miguel, Ed.D.
Interim Superintendent of Schools
Posted April 1, 2021