Chucks, Pearls, Courage, and Black Women

The racist regime has fallen and now it’s time to move the moral arc of the universe toward justice. This brings me to the curious case of the St. Martin Parish School Board that made a conscious decision to send home educators for wearing a shirt that said, “Chucks and Pearls.” The desperate attempts to beat back any mention of Vice President Harris is quite honestly unfortunate at best and stupid and reckless at worst.

The clothing was to pay homage to the first woman becoming Vice President of the United States of America. There are not political conversations to be had about this. Vice President Harris is the rightful office holder; yet, in Louisiana we have failed once again. We have allowed a school system to single out and penalize educator’s checks for participating in this civic event. Make no mistake the action on its very face was a blatant act of racism and sexism intent on showing people of color and females “who’s boss.” The miscalculation of the school system is the unique power of our Strong Black Women. I must say that the courage of the education professionals in this parish to STAND is a testament of the change happening across this state. It is in this STANDING that those educators gave others the subconscious permission they needed to STAND also.

The punctuation mark at the end of this story has not been written; however, it is safe to say the peacocks are swarming. Those that look pretty when the cameras are close, but when you get close enough you smell the stench of self-aggrandizing leadership. The people that keep us back because they are willing to make a deal to save themselves rather than sacrifice themselves for the greater good. A phony apology does not suffice for racially charged behavior anymore. There must be accountability from that school district. Moreover, people in leadership must realize that their actions; or lack thereof continue to stifle forward momentum. In the height of a crisis, if it is our first inclination to take photos that flout social distancing rules and mask mandates we are sending the message that our educators’ lives don’t matter. We send the message that it is that okay to flout the rules when you are in charge. It is also important to realize that people will judge us on our failure to do what’s right and not popular and public. It is not time for cute pictures and news interviews. It is time for action, the protection of the Black Female Voice, and the protection of educators across this state.

Jamal A. Taylor, Ed.M.

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