Step One – Philosophy Quote: Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it. Malcolm X
SEL Connection: Freedom is something students care deeply about, especially when it’s taken away. Consider the student told he can’t sit at the lunchroom table because he isn’t ‘cool enough’, or the one told by another student to be quiet during a classroom discussion, or the one feeling caged by the bully who won’t stop the intimidation tactics. All of these experiences create within students feelings of powerless frustration which can lead to a range of emotional outbursts or simply silent consent.
At every point when our students have freedom taken away, they have the opportunity to decide how to act in a way that best serves their interests. Sometimes the action might be calling on an adult to help or sometimes it’s relying on other peers. Or it’s just ignoring the offender with the hope that it will stop. Doing nothing is also an option. Knowing what to do and when is a herculean task.
Claim: Malcolm X shares some powerful words here. Freedom is something you must fight for. To think that it will be given automatically is naive. He suggests that life is an epic battle to take the things that you want and which you deserve.
Next Post — Steps Two And Three: Explore the counterclaims to Malcolm X’s quote and watch the transformation of the theme of freedom into an essential question.