I get angry about things, then go on and work.Toni Morrison
A few weeks ago, a tweet from an educator in the UK blew up. It featured a list of almost all white folks who were deemed experts in their fields. When the list-maker was questioned about the demographics of his list, all kinds of white fragility showed up. It was ugly. “This was everyone who was most qualified…I don’t see color…why don’t you have any redheads…here come the snowflakes…”
This got me reflecting on how my personal list of “must follows” has evolved over my 2.5 years of being active on Twitter. Initially, I fell for the shallow platitudes that seemed to be everywhere. These shallow platitudes filled me with a sense of “yes, I’m doing the right work” and absolutely did not push me to reflect on anything remotely deep. They certainly didn’t push me to think about holes in my history education, prisons, and being a social justice activist from my position as a classroom teacher. They were an echo chamber of vacuous nonsense.
I always go back to that room at Columbia University in March 2017 when Cornelius Minor first explained individual and systemic racism to me. I started paying closer attention to he was retweeting, following, and engaging with on Twitter. One of the many benefits of Twitter, it’s made for lurking.
Through my lurking, I found educators who held up mirrors, who opened windows, who stopped allowing me to tell myself I was a good white person and go on with my status quo non-disruptive self, who, through my inaction, only served to uphold white supremacy.
Here’s my list. The title of my list is “when I see this person has a thread going, I will always read every bit of that thread.” This is certainly not meant to be an exhaustive list. This is a list for my “Intended Audience” to get started with the unlearning and relearning process we white folks so desperately need to get going with.
Cornelius Minor – @misterminor
Val Brown – @ValeriaBrownEdu & @ClearTheAirEdu
Kelly Wickham Hurst @mochamomma
Clint Smith III @ClintSmithIII
Christie Nold @ChristieNold
Tricia Ebarvia @triciaebarvia
Julia Torres @juliaerin80
Marian Dingle @dingleteach
Dr. Debbie Reese @debreese
So, click that follow button for these folks. Pay attention. Reflect. And when you start to feel uncomfortable, rather than acting like a typical fragile white person, lean into that discomfort to see what it can teach you.