• racenkids

A Letter to My Girls' White Teachers

Dear white teachers,


Happy back to school…as happy (and chaotic and uncertain) as going back in the midst of the pandemic can be. I’m a parent of two brown multiracial girls, one in the 3rd grade and the other in Kindergarten. I’m sure you’ve seen me around…we’ve been a part of this school community for the last three years.


But with this brand new year, I think it’s time for a frank conversation of what goes on in my head. I know you know how important it is for our family to talk about race and representation; we want to make sure our kids feel like they belong in the classroom, like they have a voice. We want them to have a strong sense of who they are. But do you really know what this means as white teachers?


I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to the anxiety I feel when I suggest changes in your classroom or share culturally responsive curriculum with you.

  • Will something I say make you lash out?

  • What assumptions are you already making as a result?

  • Will you take it out on my child?

  • What kind of judgments will you make of my children?

  • Will my girls recognize microaggressions? Bias from their teachers?

  • How do I protect my kids during the hours I’m not with them?

That anxiety won’t stop me from pushing and speaking out however. It can’t. We all know that the school curriculum is racist. And layered onto that is an education system drenched in white supremacy and white saviorism.


But I hope and wish you’re the kind of white teachers that embrace discomfort in defiance of whiteness.

So as Black and brown parents we feel like we must actively participate and show up in every space imaginable. And sometimes what this means is that we have to talk over and over again about our own experiences and school-based trauma, why this is important for our family, and what’s at stake for us.


I can see it sometimes in other staff members’ eyes. Folks who don’t believe that racism exists in their classroom. Folks who proudly declare they do not see color. Our girls haven’t interacted with them yet, but eventually they will. They’re sitting there, arms crossed, sitting back on their chairs, eyebrows furrowed together...while they disengage from the conversation, will they also disengage from fully loving and engaging with my girls?


What are you doing to also push and challenge your colleagues? Do you stay silent? I know many folks do this to avoid confrontation because workplace conflict is uncomfortable and challenging.


But I hope and wish you’re the kind of white teachers that embrace discomfort in defiance of whiteness.


I want you to be the kind of white teachers who will unpack your lessons and curriculum, and not ignore the ways racism, white supremacy and oppression are intertwined with our history.


I want you to be the kind of white teachers who go beyond Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks...the kind of teachers that go beyond the white script of Black History Month.


I want you to be the kind of white teachers who don’t just display “Black Lives Matter” signs, but actually center your teachings around Black liberation and Black joy.


I want you to be the kind of white teachers who speak in abundance, instead of in scarcity and pain.


I want you to be the kind of white teachers who learn how to pronounce your students’ names and honor the stories intricately connected to their names.


I want you to be the kind of white teachers who nurture all of the children’s natural curiosity in the world without the weight of your projected bias.


I want you to be the kind of white teachers who question and challenge the every day, who confront and call in, who demand that we be better than we were the day before.


I want you to be the kind of white teachers that drive away those who are unwilling to bend from their racist, white-centered ways.


I want you to be the kind of white teachers who know when it’s time to step aside and make sure that Black and brown educators take center stage.


I want you to be the kind of white teachers that my children deserve.


My partner and I are going to do everything we can to make sure our girls are in an inclusive, equitable school environment. We’re going to make sure our girls have their full voices and we’re going to make sure the whole school knows we won’t back down.


But in the meantime, I need you to be doing the same. I need you to be out there going above and beyond -- in your personal learning, in your advocacy, and in your commitment to racial equity.


This is not work we will carry by ourselves. You have a significant role in our children’s lives, which means you have a significant role in shaping this school’s future. Let’s make it happen.




With you,






#firstdayofschool #whiteteachers #school