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Photo of two children holding hands. Text reads, “Anti-Racism and SEL. February 06, 2022.”

Anti-Racism and SEL

February marks Black History Month. 

Social-emotional learning and anti-racism go hand in hand. The more I learn about how racism shows up in our culture and the world, the more I see this connection. Just like we need to be intentional about becoming anti-racist, we also need to be intentional about social and emotional learning. But why do these topics feel harder to prioritize? 

Because, unlike math and reading or getting through your “to-do” lists, this type of learning is:

  • Ever-changing and a lifelong process - it’s not linear
  • Can feel really uncomfortable and hard to navigate
  • Changes the way we show up in the world (back to uncomfortable)

Anti-racism and SEL

“The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it - and then dismantle it.”  Ibram X. Kendi

Yes! And this is where that intentional and uncomfortable piece can get in our way. And also why SEL is directly related to becoming anti-racist. Let’s take a closer look at SEL. 

“Social and emotional learning (SEL) as an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.” - CASEL

 

Let’s dissect this for a minute. If you are a white reader, think about these pieces from someone else’s perspective, as well as your own. 

  • “developing a healthy identity”

Think about all of the insecurities that come along with human development. Now imagine how much more challenging “developing a healthy identity” would feel if you grew up in a society that is still not integrative, and is just beginning to be more inclusive in terms of media and literacy consumption. 

  • “managing emotions and achieve personal and collective goals” 

What if you are being mistreated? Managing your emotions would feel near impossible. Think about how hard this is for many of us, regardless of race. How about achievement? There are so many barriers to achievement, only perpetuating a cycle of racism. 

  • feel empathy for others” 

This concept alone, as a collective society, could dismantle racism. When we have real, consistent empathy, how could we perpetuate racism?

This is a very big topic and Kind Mind is actively pursuing partnerships to ensure our materials are supportive of this collective goal of living in an anti-racist world. Stay tuned as we are gearing up to launch a Monthly Subscription kit, among some other exciting new offerings! 

This week, focus on developing a healthy identity, within yourself and with the children in your lives. 

 


 

This week’s practice: 

  1. Define your Core Values.
  2. Notice your insecurities, consider why they are part of you (these are thoughts, not facts).
  3. Take time to be alone, even for a few minutes every day, to self-reflect: 

Ideas: Write, draw, meditate, take a bath - try to be still with yourself and see what shows up - you might notice needs that aren’t being met, or hopes that you have for the future or sadness that you feel. No need to fix it, just notice and reflect.

In the classroom & at home: 
  1. Help your children and/or students recognize their INNER STRENGTHS and ABILITIES.
  2. Build a sense of belonging - no matter who you are, what you think or feel, what you look like, what you are good at, WE ALL BELONG HERE.  

Exercise: 

  • Have the child/children write down their top 5 favorite things to do and share them (in pairs, as a class, as a family).
  • Have the listeners offer compliments, agreements, or things that they appreciate about the child who is sharing.
  • Celebrate the diversity in the class. Remind them that we are all different and special in so many ways, AND we are the same in so many ways, too!

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