A place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools
Taylor is the first baseman on our team. He’s quick and alert on the field, a celebrated athlete. He also loves musicals, and often repeats phrases and lyrics from shows. However, he would never share his love of theater with his fellow athletes, for fear of their jokes.
For this reason, he feels like an outsider. He can’t fully share who he is. Taylor is not alone.
Jack read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and made an important connection. In a journal entry he wrote:
It is just the start of the novel, but I can already feel sympathy for Jim; living during that time as a colored person must have been absolutely awful. I can’t imagine anyone treating anyone like that, but then again, I was raised in a different time.
A couple of years ago, I had a run-in with a parent. He had developed the habit of coming into school before the end of the day, standing outside the door of our classroom and motioning impatiently for his son, Victor, to hurry up. When I requested that he wait outside the building for his son to be dismissed, he became irate, yelled at me and angrily pulled his son out of class.
So you’ve decided to Mix It Up at Lunch—either for the first time or as a returning participant. And you ask yourself, “Why Mix It Up? What do kids get out of this?”
By turning to some of our model schools—schools that have carried out effective Mix It Up campaigns throughout the year—you’ll find many answers to those questions.
I’m constantly struck by the memory of my first time in a jail. It was during a tour as a part of SPLC’s efforts to monitor the conditions of detention facilities. I recall being shocked at how young some of the people looked. When I stepped into the first cellblock, I muttered a prayer. In front of me stood rows and rows of black men. I was sick to my stomach; so many of them looked like they could be my cousins, uncles and other loved ones.
Through Big Brothers, Big Sisters, I’ve been working with a little girl from the neighborhood where I used to teach. I think very highly of this group and have only had good experiences with them. However, at a recent area-wide picnic, I noticed something disturbing. Most (not all, but the vast majority) of the children being mentored were African American or Latino. Most of the adult mentors were white or Asian. Again, this was not without exception, but was apparent.
“I'm just not good at math,” my daughter grumbled under her breath.
I was surprised. Where did she get that idea, I wondered. As far as I can remember she has loved numbers and was quick to pick up math concepts. However, I began to see her confidence slowly wither and her frustration rise. It started in the 2nd grade. And, now, she sat at the kitchen table with pencil in hand, ready to give up, convinced she just couldn't do it anymore.
This past spring, one of my friends at Hardin County High School in Savannah, Tenn. wore a T-shirt on the Day of Silence – a national observance to raise awareness of anti-gay bullying and harassment. Her shirt displayed the slogan, "Lesbian and Proud."