I’ve previously shared many videos and resources from journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates.
He was recently interviewed on a podcast, and there’ a lengthy transcript.
Here’s an edited portion where he gives advice to teachers:
Alison Cuddy: [Here’s a question from ] from North Shore Country Day School’s middle school teachers. So it’s back to teachers. “How can we help our students remain optimistic under this administration…”
Mr. Coates: Oh, my God. Oh, my God! Are you serious?
Ms. Cuddy: “When we ourselves are struggling?” So…
Mr. Coates: If I were in your class, and I put myself back there, I don’t think, even at that age, I was looking for hope from my teachers. I think I was looking for enlightenment from my teachers. I think I was looking for exposure. I think I wanted to see other things about the world. I think I wanted to be exposed to different worldviews.
I think I — if I were a kid right now, I guess I would want to understand, why did they kill Eric Garner? Why is that OK?
And the answer doesn’t have to — I don’t need you to make me feel good about that, but I need to know what happened. I just — I need — and people deeply underestimate the freedom that comes from at least understanding. It’s one thing to be terminally ill, right? That’s bad enough. But to not understand what’s happening to your body?
And that’s kind of the position I found myself in as a young, black — I didn’t understand why, when I walked out on the street, and say there was a girl I liked that lived across North Avenue — why do I have to bring seven other dudes with me to go see this girl, and when I cut on TV and see The Wonder Years, Kevin Arnold can just take his bike and go see Winnie Cooper? Why?
What — I understand why, in terms of the dudes, but what specifically is the process that — so I probably would want to be pointed — not even would want the answers: Give me the tools. Arm me. Allow me to be able to understand why. That probably would be more important to me. That’s not hope. That’s not hope, but I think that’s the sort of perspective I would’ve come from, at that age.