There are Facts, and there are Truths. The two should not always be confused with each other. - Toni Morrison

When I sit with this quote for a while, it really challenges me.

This quote challenges me to consider the ways in which I confuse truths and facts, to ponder how they might be the same and how they might be different, and to ponder how our collective communities, politicians, and neighbors might also consider facts and truths.

This morning, the Washington Post published an article that immediately brought Toni Morrison's quote to my mind.

Which states are restricting, or requiring, lessons on race, sex and gender by Hannah Natanson, Lauren Tierney and Clara Ence Morse (If you are not a Washington Post subscriber, this link will be good for you for 2 weeks.)

This article suggested to me that we are perpetrating a systemic confusion of truths and facts in our education system. I'm not sure if using the word perpetrating in this way is correct, but that is how this article makes me feel. I have my own beliefs about what is appropriate to be taught in our schools, and I'm sure you do, too. However, what is most alarming is the disparity across the country and the speed of change.

It is sadly ironic that books by Toni Morrison, a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, are frequently on the top 10 list of the American Library Association's most challenged books(1), some of which have been banned in many communities. That means students may not even have the opportunity to study or get to know the writings of the author who gave us the quote above. It prompts me to share one more quote from Toni Morrison.

 I think history has always proved that books are the first plane on which certain kinds of battles are fought. — Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, documentary, 2019

I'll leave you with a few questions to ponder this morning.

What is your relationship with truths and facts? In what ways are they the same or different for you? What does it mean our schools should teach? What does it mean for our communities and our future when we confuse the two?


Ame Sanders
Founder of State of Inclusion. A seasoned leader & change-maker, she is focused on positive change within communities.
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