Being actively anti-racist is sometimes uncomfortable

In part two of the first episode of ‘Real Talk,’ our panelists discuss how to use your voice to fight for what’s right


Theo Roe

The panelists agreed that encouraging diverse perspectives in the classroom is essential but also that such exchanges need to happen organically to avoid tokenism and putting minority speakers uncomfortably on the spot. Mr. Myers said the pandemic has actually helped create safer spaces for this to happen by allowing more indirect ways to communicate in the online classroom.

Theo Roe and Javier Vela

In a continuation of episode one of Real Talk, host, Javier Vela, joined by Mac Student Leaders, Emily Arndt and Bobby Currie as well as English teacher Daniel Myers further their conversation about equity, AP courses and the viral student response to Myers’ decision to teach from home.

When you see things in the hall, when you see people making little comments, go out of your way to call them out and tell them.

— junior Bobby Currie

“I spent some time over the summer trying to dig into anti-racism work,” Myers said. “One thing that really stuck out to me was this idea that something can’t be non-racist; it’s either racist, or it’s anti-racist, and it’s either using its power to support the systems of white supremacy or topple the systems of white supremacy and that there isn’t a passive party.”

Currie applied that standard to the Mac campus.

“There’s a big difference between being actively anti-racist versus comfortable,” Currie said. “I would say our school is overall good; we’re in a comfortable place. At this point instead of just sitting and being comfortable–now you have to do work to be actively anti-racist, when you see things in the hall, when you see people making little comments go out of your way to call them out and tell them.” 

Myers and Currie actively encourage students to advocate for social justice and change. An example of this is the petition made by Olivia Navarro, Marina Garfield, and Erica Moomaw to stand up for Mr. Myers’ decision to teach from home despite him not meeting AISD’s requirements for a medical accommodation to stay home.

“I’m afraid about it,” Myers said. “I definitely don’t want to come back into an unsafe environment, and I don’t want to bring unsafe things back into my home. I want us all to have the choice.”

Myers added that a silver lining is seeing his students exercising their voice with such power and impact.

“It’s been awesome seeing my students using their power and feeling empowered. What I want to see my students getting out of my class is that they are able to use their literacy to get what they want, to leverage a better life for themselves.” Myers said. “To see Olivia Marina, and Erica using their writing to create such a stir is very cool.”