Tis the Season for…Kwanzaa?!

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I am excited to announce our first GUEST BLOGGER.  My dear friend Charise submitted this piece that fits perfectly for the season.  She has agreed to share her experience (which will be filed later on in our section Meditations of the Ignite & toleRANT).  I appreciate her honesty and the fact that she is willing to share her in her journey to share Kwanzaa with the children in her life.  ENJOY!!!

Adding Insult to Injury

Last Wednesday, I began working on my monthly bulletin board…

I am a preschool teacher at a Christian upper class private school. Our student population is 97% African-American. In my opinion, every bulletin board looked and sounded the same. I don’t know if it was me, or my African & Black Diaspora Studies degree that decided it would be fresh to create a Kwanzaa board. We have been learning about Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations in Mexico and Puerto Rico, so I was certain this idea would gel with our international theme.

I stayed after work to finish most of it drawing the entire board with oil pastels. The next morning, I came into work to put the finishing touches on it. While doing so, our school’s Program Coordinator approached me with pseudo humor, “I googled Kwanzaa, and who is this Karenga person that creates his own ideas.” She went on to say that she’d have to learn more about it to be okay with the display. I let her know that my birthday is on the second day of Kwanzaa (Kujichagulia for self-determination) and I was more than willing to talk with her about it. I let her know the celebrations are cultural, not religious. There was no other mention of Kwanzaa within the school. Considering our geographical location, smack dab in the middle of the South, what better time for young children to explore the comprehension of their own racial identity?

Anyhow, my Program Coordinator took the board down and put it in my classroom. The new display is up and met her approval. Just.. plain.. sad. How many people in leadership, in education can we think of whose ignorance dictates everyday protocol? It saddens me. It disappoints me. It disgusts me and it deprives our children. Georgia is ranked 47th in the nation in education and we stay that way because don’t have bulletin boards about Kwanzaa. Well, that may be an overstatement, but it’s certainly indicative of how larger administrative ignorance negatively affects the education of our children.

Insult: completely disregarding the care, effort, thought, and time placed into that project.

Injury: the deprivation of a cultural experience in a three-year old’s classroom.

Happy Kwanzaa!!!!


Charise the Angry Preschool Teacher


~ by travelling womanists on December 7, 2010.

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