We Can Not Be Neutral in the Face of Racism


Originally published on June 5, 2020 for the Consortium on Reaching Excellence in Education’s (CORE) blog. Linda was president of CORE at the time.

I write to you, colleagues in education, with a deep sense of sadness and unease as I continue to watch the events that are unfolding in our communities and in our nation. At no time that I can recall has our country been so divided and so traumatized. We have been living in the midst of a public health crisis and an economic and unemployment crisis of staggering proportions. These conditions already impacted the most vulnerable in our country and hit the Black community hard. But now the chilling and brutal murder of George Floyd escalated the crisis in our country and rekindled fear and outrage, particularly among Black Americans for whom this killing is all too familiar. As educators striving for equity and educational and social justice, we must redouble our efforts to increase awareness of the discrimination that exists in our country and in our educational institutions.

At CORE we are committed to supporting you in the challenging job of teaching. But the work you do is more than about content; it must also be about ridding our society of the subtle and not so subtle racism that our students experience every day. The great educator Paulo Freire reminds us that “the educator has the duty of not being neutral.” This is not a time for us to be silent and we certainly cannot be neutral.

With awe at the work you do, especially at this time, we are here to work together with you to heal our broken world and to make right what needs to be changed.