Silence Is Not Classy: First in a Series of Blogs About Race

I feel a little embarrassed that it has taken me so long to pen a blog about the race-related upheaval around the United States. The essays I’ve begun are too grow too long and are never good enough for me to post.

Today, I have decided that continuing in silence would be more negative than releasing a text that may not be A+. That idea got me thinking.

Silence condones. 

I tell my third grade students that “Quiet is classy” all year long. Quiet is peaceful. Quiet is controlled. In order to communicate quietly, you must be clear and concise. 

Silence is a lack of communication. The Silent Treatment can be the most torturous punishment. 

Something inappropriate happens. You witness it. You are there; Within proximity, so that you could say something. If you were silent, you said nothing. You allowed it to happen, unchecked. Your silence communicates acceptance. Perhaps you made a face. That nonverbal communication isn’t silent, but won’t be seen by people behind you, people who hear about the story later. 

A quiet person may not want to make a scene. Not every personality is comfortable with being highly visible, and even the slightest sound can be fingernails on a chalkboard in a silent situation. I am picturing the hesitant, shy kid witnessing others misbehave. A cough. The audible shuffling of feet. Nervous laugh. Wrinkling of clothes. Sounds that communicate you are not okay with this can break the silence. These could be a warm up to actually speaking, too. Perhaps the clearing of the throat will loosen the tongue. 

This blog is my throat clearing. I have many things to say. I will start with this one: Silence is not classy.

Ages ago, a Black friend from Twitter posed a question that got me thinking. He asked, “How many people ignore race outside of Black History Month?” Since this seed was planted in my mind, I have made it a point to speak to race all year long. I now use Black History Month to champion the heroes of the Civil Rights and Abolition eras. February is when I will teach biography as a literary genre. 

To ignore race is to make our students ignorant. It’s time to make some noise, even if you are quiet about it.

If you have any ideas about how students or quiet people can voice support for #BlackLivesMatter I’d love to hear from you. Let’s empower one another to speak up with the message, “We are NOT okay with this.” 
Oh, one more thing: If ever you are looking for a definition of “evil,” look no farther than the people who attempt to silence others.

Published by

Matt Weimann

Classy to the core, I teach the whole #3rdGrade child @EPSDWillowLane. I have eclectic tastes with interests in chess, cuisine, art, good literature, strong coffee and other drinks, jazz, and fashion... Mostly bowties;)

3 thoughts on “Silence Is Not Classy: First in a Series of Blogs About Race”

    1. Thank you for commenting!
      I feel like it is extra important for white people to communicate the message that #BlackLivesMatter.

      I saw a tweet this morning by Ibram X. Kendy, author of “How to be an AntiRacist,” suggesting people read books written by Black authors. I love that idea. I retweeted the post with some of my favorite books by Newbery Award winning author Christopher Paul Curtis. I added to Kendy’s idea, suggesting that kids read books with Black main characters. https://twitter.com/MrWeimann/status/1272838991675613184?s=20

      An awesome book that I just recently read, “Ban This Book,” features a Black main character. (https://www.amazon.com/Ban-This-Book-Alan-Gratz/dp/0765385562) It was written by Alan Gratz, a white guy. This impressed me. The book was really great, and I highly recommend it. Gratz is the award winning author of “Refugee,” a book whose characters include Jewish, Cuban, and Syrian families.

      What do you think is the best way to heal race relations? What books do you think would be best to share/experience?

      Like

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