Dear NYC Teachers: Your Attempt at Solidarity Was a FAIL…

As a NYC native, I am embarrassed by the actions of the very teachers a part of the largest, most diverse school system in the country. The teachers below are the teachers I would never want my child to come in contact with. I don’t care how great they are or what levels they push their students to. I don’t want my baby to come in contact with anyone that sides with a task force that criminalizes Black and Brown children for the sake of it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, refer to the picture below. This group of teachers thought it was a great idea to wear “NYPD” t-shirts in solidarity to support the “great” NYPD in the midst of the backlash they’re receiving for Eric Garner’s murder.

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This is utterly and ridiculously unacceptable. The teachers clearly did not understand the implications of their actions, which is strange as they were warned by the UFT (United Federation of Teachers) beforehand to not wear the t-shirts. You would think they would sit down and attempt to rationalize the request. But no, these women clearly wanted to be bold with their actions and go against the police force discourse currently occurring. They wanted others to know that despite the long history of police brutality and institutionalized racism, particularly in New York City, they still stand with cops. I guess it’s easy to do when you’ll never be a victim of racial profiling or NYC’s “effective” Stop-And-Frisk policy. It infuriates me to know that these teachers are supporting the very system that will one day racially profile their students.

With the recent killing of Eric Garner and the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, it is a shame that these teachers chose to side with the very people that will one day racially profile one of their students. It is a shame that they decided to pose all giddy and happy as if something great were accomplished by promoting the message that the NYPD is great and supportive. What you have done is told every single one of your students that you side with the NYPD and its racist policies. That what they do is keep us safe, even if its at the expense of our Black and Brown children. You’ve implied that its ok for the NYPD to randomly stop your students and search them because the mere melanin in their skin makes them a threat to society. You’ve told our children that men like Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and Eric Garner deserved to die because they were doing the “wrong” thing, when they were simply minding their business. You’re telling our students all the wrong things. And it’s quite a shame.

How about you ladies be advocates for your students and their families so that racial profiling, excessive force, and senseless murdering can stop. How about advocate for the NYPD to protect and serve, not just those that benefit from institutional racism, but all of us? We can’t all be supporters of the NYPD when our actions are criminalized for the mere fact that we are brown. You will never know what it’s like to feel threatened by the police, instead of safe and protected. If your intent was to teach our students that the NYPD is great and someone they should see positively, then your intent failed. So please take your privilege and exit left.

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