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Black boys and policing: Rethinking the community helpers curriculum

By Brian L. Wright
June 2021
It is a tragic irony that George Floyd Jr., once a brilliant Black boy with dreams to serve on the highest court in the U.S., would grow up to be murdered by a white law enforcement officer who pressed his knee needlessly against Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. What did young George Floyd learn about the justice system? What do young Black boys today learn in school about their relationship to the police and courts? The way educators frame the justice system and Black boys’ relationships to it matter. But too often, educators are unaware of the messages they send, even in the earliest years of school. In this article, I consider and challenge a familiar curriculum unit that introduces children in

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Brian L. Wright (blwrght1@memphis.edu) is associate professor, program coordinator of early childhood education, and coordinator of middle school cohort of the African American Male Academy at the University of Memphis in Tennessee.


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