becoming better for the sake of our childrenON SAFE SCHOOLS AND RACIAL HEALING
THE POWER OF NAMING CORRECTLY AND DEALING FRANKLY
DPCC IS OVER 70 YEARS OF AGE, and that makes us one of the oldest private kindergartens in all of metro Atlanta. Then again, kindergarten — and the play-schools (now called preschools) that sprung from them — are really quite a recent concept, and an even newer reality. Remembering that helps, when we think of how we’re just developing our ideas of how to get along in a modern society with young children at home. It helps us not be so set in our way about how things need to be because of how they once were. After all, we’re just making things up as we go along — playing around, having fun.
Being so young, we should always feel both curious and free to adopt and adapt things by cultures much longer-lived than our own. Take, for instance, the practice in ancient China called “the rectification of names.” During times of sudden change — and we certainly have experienced our share of that recently in our relatively new country — it was often considered necessary to clarify what some words meant, particularly those that might have been confused or lost some of their meaning. It seems to me that, regarding our schools, “safety” has lost a great deal of meaning and “connectedness” has been quite confused.
The solution? Go into the woods with the curiosity of a preschooler or kindergartener and learn the right name for everything — at least according to George Orwell, the writer who invented the terms “doublethink” and “doublespeak” — both which seem to conspicuously fit our current time of communication crisis. “By retaining one’s childhood love of such things as trees, fishes, butterflies, and toads, one makes a peaceful and decent future a little more probable.” Click on the top video to hear a little more on this.
Being so young, we should also be ready to try new things. The historical moment is upon all American parents to begin equipping their children with the tools they’ll need to dedicatedly and deliberately work toward a better future of race relations in this, our country of wonderful and amazing promise. For over a dozen years as a DPCC instructor, I dedicated two weeks of every school year to teaching three-year-olds about the awefulness of slavery, its legacy — and the heroes who worked to end it and address the problems that continued long after it was gone by name.
One of the most recent contributors to our understanding of the current urgency toward racial frankness with our kids is Ibram Kendi, author of Anti-Racist Baby. “Many Americans are realizing the whole conception of being not racist or colorblind has led to this current moment,” said Kendi. “In other words, we can’t sit on the sidelines and expect racism to die off by itself. We have to be actively anti-racist.” Click on the bottom video for readings of selected books about the history of race, racism, and the noble fight to be better than our past.