#349: Time For A Change
Next Thursday marks the seventh anniversary of The Highlighter. Thank you all for reading my newsletter week after week. There’s no way I could have predicted seven years, but thanks to your enthusiasm and loyalty, well, here we are. It’s been a great journey so far.
As we approach Issue #350, I’m happy to announce some changes that I hope you’ll like. The Highlighter will merge with Article Club, my other reading-related newsletter, to become one publication.
Maybe you can guess the new name? Yep, you got it: It’s The Highlighter Article Club. 😀
The goals will remain the same:
to share the best articles on race, education, and culture
to offer thought-provoking ideas from a variety of perspectives
to encourage us to read, reflect, and connect more deeply
But a few things will be different. For example, there will be a greater emphasis on each issue’s lead article. I’d like us to get into it, reflect on it, and share our thoughts about it with one another. And I want to experiment with more ways for us to connect and build our reading community. After all, our world might be a slightly better place if we read more good things and then talked about them with other thoughtful people.
Here’s the best news: You don’t have to do anything. There won’t be any clicking or resubscribing or filling out a survey. You’ll receive next week’s issue next Thursday at 9:10 am PT like normal. Be on the lookout for it! especially if the email gods conspire and send it to promotions.
All right, that’s enough housekeeping. Let’s get into this week’s issue!
White Parents Chased A Black Educator Out Of Town. Then, They Followed Her to the Next One.
There are two parts to this story. The first is about Cecelia Lewis, an experienced and talented Black educator from New Jersey, who accepts a district job in suburban Georgia focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and who gets run out of town, twice, by angry, anti-CRT, anti-1619 Project white parents who don’t want a Black woman from the North having any authority over the education of their children.
The other part, though more subtle, is perhaps more powerful: This is also the story of well-meaning white educators in suburban Georgia (including the superintendent) who say they want change and more equity in their district, and who promise to support Ms. Lewis, but who then cave on their vows of allyship, taking the more comfortable route, leaving her vulnerable to attack. As a white educator who has not always lived up to my values, this is the part that spoke most to me. (34 min)
+ Join me today at 5 pm PT to say hi and discuss this article on Twitter Spaces. It’ll be audio only, 20-30 minutes long, and very informal. Feel free to walk your dog or prep dinner while we chat! (This is something new I’m trying. You’ll need a Twitter account to participate. But no, you won’t need to have finished reading the article.)
Parents against comprehensive sexuality education, or CSE, are by and large the same parents against CRT and The 1619 Project and SEL and trans kids in sports and instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity. The point is “to protect the innocence of children.” This article charts the rise of parents opting their children out of sex ed and the subsequent potential for violence. Author Joan Walsh compares the current parental rights movement to the QAnon cult and writes, “If you believe that LGBTQ teachers, or even straight sex-ed teachers, are ‘grooming’ children for sexual abuse, then violence can seem justified.” (22 min)
Many of you have told me that you want to read more but can’t find the time. How do you do it? you ask. My answer is probably not one you want to hear: I’m way less busy than you are. But writer Anne Lamott’s answer is likely much more helpful. Whether your goal is to read more, or to write more, or to live life more, the key is simple: Don’t clean the house today. Skip the gym. Interrogate every last thing you find essential and see what you can let go of, at least once in a while. (4 min)
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