Tip of the hat to SB for sharing this resource.
I’m back from my 5th or 6th (or 10th or 20th) Anti-Racism Training event which doesn’t mean I’m woker than you. It means I constantly need to educate myself about information that daily impacts my life even though I didn’t realize it for my first 50+ years.
Because it’s once again Black History month, there is all sorts of commentary about changes in the AP African American Studies curriculum, or why reading The 1619 Project and/or watching it on Hulu is important to do or why The 1619 Project is “historically illiterate” (an older but interesting op-ed by George F. Will.)
If we could only focus on the facts. But we even debate what’s factual.
Now that we are no longer children and can engage in critical thinking, we are old enough to educate ourselves on all aspects of something and then discern what’s true and what’s not true. No longer are we first graders who are told that – for example – “you can’t take three away from one” in math. We learn when we are a bit older that – in fact – we can take three from one and we get negative 2. But six year olds usually aren’t ready for that part of math.
Back to Black History Month.
We can all download for free this resource if we consider ourselves teachers in any way. I am a teacher of church people and maybe you are too. Or you teach your own children or grandchildren.
The List is curated by Marquis D.B. who is @kbnpete on Instagram. He has accumulated 60 facts about Black History connecting the enslavement of 20 men and women from Angola to George Floyd. And he has inserted his own perspective. For example, The List begins with this:
- 1619 – 20 Africans brought from Angola to Tsenacommacah which is Native American for ‘This was our land until the English invaded it, conquered it, and re-named it to Jamestown, Virginia.”
Because, upon reading this, I found the meaning of Tsenacommacah curiously specific, I dug a little (i.e. I googled “Tsenacommacah”) and subsequently learned that it literally means “densely inhabited land” by the Powhatan people. So – as we can see – Marquis D.B. is making a point in regards to the facts.
[Note: My children all went to Jamestown, VA for their 4th Grade field trip and they probably would have survived if someone had mentioned that the original name for Jamestown was in fact “Tsenacommacah.” They could have practiced saying it. It would have been fun.]
Saying that Tsenacommacah means “This was our land until the English invaded it, conquered it, and re-named it to Jamestown, Virginia” does not make me stop reading The List. It simply teaches me that 1) Marquis D.B. has a pointed and humorous perspective and 2) I need to be a critical thinker when I read things.
Here’s something about education:
- If we believe we are educated because we are widely read on topics that affirm what we already believe,
- If we never read information that challenges us,
- If we don’t read at all, but we accept what others say about books, etc. as sufficient for us . . .
we are not very educated at all.
We’ve become a culture that judges everything without knowing what we are talking about. I truly appreciated reading The 1619 Project and yet I also took issue with some of its statements. It’s not the Bible, people (and re: The Bible, I hope we all dig a little into those books too.)
On this first Monday in February, my hope is that all of us who consider ourselves to be “White” will read something that troubles us just a little for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which commands that we love our neighbors as ourselves. Unless we live in a very unfortunate bubble/gated community, we all have neighbors whose skin is not “white.” Thanks be to God.
Thank you for the list. Currently reading James W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me, belatedly … and yet, chronically timely, in light of the controversies you name.
May I post this blog or a link to it on my Linked in Page.
May I quote the following in a post:
“Here’s something about education:
If we believe we are educated because we are widely read on topics that affirm what we already believe,
If we never read information that challenges us,
If we don’t read at all, but we accept what others say about books, etc. as sufficient for us . . .
we are not very educated at all.
We’ve become a culture that judges everything without knowing what we are talking about.”
Local Mission Leader (LML) with Resonate Global Mission Eastern Canada Region (Christian Reformed Church on Turtle Island AKA NA)
Hi Winston. Yes – that would be fine. Just attribute to me please. And thank you.
I will cite you.
Thank you for this resource and insightful perspective!