"Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed to Repeat It."
You may have noticed that Baking History has been quiet for the past few days. I think Yiffie and I have both really been processing what is happening in our world right now.
This year has been a whirlwind of lesson planning and adapting. Just as recently as early last week, we were patting ourselves on the back for how well we have been adapting to the twists and turns that have been thrown at us this year and worked towards continuing Baking History’s goal of sneakily teaching history to young people.
While both Yiffie and I are progressively liberal, we have always endeavored not to push our politics at our students. We teach them the history and we ask questions to make them think. Sometimes it’s a fun timeline of inventions on a baguette, sometimes a spinning wheel of cruel fairy tale tasks to earn ingredients, and sometimes it is a darker story that we try to soften and sweeten with sugary cakes or pastry.
We try to “Teach the Good” and focus on the heroes of history, but occasionally we cannot conceal the darkness of humanity.
June is Pride Month.
During the course of our year we always teach a class on Alan Turing, but we revisit his class again in June to celebrate his life and mourn the events that lead to his death. We plan to do that again this year, but I also felt a need to share a bit more history about Pride this year.
Pride Month is in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City. We remember this time when police forcibly removed people from the Stonewall Inn, a night club visited mostly by homosexuals – sparking six days of rioting.
The question we would ask here is “Why would the police arrest these people?” And our students are often shocked to be told that being homosexual was illegal. When we teach our class on Alan Turing, the surprise and repulsion is clear when we explain how Alan Turing, a hero of World War II, was chemically castrated as punishment in lieu of prison.
The same holds true when we teach our classes about the Women’s Rights Movements and the Civil Rights Movements. Our students are surprised to find out that lunch counter sit-ins happened right here in Jacksonville, that a horrifying attack on black people happened in our own downtown areas and the complicity of the police and government on Ax Handle Saturday, and the casual cruelty at the swim-In at the Monson Motor Lodge in St Augustine.
We face the harsh truths with our young students. Where so many people avoid these conversations with these young people, citing reasons as “they are too young to understand” or “let them enjoy their world”, we feel that it is important to have these conversations early in their development, and to be there to help answer the questions and concerns they have as a part of these conversations.
Right now, it is hard to know what to say to our children. We are in the midst of so many history making events, that it seems impossible to know where to start. But, please, work to find the words.
Talk to your children about history, message us if you need help finding some resources. Look into the history of your own community.
"Those Who Do Not Learn History Are Doomed to Repeat It." But I don’t think that’s correct. I think that if we don’t work to teach our history, we are all doomed to repeat it. We are in this world together, and we must work together to make it a better place.
As parents and role models for our children, we must have these conversations and demonstrate our intent and commitment to this world. Be a part of the solution, and help your children find a way that they can also help. Yes – people are protesting, and protest peacefully if you can do it safely, but if you are not comfortable being physically present at a protest, there are other avenues that you can show support. You can donate, physically or financially, to groups and organizations helping to support the protesters, educational groups working hard to spread the message of equality, show support to local businesses that are owned and operated by people of color, and challenge the racism in the people around you and in yourself.
It is okay to admit that you may have thought or acted racist, you probably did not even recognize this at the time. We were taught these racist ideas as just “they way things are” and must actively work to un-teach ourselves these ideas and behaviors. Forgive yourself – and work to be better.
At Baking History we Believe:
Black Lives Matter
Love is Love
Science is Real
Feminism is for Everyone
No Human is Illegal
Kindness is Everything
Nothing I have said today is political.