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The National Education Associated teachers’ union promoted a book about teens kneeling to the national anthem as part of their August 2022 recommendations. The book also features scenes in which one of the characters gets high on marijuana.
The book, “Why We Fly” discusses how two girls from a cheerleading team, Leni and Chanel, protest during the national anthem. The authors of the book said they were inspired by Colin Kaepernick who got down on his knees to protest racial injustice.
“Ask after reading [your students to] discuss how an event can be interpreted in multiple ways and how their experiences, beliefs and place in the world determine how they view, feel and communicate events,” said the NEA on how teachers should deliver the lesson.
“As the first notes of the national anthem kick in, we all watch Leni signal with one pompom and then fall until one knee hits the grass. We fall like a row of dominoes, one by one, just like we would. planned… My head is buzzing. It feels good to have my whole team kneeling next to me in solidarity,” the book says.
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The book also shows Chanel getting high from a weed pen in a school locker room. “I unzip my bag… and take out… my vape pen… I exhale a vapor the moment the door swings open.”
A student named Marisol then realizes what she was doing, but promises not to invite her. “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” she said.
“Oh, s—. you’re right. I think I need to control my internalized misogyny. Don’t ever let anyone tell you how to behave,” Chanel said.
On another occasion, Chanel is depicted getting high and hiding her drug use from her parents. “I… pull out my vape pen and press the button. The layer of stress that had settled on my shoulders is falling off me.”
When her parents unexpectedly come home, Chanel starts spraying air freshener to hide it from them. “I don’t want to be stuck…with them while I’m high,” Chanel thinks to himself. “I . . . run down the stairs in the hope that the gust of wind will remove any remnants of my recent activity.”
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One of the discussion questions suggested by the NEA educators is, “What examples of…racial privilege can you glean from the book? From your own experiences?”
Kneeling is an act of defiance and defiance, but also of reverence, of mourning, [of] in honor of lost lives,” according to a page linked by the NEA. It further suggested that teachers should ask, “What is the symbolism of kneeling according to this quote?” and “Why would people choose to kneel like a form of protest? “
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The author’s note in the book praises Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem when he was quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
“With all these important moments in sports and cultural history running through our minds, we decided to tell the story of two friends from a high school cheerleading team who chose to kneel during the national anthem,” the authors said. Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal. .
UKTN News Digital contacted the NEA for comment, but received no response.
Another book that the NEA recommends as part of a racial justice theme is based on the work of Ibram X. Kendi. The book is called “Stamped” and teaches that America is a systematically racist country and takes students on “a racing journey”.
“By recognizing America’s racist present, we can work to build an anti-racist America, an anti-racist America where no racial group has more or less,” the book says.
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“The most addictive drug known to America. Racism. It causes wealth, self-esteem and hallucinations,” the book says.
“I didn’t fully realize that the only extraordinary thing about white people is that they think there’s something extraordinary about white people.”