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The Art Education program at Miami University deeply values social justice art education. We value conversations about race and are here to support you as you examine your own beliefs and goals as educators and artists. The following resources are organized into opportunities for training and professional development, educator resources, individual perspectives (opinion pieces), and some contemporary artists. As educators we must actively stand up against injustices, for equal human rights, and protect and responsibly educate our students.
Training Opportunities & Professional Development
Educator Resources and Lesson Plans
A very incomplete list - a starting point for further research
- Larry Collins - MU Art Faculty
- Influential Living African-American Artists by Artsy
- Souls Grown Deep - African American artists from the South
- Hank Willis Thomas
- Sonya Clark
- Dawoud Bey
- Carrie Mae Weems
- Amy Sherald
- Kadir Nelson
- Artists featured in 30 Americans traveling exhibition
- 21 Black female painters
- 10 emerging Black male artists to collect
- Ben Blount
- Renee Stout
- Willie Cole
- Lezley Saar
- Vanessa German
- Shinique Smith
- Sharif Bey
- Joyce Scott
- Whitfield Lovell
- Fred Wilson
- Javaka Steptoe
- 5 Black Children's Book illustrators
- Studio Museum of Harlem
A post from Shola Richards (June 27, 2020, 11:18am)
“Silence is evil’s greatest ally.” – Dr. Harry Edwards
I’d like to talk about silence. Or more specifically, I’d like to talk about discomfort.
In the past month, I have had countless people come to me, both publicly and privately, to say that they are uneasy about speaking up about racism in America. They told me that they don’t know if they can find the right words when/if they choose to speak up. They told me that they don’t want to challenge friends and family members who say hateful things. They told me that they don’t want to do the messy inner work of examining their own biases.
I get it. This stuff is uncomfortable.
If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share five things that are uncomfortable for me.
1) Thanks to the power of social media, I have discovered in no uncertain terms that some of my former colleagues, hometown acquaintances, and a few folks from college are unabashed racists (not even the low-key kind). Some of these are people I used to eat lunch with, have drinks with, and even played ball with on the weekends. This realization has been uncomfortable.
2) Last year when my youngest daughter was in second grade (she was seven years old at the time), she was teased by a classmate on the playground because her “skin was the color of poop.” When she cried and asked me on a car ride home from school, “why do people say mean things like that?” I was unable to answer her. That car ride was my first conversation with her about racism, and I’m still sad (for both of us, honestly) that I needed to have that conversation with my daughter at such an early age. That also made me uncomfortable.
3) Early on in my public speaking career, I finished a successful speech for an organization that will not be named. As I waited for one of the meeting organizers to provide me with my check for my services, she smiled at me broadly and said, “I have to say, I was really impressed with you on stage! You are SO well-spoken for a black man.” I avoided eye-contact and chuckled awkwardly as she handed me my check. I said nothing to correct her, nor did I stand up for myself, because I needed the check that was in her hand to pay for my mortgage. The shame of that moment still makes me uncomfortable to this day.
4) Some of my social media contacts who are educated (and quite frankly, should know better) are posting about their anger that Confederate statues are being taken down around the country. I’d love to sit them down and ask, “would you enjoy looking at statues of men who fought for the institutional right to enslave, rape, torture and kill your ancestors?” And if that wasn’t enough, they conveniently seem to forget that the same traitors on these statues also fought *against* our country too. Some of my social media contacts’ ignorance of history and lack of human empathy makes me very uncomfortable.
5) For the past two weeks, ever since my viral post, I’ve received threatening and hateful messages. Every. Single. Day. That makes me uncomfortable too.
So, please forgive me if I am unmoved when I hear that confronting Auntie Karen’s bigoted comments at the Thanksgiving dinner table, or that striking up a conversation with a black colleague at work about race “makes you uncomfortable.”
Your discomfort doesn’t make you special, it makes you just like the rest of us. None of this is supposed to be comfortable.
The only question is, will you allow your discomfort to keep you silent?
Your outrage in private, no matter how sincere and well-intentioned, is unhelpful. Only your willingness to speak up has any usefulness. Your silence however, has none.
So, please speak up when you see people (online, in-person, strangers or family members) make hateful comments. Please speak up by having meaningful discussions about race with your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and yes, with your kids. And for the love of all things positive, please speak up by voting for people (locally and nationally) who support inclusion, equity and anti-racist policies.
If none of that moved you, I’ll leave you with this:
Do you know who won’t be silent during these times?
The answer is the guy in this picture (and the many people who are just like him).
That is why we need your voice now, even if you’re uncomfortable.
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