Jose Luis Vilson: We’re Not Even At Equality Yet
Jose Vilson is a math teacher, writer, and graduate student. He wrote this piece in the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin conviction, considering where we are on the journey to equity, and how teachers must be part of that journey.
We’re not even at equality yet, much less equity. We don’t even have the same conceptualization of what it would mean to be fully free, no matter how many times an individual from an oppressed group becomes famous and/or wealthy.
If education is a function of society, then what messages are we handing down to future generations? That we need to stage racial uprisings for decades to get even a semblance of accountability? That we need to organize thousands of parents, educators, students, and other citizens to upend a whole legislative branch and force our governments to do the right thing? That the sort of small bandages we’ve offered in the form of language and items were no match for the structural, cultural forces that continued to enforce separate and unequal processes, no matter what this country’s founding documents said?
Yes, hope is a motivator for me because it’s the only way we carry on with this American experiment. But hope without grounded theory is just flailing in the winds of society, aerial waves shoved along usually by the powerful and those who benefit from that status quo.
So being from the projects (Lower East Side, the Ave, if you must know), I’m equally skeptical when governments and the actors who hold power within it actually do what they say they’re going to do. I’m technically in the business of picking off bricks from buildings and making meaning from why those bricks exist, but I’m also about determining what buildings were set afire and examining the ashes. Generally, we see progress that moves people forward and creative and evil ways to dial that progress backward. We should be in the process of expecting that our governments get accountability right even when justice isn’t done.
Yet, as a teacher, I’ve learned to meet people where they are.
Read the complete post here.