REAL Talk, story 17

This story was shared by an NPS student. 

Image ID: the background of image 1 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “Something happened at lunch this year, where a kid had a girlfriend, and this other guy went up and hugged her. The kid who hugged her is black, and her boyfriend is white. When the girl’s boyfriend saw him hug her, he very roughly pushed him, and they started arguing. Then when teachers came over, they took the black kid to the principal’s office and left the white kid there. The black kid didn’t do anything but hug her, and the white kid shoved him. They then walked with the white kid like they were protecting him from someone.”

Image 2 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes Educational Challenges and Hurt & Exclusion are emphasized with bright/bold colors.

REAL Talk, story 16

This story was shared by an NPS parent/caregiver. 

Image ID: the background of images 1-5 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “I have two children in lower elementary school. I appreciate that Dr. Martin Luther King was discussed in January–this is more than what I got in elementary school. My children are mixed heritage–with one non-White parent and one White parent. After school, they were happy to chat with me about what they learned, without prompting from me. This isn’t always the case, and I was delighted by that. One of my children mentioned that they talked in school about how Dr. King was shot and killed. He also asked me, ‘In the 1960s, what would we be considered? Black or White?’ I asked him what he thought. And he said that he’d much rather be seen as White–’of course! Because who would want to be shot?’ 

It’s true that the violence piece is what my young children might have found most compelling. Guns and gun play figure in a lot, especially in young boy culture. (That is another story.) I wonder how we can talk about race in a school in a way that of course includes various forms of intolerance and violence, including racism–but is far more expansive than this. Because if my children are coming away thinking that to be Black means ‘to be shot’–then they are missing out on a wide world of culture, art, poetry, music, science. They are not understanding the full humanity of peoples with roots in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and with various Indigenous heritages. And perhaps at school my children are missing out too on understanding a full picture of people with European heritages. Because all of these racialized identities are defined and constructed in relation to each other. That is, how can you understand what it means to be colonized without understanding colonizers and the social forces that compel any group of people to do what they do? 

This doesn’t even begin to answer the question of what it means to have a bi- or multiracial identity, including a non-White lineage one outside of being Black American.”

Image 6 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes Educational Challenges, Lack of Understanding, Emotional Response, Race & Identity, and The Future are emphasized with bright/bold colors.

Reflect, discuss

Prompts for personal reflection and conversation with others:

> What do you experience in your body (sensations), heart (feelings), and/or head (thoughts) on reading the stories we just posted?

> What do these stories make you want to do/say? What feels possible for you to do/say? What feels hard and/or hopeful?

> Who has the power in these stories? Whose voice/s are not being heard?

> What choices might the people in these stories have had–and/or not have had? What is the impact of the choices they make?

> What might they have said or done differently in the moment–or afterward–and what impact might it have had?

REAL Talk, story 15

This story was shared by an NPS student. 

Image ID: the background of images 1, 2, and 3 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “I am a black student at NHS. When I was a freshman, new to the Northampton School District, 2 months into the school year a few biology classes including mine went on a field trip. On the bus trip there, a white boy sat in the seat in front of me and was playing music from a portable speaker. He rapped and sang along loudly to all the songs. At one point, I heard him say the n word. I felt very shocked and panicked and wondered why no one else seemed to be upset about this. For the rest of the bus ride I felt extremely uncomfortable sitting near him. It was one of the first times I had heard someone who wasn’t black say the n word. My middle school was a small private school and people knew they would probably get in trouble for that because teachers were often nearby or other kids might tell them not to say it. I told a friend about my experience and he responded, ‘He’s not racist, he just says dumb things.’

Since then I have always felt uncomfortable being near that kid and feel resentful when I see other people hanging out or being friends with him–especially people who act like they are allies and I have seen call out racism and people being racist. It bothers me when people are friends with people who are racist and act like it’s just a personality trait or political view they don’t agree on.”

Image 2 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes Lack of Understanding and Hurt & Exclusion are emphasized with bright/bold colors.

REAL Talk, story 14

This story was shared by an NPS student. 

Image ID: the background of image 1 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “In one of my classes me and my friends (all of whom were of color) were doing our work quietly, and a white teacher started staring at us and it was very awkward.  We asked her why she was staring and she said I know kids like you cause trouble.  And she didn’t know us, it was very awkward.”

Image 2 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes Whiteness, Race & Identity, and Hurt & Exclusion are emphasized with bright/bold colors.