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Boys of Color, Richard Sherman, and Addressing Inequity [Exclusive]

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

richard-sherman-russell-wilson

I had the privilege of discussing educating boys of color with the awesome Baruti Kafele and Jason Flom, courtesy of the BAM Radio Network. Listen while we go through a range of topics, including Richard Sherman and how race / color can affect classroom and school culture.

One more thing I didn’t get to mention was how the Seattle Seahawks corner was immediately compared to quarterback Russell Wilson, as if contrasting their “class” actually helped the discussion. Critics who thought they were complimenting Wilson on his straightforward, professional interviews sounded more like they wanted to pat Wilson on the head and call him a good boy.

It’s akin to how we see our kids, too. Sherman and Wilson both have their talents, and their personas on and off the field can’t take away from that. Yet, many in our society are so quick to judge people by how they fit in a certain box, or don’t. Every one of our kids has potential to do well, despite themselves.

But please do leave comments and tell me what you think of this first of hopefully many podcasts about at-risk children.

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 3

  1. Teresa Bunner (@RdngTeach)

    Thanks for posting the link to the podcast. Baruti and Jason are two of my favorite people. Glad I can hear all of you share your collective wisdom.

  2. Amie

    Something that will stick with me as non-black and female: “What that young man wants to see, or wants to experience, is that you genuinely care about him. Convince him that you’re in this thing for the long haul. You’re in this thing for him.”

    On another, related note: I live in Seattle, I’m a die-hard Seahawks fan, and Sherman is our hero out here in the PNW. The outrage that occurred after his so-called “rant” boils down to people’s entrenched fear of an outspoken, honest, passionate black man. In that moment, he was everyone’s worst fear of the “angry black man” and they let him have it with the inherently racist name-calling (ie “thug”). What scares me about that reaction as a future educator (I’m one of the #uwbc18 tweeters) is, how do we ensure black boys aren’t receiving the message, “Act like Russell Wilson, not like Richard Sherman.” What it implies, and of course this isn’t the first time this has been implied or even explicitly stated, is that there’s “good” black (Wilson) and “bad” black (Sherman) and it completely disintegrates what it means for a black boy to be a person, a human being. I’m so glad you brought up this issue, and the connection it has to education. If this is what’s going on in broader society, I know I need to be thoughtful and careful as a teacher to help my students, especially the boys you talk of in the podcast, develop their passions and interests and personalities, no matter what the world is telling them about what they’re supposed to act like.

    Go Hawks!

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