Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Critique of Standards-Based Grading

It first happened to me about ten years ago. I was beginning my third year of teaching in a new school in Washington, DC. Social studies teachers were sitting at a department meeting, and the assistant principal assigned as our department head was explaining to us why standards-based grading was going to close the achievement gap.

"This is all very interesting," I said, "and I'm happy to get on board, but besides standards-based grading, what other legitimate grading practices are out there?"

"Well, whatever they are, we don't practice them here. Standards are about raising expectations, and that's what we're about." His response seemed designed to discourage me from inquiring further. In other words, my principal didn't seem to know.

I spent that year, and many of the years since that meeting, working furiously to become the best standards-based grader I could possibly be. That was not easy, as most teachers know that standards-based grading can be a pretty confusing endeavor. It comes with all sorts of differences in philosophy and application. I've had principals attempt to mandate everything from a no zero policy to a no homework policy to a "you can give homework, you just can't grade it" policy. Then there are the long discussions about whether attendance might somehow be counted toward a standard so that it could be included in a grade, or whether classroom behavior and timely submission of work can be included in a standard related to job readiness or citizenship.

There is a striking lack of clarity in the education community about just what standards-based grading is. 

Nevertheless, in my first three or four years of working through standards-based grading, I was excited by the possibilities. In many ways, SBG seemed like it afforded more opportunities for students to demonstrate and be affirmed in their learning. Students could retake tests if they were having a bad day. They could demonstrate their learning in styles that better suited them as learners. And clearly defined standards helped students zero in on common learning targets throughout the school.

There were also struggles. 

One of my biggest struggles was what to do with activities that seemed to be valuable for learning but didn't seem to connect with a standard, or activities that could fit five or six standards at the same time. Then there was the challenge of determining whether the assessments I gave actually assessed a standard. (Many professional developers in the world of SBG will spend hours with teachers "unpacking" a standard, claiming that most people don't really understand what's in the standard, as if reading what it says is not enough for your average teacher.) And then there were the mental acrobatics involved in finding a way to push all of those rubrics with circles on them into a single letter grade for students' transcripts.

In my beginning years, I was a vocal advocate for SBG, assuming that many of my challenges would fade with more practice. Over time, however, I ran up against problems that I began to see as immovable walls. 

Three or four years ago, I stopped advocating for SBG. I began to understand that there are serious limitations to the practice, and I began to suspect that it needs a much clearer analysis than what most teachers have access to in schools where administrators effectively function as SBG propagandists. 

With the remainder of this blog post, I would like to suggest a clearer definition for SBG. I also argue that when it is applied poorly, it can function, like all forms of standardization in public education, as a tool of institutional discrimination and cultural destruction.

Today, I believe that the most problematic feature of SBG is that many districts impose it on students and communities with the expectation that the only factor that can be included in a student's grade is evidence that shows achievement of content-area standards. I call this "pure SBG" to distinguish it from other grading systems where outcomes not connected to state standards are also included.

A different and more direct way to define pure SBG is to say that it is the practice of excluding from a student's grade any form of human ability or growth that is not seen by the teacher to be related to the teacher's content-area standards.

Crucially, I think it's important that, in talking about SBG, we do not conflate it with reasonable outcomes-based assessment practices. The crux of standards-based grading is all in the name. Grades are based on standards. In my mind, all the philosophical discussions about how many opportunities a teacher provides to reassess or whether including zeros in the gradebook are discussions about outcomes-based assessment. And there's lots of room for great conversations about how to do that, but that's not my focus here.

Many people would argue that pure SBG is a reasonable practice precisely because the skills that students need are the skills that are in the standards. Primarily, they need to know how to read, write, and do math. 

On this point, too, it is important to be clear. I am not arguing that skills included in the standards are not valuable. I believe many of them are, and they have an important place in a person's development. The problem I have with them primarily is the way they're being used, and secondarily how limited in scope they are in defining what counts as valuable human competencies.

Let's start with how they're being used.

Standards, as I see them, are best suited to serve as reference guides for professional educators who are entrusted to guide the learning of young people who they know and love. The term "standard" gives away an intended use we should problematize. It's borrowed from industries concerned with weights and measures of objects, where it's desirable to produce with consistency. That education has appropriated that term to refer to humans and human development betrays within the term itself the ways in which the use of standards will go wrong. 

The beauty and value in human diversity is the diversity itself.  It's a big part of how human populations are able to adapt and meet new challenges, by encouraging the innate strengths of their members. And while guidelines like learning competencies can assist professional educators in charting a trajectory for young people's growth, imposing them in ways that create barriers for students in the form of grades can become a form of structural violence.

I begin by making the point that the primary problem with standards is the way they're used because if I begin by pointing out how insufficient they are in capturing the myriad forms of valuable human beingness and ability, the inevitable response is usually, "Okay, so we need more standards then." And, sure, we can write learning competencies until we're blue in the face, but we'll certainly never get to them all. And, in doing so, we often don't seem to realize that statements written about competencies are not and never can be a fully accurate descriptor of the competency itself. Language just isn't that advanced. Further, if we can't understand that any quantitative data we record in service of determining whether a student has met said competency is, again, not learning itself but a terribly rough and abstract representation of learning, we will be forever showing up to restaurants and eating the menu. 

When we imagine that a stated learning target is the target itself, and that numbers generated from tests are synonymous with learning, we impose our adult inability to understand reality onto students. We let our shortcomings show up in their grades, and then punish them until they become just as out of touch with things as we are.

SBG, in my experience, often comes with a philosophy that positions grades and standards as ends in themselves. In this model of thinking, learning is done in service of standards and grades. And we can imagine here how psychotic this must feel to a young person. No wonder interest in school declines rapidly as students get older. This is a sign that there's hope for our young people. They're not buying it, thank god.  

This positioning of grades and standards as ends unto themselves also has grave implications for how we think about equity. When we position standards and grades as ends, we imagine those are the equal outcomes we're trying to create. And we work furiously through how we can possibly engage in equitable practices in order to achieve those equal outcomes. When we do that, we lose sight of the fact that those things we've positioned as desired outcomes (grades and standards) are not outcomes at all. They, too, are practices we employ to achieve real outcomes. The way you can determine this with folks you have conversations with is simply by asking, "Yeah - but why do we want students to reach standard?" or "Why do we want students to get good grades." They'll inevitably go on to talk to you about the economy or something, and with whatever it is they say, you can point out that the grades and standards are in service of something greater. And when we understand this, we understand that they way we employ standards and grades is a question of equity, in that our grading practices either support all students in becoming their best selves or they don't. 

My secondary concern with the standards I've had to use is in how they drive what Yong Zhao calls an "employee-oriented" education. Few state standards speak to valuable human competencies like creativity, imagination, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, ethical/moral awareness, critical citizenship, visual literacy, self awareness, problem-solving, or habits of mind. Furthermore, the standards I've used run the serious risk of orienting teachers and students in a deficit-perspective toward students, as so many of the assets our students bring into the classroom are not affirmed by the standards. These assets are often (but not always) cultural in nature, as the standards used in the US primarily represent the epistemological values of Eurocentric thinking and culture. 

Ibram Kendi writes,
"What if different environments actually cause different kinds of achievement rather than different levels of achievement? What if the intellect of a poor, low testing Black child in a poor Black school is different - and not inferior - to the intellect of a rich, high-testing White child in a rich White school? What if the way we measure intelligence shows not only our racism but our elitism?
"Gathering knowledge of abstract items, from words to equations, that have no relation to our everyday lives has long been the amusement of the leisured elite. Relegating the non-elite to the basement of intellect because they do not know as many abstractions has been the conceit of the elite.
"What if we measured literacy by how knowledgeable individuals are about their own environment: how much individuals knew all those complex equations and verbal and nonverbal vocabularies of their everyday life? 
"What if we measure intellect by an individual's desire to know? What if we measured intellect by how open an individual's mind is to self-critique and new ideas?
"What if our educational system focused on opening minds instead of filling minds and testing how full they are? What if we realized the best way to standardize a highly effective educational system is not by standardizing our tests but by standardizing our schools to encourage intellectual openness and difference?"
In the wake of NCLB, lots of media coverage was given to schools that were cutting recess, art, music, and other "extracurriculars" to support students in preparing for standardized testing. In 2019, there seems to be greater awareness around the harm of these practices (although they still continue), but pure SBG could easily turn into shallow and toxic year-round test-prep in disguise. If grades are only to be comprised of student learning toward standard, and the standards are the same standards being assessed by the state standardized tests, then what does that mean for students who still struggle to meet standard? In some schools, it means being held back from recess or lunch to work with teachers on "classwork." Which students do we imagine this most likely to impact? And will that impact be in service of their learning?

The good news is that the US isn't the only country in the world, and other governments are recognizing that their young people will need opportunities to develop a wide range of competencies not currently enshrined by standards in the US. The province of Ontario has an exciting set of competencies that they're asking schools to develop.

But even within the US, there are lots of movements seeking to redefine what learning looks like. In their recent book, In Search of Deeper Learning: The Quest to Remake the American High School, Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine spent over 700 hours in high schools building an analysis of what teaching and learning looks like, and how they might be improved. They found that the best teaching and learning often happened at a school's periphery - in clubs, extracurriculars, electives, etc. Not the spaces most heavily colonized by standards, in my view. They also suggested that powerful learning happens at the confluence of three virtues: mastery, identity, and creativity. Indeed, I believe Deeper Learning as an instructional design has much to teach proponents of pure standards-based grading. 

While I believe there are plenty of teachers who can bring their classrooms to life within the context of SBG, I believe that when that happens, it will happen in spite of SBG rather than because of it. Pure SBG does not value the identity of young people as curious learners who have agency, nor does it value the status of teachers as professionals. 

Let's work toward a more inspiring assessment model that works in service of young people's health and growth. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

You Can Be an Astronaut, but You Can't Be Black

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question I always imagined every kindergarten student hearing.

“I want to be a doctor!” declares Sally. 

“I want to be a teacher!” exclaims Johnny.

"I want to be an astronaut!” shouts Bobbie.

The possibilities are thought to be endless for middle-class white students, particularly boys. 

“That’s great! You can do it. You can be anything you want to be!,” our teachers and parents replied. In the United States, you can do anything you want to do if you just put your mind to it. 

It’s almost embarrassing to admit that I never really stopped to consider what those conversations might have been like in other households. In families where parents had not experienced the sense that this was anything resembling a land of opportunity, where their most salient experiences with carving out some degree of financial safety and success more often had to do with what sorts of demeaning labor richer people were willing to offer them money for than fulfilling their potential. 

How do parents and teachers who’ve suffered incredible trauma at the hands of oppressive systems guide their young people who begin to sense that it may not be as simple as asking the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

In my family and in my schools, it was always about encouraging whatever idea I had at the moment. Although I don’t remember ever seriously thinking I would consider a career path apart from teaching, I had a profound sense that I would hear affirming comments from all of my supporting adults if those ideas ever arose. 

Our American ethos is based on individual determinism. You do you. Whatever you want to do, that’s what you should do. Now, it is probably true that middle and high-income white children growing up in the United States are probably exposed to the reality that this encouragement doesn’t exist for every student all over the world. The way we’ve taught history in public schools for sometime has often emphasized American exceptionalism. We do seem to have an awareness that this is not quite what it’s like for children in all parts of the world. But rarer is the white child who understands that this unconditional support of a child’s career aspirations is not available to a great many children in the US.

One of the elements of white consciousness that may be most crippling when it comes to inter-racial dialogue is an almost total lack of opportunity to see outside of ourselves, to see outside of ways we’ve been brought up, to suppose that what we are and the way we think are mostly natural functions of the human condition rather than constructs that are built in us as we marinate in the comfortable surroundings of white, patriarchal culture. 

As a result, I think we white folks often approach the world with an expectation not only that we have a right to be whatever we want, but also an assumption that everyone else thinks that way too. One place we see that play out in school is when white educators attempt to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to do well in school as if all of those students were in school primarily for themselves. A great many students from all backgrounds see their purpose in school primarily as fulfilling a responsibility to bring honor and/or strength to their family rather than to their individual name. 

Because it is difficult in a culture that worships white identity for white folks to see outside of our habits of thought, we often engage with people from different backgrounds in ways that are confusing and often harmful due to our blindness of other ways of thinking and knowing. And I’m afraid that our overwhelming sense of ability, that we can do anything, also translates into a false belief in our capacity to know, understand, and be like other people.

We very often hear white folks who want to be allies to people of color and other marginalized identities whitesplaining a situation. I imagine that a white person explaining the plight of a person whose identity they’ve never experienced is among the more obnoxious of white behaviors. It seems also rooted in a white overemphasis on intellect and intellectualizing human issues that simply cannot be gotten at through white analysis. 

In this way, I believe we find that many of us not only wrongfully assume that everyone has the freedom to ignore external factors in the name of pursuing a future that their individual ego guides them toward, but we also come to believe that our ability to become anything extends beyond the realm of career.

For us white folks, we sometimes imagine that being black, Asian, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander is just another sort of identity we’re free to pursue. We intellectualize what it means to exist in those identities and ignore and are ignorant of the lived experience of that identity in our world. Some of us literally claim to be black (Rachel Dolezal), while others misappropriate culture or dominate conversations about race with our analysis. 

Undergirding this form of white consciousness, I believe, is a subconscious desire to distance oneself from whiteness. A sense exists that there is something harmful with whiteness and, rather than reckon with what that is or how we participate in it, we’d sooner remove ourselves from it. Rather than naming our light-skinned privilege, many of us would sooner to choose to identify as French or Irish. We come to a conscious or unconscious sense that we, as white people, are not okay. And I believe that underneath this sense of not okayness is tremendous white shame.

We should distinguish between guilt and shame. Guilt is about a negative feeling we have for something we’ve done, and it can often be healthy when we’ve done harmful things. Shame, on the other hand, is never healthy. It is a sense that there is something inherently wrong or unlovable about us as people. White shame, the sense that there is something inherently wrong or evil about white people, is a terribly harmful orientation for a white person to take on. I believe it very often serves as the fuel for many harmful white behaviors, such as cultural appropriation and saviorism. 

It may seem somewhat counter-intuitive, but for white folks who are working from this lens, I think we very often have to begin our work by acknowledging the ways white supremacy has worked to disembowel our own humanity. We too have been oppressed. We too have been victims of white supremacy. While our cultural practices and behaviors have, at times, been horrendous, they are born out of harmful conditioning that infests our minds rather than an inherent evil within the basic nature of our being. When we can come to hold ourselves with the sort of love and care we’re mostly taught should be offered to others, when we can see our own wounds, then we can finally open our eyes to the largeness and depth of the wounds our culture inflicts on others and work to undo those practices. 

In this process, we learn that while it may be within our grasp to become an astronaut, we can never be or understand what it’s like to be another race in the United States. We can and should try to imagine the experience, but to attempt to take on another’s culture is a fundamentally different prospect, one that is terribly damaging. The primary challenge in the work of undoing racism and prejudice is not understanding other people’s cultures. It’s understanding our own. When we begin to make real progress in that, we will be an in real position to help. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dear White Educators

Dear White Educators,

I struggle with you. I struggle with me. I struggle with how, if, and when to write us this letter. There is no perfect time, no perfect medium, and no perfect collection of words.

And yet, we are out of time. Long have been. The time is now, as it was five hundred years ago.

So here it is...

For a very long time, a tragically long time, the idea of white shame did not resonate with me.

I am lucky enough to have a mother who raised me to understand that my white male identity gave me tremendous unearned privilege in our society. In school, I learned some of the history of marginalized peoples, and I sympathized. So when it came to me and the possibility of my white shame, I felt confident that, having long "understood" the realities of oppression, I should have none to grapple with.

After all, I am kind to people who are different than me. I have friends and colleagues of color. What shame should I really have to process?

It is at this point that I must confess to you that when I was nine years old, I called one of my classmates a nigger.

It was the fall of 1992. My family had just moved from New Mexico to Tennessee, and Mr. Powell's fourth-grade class was the first time I met and made black friends.

Mr. Powell was a quiet and stern man who was missing two fingers. His missing appendages and the fact that he never smiled encouraged our obedience.

It was early one morning when my friends and I were sitting together and joking around before class began. One of my friends told us the story of his bus ride to school.

"The bus driver says to me that I have to sit down and be quiet. You know what I told him? I told him, 'You be quiet, honkie!'"

All of us laughed, two of us black and two of us white.

Having only recently been introduced to the N word by my friends in what I interpreted as playful ways, I thought I'd try to fit in by responding, "Well you know what I would have said? I would have said, 'You stop talking and be quiet, nigger!'"

Just before that sentence fell out of my mouth and into the world, the chatter among the rest of the class inexplicably died, and a void of silence was created such that everyone could hear exactly what I had said.

My friends 'OOOoooed' and laughed for a moment, but then became deathly still. They saw the look that came over Mr. Powell's face, who looked directly at me with a sternness I didn't know that even he possessed.

More than two decades later, I find myself thinking about my role in struggling through our country's very complicated history of racial oppression. I have been struggling toward some sort of voice that works to counter racism, but I often also find myself questioning how exactly to fashion that voice when it comes from a white male.

Along the way, I've fallen over and over again into a harmful trap. It's a trap that I'm afraid many white people fall into as they begin to gain an emerging level of consciousness regarding our race problem. The trap I'm talking about is that of buying into a discourse of charity that, in the words of Lise Vaugeois, valorizes the giver while maintaining the inferior position of the receiver.

It is at this point that I must confess that I have spent a great deal of time trying to help people of color in ways that, in actuality, only served to perpetuate my privilege and their oppression.

My decision to move to Washington, DC, a city I was not from and had never lived in, to teach at the age of 26 strikes me now as a corollary to that of calling a black classmate a nigger at the age of nine. I did both believing they would help me fit in with people of color, and both, because of my ignorance of the experiences of those around me, had the potential to do harm to others.

I recently had a dream in which I was a lawyer in a courtroom arguing before a judge about whether a statement before us was racist. (Forgive the strangeness. It was, after all, a dream.) I argued passionately that the statement in question was racist. I remember that the lawyer on the opposing side was white, although the identities of the jury and the judge were unclear.

In reflecting on the dream, I realized that this is something that I do often. I regularly attempt to point out injustice, particularly institutionalized racism. But upon further reflection, I noticed something disturbing. I most often spend my time calling out racial injustices when I'm in the presence of people of color, as if they need to hear about such things from me.

The question becomes, Why? Why do I do this more often around people of color and less often around white people?

I can rationalize it in a way that makes me feel good. I can imagine that I know people of color will be more willing to listen to talk of oppression, and that white people are less likely to accept it. But isn't that why I should be talking about race and racism around white people more often rather than less?

I can equally look at it from another perspective. There's a good chance that my talk of race and racism around people of color serves a desire I have to distance myself from other white people. The attempt to distance comes from a refusal to see ourselves in others, and I have to admit that I find myself doing that often. It was in this realization that I had my first inklings as to the existence of my white shame.

I used to think that white shame was probably an issue for some white people, but as someone who received a progressive education and had a mother who called out oppression for me at every turn, I thought, "White shame? I guess, but I don't have any of that."

Not true.

If I didn't have white shame, I wouldn't spend so much of my time attempting to distance myself from whites who haven't yet come to terms with their place, their history, or their privilege. I realize that my shame is an insidious form of shame. It's the shame that hides, unconsciously, in the mind of the self-righteous individual who doesn't realize that his demons are waiting anxiously to be wrestled.

And so I come back to interrogate my dream. While my subconscious still likens me to a litigator in the trial of racism, I must confront the reality that that is not my place. I am not the lawyer, not the judge, nor the jury. In this metaphor, I stand most appropriately in the shoes of the accused. I am the accused not because of any conscious malice on my part, but because of the body I inhabit and the identity that's been cultivated within it over years of social conditioning.

At some point in time, all of us have to sit down and take inventory. We have to clear the smoke from the mirror and really look at ourselves. In this difficult process, we come to realize that as we come to accept ourselves, we also must learn to accept that much of who we are is rooted, like it or not, in the roles society has created for us. To deny this is fantasy.

For you see,

         "All the world's a stage,
          And all men and all women are merely players:
          they have their exits and their entrances;
          and one man in his time plays many parts,..."

Nobody else can play your role. I do not get to run from or deny my whiteness. It is one of the many parts of my role for which I am responsible to play in this life. No, I did not have a choice, but that does not alleviate me from facing a socially constructed identity for my public life that history demands I own.

It's true that I can try to feel better about using the N word when I was young by remembering that I didn't know what I was saying. But it is also true that ignorance is capable of just as much harm as intentional violence.

Moreover, whether I choose to identify as white or not, others will continue to identify me in that way. As a result, I have and will continue to benefit consciously or unconsciously in ways that have and will continue to harm others.

In my inner life, my spiritual life, there may be space for aspects of my public identity to fall away. In my public life, however, this is not an option. I must learn to own this identity that I've grown into.

Part of the work here means involving myself in the never-ending task of identifying and acknowledging the many ways that unconscious bias inherent in our language and institutions affects our behavior. As Verna Myers said, "We were all outside when the contamination came down." The roots of our dysfunction are incredibly deep and extend back centuries.

In a sober assessment of his own whiteness, Abe Lateiner suggests that, for white people, there will never be some final conscious awakening in which we're capable of seeing all of the delusions we've lived with since the dawn of white supremacy.

Lateiner writes,
"As I embody the understanding that I am always going to be delusional, I can accept that I am not in a position to make demands about the road to freedom. I've lived for my first 30 years of life unaware of the existence of my own velvet restraints, and I'm only just now beginning to create a vision of my own freedom."
At this point in my journey, the deconstruction of my own privilege is most pressing in the classroom, particularly as a humanities teacher. The space I inhabit with students is most obviously the space where the things that happen will quite directly serve to liberate or oppress.

And so the question finally becomes: How does a white male in the United States work in public schools with students of color day after day? How do I deconstruct my privilege to create space for colleagues of color to have their voice heard? How do I honor my students perspectives on complex issues without attempting to whitesplain the situation? How can I be an ally to families of color who yearn for equitable schools that provide their students with an excellent education?

In my struggle to deconstruct my privilege, I experiment with ways to bring all voices into classroom discussions around delicate subjects. I search constantly for books and professional learning opportunities offered by experts of color. I search for the courage to be vulnerable in speaking often about systems of oppression and owning my identity in the healthiest way I know how, most importantly with other white people.

After I made my racist comment that morning in fourth grade, Mr. Powell made me sit in time-out for fifteen minutes. I remember being confused and scared. And I remember having the distinct sense that I should never use that word again. But without many desperately needed follow-up conversations to help me begin to grapple with race, I'm afraid my growth in this area was stunted.

When I think back to my young white body sitting in that fourth-grade desk confused about what had just happened, yearning for a stronger sense of clarity, I wonder if that is not who, underneath it all, I still am, who many of us still are.

In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell writes of the infantile unconscious:
"We carry it within ourselves forever. All the ogres and secret helpers of our nursery are there, all the magic of childhood. And more important, all the life-potentialities that we never managed to bring to adult realization, those other portions of ourself, are there; for such golden seeds do not die. If only a portion of that lost totality could be dredged up into the light of day, we should experience a marvelous expansion of our powers, a vivid renewal of life."
In writing of the work of Werner Erhard, Peter Block says of personal change in his book Community:
"The way this [personal change] happens is by changing our relationship with our past. We do this by realizing, through a process of reflection and rethinking how we have not completed our past and unintentionally keep bringing it into the future. The shift happens when we pay close attention to the constraints of our listening and accept the fact that our stories are our limitation. This ultimately creates an opening for a new future to occur."
Our dysfunction is in our unwillingness to reconcile our story. We are either unaware of our past, or we refuse to look at it. In either case, we are unable to own our identity, live in fantasy perpetuated by delusion, and neglect those golden seeds.

Those golden seeds have not died, though. Our capacity for change, for new possibility, never dies. That is our potential for salvation. The moment we realize the possibility, we have found the potential to change the world.

The shame will persist as long as it is ignored, as long as we refuse to own our identity and find healthier ways of being white and teaching our children to be white. The more I can come to terms with my own frailties and ugliness, the more I can acknowledge those things to others, and the more I find ways to create equal space for other identities, the closer I come to peace about who I am and what I do.

Education is not the work of technocrats. It is the work of rational, emotional, intuitive, and ethical beings committed to creating healthy communities for a healthy society. As such, we cannot imagine our role as educators to be limited to the aiding of students in acquiring information. We must also acknowledge the crucial role of the health of our own identities and the relationships those identities form with the students and communities in which we work.

If our own children are to be saved from the same miseducation we received, then we're going to have to take it upon ourselves as white people to put ourselves in the uncomfortable position of clearing the smoke from the mirror, of re-educating ourselves, and of removing the infestation of that unconscious bias in our minds and in the minds of our children. Our young people need that retelling of our story that could have served us all at a young age. It's time we own our role.