The Black Lives Matter movement is growing and as a plethora of tragic shootings at the hands of white cops appear to go unanswered and continue to plague the nation, there doesn’t seem to be an end to this movement in sight. Met with undermining responses such as declarations of “all lives matter” and some distorted coverage in the news, you have to imagine the desperation to effectively arouse change among those troubled by the events that have spawned the movement. From Trayvon Martin to Michael Brown to Sandra Bland, there is an unfortunate trend in this strain of killings, and change is undoubtedly in order.
Sure, you will have your protesters and petitioners marching through Ferguson and other cities at the center of this campaign, looking to shout their way through the pain, but what if there is another way to address the problem to make people understand the severity of these racially driven crimes? What if we turned to the education system and started implementing this portion of American history into the curriculum, so that the children of the future become well-rounded and informed participants of society?
ABDO Publishing is already set and prepared to release a Black Lives Matter textbook intended for students in grades six through 12 that “covers the shootings that touched off passionate protests, the work of activists to bring about a more just legal system, and the tensions in US society that these events have brought to light.” The authors of the textbook include Duchess Harris, a professor of American Studies at Macalester College who specializes in black feminism, and Sue Bradford Edwards, an author with a background in children’s publications. Harris said her motivation for contributing to this textbook was the lack of a black lives matter reference in her own searches. “The discussion needs to happen sooner, but educators need a tool that’s comprehensive and engaging,” she said.
Though the textbook and its intentions may be innovative and necessary, there has to be some expectation that this project will be met with stark reviews. It has already caught the attention and negative critique of conservative radio host Larry Elder, who told the hosts of “Fox and Friends” that the book is “indoctrinating young kids, teaching them that black people are victims and, by the way, you, as white people, ought to feel really, really guilty about it.”
Others have chided that the book allows children to revel in the racial discord that currently plagues America. It is an absurd claim given the very serious conflict between blacks and whites in this country, but criticism is just the name of the game. If placed in a setting where students can be objectively taught about this piece in the racial history of America, then why not promote this peaceful alternative. It is not a form of protest or retaliation or a platform for any kind of violence, but simply another slice of history that needs to be understood and if ABDO’s description of the book holds true, then maybe it is the stepping stone needed to affect the necessary change.