Teaching Tolerance Magazine

Issue 36, Fall 2009

Cover art by Mike Benny

Colorblindness: The New Racism? 

The Fall 2009 issue interrogates the statement, “I don’t see color.” Racial “colorblindness”—the idea that ignoring or overlooking racial and ethnic differences promotes racial harmony—erases students’ identities and closes educators’ eyes to the experiences of their students.

This issue highlights the importance of understanding and affirming student experiences. For white educators, that means learning to talk about race and racism. For all educators, that means practicing culturally relevant instruction. It involves looking at school policies that may push children of color out of school and into the justice system. Read on to learn about these critical steps—and more.

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Prom Night in Mississippi

A new documentary film looks at a school that held its first racially integrated prom in 2008. Teaching Tolerance offers a teacher’s guide to help you use the film in the classroom. To get a copy of Prom Night in Mississippi on DVD, visit the film's website.

Our Journey to Kindergarten

For one family, finding a kindergarten classroom meant getting honest about race, class and privilege.
Jennifer Holladay
Photography by Allen Birnbach

Learning to Roar

Parents find grassroots power.
Mary Cowhey
Photography by Jeff Page

Speak Out for Understanding

Students with learning disabilities create a documentary film to share their wisdom.
David Holthouse
Illustration by Ruth Rowland

Relevant: Beyond the Basics

Monica Edwards was frustrated. As a teacher in an urban elementary school, Edwards faced a class that was largely African American and Latino: she was neither. She often felt that she wasn’t effectively reaching them, and she was beginning to get discouraged.
Jacqueline Jordan Irvine
Illustration by Peter Grundy

Inclusion on the Bookshelf

In fiction, children with disabilities are often still segregated, labeled, lonely and lost. These titles will help bring your school’s library into the age of inclusion.
Camille Jackson
Illustration by Jesse Lefkowitz

Pushed Out

Zero tolerance policies were supposed to end school violence. Instead, they’re pushing students out of school and into the justice system — and children of color are paying the highest price.
Rhonda Brownstein
Illustration by Joe McKendry

Talking Race

Making a space where teachers can talk about difference
Jenee Darden
Illustration by Peter Grundy



Know Your Audience, Find Your Power

"There’s nothing wrong with the way your grandparents talk,” my elementary school teachers used to say. “Standard English is different. Not better or worse. It’s just a way of talking that you need to know.”
Tim Lockette
Why I Teach

Close to Home

Jackie Brown prided herself on teaching her students about disabilities. But could she confront her own feelings about her mother and polio?
Jackie Brown