2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson posted warning to parents of Black and brown students about white women teachers several days after the presidential election. Robinson was concerned that polls showed a majority of white women voted for President Trump and that close to 80 percent of teachers are—-white women.
“Parents of black and brown children really need to pay closer attention this week to their kids’ classes. Remember 55% of white women voted for Trump and they are nearly 80% of the teaching profession.”
Robinson made his Twitter account private on Wednesday after he was criticized for posting a call for someone to beat up Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Robinson deleted the tweet and posted one claiming he was joking before making his account private.
However, Robinson was kind enough to make a screen image of his November 9 tweet warning about white women teachers which he posted to Medium to illustrate an essay published November 11 based on that tweet that tried to clean up his blatant racism. Excerpt:
…In the tweet, I implied that all white women teachers were harmful to Black and Brown students and that was a mistake; I apologize. I also made the assumption that the majority of white women teachers voted for Trump which can’t be confirmed. I work with and have worked with some amazing white women educators who commit to their students as if they were their own children. I would never disparage those teachers. I am also not saying that all teachers who voted for Trump cannot be good teachers to Black and Brown children. I am saying that some did, and we must be cognizant of how supporting someone who has his views can affect those students who we teach.
…I have worked with vulnerable populations my whole career. I hear their stories of distrust, abuse, and neglect in the education system. I grew up in a school system where the majority of teachers were white women. While most of those teachers were great teachers, the scars I carry from the few biased and racist teachers I did have were harmful and unforgettable. This is the reason I fight so hard to make sure all students, especially Black and Brown students are not harmed in school.
I can’t relax and be satisfied with teachers in our profession voting for someone who spouts racist and xenophobic views. A man who has bullied those who are different and allows families to be separated and children to be kept in cages. I know not all white women teachers support our last president and his buffoonery. A lot of white women are allies in the fight for social justice and should be commended for their work. Honesty is recognizing that there are some teachers whose political views are barriers to success for black and brown children. It is the job of all of us to be reflective in our practice and ensure that we are working in the best interest of all of our students.