I call out friends and family members who make racist jokes or comments. Several of my students have lived with our family when they needed a home. I say all this because I want you to know that I thought I got it. I thought I understood institutional racism and White privilege. I knew it in my head but on July 7th it tore apart my heart. The tears started at 6:
Counterpoint: Seeing 'Mockingbird' through my black students' eyes
Your White Teacher Is Woke
But freedom alone did not solve their problems. Instead, freedom introduced them to many problems that they had never had to face as slaves. Once free, most of them had nothing except the clothes on their backs—no livestock for draft animals, no seeds for food, no land to farm, no houses to live in, no money. And most of them did not know how to read or write. As slaves, African Americans had not been allowed to attend schools.