Oh Baby!
I can't begin this post without commenting that this morning The King's Speech was nominated for 12 Oscar awards--including Colin Firth for Best Actor. All righty? Since all is right with the world, let's move on.

Over the weekend David and I attended a conference at a local university about Educating Children of Color. The conference was unique because it asked teens, parents, and educators to attend. Very cool. David has gone twice in the past, but this was my first time. Overall, I learned some great things. Nothing earth-shattering, but I suppose that's because we live, eat, and breathe education and my children happen to be black. I was mostly pleased to see that members of our district school board were in attendance, teachers and counselors were there from many schools, including my kids' schools. They were being exposed and educated on this great topic and it warmed my heart.

There were a lot of breakout sessions that I could choose from, as well at two phenomenal keynote speakers. It's too much information to post here, but I'll tell you what struck me the most and what I took away from the conference. Children/students are inclined to believe that if information is in a textbook, it is true and valuable. If information is not in a textbook, it must not be important--or worse, not true. Textbooks in America overall are guilty of telling the African American story from a Caucasian perspective, which results in a lack of rich and diverse information. It is my job as a parent to fill those gaps where I see them. Until our country educates all children in a fair and unbiased way, parents need to step up to supplement cultural history and cultural pride.

Remember this past summer when we began reading biographies aloud at the dinner table? My kids have requested that we do it year round. And I agree. Especially after learning what I did at this conference. You can bet we will still read about all kinds of people, but now more than ever our focus will be on people that are often left out of their history lessons and who paved the road for a better life for my family and my kids.


hotflawedmama said...

Love the whole thing. Perhaps you could start a new thing on the side of your blog that tells us which biographies you've read, which one you're reading and ones on your bucket list?

Would love to track that! ;)

jayme said...

I second the request to share the biographies your family is reading! I really love this idea!

Also, do you remember early last year when the Texas board of Education decided that they essentially wanted to "rewrite history" and change textbook standards so that they exclude even more of the history of people of colour in America?


Things like that really concern me, particularly when I hear that children believe that what's written in a textbook is irrefutably the truth. This is one of the things I'm truly afraid of: the "lies my teacher told me" type of curriculum getting into my kids' heads and ultimately distorting their self-perception.

As always, I'm so inspired and impressed by your diligent commitment to raising your amazing kiddos with so much love, respect, and cultural competence.

cathy said...

Jayme, there's a book out called "The Whites of Our Eyes" I think. Have you heard it? It is concerned with the way current political parties are trying to twist the history of our nation to be skewed toward their political preferences. I need to find he book. Just wondered what you thought. And yes, Tesi, I will certainly post what we read. I did over the summer and was so surprised over what we learned together.

Leah said...

Do you have a book or books that your read from? Where to you find your biographies? I think this is a great idea and a fun time of day to do it. Thanks!

cathy said...

Leah, I find our books at our local library. Biographies in the children's/youth section. Last summer we read Helen Keller, Jackie Robinson, Harriet Tubman, Albert Einstein (which surprisingly, my kids loved!)Amelia Erhart, and Rosa Parks. We might have done a few more, but I can't remember. I just go to the library and grab what I think will interest them. We read a chapter at dinner each night, and sometimes 2 or 3 chapters, depending on my children's interest and how short/long the book is. I can not tell you how many times I would finish a chapter and my kids would BEG me to read "just one more chapter." We did it over the summer just for fun, but now I realize I need to do it year round.

K said...

Great information Cathy! As a family that does not have a lot of diverse members, any suggestions for exposing our daughter to diverse viewpoints and historical information? We have a variety of books that show children and families that look both the same as and different from our family(LOVE Mem Fox Whoever You Are) and read many of them each day. We have dolls that look like people from all over the world. I know these are just small starts, any other ideas? This is something really important to Jordan and I, so we would love to hear about any more ideas you have on this topic!