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A Holmes Scholar Reflects on Advancing Anti-Racist Teaching through Educational Research

Denise Michele LewisKeith Brooks of Chosen Path Consulting, LLC, opened the second Holmes Summer session on the afternoon of July 21 by asking participants to reflect on a video. I quickly recognized the animation from the Schoolhouse Rock! America Rock series. “Elbow Room” focuses on our nation’s expansion west and south from the 13 original colonies. Initially, this video brought to mind fond memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons with my sister and brothers as children. Those memories faded as I watched the images with a critical lens and listened intently to the lyrics with critical ears. Participants began to type their reflections into the chat space, and it was clear that our histories and perspectives were not reflected in this mini-lesson. Only one perspective was portrayed—that of whiteness, of white males in particular. There was little diversity, no regard for the brutal violation and experiences of BIPOC, and no mention of the contributions of Asian or Mexican Americans toward the expansion. There was a lot to unpack in the 3-minute vignette.

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