On My Own: Is There Mercy for Black Children

Jason Gilmore’s short film IEP aligns with our summer reading program’s investment in contemplating U.S. schools and schooling. In viewing this film, I was particularly attuned to the bureaucratic, institutional language used to describe Xavier. These terms estranged him from the human compassion and concern that all children benefit from. My son is six-years-old. He’s smart. He’s black. He’s sweet. There have been times, in his few years in school, when the descriptions that I’m given of him and the voice used to mimic his turns him into someone I don’t recognize. My son has the support, stability, and critical consciousness of his parents at his disposal, but I remain skeptical of his safety even still. Black children are so, so vulnerable to the historic cruelties found throughout U.S. culture.

What are your thoughts now that you have viewed this film?

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