Psychological verbiage is one of the biggest issues I’ve observed that minority parents have with our school system.
Elementary school teachers, please, as you’re planning your lessons for Black History Month, I beg you to pay attention to your verbiage! These historical names you will be teaching about were not born slaves! They were born people who were forced into slavery. I know many are like, what’s the difference. There is a big difference. When you are explaining things to children, it is your opportunity to shape their mind forever.
Slaves were thought of as less than…beneath others. So, calling them slaves before you call them people helps carry on the same mentality America has carried for centuries, which doesn’t help White America connect with empathy! It also plays on the self-esteem of your young black students. Early on, it embeds in their minds that they come from a lineage of the lessor than tribe of people! As if they were born from savages, which is the furthest from the truth!
As a teacher, this is your chance to really change the future of our country forever! Let’s not just make lesson plans surrounded by the mandatory guide lines. Let’s remember why you first got interested in your career and that was to help change the world one child at a time!
Empathy is something that some people are NOT born with, it needs to be taught. It is the “ability to consciously put oneself in the mind of another individual and imagine what that person is thinking or feeling.” Automatically white children are not thinking, “This could be me.” So, they look over at sometimes the only black child in the class and associates it to them. (I know this first hand. I was the only black child in my class. I dreaded the looks EVERY YEAR.)
It’s an opportunity to help children discover what they may have in common with these legendary people they are learning about. It is a proven fact that adults tend to feel greater empathy for an individual when they perceive the individual to be similar to them. So why would children be any different?
At this point, Black History Month is the only form of Reparations Black Americans have! So please, do it the justice it deserves.