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Educators waste no time pushing social justice lessons in wake of Charlottesville violence

Educators across the country took to social media in the wake of the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend making use of the hashtag #CharlottesvilleCurriculum.

However, as you might expect, many of the ideas were full of progressive social justice jargon and lacking in basic historical context.

EAGNews.org reports the hashtag started with Atlantic writer Melinda D. Anderson, who told The Washington Post “I started the hashtag for a very simple reason. I know that in these situations a common reaction by educators is, ‘What should I say? Where do I even begin?

“I also know that lots of educators are on Twitter – and they look to the platform to connect and learn.”

Indeed, one of those on the social media outlet tweeted out the following:

Of course, anyone with a smattering of American history knowledge would ask where the Civil War is in that timeline, not to mention the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. And that’s just for starters.

To her credit the tweeter, Becca Barad (whose Linkedin page notes was the Green Fund co-chair of the Gonzaga University Student Body Association), did subsequently tweet out that the timeline “simplifies the history leading to the rally.”

But just when you’re thinking “Oh, OK, maybe she gets it,” you see she retweeted the following:

More from the EAGNews piece:

[American Federation of Teachers President Randi] Weingarten’s message was re-tweeted and parroted by countless educators online, who are also urging their colleagues to leverage the Charlottesville conflict to promote social justice.

Anderson offered “public education materials on America’s legacy/history of racial terror,” while Erin Borthwick urged educators to “be thinking about how to engage students in critical discussions about white supremacy.”

Yoncé also urged educators to focus on the key terms “white supremacy,” “terrorism,” and “American Nazis” when discussing Charlottesville with students.

“To all the teachers, please do not ignore what is happening,” Yoncé posted. “Build it in your curriculum. Teach the truth.”

Anderson, who posted materials from the Southern Poverty Law Center and similar sources, is now urging other teachers to contribute to the social justice materials online and offer other resources for combating white supremacy.

“I know ppl following me have resources to share!” she wrote. “What I started on thread is just small sampling. Let’s build it!”

The article also notes someone posted a link to coverage of 2014’s 15th Annual White Privilege Conference, which included a presentation by former teacher Kim Radersma.

“Teaching is a political act, and you can’t choose to be neutral,” Radersma says. “If you don’t want to work for equity, get the fuck out of education.

“If you are not serious about being an agent of change that helps stifle the oppressive systems, go find another job.”

Read the full story.

MORE: Prof: U.S. Constitution designed for slavery, white supremacy ‘forevermore’

MORE: Intellectual diversity is ‘white supremacist bullshit,’ professor says at race conference

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 18 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.