Over the course of my few short years of blogging, I’ve tried to remain fairly non-political. I try my best to stay on topic: education, comics, games, food, and storytelling.
I would say that it’s the same for my social media pages. My Instagram is politics free. I’ve basically stopped going on FB because of all the noise. And Twitter…well, Twitter is another thing. I post articles or opinions that are a bit more socially driven. And that has cost me some followers.
Almost every time I post something that has a political lean, something about gun control or funding for education/health care, I lose a couple of followers, and I’m left thinking if what I said/retweeted was wrong or offensive.
For example, this week I tweeted about Ellen Page on Colbert and how powerful she was discussing the rights of the LGBTQ community (check it out if you have not); I retweeted Joe Hill; he can’t wait for President Kamala Harris to declare a national emergency on guns after her first mass shooting while in office; on January 31st I tweeted that thus far in 2019 we had 1,171 gun deaths in the U.S.
These posts got some love, but they also caused a few people to unfollow me. Some people RUN from political discussion as quickly as possible, and many believe that teachers should not have public political stances.
Frankly, I’m not about that noise…
I’m done letting it bother me if a few people jump off my ship because I believe in LGBTQ rights or if I believe that 1,171 people should not die on our soil from guns in one month. I shouldn’t have to feel ashamed to call out the fact that there is something wrong with the level of gun violence in this country.
There is nothing wrong with having the backs of our LGBTQ friends either, and doing the simplest thing, such as retweeting a video, shouldn’t have to cost me followers.
These are not controversial stances; they are human stances.
Sometimes, as educators, we try and keep our political stances on subjects quiet because our job, above all else, is to reach students, every student, and mold them into individuals capable of problem solving and individual critical thinking. However, I’m not only an educator, I’m a member of my community; a community outside of Chicago gripped by the side effects of gun violence. Many of our students are affected by gun violence. One is too many. But you don’t have to live in Chicago to have this type of violence affect your community. As Americans, this is a permeating issue that seeps into each of our lives and extracts its toll from all of us. Thousands of Americans needlessly dying each year affects us all.
And how do we not support the LGBTQ community? Shouldn’t we, as educators, battle against bullying and discrimination in every form? Dude, people are people, and one student’s struggle is not different or less important than the next. How can you turn your back on a human being looking for help in your building because of their sexual orientation and call yourself an educator? It is easy to be reactionary; it is hard to be accepting. We must continue to challenge ourselves to be better than we are, because we are asking that of our students.
For the next few Sundays, I’m going to be writing a few posts, coming from the lens of an educator that’s fed up with some of the traditions and norms we have set for ourselves over the last few decades. I hope you come back to read. I hope you agree with me, but if you don’t, I hope you challenge yourself to listen.
Finally, it’s Black History Month. Make sure you take the time in your classrooms to honor and showcase African Americans that have used their voice, actions, and sometimes their lives to promote social justice and equality in this nation.