Nurturing Brilliance and Bravery

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 1:26pm
Nurturing Brilliance and Bravery

How do we teach our children to be aware, to question, to be tolerant, to be resilient and righteous? How do we nurture their brilliance and bravery? A photoquote from poet Elizabeth Alexander, inspired by W.E.B. Du Bois

Commentary by:
Mariah Helgeson (@mariahism),  associate producer for On Being
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W. E. B. Du Bois talks to a child in 1958.

Credit: David Graham Du Bois Trust


"How do we teach our children to be aware, to question, to be tolerant, to be resilient and righteous? How do we nurture their brilliance and bravery?


For those of us whose day to day experiences are racialized, we nonetheless all have dream space, private space. I don’t think that that space is raceless, or that it is without markers of identity. But I do think it’s a space where those markers are rich, complicated, and not always resolved. That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways in which we sometimes work collectively and let some of our complexities fall away, because we want to get something done. But I do believe the overall quest should be for everyone to feel that they have access to the private, complicated space within them."

—Elizabeth Alexander, in Saving the Race: Conversations on Du Bois from a Collective Memoir of Souls

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Mariah Helgeson is an associate producer at On Being. She earned a degree in International Affairs with concentrations in the Middle East and Conflict Resolution from George Washington University. She grew up in Minnesota and was a program associate at the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network. When she’s not submerged in a good book she might be found laughing with her teenage sisters or playing chamber music.

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