Letter Opposing Violence from National Association of Multicultural Education,
The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille and Delrawn Small serve as yet another round of reminders that the criminal justice system was born out of American racism, that our police are born in a colonial settler-state country that enforces racism in every way. Whether it is fear or hate that drives our rage and violence against each other, underneath this violence rests an impossible commitment to maintain racism. The hateful attack on Dallas police, during what had been a peaceful protest, further reinforces the violence of our nation.
This settler-state enforced, media-encouraged violence is not limited by our racism, as the mass shooting in Orlando attests. Yet racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence is not limited to national borders. In South Africa, Black lesbians and transgender communities are regularly violently targeted, while corporal punishment is the norm in Black and Coloured schools. Recent extrajudicial killings in Kenya, persecution of people with albinism in Tanzania, the maintenance of apartheid-like conditions in Palestine, and anti-immigrant violence across Europe reminds the world of a settler-state enforced – or at least silently tolerated – violence against those we frame as “the other.”
While not everyone embodies what we are taught as children, and certainly many educators fight against these notions every day, NAME reminds us that our schools do frame such racism as normal, and the everyday operation of schools fosters a context that allows violence against particular groups of people to be seen as normal.
While we must continue the long-term struggle to transform schools and society, we must also respond today. Schools and colleges must be at the forefront of addressing the context that justifies the dehumanizing that encourages the killing of particular people. We cannot continue as normal, when our normal justifies the violence we see around us.