“We are programmed to shut up. When you stand up, they want to tell you how to stand up”

logo Latest in a series of posts responding to the George Floyd killing logo

“Our Voices Matter! Students from Allentown, Emmaus and
Parkland School District speak their truths!”

Gadfly would specifically ask you to pay attention to min. 50:15 and following, the story of the student who is silenced during Black History month and the response it gets from the others. Dr. Roy has recently committed the BASD to “reform secondary American history courses to honestly and accurately include the realities of racism, the progress we have made and the long, difficult road that lies ahead.”

What are your thoughts on the curriculum currently
being used in your schools?

(min. 40:33)

  • We need to decolonize the school curriculum.
  • It shapes how we see ourselves and the positions that we can fill in this world.
  • I never felt I was going to be no lawyer, no doctor. I didn’t see no people of color doing that.
  • All I saw was people of color in the streets and rappin’. I had no people of color to look up to.
  • They’re making white people, right?  It seems like they did all these great things, they’re so smart . . . all they did was oppress our people, enslave our people, terrorize our people, brutalize our people, keep our people down and that’s what they continue to do.
  • I want to learn about people who look like me.
  • About the greatness of my own skin, about the greatness of my own blood.
  • I want to know about great leaders, I want to know about Marcus Garvey . . . I don’t want to just hear about Martin Luther King.
  • I don’t want to hear about slavery for one month . . . The thing that continues to affect us now . . . That’s what I want to learn year-round . . . Black History month . . . like some sort of celebration.
  • That’s our lives, and we’re still suffering because of it.
  • Martin Luther King did not come in and save the day, like they teach us, and end racism.
  • Racism is still here, we’re still segregated, and we’re still slaves to our own mentality.
  • I didn’t think I could be anything . . . Sports is an option . . . I guess I’ll be a thug . . . That’s how we think. We’re still a slave to our own mindset 400 years later.
  • I want to learn about the Black Panther Party, I want to learn how we was in Africa, great Kings and Queens — give me somebody to look up to, give me somebody who I want to be like. Believes in me, show me people who have done it.
  • Everyone should have a right to know their history.
  • The school system is very much colonized. It is not candid talking about Black history . . . how Africa was this beautiful place, they don’t talk about that.
  • When I heard about Black people, it was regarding slavery . . . I never heard about the mid-passage and how horrible it was.
  • I never knew about Bayard Rustin, or Angela Davis, or anybody like that.
  • We have to take it upon ourselves to know about our history and our culture.
  • Our white counterparts have the luxury and liberty of knowing their history.
  • America doesn’t want to confront themselves in history.
  • The history that we’re learning is extremely white-washed.
  • We idolize all these white figures . . . Thomas Jefferson . . . but not Sally Hemings . . .
  • History is written by the victors . . . but the victors are the oppressors.
  • Our white counterparts are being taught . . . that racism is over.
  • Our education system fails to teach that all this is still going on.
  •  . . . need to lessen the ignorance that plagues our generation . . .
  • We’re taught to be the bottom, we’re not taught to rise above and be the top.
  • Everybody’s history deserves to be spread.
  • I feel they wave the Black History flag a little too much.
  • I learned about the Boston Tea Party [during Black History month].
  • They brainwash us still to this day.
  • [When given a chance], nobody knew their history, nobody knew what to do.
  • I was told that it [a Maya Angelou poem] was too strong to read and that it would start issues in the school [teacher wanted her to read his choice], we’re always being told to shut up.
  • Silenced.
  • Black History month . . . Martin Luther King . . . Harriet Tubman . . . they’re taking the black parts out of history.
  • A lot of people don’t know what happened before slavery.
  • To see somebody in a position of power, holding you back, questioning your truth . . .
  • Uncomfortable to them, we are always uncomfortable.
  • The whole year about the Holocaust?
  • It baffles me to see how corrupt our curriculum is.
  • We are programmed to shut up.
  • When you stand up, they want to tell you how to stand up.
  • I don’t give a damn how I do it! I don’t need to be nice. You are killing my people.
  • When I go out there [see a cop], I’m scared for my life.
  • Black people aren’t dying, we’re being murdered.
  • Martin Luther King was a great guy, but I want to learn about Nat Turner, who stood up . . .
  • When I hear Malcolm X talk, I feel electrified.
  • We’re programmed to shut up, but we’re not going to shut up.

One thought on ““We are programmed to shut up. When you stand up, they want to tell you how to stand up”

  1. Its clear from talking to student after student that we are failing them; as early as elementary school, with a curriculum that is ar least outdated and at worst an intentionally false narrative. How can we expect anyone to know where they are going when they are prevented from learning where they come from? History did not start at slavery.

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