How far have we come?

I posted this link in my classroom blogs to encourage students to take at a great little piece written by the Library of Congress. We have been covering some background and context in preparation for reading Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. In general, it's a great unit and the kids, seem to be motivated by such amazing exemplars of activism as those we come across that fought for a right to education, voting, and basic human dignity. Students seem to genuinely want to make this world a better place than we have yet achieved for them.

Yet, hearing the hate speech pour of young people on my walks to and from school everyday is nothing short of heart breaking. Be it a derisive comment around disability, racial slurs taken up as common speech, or sexist behaviors excused as developmental norms, it feels like a challenging disconnect between what is expected and received in the classroom and what is excused and permitted on the streets. 

Somehow, we all have to start realizing a little more profoundly that our behaviors, words, and attitudes matter.