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In These Times

YOUR WHITE NEIGHBOR’S ‘”BLACK LIVES MATTERS” YARD SIGN IS NOT ENOUGH. While I was liv­ing in Port­land, Ore­gon, I was asked to teach To Kill a Mock­ing­bird to a group of mid­dle school­ers dur­ing a Black His­to­ry Month free­lance gig. The stu­dents were bright and eager. When I asked them what they knew about the his­to­ry of racism in Amer­i­ca — slav­ery, seg­re­ga­tion, Jim Crow and Civ­il Rights — their arms shot in the air res­olute­ly, in that endear­ing way we’ve all lost by our fresh­man year of high school. Those are all things that hap­pened in ​“The South,” Ms. Law­son, the kids par­rot­ed in the igno­rant haze that is how most kids in this coun­try are taught to think about its racist past.

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