If you know me/have met me even once, you will understand the impact watching the video of Marian Dingle’s (@dingleteach) TMC18 keynote had on me. I was speechless. Silent. No words. (Not. like. me. at. all.) The feelings her talk invoked were new and I did not immediately know how to name them. Thus far, I can identify several regarding the keynote itself; love, pride, joy, “Get it, Friend!” Now, the biggest print in the Wordle of my mind for my feelings is relief.
|RELIEF: a temporary break in a generally tense or tedious situation|
Marian gave me a temporary break from feeling the weight of being the only one like me (in a multitude of ways; for me, female in maths world, teacher of color, humble beginnings to put it kindly) in a space and thereby accepting the undue responsibility of representing whole subsections of people. Although we live on different coasts, it was comforting to know that the discriminatory experiences I had to, often times powerlessly, watch my daughter endure are not isolated. That sounds terrible. I do not want anyone one’s child to suffer. What I mean is, it is comforting to have more evidence that these incidents were (a) real and not a part of me being overprotective as a mother, and (b) systemic, making them nearly impossible to avoid. How likely is that two educated teachers of color, with children who grew up with privileges many other students are not afforded, could have had such similar stories of our kids struggling to authentically belong? We are mothers who obviously understand how to “navigate the system”. Still, we could not avoid this type of heartache for our children? People for whom we’d gladly sacrifice our own lives I’m sure.
If you’re not a teacher of color and are wondering, truly, what you can do to be supportive of people with similar testimonies, the answer is listen. Listen with the intent to understand before defending/being understood/distancing yourself from those who oppose diversity, both overtly and covertly. Let’s keep fighting together to use mathematics as the vocabulary of our intuition and as a humanizing place where differences are not merely tolerated, but celebrated as opportunities for growth as team.
Thanks Marian. You energize me!!