Race and Ethnicity

Becoming the Minority Offers New Insight

Have you ever been the only (fill in category) person in the room? Race, class, gender, age, body type, marital status—any number of identifiers can place us outside the norm, depending on the room. Otherness is a specific experience, especially for those who don’t live it every day.

A couple of my students unwittingly placed themselves squarely into the role of “other” in an assignment outside our classroom, and I suspect learned a more powerful lesson than I ever could have taught them in class.

The assignment was to find, attend and write an article covering an event. When two students proposed attending a senior citizen fundraising fashion show on the other side of town, I immediately approved the idea.

Have you ever been the only (fill in category) person in the room? Race, class, gender, age, body type, marital status—any number of identifiers can place us outside the norm, depending on the room.

Durham Schools Agree to End Discriminatory Policies

We were encouraged to see that the school system in Durham, N.C., last week agreed to end discriminatory practices that prevent Latino students from receiving an adequate public education.

We were encouraged to see that the school system in Durham, N.C., last week agreed to end discriminatory practices that prevent Latino students from receiving an adequate public education.

Students Break Out of Fixed-Race Box

My journalism students were brainstorming topics for their final story projects. I urged them to come up with compelling ideas that relate to their experiences but that push deeply into national trends.
“Stop letting all the midlife writers (like myself) tell your stories,” I pushed. “Tell your own.”

My journalism students were brainstorming topics for their final story projects.

Student Context Helps Resolve Conflict

The food justice unit was one of the most successful of the year. Until the meltdown.

Students had watched Food, Inc., read several articles about food production and created masterful multimedia presentations on their learning. They were now presenting. Omar chose several pictures of his favorite dishes. He told us about them and how they were made. Then he interjected a seemingly innocent joke.

The food justice unit was one of the most successful of the year. Until the meltdown.

Challenging Stereotypes in 'Peter Pan'

I was putting my 6-year-old son to bed recently when he excitedly announced that he was going to be in the school play.

“Peter Pan,” he said.

I was putting my 6-year-old son to bed recently when he excitedly announced that he was going to be in the school play.

“Peter Pan,” he said.

Help Students Find Their ‘Power of One’

I see my cocoa brown hand grab the handle of the door. I take a deep breath. I already know what I will see and I am sure I will know what I feel. I step into the room and professionally scan the room so fast no one even knows I am doing it. It’s what I expect. I accept I am the “only one” with a tan that never goes away.

I am the only African-American in the room.

I see my cocoa brown hand grab the handle of the door. I take a deep breath. I already know what I will see and I am sure I will know what I feel.

Student Plays Get Discussion Rolling on Race

I do a lot of things in my classroom to teach, manage and assess my students. Countless assignments, procedures and projects are designed to keep the academic machinery of my classroom running smoothly. But when I want to know what my students really think about the world, I ask them to write a play.

I do a lot of things in my classroom to teach, manage and assess my students.

Race Relations Scope More Than Black, White

Sometimes teaching at my magnet arts school in Alabama, I can imagine the worst days of racism and intolerance are behind us. Most of the roughly 500 students have genuine, deep friendships across racial lines and very rarely do the old racist memes and tropes raise their ugly heads.

Sometimes teaching at my magnet arts school in Alabama, I can imagine the worst days of racism and intolerance are behind us.

Public School Integration Still ‘Best Goal’

When my daughter pulls hard on the heavy glass doors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Laboratory School and races upstairs into her fifth-grade classroom, she is living my dream.

When my daughter pulls hard on the heavy glass doors of the Martin Luther King Jr. Laboratory School and races upstairs into her fifth-grade classroom, she is living my dream.

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