…the Rev. Dr. Shelley D. Best wouldn’t have felt the need to post this selfie but if she had
…the woman most prominently pictured in the selfie would not have taken it personally, but if she had
…the world at large would not have weighed in in so much nonsense in the comments section of various publications. We would have had more conversations like this one, by Haddiyyah Ali, a 19-year old Bloomfield student, which includes:
In a conversation about representation and diversity in schools, educators who do so much for Hartford schoolchildren would do well to engage with issues of power and privilege on an intimate level rather than conflating racism with the sentiment that it might be better to have more black educators as role models for black students than having such a disproportionate number of white educators. Colorblind educators are not doing our children any favors.
With all due respect, the need to make the point is separate from the method chosen to do it.
In a perfect world, a BOE member should not post a photo of a teacher in the district (without permission) on social media, for any reason, that places that teacher in a position to be open to personal attacks. Honestly, it is unfair to blame the teacher for asking that it be taken down. I object to calling her reaction tender, too. As I understand it, the method Best chose to express her point and the refusal to remove the teachers photo, was what led to the very public discussion, not the diversity point. Dr. Rev. Best is to blame for what resulted.
Sadly, we now have two women dedicated to helping children in the Hartford schools at odds, when they likely believe in the same things. And we have a larger community of people, feeling like they should pick sides. It doesn’t need to be that way.
Having said that, the observation Rev Dr Best made is absolutely valid and worth noting. As a BOE member, perhaps she can be an agent for change locally. And, in future workshops of this kind, why not include some parents who are interested in participating and can add perspective? There are ways to ensure diversity in these conversations.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to find ways to close the achievement gap because there wouldn’t be one.
That’s true, but I fear that the conversation has centered far too much on the medium, and not the message. Look at the comments on Facebook, as well. People are so quick to chastise Dr. Best that they leap right on over what she was trying to say. This kind of conversation is never comfortable. Would it have been better had she submitted a paper about it? Written a letter to the editor? These methods have been tried already. They haven’t worked.
I think it would have been better to not post a photo of people at work on social media and then allow comments to target one of the teachers in the photo. You are right, a lot of the discussion has been a reaction to The Courant article. However, it is understandable, given what was done by a BOE member. I agree Rev Dr. Best’s feelings and concerns should be discussed. Is Rev. Dr. Best facing obstacles within the district in attempting to discuss diversity of the staff? When things aren’t the way they should be, frustration is understandable. However, things don’t change without changing things.
Leave a comment