A Simple Conversation About a Difficult Issue: Race.

Anyone who talks to me about education understands that at some point its effects on education will be part of the conversation. Below, State Senator David Knezek discusses race and the importance of having honest conversations about the subject to create communication between everyone. No matter the race involved. I believe these are the honest conversations we should be having  about education reform. I appreciate Senator Knezek being a white man talking about white privilege and what we as “Americans” can do together to support and protect each other. This is what he had to say………..


I just want to put something out into the world that has been on my head and on my heart the last few days…

Last week a white supremacist was verbally assaulting two Muslim women on a train in Portland, Oregon when two men stepped up to defend the women. In response, the white supremacist stabbed both men repeatedly, killing them. One of the men who intervened and was killed was a 23 year veteran of the United States Army.

I’m not trying to invite any drama or criticism, I simply want to point out an observation I have and hope that people might think about it moving forward…

Whenever a terrorist commits a heinous crime, and that terrorist is Muslim, I hear a litany of questions that are asked in the aftermath:

“Why aren’t Muslims condemning this? Why didn’t other Muslim people report him to authorities? Muslim people need to apologize for what they did.”

Whenever a black or brown person is the victim of a heinous crime that results in their death, I see a standard response play out in the media:

Digging up the victims criminal history, as if having made mistakes in the past justifies their killing.

“Well, he was killed but remember, he had a past drug conviction for marijuana, so this was no angel we’re talking about, here!”

But when a white supremacist walks onto a train, stabs two guys to death for defending their fellow Americans, there’s an entirely different response.

This man was a white supremacist. He killed two men. He. Was. A. Terrorist. But…

No one asked me to condemn a white supremacist just because I am white. No one asked why other white people didn’t report this white supremacist to authorities. No one asked me to apologize because a white supremacist killed two other people.

And really, I shouldn’t be asked these questions. And neither should Muslim people.

This man was a white supremacist. He killed two men. He. Was. A. Terrorist. But…

No one started digging into the criminal history of his two victims. No one tried to find a reason to justify their killings. No one tried to minimize their deaths in an attempt to sweep their murders under the rug. Maybe both men were saints, of course I am incredibly thankful for their heroism, but nobody even thought to question otherwise. It was just… a given.

And really, we shouldn’t do that to anyone. And we shouldn’t do it to black or brown people. But rarely is anything “a given” for communities of color.

I know a lot of folks, including folks here on my page, who think that talking about race is a bad thing and that talking about race only serves to further divide us. I don’t share that opinion, and that has not been my experience.

We continue to have a serious race problem in this country. Refusing to talk about it won’t make it go away. In fact, it makes it quite worse. It festers under the surface until it boils over. We have a race problem in our schools when it comes to equal access to a quality education. We have a race problem in our criminal justice system when it comes to equal access to justice under the law. The list goes on and on. We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. No one person is getting blamed.

We didn’t get to the place where we are today overnight, and we’re not going to get out of the place we are today overnight either. But we have to start somewhere.

Somewhere can be as simple as a conversation. But at a minimum, we should start by holding all of our communities to the same standards and expectations, both in the media and in our daily conversations.

Well said Senator. Let @DetroitSchlTalk know what you think about race and education. It affects all of us.

#AllKidsMatter #Mileg #DavidKnezek #MPC2017


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