Dear students (in whatever future):
Has the world ended yet? Have the structures come crumbling down like we talked about? Have you walked through the portal to the other world? Or, like before, have some of you, us, been left behind, forsaken? Will you have left each other behind?
In our class conversations we often talked about the harms being enacted by schools and institutions rooted in white supremacy and anti-Black racism. We usually ended up at a point of saying, “well the systems are rotten, so how do we get rid of them?” and I admit that at times I felt like these conversations got us to a dead-end. But they were the conversations we needed, weren’t they? How would the upheaval that we needed to happen, happen? What would it take for things to destroy whiteness?
In these days of pandemic, I can tentatively answer that even a virus can’t seem to shake our commitment to hatred, to cruelty, to condemning some to an early and painful death, while others profit. I hope you’ve proven me wrong. But even though the early days brought tentative steps toward imagining otherwise, now the narratives return to how and when we will get back to normal: the normal that has caused unending pain and suffering for so many, including some of you. I read it in your letters, I see it in the frantic emails, tweets, conversations—as if the virus wasn’t enough, we also seem intent on letting each other suffer, and even die.
I understand this impulse to return to life before; but, I wish we could refuse this. I wish that you will have refused this, and have instead chosen to behold each other with regard, with abolition and decolonization and justice and art and haunting in heart. I wish that you’ve found a way otherwise. I wish that you’ve destroyed all of this, and that there is something more than this. Our conversations, your words, your feelings, your generosity and brilliance and insight and refusal of despair makes me believe (still, always) that there is an otherwise, and that you will have brought about the end of the world as we know it, to build and imagine a community of care, just like you did for us this past year.