Tuesday marked the start of Black History Month and students in all divisions at Pilot have begun various thematic units that honor both the triumphs and struggles of the Black community in America. The work of centering Black voices in our curriculum is ongoing work, but Black History Month provides an important platform for creating “mirrors” for our Students of Color and “windows” for our White students (a curricular practice I talked about in a previous Pilot Post).
Of course, inherent in any celebration or discussion during Black History Month is the explicit talking about race and racism in our country. And the ways in which all people–teachers, students, family members, friends–show up to those conversations varies widely. Our lived experiences, our familiarity with the topic, our practice engaging in cross-racial spaces, and our willingness to lean in (among many other considerations) all contribute to our level of comfort with talking about race and racism.
The truth is that it is never too early to talk to our children about these topics. As parents and educators, we owe it to our children to be honest, direct, and vulnerable when addressing issues around race, identity, bias, and justice. PBS for Parents has many great resources for parents who are looking for support on how to start, continue, or redo discussions about race and racism with their children. Obviously, every family’s journey is going to look different, and the path that feels right to one might not to another.
Hopefully, all of you will find something here that feels right–a new book for bedtime, an art project to do together over the weekend, some discussion starters for the dinner table. And while I think these conversations should be happening all year long, perhaps you might use Black History Month as a starting place for something that lasts long after February is over.