Friday, May 3, 2019

A Parable on Whiteness

A Parable on Whiteness: Matt Halvorson

Good day, friends.

I'd like to share a parable with you today, as told to me by my son, Zeke. 
He's four years old, and he likes to make up songs.

A few days ago, we were sitting on the floor together in a hotel room in Oakland, where I was attending the Othering and Belonging Conference, and Zeke started drumming on a plastic cup.

“This song is about a town where everything is white,” he told me after a few minutes. “White, white, white. Everything used to be rainbow colored, but something happened to turn it all white.

Now they can’t tell what house is theirs.

Everything looks the same.”
Then he sang for a while as he drummed.

“White! White! White!”

He sang about confusion — people kept getting lost!

They couldn't tell any of the buildings or houses apart and couldn't find their way home.

Everything was white.

What a strange town!
After several minutes of this, Zeke paused and looked at me.

“Even the people are all turned white!” he said. “Everything is still rainbow on the inside, but it’s white on the outside.”

He sang then about how you couldn’t tell anyone apart, and about their rainbow colors being hidden.

Covered in white. Where is my family? Where is my home? Who am I?
We don’t know.

This is the town where everything is turned white.

I hope you're well. Thank you for reading, as always, and thank you for doing what you do. I appreciate you.
Love,

Matt


Rise Up Reading List:

Matt Halvorson | RiseUpMusic.org | RiseUpForStudents.org | MatthewHalvorson.com
Check out the Rise Up Music Project in Apple Podcasts and Spotify!

Monday, April 22, 2019

A Holistic Reflection of Black Culture is Still Missing from Curriculum in Schools

Black history is celebrated during the month of February across the United States. The idea of celebrating Black history to begin with was due to the absence of Black excellence in mainstream American culture.

Most schools prepare Black History plays for the month and have students create or complete projects on notable Black leaders.

Black youth become victims of stereotypes that label them because of the way they dress and other cultural aspects that aren't embraced by mainstream society.

School culture plays a huge role in the success of students. Culture is developed and based off of the vision and mission of the school. Strong cultural programs include all races, religions, personal preferences and beliefs should be not only celebrated but taught.

I believe the only way to heal and fix the racial divide in America is through teaching. Cultural inclusion is an important tool to teaching black history in America. Across the Nation, the drop out rates and discipline data/suspensions for Black students is higher over their counterparts .

We must begin to look at what's missing. Students are learning about the history of America in a one-sided view that objectifies races that aren't of European descent. 

The same lessons on Black history that I was taught, were the same lessons taught to my parents when they were in grade school. Some will argue that culture should be taught at home. I agree. This doesn't take away the role that schools have in teaching Black history.

We will continue to eliminate the hatred of racism through inclusive practices in our teachings and not just our celebrations.

Schools in all communities should teach Black history to help reduce and eventually end the racial divide in America.

Celebrating Black history is still needed. 

Teaching Black history as a part of mainstream American history is what is key to making positive change happen! 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Racial Bias and Offensive Study

Hey, someone needed to make it public. So I did in support of my sister and all African American women. 

Hi, I wanted to bring to your attention the racism and bias that I believe a portion of your research is encouraging. 

Under the Choline guide it has a study titled: Micronutrient Intake Is Inadequate for a Sample of Pregnant African-American Women - 2017

I am strongly encouraging that this be removed because no other race has studies specifically on them. Why the African American woman? From Henrietta Lacks to the Tuskegee Airmen the African American community has been manipulated to participate in studies that produce results that show them as inadequate. So again, what is the reasoning for this on your site? Is the African American woman who you are solely marketing to? I don't think so. Unless, you are going to include studies that state the Indian American, European American, Asian American, or Hispanic American woman simply remove the study. For far too long any data associated with the African American community portrays inadequacy or inferiority, which we all know to be extremely false and again racist. 

Racism involves being in a position of power that allows one to exert control of thought through perception by alluding to the fact that another race or culture is inferior. In Ritual's case this would be for financial gain. There is another research study by the same researcher that is titled: Longitudinal assessment of micronutrient intake among African-American and white girls: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study.

I see a very big problem with this information and this researcher. I need the following to take place:
1. This email needs to be forwarded to the founders and senior level executives of Ritual, immediately.
2. The research article needs to removed immediately.
3. I need to be contacted by someone at the management level to explain why they felt as though having such information on their site was appropriate. In addition since Choline is connected to the Brain and Central Nervous System is Ritual alluding that African American women and children are mentally inadequate?
4. Is there a diversity department with Ritual? Is there a single African American doctor that is apart of the founders of Ritual? I don't see anyone and that is problematic. There needs to be a diversity department headed by an African American doctor within the Ritual senior executive level.
5. I will be sending out this exact email along with both articles to highlight the hidden racism in the researcher and the negligence of the company.

When words such as inadequate and African American are used in the same sentence there is an issue. Even bigger is the fact that no one on the Ritual staff viewed that article as problematic. I look forward to hearing from someone. My deepest desire is that a real look is taken at the company and you may have won people over with your marketing, but it is time for the African American to be identified properly. There is no other evidence based research on any other race on your site. I am tired of the African American woman being used and abused by companies who simply know how to do good marketing. I am glad I dug deeper and I plead with the women copied to this email to share Ritual's lackluster way of providing research to their consumers. Choose your researchers more wisely next time, and fire whomever thought that article was acceptable. Stop the disrespect.

In addition, I sent my initial e-mail on April 8, 2019, and due to no response and the article is still up I realize I needed to escalate further because maybe my request was not clear. Hopefully, we can get this study removed and move forward. If not, shame on you and someone needs to make sure this bias is public knowledge.

Mrs. Elizabeth Clyde

Monday, February 25, 2019

Where's the Love Because Hate Crimes are Real in America

I’m very disappointed in @jussiesmollett. Even more upset with all the people that poured their hearts out to someone, because they are a celebrity whom they’ve never known or may never see.
Three months ago multiple guys jumped me on Edgewood Avenue here in @cityofatlantaga based on their perception of my sexual orientation. They left me in a coma, life support, a catheter and in the hospital for days through the Thanksgiving holiday.
I was listed as a “John Doe” for nearly 24 hours before anyone was ever to locate me, after I did not show up for my 100-Proof Radio Show @rollingout. Yet, we say, “Atlanta Is The City Too Busy To Hate.” @atlcouncil
However, no one was outraged or said a word in my defense publicly after I revealed all of the images and videos to public officials and media immediately after it occurred. Here, I am someone you can see and touch everyday with valuable contributions to the Atlanta community.
My vocal cords are damaged from the hospital tubes down my throat, which has prevented me from returning to my radio show/podcast. The PTSD that takes place after an incident like this is real and has forced me into mental therapy. Something isn’t right when our society puts so much into celebrities whom you will never know, touch, or see in person.
The media and society should show just as much concern for those they can see everyday.
No weapons formed against me shall prosper. HE brightened up my darkest hour. Thank You LORD for another chance. #ILoveLife #IHavePurpose#ILoveTheLord #IMadeItThrough #GodKeptMeHere
The saddest of it all is that to this day, I have not been able to share this with my mother. Here’s why? My mom has lost three kids under 30 (2 murdered in Chicago and 1 drowned in St. Louis). I had to partially heal mentally and physically first; I guess, I will be forced to tell her now, before one of you do.
Special thanks to @rashad_richey for being the only person to discuss the story and post the video of the assailants making homophobic slurs toward me in the video... @keishabottoms @atlcvb @mattwestmoreland @alithemosthigh7 @feliciamooreatl @andre4atlanta # Felicia A. Moore # Matt Westmoreland # Amir Farokhi # Andre Dickens # Cleta Winslow#HateCrimesAreReal #HateIsReal

Sunday, January 27, 2019

School Choice is a Resource Not a Restriction.

Parents who support school choice aren't taking away from traditional public schools.

This is a myth I constantly hear in community meetings.

School choice is ensuring that parents and kids have a say in the quality of education they are receiving.

School choice is a resource not a restriction.

I believe that school choice is what is inspiring change in how traditional public schools operate.

In fact, there's innovation happening right in our backyards.

Dekalb county has several thriving magnet schools.

Atlanta is leading the way in the growth of school choice.

There are a variety of schools offered which I believe is inspiring advocacy for school choice across the state.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Everton Blair is Not Making Education Politics as Usual

In order for Black boys to get to the forefront of educational reform, they must see themselves there.
That's just one of the many reasons why it is so powerful having 26 year old Everton Blair become the youngest and first Black school board member in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

Everton Blair is not making education politics as usual. Politics intensifies the educational challenges in education.

The influences political views have on ESSA, vouchers, privatization of schools, the school to prison pipeline and educational rights of parents has life changing effects on many citizens.

This is why voting and advocacy are very important in how we improve support for education reforms.

I encourage stakeholders to hold their school systems accountable in the following ways to help build advocacy and voter engagement.
  1. Encourage healthy and transparent relationships between city, county and school board.
  2. Encourage honest, inclusive and trustworthy relationships between school District leaders, School Board, families and communities.
  3. Ensure school District 's embed community engagement best practices into their mission and vision to help build effective advocacy support and partnerships with parents and stakeholders
  4. Empower school board leaders to create policies that reflect and reinforce family and community engagement best practices to sustain relationships and empower stakeholder voices in decision making

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Instead of Suspending My Student, I Decided to Change His Life

Instead of suspending my student for stealing snacks from his teacher and peers, I decided to teach him a value lesson that would change his life. Teaching him why he shouldn't steal is the right thing anyone should do. However, as a Black male educator I was able to teach him how to survive which will help him make a different decision next time.

Black boys rank highest amongst any subgroup for homeless youth in America. Homeless impacts their attendance, attitude and academic performance. This could contribute to the disproportionate rates of Black boys in the school to prison pipeline.

I believe that homelessness for some of the population of Black boys has to deal with mental health issues. Another part those Black boys kicked out or who ran away from home because of sexual identity issues.

The NY Times reports that homeless children are three times as likely to be suspended. Homelessness impact the attitude of Black boys in and out of school.

Homelessness doesn't just mean that you're living on the streets or under a bridge. There are a lot of Black boys who are sleeping in their grandparents basement, aunts sofa or friend's living room.

School is often times the only safe haven that Black boys have.

This can also be torturing to struggling kids. Service learning projects in schools helps to bridge the gap. It also gives Black boys an opportunity to lead.

I showed my student ways that he could survive without having to steal or result to a negative behavior. I gave him some options in which he could make money. This include yard keep, washing cars, selling waters, working funerals or even seeing if there's some work at the church doing odd jobs.

I believe that the presence of Black males in classrooms and schools make a huge difference in the way that Black boys learn. That's why I advocate for more Black male educators.