Combatting White Supremacy at the Source
I know a parent who worked hard to educate his 5 year old daughter about the importance of her Black identity. He purchased books with strong images of Black girls, he showed her Akilah and the Bee and other films focused on elevating the esteem and confidence of Black girls. He got her Black dolls and created opportunities to affirm the beauty of her skin and hair. He was sure he had done enough to help provide her with a strong foundation for her Black identity.
One day after Day Care he picked her up from school and she immediately started talking to him about Aurora. Apparently Aurora was her daughters new best friend, or so he thought. He soon discovered Aurora was more than a friend, Aurora had become an aspiration. Aurora was beautiful, and smart, and her skin was pretty and she was a Princess. Soon his daughter was telling him that Aurora was more beautiful that she was. Imagine his shock when he discovered Aurora was a Disney Character, and like a precision bomb had exploded White Supremacy all over the mind of his beautiful Black daughter. He was outraged, and he took his outrage to his daughters day car provider. As soon as he walked into her space he knew he had found the source of this identity confusion. There she was in all her White Supreme glory, Aurora and her sisters. Posters on the wall, books on the shelves, costumes in the cubby holes, and an excited young educator who was using this and her personal love for it as a vehicle to capture the imagination of her students, ... one of whom was his young Black daughter.
This story is all too familiar, and only a by product of larger social inequities related to race and representation. While the larger society and the institutions there in grapple with the relics of the Jim Crow past that still exist in curriculum around the country, the onus falls on Black parents and educators to find and develop tools, and techniques to help protect the minds of Black children, and to affirm their unique identities. These tools need to be informed by research, replicated and distributed in Black communities around the world.
Edutainment for Equity is committed to identifying the best practices for achieving the education of Black children. We are leading bi-monthly conversations with scholars, artists, educators and activists, searching for strategies, model programs and effective engagements. We are also volunteering to support the youth and families of Young Gifted and Black of Oakland, and developing tools for empowering black youth through this channel. We teach a series of Black History classes called Mr. Davis Classroom focused on filling holes left in the understanding of Black people of all ages who were misinformed about the history of African people. Lastly we are working on designing outstanding media to extend this education through videos of the conversations, clips from Mr. Davis Classroom and music videos from our media team. We want to provide tools for Black children to have stronger identities; for Parents to affirm those identities and for educators to be more effective in their work with Black children. This is a small part of the larger work of Edutainment for Equity.