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High School Do-Over

I’m on the front row, far right

Someone asked if I’d like to do high school over again. After some thought, I decided I would do it again if I could know what I know now. Here are a few things I would do differently…

I would thank my parents for coming to performances and events.

I would thank my teachers from time to time. I’d thank guest conductors for their work after region band and choir events.

I’d say some of the stuff I was afraid to say to my peers the first time through.

I’d spend more time visiting with those of different races or backgrounds.

I’d say, “I disagree with that” when someone said something I disagreed with.

I’d smile and speak to peers who didn’t seem to have friends.

I’d worry less about what different social groups thought about me, realizing they were probably not thinking of me at all.

I’d ask my teachers more questions, especially about their lives.

I would read more, especially books not required.

Sometimes learning is uncomfortable

Some of our lawmakers want to be sure educators (and other state entities) don’t teach any “divisive” concepts while teaching about race relations, slavery, social injustice, and stuff like that. Sounds to me like these lawmakers want some serious revision history to be taught, or they’re trying to “fix” instruction that might not meet their approval.

I experienced typical history teaching in school and am now trying to fill in some gaps to better understand how slavery and racial injustice shaped our nation. My observations during life confirm that these issues have shaped our country with tragic results. Guess some lawmakers want to be sure we fail to honestly face racial division and current and past injustices.

Below is my reading list related to this topic from the last year. Remember, I’m just playing catchup. Please beware; some might perceive some of this stuff as divisive. Some of it even hurts my feelings or makes me uncomfortable when I read it. Sometimes discomfort means we’re learning something new.

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America 1619-2019, edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain (currently reading)

The Ku Klux Klan in 1920s Arkansas by Kenneth Barnes (currently reading)

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America by John Lewis

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Du Bois

The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Peniel E. Joseph

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Douglass

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story by Martin Luther King Jr.

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