July 22, 2021
Educating students about the history of race in the U.S. is a matter of safety. For Chaddrick James-Gallaway—University of Michigan alum and former facilitator for the Program on Intergroup Relations—there was a disconnect between school policies that were implemented under the guise of making the school safer and who that safety was meant for.
“While the metal detectors and body searches created a physically “safe” schooling environment, it was the way school administrators communicated these tools of “safety” in a way that attacked our clothes and our culture; their actions framed Blackness as unsafe.” James-Gallaway writes.
Connecting his past to the current debate about critical race theory, James-Gallaway reflects on the importance of learning an unsanitized history of the United States and its deep-rooted foundation in white supremacy, and the need for this education to continue in classrooms across the country.
“Despite our current polarizing and volatile political climate, it’s not too late to find ways to support educators in doing the necessary work of teaching their students to develop critical perspectives on this nation and its history.”
James-Gallaway is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University.