Week 4 Review: Matthew R. Morris's Blog
Race matters. Race matters. Race matters. I think it's important to acknowledge this so we can stop living the lie (which anyone unfortunate enough to live on the darker side of the race spectrum already knows is untrue) that Americans live in a "post-racial society".
With that being said, we can continue the dialogue on race so that we can find real solutions to create lasting change. In the field of education, Matthew R. Morris is speaking up. He is an elementary school teacher and anti-racism activist stationed in Toronto, Canada. On his site he posts articles about education, race, the challenges of underrepresentation in education, curriculum, assessment, and music amongst many other things.
What I appreciate most about Matthew Morris's blog is that it gives voice to an experience typically misunderstood, yet desperately begging to be heard – that of the black male. (For one particularly great article click here.) He writes about current events, common struggles, and events in pop culture with a depth of insight and authenticity that is refreshing. As a black male entering the world of education as a teacher, reading Mr. Morris's entries was encouraging to me as he voiced challenges which I often suppress due to a lack of outlets who share a common experience. This is important because as a teacher of black children and others which similar circumstances, we need to talk to help our students learn how to process troubling experiences and realities. What happens when we don't speak, or when the lesson taught (through silence and a blind eye) is to ignore what is happening, is that we raise a generation of youth who deny their own self-worth, believing they are less than, and that become unfeeling. Numbness is not the same as wellness – just because a cancer is not felt or acknowledged does not mean it is not growing. When these kids explode one day, break down, or give up, the fault is not theirs but that of all of us who never helped them learn to cry, that it is okay to be upset at wrongdoing, and in turn never taught them how to hope in spite of circumstances and to take action productively.
We live in challenging times, and what our students need is authenticity. They need not only a safe place to learn, but a safe place to be real and honest. They need to know that hope is not a luxury, but a necessity without which our bodies live, but our souls die. Through teachers like Matthew Morris, I can see students being refreshed and strengthened, learning both content and life skills. Through his insight, and posts, I can see impactful discussions being inspired and transformation occurring in the way we educate our youth.