George Floyd Is Proof America Needs More Black Teachers

America, 2020: A Black man is recorded being killed in broad daylight by a White police officer trained to “protect and serve.”

As videos and eyewitnesses begin to uncover the lies told about George Floyd “allegedly” resisting arrest, which led to his untimely and brutal demise, White and Black Americans go to their respective corners and begin to defend their very different perspectives.

How can there be different vantage points when the proof is so blaring? The moans and cries of ANY defenseless American persecuted in the streets by law enforcement should be viewed as an injustice to EVERY American! But it is not, and here’s why.

America’s teacher workforce is more than 80% White, while the majority of America’s students identify as Black and Hispanic. Although there is indisputable data that shows all of America’s students learn best from teachers of color, more explicitly Black teachers, we still struggle to diversify the teacher pipeline.

In a 2016 NPR ED article fueled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the truth about the power of Black teachers was revealed. Cherng and Halpin wrote, “all the students, including White students, had significantly more favorable perceptions of Black versus White teachers.”

America Needs More Black Teachers.

So, how does diversifying the teacher pipeline relate to the killing of an unarmed Black man in the good ole USA? Well, I am so glad you asked.

  • Black teachers have the incomparable ability to commit to authentic storytelling as they uncover the layers of American history for students of all races because they have exclusively endured the effects of slavery, ostracism and discrimination.
  • Black teachers provide diverse, honest perspectives and captivating lessons that challenge historical myths and offer anecdotes to evoke change.
  • The eyes of Black teachers in America help students to understand that the protests that have many White Americans aghast today, only occur because Whites are the cultivators of violent protests when they feel their rights are denied. Setting buildings afire, destroying property and looting as modes of protest, began in 1765 during the opposition to the Stamp Act and, trust me, the culprits were not Black. 

We need more Black teachers because we must unmute the silenced voices of the marginalized. With the significant disparity issues that have been uncovered in America since we rang in 2020, it is evident that the systemic issues that have historically stifled unity in this country are more prevalent than ever.


One way to change the trajectory of race relations in America is to increase the number of Black teachers throughout the country. Black teachers will provide the opportunity for unprecedented dialogue, learning and actionable change that will inspire collaboration and embrace diverse perspectives as we attempt to eradicate the systemic racial structures.

The time of reckoning has finally come. Fairness and equity are knocking on the door, we will either welcome them in, or face the wrath and rage when they knock the door down!

Shareefah Nadir-Mason
Shareefah Nadir-Mason is a 2020 Presidential Leadership Scholar and a Dallas ISD distinguished teacher who serves on the Texas State Board for Educator Certification. She is a Teach Plus Senior Research Fellow who has led extensive work on the recruitment and retention of teachers of color. Shareefah is an author, a national workshop facilitator specializing ...

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