All of the quotes below come from Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us podcast. You can check it out on both Spotify and Apple. It was an honest and uplifting look at some of the struggles that we have endured as a nation due to systemic racism. I highly recommend it!
But it’s become clear to me that it’s impossible to see where we’re standing if we don’t know what steps, we took to get here. And looking back to the worst parts of our history, well, it helps us know what we’re up against today.
To me to see political campaigns to ban books and oust Educators in this country just because they teach about sexism and racism, the goal seems to be to scare white parents and the tax dollars that follow them away from an integrated public good, even cutting School budgets and defunding libraries for teaching our full history for being too inclusive. So often, people want to cast the debate, in zero-sum terms, it’s black history versus American history, it’s tell the truth or protect children’s fragile psyches.
We can give people today a moral choice and say, there is a tradition of Heroes that is as real as the tradition of Oppression and Injustice and that you can’t understand one without the other. Teaching our full history allows us to ask, do you want to be like the hundreds of students in the black and white photograph yelling at Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old black girl as she tries to integrate a public school? Or do you want to be like the hundreds of white students who boarded buses for the South to register black voters during Freedom Summer?
Nothing about our situation is inevitable or immutable. But you can’t solve a problem with the consciousness that created the antiquated belief that some groups of people are better than others.
Since this country’s founding, we haven’t allowed our diversity to be our superpower and the result is that the United States is not more than the sum of its disparate parts but it could be But these stories have shown me, is that if it were, all of us would Prosper, we are so much more when the we in We, the People is not some of us, but all of us.
We are greater than and greater for the sum of us.