I teach English in an urban school that serves 100% African American students. One of my favorite parts of my job is seeing my kids be their creative selves and explore everything from hairstyles to dance crazes. Almost every week they come in with a new phrase that I have to learn in order to keep up with them, and I consult them on whether I should buy the Jordan’s I think are cute.
A few weeks ago I traveled to D.C., one of my favorite cities, and I got a chance to go to the National African American Museum of History and Culture. The entire time I was there I felt a pride and joy that are incomparable to any other that I’ve felt. I tried my best to take my time and see as much as I could, and honestly I wish I could have gone back the next day. Four hours was not nearly enough, but it rejuvenated me in ways that I did not even think imaginable.
When I was 11 my auntie called me inside from playing with my cousin. We were playing basketball. My hair was braided with zig-zags going all the way back. I thought it looked dope. When I got inside I asked my auntie if she needed me for anything and she replied that she wanted me to go upstairs and wait for her- she wanted to ask me something.
My school — well, my kids — are 100% Black. The teaching staff is roughly 70% white. This is not surprising to me; for my entire career I’ve been in majority black spaces with majority white adults.