A strategic Guide to antiracist teaching

I’ve been working on this guide with 2 of the incredible educators of Antiracist Art Teachers, Abby Birhanu and Paula Liz.

Here is a PDF version you can download and print.

Why This Guide?

State legislators across the United States are taking initiative to forbid conversations around race and gender identity in the classroom under the umbrella phrase of Critical Race Theory (CRT). It is important that we strategize and reframe the conversation in an effort to educate not only our students but the public about the tenets and goals of CRT to circumvent misinformation. When possible, we advocate for direct and explicit discussions around race and gender equity. However, this guide was created for those teaching in schools where this direct language is not always permissible. We hope this guide can empower educators to continue to find alternative ways to discuss these important concepts in their classrooms.

Strategic Planning

  • Write anti-racist lessons into your curricula. This makes instruction official for your district and explicitly shares your plans to avoid the argument that teachers did not disclose their plans.
  • Be careful with your syllabus language. Be strategic in your writing of a syllabus, making sure you are transparent in what you are teaching for the year but also using strategic language that avoids triggering words or phrases (see next pages).
  • Always use primary source material and first person perspectives to speak about content regarding anti-racism, identity, and current events. Avoid personalized statements and your own opinions or political beliefs.
  • Offer diverse representation. Make sure your curriculum and materials are balanced in offering content and stories from a spectrum of people. This will show that you are being truly inclusive in integrating these concepts without targeting specific populations.
  • Center your students. Promote student voice in your classroom by allowing students to share perspectives and analyze content discussed. Facilitate the conversation; don’t centralize your opinion.

Strategic Language

We advocate direct, explicit discussions of racism and its sources & impacts whenever possible. This guide is intended for situations in which such explicit discussion is potentially dangerous for educators – whether physically, economically (job loss), or otherwise. Here are some suggestions for ways you can shift your language to continue anti-racist teaching and affirm the tenets and goals of CRT despite new laws.

What Critical Race theory does and how you can talk about it

Strategic Language To Use With parents, students, School admin, and other stakeholders.

Resources and Sources