Many of you know that in addition to being a writer, I am also a teacher. Some of you are aware of the fact that I am relatively active on social media. I have an Instagram account, a Twitter account, and a Facebook account. Though, to be fair, the Twitter account is basically just a repository for my Instagram photos and Star Wars opinions, and my Facebook account is private.
Anyway, usually, I use two main hashtags when I post to social media: #schooldaze for teaching days and #summerbreak for the (shocking) summer days. And it’s fun. I share photos of student projects, classroom activities, my irritated face when I’ve been at work for sixteen hours, my garden, my pets, my children, my observations, my book reviews, etc, etc, etc. I’ve communicated with students and met other teachers because of all of these posts. I’ve spoken with them about everything from planning vacations to developing yearbook copy. It’s never been anything too consequential. Even those times I have shared pics of protests and rallies, there is almost always an air of sardonic detachment to my captions. It’s who I am. For me, taking things seriously is a struggle.
I’ve made friends and several acquaintances through these fun photos and clever captions. I’ve been able to communicate with students long after they graduate (to be fair, that’s a mixed bag).
See. I can’t even stop joking now.
Recently, I have stopped filling my feed with anything specific to my daily life. Instead, I have simply shared the above image every day along with an article or website about systemic racism. Sure, I’d much rather take well thought out photos of my life. I’d like to curate them to tell the story of my existence. I enjoy doing it. These posts are fun. Sharing my daily adventures with the world is great, sometimes even affirming.
But I can’t do that right now. I have to keep doing this for awhile. Maybe for the summer… maybe longer.
Things are beginning to change for the better in this country and though my health prevents me from actively protesting with other likeminded Americans, I can keep doing what I’m doing here and sure, I won’t get nearly as many likes, but maybe, just maybe, I will get through to a handful of people online. Maybe, just maybe, I will get them to see that systemic racism is a problem in the United States and it should not be on the oppressed to fix it, but the oppressors — both intentional and unintentional.
And we not only can fix it, but we have to.