A Few Thoughts on Current Events

Recent events in the United States have given Americans, including educators, a prime opportunity to reflect and take action against racism.  As you all know, on May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African American man, senselessly died at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Following the news of his death, many people across the United States and around the word, of all ages and backgrounds, have demanded that more attention be paid, and more efforts be made, to reform racism, both individual and systemic, against black people in the United States.

For centuries African Americans have faced and continue to face grave injustices.  I know lots of work needs to be done to eradicate it and I stand with all those who are calling for self-reflection, solidarity, and reform in this direction.  I am committed to joining in these efforts, both on a personal level and as an educator.  I can't simply publish this post and go back to life as usual, never doing another thing again to help put a stop to this problem, and I promise I won't do that.

When I was an undergraduate at SUNY Oswego, I took a series of social justice classes as part of my education program. In these classes I learned a lot about the injustices, both subtle and overt, oppressed groups in society face, which have helped me better understand what challenges my own students in oppressed groups face and additionally understand better what's going on in the United States today.

As teachers of French and other world languages, we need to celebrate and share the diversity of the varied cultures of the languages we teach. Most people in the United States, when they think of the French language, think of France and maybe Canada. Many of my students come into my classroom not realizing that French is widespread throughout Africa and the Caribbean, geographic regions with predominantly black populations. When I show them the faces of the French speaking world, it's not just people from France. It's people from Haiti, people from Senegal, people from French Polynesia, people from Algeria. It can be challenging at times to try to educate students on what life is like in these parts of the world when I have never visited them myself, so I have welcomed guest speakers who are from or who have lived in these places. I know I could be doing more, but I think it's a combination of small and large actions that together make the most impact.

While I don't have a very large platform on this blog, I believe even small acts of solidarity can make a big difference when added up together, so this is one of the ways in which I can contribute to the bigger picture.  Thank you for taking the time to read my message, and if you have a platform on which to share your support and solidarity (be it a social media account or a blog), even if it's a small one, I strongly encourage you to use it.


  1. Hi Samantha,
    When we go back to our classrooms, I will print a large picture of the French football team that won the world cup in 1998 and put it next to my maps of the Francophonie with arrows pointing to where each player comes from.
    his can be a good starter for discussions.
    As educators we can make a huge difference in our classes every day.
    Time for action!

    1. Bonjour Madame Hay,
      What a wonderful idea, thank you for sharing. I agree, it is far past time for action. We can take the summer to reflect on what we could do better next year.


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