During the 2019-2020 school year, the ISU 4U Promise hosted a book study with six King and Moulton teachers over The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys. The group met monthly to discuss each of the six sections of the book with topics such as: Exploring the Self and Understanding the Constraints and Challenging the Narratives About Who Black Boys Are and Who White Women Can Be. In the fall of 2020, there was enthusiasm to continue the conversation with a new book: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X Kendi. This time, the group expanded to include interested Elementary Education majors from the School of Education at Iowa State. In all, seven teachers and five El Ed majors participated in the study that took place over Zoom three times during fall semester. During the 2021 spring semester, in addition to the King and Moulton teachers and El Ed majors, the book study expanded to include faculty representation from the ISU School of Education as the group worked through Gholdy Muhammad’s book Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy.

Reflections on Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

“Learning about racism with an accurate historical timeline was eye opening. Reexamining what I learned about the major events and comparing them to this new understanding was helpful in my journey to live in a more antiracist way. Throughout history, for every racist act, resistance always existed, and in many instances was successful. This has made me want to dig further into this part of the narrative in order to better understand what resistance can and needs to look like today. As a result of reading Stamped, I am working to develop a healthier white racial identity. The book has helped with this by providing a broader narrative of history both within the United States and globally.”

–Sarah Pentek, Instructional Coach, King Elementary School

“I learned that racism is deeply rooted in this country, and it is more present than I ever realized. You learn in school that racism is bad thoughts by evil people, but it goes so much further than that. Antiracism takes a lot of learning and listening before you can start to make changes outside of your life. The work of an antiracist starts by understanding where you are first in the process and educating yourself. The next step is talking to and educating those around you to hopefully do the same. I have started to take a more critical look at situations and see the racism around me. I have to consider what I say and think and actively try to figure out why I think those things in hopes of changing them.”

–Erin Lowe, Sophomore, Elementary Education major

Are you an Elementary Education major interested in joining in the next book study? Contact the ISU 4U Promise office at isu4u@iastate.edu for more information!