62 thoughts on “RACE & ETHNICITY”

  1. I won’t say any names (of course,) but I had a professor who was speaking of discrimination and islamophobia. There is this kid in my class and for the sake of this assignment, we will call him *Kamal. My teacher decides he is going to ask Kamal how he’s been discriminated and racially profiled at airports and etc. Kamal responds with “I am from Nepal and I practice Hinduism.” This just reiterates race and ethnic stereotypes. These stereotypes are dangerous and they can easily breed hate and violence.
    I was reading Jessica’s response and I totally agree with her. There is this thin line that we are “teeter-tottering” over and it is starting to get tricky. Costumes don’t have to have blackface anymore to be racist. I think implementing cultural awareness classes in early education THROUGH high school would curb incidents like this. Ignorance is bliss.

  2. Victoria Johnson – EDC602
    Working in international schools for the past 7 years has shown me the deep-rooted racism that exists in some teachers who are educated in the state. International schools sometimes have an upwards of 90 different countries represented throughout their student body. These students come with vastly different backgrounds, languages, cultures, etc.

    The vast majority of international school teachers are from the Western world. Many of the teachers that I’ve encountered are from the states and were trained at accredited colleges and universities throughout the states. The racist dialogue that I’ve heard, from some teachers from the states, is appalling. Their racist ideologies then carry over into their classrooms and how they interact with their students. When asked about multicultural classes while earning their education degree, several international school teachers, who I’ve asked, reply that they did not receive any.

    There needs to be a higher concentration on diversity training for preservice teachers, and of course, continued diversity professional development for teachers who are already teaching.

    1. You bring up very good points Victoria. After taking a couple of multicultural classes I have become more aware of my surroundings and of my own actions. I also have become more aware of others and their actions. It amazes me some of the things that people say innocently because they do not realize the connotations of what they are saying or doing. I think that a class that focuses on this awareness and intentionally approaching these issues would benefit teachers entirely.

  3. http://clclt.com/charlotte/a-lack-of-black-male-teachers-in-cms-inspired-two-local-teachers-to-show-kids-its-possible/Content?oid=3696599

    As a former teacher in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District in North Carolina, I’m really glad to see two black male teachers start the Profound Gentleman program. The program’s goal is to increase the number of black males in education. Research has show the benefits of having a person a student identifies as the teacher of their class, and in the CMS District, only 2% of teachers are black males. That percentage is not representative of the makeup of the student body, which includes a much higher percentage of black male students. Since Charlotte has a high rate of gang violence, with many gang members identifying as black males, this initiative will allow black males to have positive role models in their lives.

  4. This past week I sat in and observed a PD meeting addressing diversity in the school. One of the questions asked to begin discussion was whether teachers feel they should be “color blind” when teaching or not. I was surprised to see the teachers basically split them self in half when answering this questions. Some said they should remain “color blind” in order to teach and treat all student equally. Others felt that had to embrace their students differences to educate them the best they can. I personally feel we need to embrace diversity instead of claiming to be “color blind”.

    What do you guys think? Should we try to be “color blind”, or should we see and embrace all differences and races to teach more effectively? Furthermore, can we even really be “color blind”? I think no.

    1. I am enrolled in a race and ethnicity course called SOC/AAS 432. It addresses issues like institutional racism, racial inequalities, and other issues involving race and ethnic relations. It has taught me so much about America trying to be a “color blind” society. Although it seems to fail from day to day. Also, the incidents that have happened in the past 5 years to present day involving race are ways to show minorities that we don’t live in a “color blind” society like many think we do. I think it is a shame that it takes traumatic racial events for minorities to come together and try to promote change. In addition, I feel that we should all stick together and encourage one another in order for non minorities to accept the changes that have happened after slavery. I also find that many older people are still stuck in their bias and prejudice views. I often wonder when, if ever will minorities ever be treated 100% equal?

      1. I also enrolled in that course a couple of semesters ago, and I found it to be very informative. Even as an African American I was always under the impression that “if you work hard, you will succeed”. In fact, for the first several weeks in that course I was confident in my original attitude, and I thought my classmates sounded silly when they thought otherwise. After reading many research articles and analyzing current events that happened around the world, I realized that institutional racism is highly prevalent in society. In other words, a minority can be the most hardworking individual on this planet, but there are still instances in which they are significantly disadvantaged. My classmates tried to get that course as a new requirement for all University of Kentucky students. We will see how it goes!

    2. I think it is almost if not completely impossible to be color blind when it comes to people. We all grew up in a context, for some it may have been a more open context but probably not completely color blind. I shared this with Dr. Brown the other day. The event that made this stand out for me was her telling me in a class that there was no way I as a fat old white guy (well, she didn’t say fat or old, that is my assessment of myself) could never really understand the context my angry young black students grew up in. She is correct, I can’t, I have never lived that context.

      I am a substitute while working on my Masters. In a class a few weeks ago when I was just an assistant with the class I observed many young black students really giving the young white male teacher a hard time, showing him little to no respect. Except there was one young black man sitting in the back doing no work but also not participating with the class disruption. With Dr. Brown’s admonition that I could never really understand the disrupting kids I sat down by the young man and asked if we could talk. I asked if the disrupters would do the same if the teacher were a young black man. He said that they would probably cut up but not to the extent they were now. Why? I asked. “He (the teacher) has no respect.” Meaning the kids do not respect him. I asked how I as a old white guy could gain the respect needed to keep my students from acting such. What we came to was empathy, sympathy wouldn’t work because that implies feeling sorry for someone, empathy implies an effort to understand one’s feelings, context and life story – as much as you can. In short, build a relationship.

    3. I find the concept of racial color blindness extremely plagued by ignorance. Just as generalizations often fail to highlight crucial specific details of a topic, making a blanket statement about race essentially dehumanizes students. While a student’s individual race may need not be discussed on a daily basis, it is important to highlight race and ethnic heritage within and outside of the classroom. Using the Gender and Women’s Studies theory of intersectionality, each and every action and decision is in some way influenced by and impacts our identities. Being examining seemingly everyday topics with respect to gender, race, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic class, and more, traditionally marginalized identities will surface and come to be more respected. Students learning to use such a critical lens early on in their academic careers will likewise shape their experiences, and make them more likely to pursue higher education. Where I work in UK Education Abroad, we constantly struggle with how to discuss various identities with students preparing to study abroad because those identities may be received different in their host location. We have developed a strategy with our peer ambassadors who have identified some personal identity characteristics on which they would be comfortable advising that way students of almost any identity will have a human resource when preparing to go abroad.


  5. I was addressing how important it is to address racism and bigotry head on early even though it is a very, very difficult topic to talk about for many people. Today, one of my Facebook friends share a video made by Prince Ea where he confronts racism head on. He talks about how society makes labels up for everyone: Black, Asian, White, Mexican, Indian, Native American, and so on. And these label do very little but separate human beings that were born connected. They tie us down and keep us from living freely and peacefully united with the other human beings of the world. He challenges people to “rip off these labels” and to live as one united group of people. Besides the respect I have for Mr. Ea for stepping up and bravely posting his feelings for the entire world to see on a website that breeds negativity, I agree with what he says. I could tell with those kindergartners I worked with that couldn’t believe something like segregation ever happened. We were not born to be so divided. I wanted to share this video with anyone who wanted to watch it. It is a great example of how to address race. I hope you all enjoy it!

  6. After taking a social justice seminar last year, I was driven to think of ways to facilitate conversations about race relations with a variety of individuals from diverse backgrounds. I believe that one of the first places to start in addressing racism is to engage others in conversation and educate others who may be far removed from the racism that others experience on a daily basis. This can be difficult to do, and many people come into the discussions with hesitation. However, the best way to approach these discussion seems to be to create a safe, supportive environment where people are free to talk and to open up to each other. This can be difficult to do, but is necessary for those individuals who plan to serve a diverse group of individuals in the schools and in other settings.

  7. When I was working with a kindergarten classroom this past February, their teacher was teaching them about Jackie Robinson as their first book to kick off African American History month. This class had a pretty diverse composition with the majority of students being African American and the rest of the class being Caucasian and Hispanic. When my teacher introduced the idea of segregation and racism to these sweet little kindergartners they were appalled and could not believe it. They truthfully believed that it is wrong to treat people bad because they look different. These children had already learned about differences and diversity between people and to love and accept it wholly because their teacher and school made sure that these kids learn the most important life lessons in addition to the common core.
    Watching these five year old students explain wholeheartedly why racism and segregation is wrong made me wonder where does racism originate? Does it come from the kids’ parents or family? Does it come from the kids’ role models? Does it come from what they are taught in school as a result of some sort of hidden curriculum or from a belief of their teachers? From learning about children’s psychology and behavior management in past classes and from making observations in classrooms, I have learned that students tend to copy and adopt the behaviors of the adults around them. It is the responsibility of any adults involved in the lives of children to be prepared to discuss diversity and race and to even invite the children to have a conversation about it. I found a great resource that is directed to parents but can be used by any adult as a guide to talking to children about diversity and racism at http://www.civilrights.org/publications/reports/talking_to_our_children/?referrer=https://www.google.com/
    Racism is not going to go away anytime soon unless if adults can step up and teach kids how to be open to diversity. Adults must show children how they can respect others that are different than them in order to make the world a better place.

  8. The 9-9-9 plan would resuscitate this economy because it replaces the outdated tax code that allows politicians to pick winners and losers, and to provide favors in the form of tax breaks, special exemptions and loopholes. It simplifies the code dramatically: 9 business flat tax, 9 personal flat tax, 9 sales tax. Herman Cain

  9. Racism is still a legitimate and prevalent problem in today’s society. Many people want to bury their heads in the sand and think that everyone is treated the same and just brush the topic under the rug. While I wish this was the case, its far from the truth. We live in a society of judgement and hatred when it comes to anyone who likes something different or looks different than what we establish as normal. It even goes further than just differences and hatred, we are also seriously unaware of the offensive things we do and the stereotypes we portray in things we say like “Jew them down in price” or “Indian giver” and how we think of others and portray them in Halloween costumes and the media. We are a society of cultural insensitivity.

    One place this should never happen is in the classroom. As educators, we need to foster a sense of cultural awareness, acceptance, and sensitivity within out classrooms, schools, families and communities. We need to teach kids to value differences and to create community and equality instead of continuing the path of hatred that has been ingrained in our society for so long. They can be the change and it starts with us.

  10. After taking this class and many other diversity classes in my education to become a teacher, I really got thinking about Halloween costumes this year. I had never paid attention to how racist some of these costumes are until I read this article about the University of Louisville’s President John Ramsey’s costume. The article can be found here: http://www.wlky.com/news/photo-taken-at-halloween-party-sparks-protest-on-uofl-campus/36156236

    Essentially, the President’s Office dressed up as Mexicans for Halloween and posted the picture online. The costumes were very stereotypical and racist. I had never realized that this was a racist costume because it did not contain black face make up, no signs of the Holocaust, or any other social no-no. However, in a day and age where society is attempting to become more inclusive these costumes that poke fun at cultures should not be tolerated and in fact be a thing of the past. I remember going to school and being able to dress up for Halloween or during spirit week in costumes. The dress code for the day essentially monitored the showing of skin and not the content/context of what the person was wearing. Scrolling through Facebook and I see younger students who no longer have these “luxuries” of wearing costumes but instead will get to wear orange for crazy orange day or wear sweatpants to school. Others I am still seeing the allowance of costumes.

    What do you all think should happen? Should schools step in and outline new policies if they allow students to wear costumes? Do you find anything wrong with what James Ramsey and crew did?

  11. In teaching an education class this semester, I have had the opportunity to experience the push-back about race and ethnicity in education from future educators. In trying to discuss race, racism, and diversity, a lot of my students wanted to either pretend that nothing was going on or they didn’t want to discuss the topics at all. Diversity in education is a big issue and it is constantly being ignored and understudied by future educators. This is definitely an issue that should be addressed in relation to education, race, and ethnicity.

    1. As a graduate student I have not experienced this push back in any of my classes, however my son is an undergrad and he has voiced his dismay at this problem in many of his classes. I believe it stems from several sources. First is a fear of being made to feel responsible. As a white male I have been privilege to many advantages my black counterparts have not had. Did I cause that just by being born white and male? Not really but because I do benefit from my birth status I do have a responsibility to participate in change as much as possible. That is work and many do not want to add that caseload to their agenda. I also believe that many of those do not even realize their resistance to that issue. For many to admit there is an issue means to feel bad and predominant culture resists feeling bad for too long.

  12. In the realm of educational equity and reform, one solution that has shown proven results in closing the achievement gap is school integration. School integration initially began in response to the Civil Rights Movement to achieve racial equality. Around the country, these types of efforts were made, retracted, made again, etc., and there has not be consistency is maintaining racially integrated schools. There is a prevalent unequal system of public education in America that often falls along racial lines. Much of the research on school integration focuses on the positive outcomes for minority children. However, there are positives for white children as well. I like this news report because it sheds light on the fact that racial integration is valuable to ALL individuals.


    1. The internet can become a breeding ground for hate, but it can also be highly beneficial. The popularity of social media has definitely enabled a lot of people to advocate racial equality. Stories of racism spread so much faster with the use of social media, and I do believe that people have become more “enlightened” on racial issues in society. I’ve witnessed people tend to speak more negatively on websites were they are anonymous. For example, yik yak is an app in which people are allowed to post comments anonymously. There was even an instance at the University of Kentucky were yik yak was being used to promote hate. So while I think the internet has been helpful tremendously on promoting racial inequality, there are instances where it does breed hate.

  13. http://mozzified.com/

    Mozzified is a website created by Zainab Khan, a college student at UC Berkeley. It is a pop culture/humor website created as an outlet for Muslim American students that reminded me of the mainstream website, Buzzfeed. I was attracted to the website because the content is driven by the users and readers of the site, and it seems to be a unique digital space where Muslim American high school and college students as well as young adults can interact and explore their identity in a modern way. It provides a space discuss how their culture and ethnicity intersects with secular America in an online venue that appeals to young people. Since high school and college-aged individuals, regardless of race/religion/ethnicity, are frequently “soul searching” to find their identity and place in society, I think this is a great site for young Muslim Americans to explore.

    1. Mozzified is an amazing site and I am so glad to know about it! NPR wrote an article about the site stating: “What you won’t find? Apologies. Khan looks for content that she thinks will appeal to other young Muslims, and says she refuses to pander to fear-mongers or Islamophobes.” Unfortunately Muslim Americans are far too often judged and put down for their religious beliefs, culture, and ethnicity. I think it is great that there is a site where Muslim students are able to express themselves and their identity without having to deal with the hate of Islamophobes. As you said, youth are figuring out their identity and it is critical to have support and community, and Mozzified is an excellent tool for this. The NPR article points out that post 9/11 America has required Muslims to be extremely apologetic and constantly on the defense. This is a very difficult situation to be in when developing your identity. It is great that Mozzified is providing a space for young Muslim Americans to explore and develop their identity without judgment and constant apologizing.


  14. Kirsten Scheil- EDC 550


    This article by Robin Diangelo discusses the various reasons why it may be difficult for white people to talk about racism. The article highlights why white people may act defensive or hostile when faced with issues of race or perspectives of other individuals who differ from them. I’ve included this quote that I found very intriguing about how our society is organized:
    “We have organized society to reproduce and reinforce our racial interests and perspectives. Further, we are centered in all matters deemed normal, universal, benign, neutral and good.”

  15. Kirsten Scheil- EDC 550


    Attached is a relevant TED talk which discusses how individuals should face their biases and “walk boldly toward” them in order to overcome them. The speaker expresses the importance of spending time with individuals who are different from you and to understanding others’ perspectives. I think this is a relevant talk in today’s world.

  16. Emma Gibbs-EDC 601

    In response to MichealH’s comment, I agree that the current expression of racism is not a direct response to race but rather that connotation and pop culture stereotypes depicted by race.

    I believe in many scenarios this includes socio-economic elitism and meritocracy of a non-academic sort. Also I believe much of this stems from the requirement that Western Culture expects an complete assimilation into “white america.” This can be seen in the school structure, specifically in the department of discipline. We expect racial minorities to adapt to the majority construct of appropriate behavior.

    Has racism evolved? NPR stated that the Caucasians feeling no shift in racial tension this year is a positive outcome, but Minorities feeling no shift in racial tension this year breeds the opposite.

    1. Agreed! Of course we whites feel no shift, we are the power. No shift for us means we are no worse off, no shift for blacks means they are no better off.

  17. How much of the racial tension is race, I mean actual Negroid vs Caucasian? The reasons I ask this are multiple. We lived in Botswana Africa for 9 years. Botswana is rather unusual for a post colonial African nation. For one thing the Brits colonized the Bechuanaland really only to keep the Germans in German South West Africa (Namibia) away from being right up next to their Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). They had no developmental interest, they saw it as a large, the size of Texas, desert with no real resources so they didn’t settle there much, didn’t really disrupt the Batawana and left quite peacefully in 1966.
    This background to help you understand my experience and my earlier question. While in Botswana I experienced no real race related issue. I did, however, experience cultural issues. In short, I felt the same discrimination as did the Zimbabwean immigrants in Botswana, we just were not Batawana. The Zims were black, I was white but neither of us were Batawana. It was a cultural discrimination. Therefore I ask, how much of our tension is really skin color and how much is culture?

  18. I really enjoy evsmittys’ post on March 5th about bringing bringing Black History Month to STEM classes. I truly do believe that it is important for African American students to be aware of the accomplishments that others in their racial category have made. This will not only be a great eye opener for many students, but will also aid in fostering a sense of pride within their culture and community, and also within themselves. This sets a bar of achievement for these students to be able to shoot for. I also believe that this should also be studied outside of the month of February as well. Being able to set up this positive embodiment will take more than just one month out of the year. This is something that should be discussed with students year round. I also believe that other cultural achievements should also be discussed throughout the school year. Race and ethnicity play such vital roles in our society, and we need to show our students from all backgrounds the power and success that each of them encompass within themselves.

  19. The riots in Baltimore is a very controversial issue right now, and I found this article about the school district in Baltimore thinking about letting the school police officers carry guns within the school. The article says that this bill is being met with a lot of resistance. I agree with the resistance it is getting. I do not think that the answer to the violence and racial issues in Baltimore is to bring weapons into schools where there are traumatized and scared kids already. Many of these students live in environments with guns and violence, school should be a safe haven for them, not another area of anxiety.

    1. That article is very interesting. In light of the recent violence in Baltimore it seems understandable that the police officers want to protect innocent children and themselves. It’s sad that the children associate the guns with fear and violence. Children need to understand that there are good people who use guns for other purposes than for maliciously hurting innocent people. This article states that the meeting was being held during the work day at 5pm with little notification to parents. Parents should absolutely have a right to voice their opinions about this issue.

      1. You make a valid point that when students are traumatized, guns can make them feel afraid, but I believe that armed security is a good thing. When I went to high school, I grew up in a more urban environment near Chicago and we had a few armed security guards. The security guards had the opposite affect: I felt incredibly safe with them in the hallways. The security guards kept the number of fights down, and there was a greater sense of safety in the hallways. They were also the nicest people in the world. Every morning when I went into school, they always would say hello and ask students how they were doing. They put in the extra effort to make students feel comfortable and safe with them even if they did have a weapon on them. I believe that if it is gone about in the proper way, the addition of armed security might have the same affect on the students in Baltimore. They need a sense of safety in their school because you are correct; the school should be their safe haven.

    2. You make a valid point that when students are traumatized, guns can make them feel afraid, but I believe that armed security is a good thing. When I went to high school, I grew up in a more urban environment near Chicago and we had a few armed security guards. The security guards had the opposite affect: I felt incredibly safe with them in the hallways. The security guards kept the number of fights down, and there was a greater sense of safety in the hallways. They were also the nicest people in the world. Every morning when I went into school, they always would say hello and ask students how they were doing. They put in the extra effort to make students feel comfortable and safe with them even if they did have a weapon on them. I believe that if it is gone about in the proper way, the addition of armed security might have the same affect on the students in Baltimore. They need a sense of safety in their school because you are correct; the school should be their safe haven.You make a valid point that when students are traum

    3. I found this article very interesting. I completely agree that they should not allow the school police officers to begin carrying guns within the school due to these riots. The school setting is a learning environment, and everything that we as a society do, these children look at and learn from. By allowing the officers to bring guns into the schools, we are only showing our students that violence can only be answered by means of more violence. When issues such as these occur, we need to show them a better approach, a better answer, to handling these situations. Bringing guns to school is only further justifying the riots and madness going on throughout the Baltimore community. We need to show the students that there is another way to handle these situations.

  20. http://workinprogress.oowsection.org/2014/05/27/the-post-racial-president-and-the-push-for-apprenticeships/
    This is a great blog post by a University of Kentucky sociology professor. This post discusses the issue of race in conjunction with education and apprenticeships. There has been a push for apprenticeships in the place of higher education. This is not necessarily a bad idea, except apprenticeships encourage the “old boys club” where people give jobs and opportunities to those within their own social networks . For example, a dad giving his son a job at his company, or a someone hiring their friend over a random person. Although the apprenticeship idea comes with its own problems, there is also a mention of reforming America’s educational system to resemble one like Germany’s. In Germany, children choose their schooling based on what career paths they want to follow. So, if students in Germany know they want a career in a labor intensive or technological field, they pick to follow an educational track that allows them to focus on that. I think this is a good idea, and would decrease our school drop out rate.

  21. Put very simply, this is what this article deals with: “Editor’s note: Code Switch reporter Shereen Marisol Meraji spent Wednesday with a West Baltimore principal charged with a huge task: helping her middle and high school students, who are overwhelmingly poor and black, make sense of what’s happening in Baltimore right now.”

    Similar articles arose after events in Ferguson last August, and I feel that increasingly, articles of this nature will be important for teachers to read. It is of the essence that we use these events in our society to teach our children in the classroom.

    This article also shows how important the school is to the community it serves. This principal’s efforts allowed her students a safe place to interact and to communicate after the tragic and traumatic events in their community.


    (I also found it interesting how many students at this school were on the free and reduced lunch program; if schools shut down while the city is rioting/protesting, then these children may have no idea where they are getting their next meal.)

    1. This article was very eye opening and heart wrenching. It’s sad how the young people of Baltimore are daily affected by violence, poverty and racial discrimination. The principal of the academy seems to be able to relate to her students and provide support and encouragement that they need during the tragic circumstances surrounding Baltimore. I hate that the students are expected to test during this time period. It doesn’t seem fair that with all that’s going on they would be able to focus on academics. Great article and thanks for sharing!

  22. I just wanted to suggest a few books for people who are interested in reading more about the roots of inequality in the United States. I read one during my first semester as an MA in history, and I am reading the second now for my own edification (although it is sometimes assigned in our history courses).

    Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom – this book traces the roots of inequality in our American system to the sixteen hundreds in Virginia. It is highly worth the read to see how these two systems grew alongside each other and is considered a seminal work in history. As a bonus, Edmund Morgan was one of the greatest writers in the field.

    Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow – this book builds on the work of Morgan and others in understanding how these two conflicting systems can arise alongside. She explains how Americans have shifted their Jim Crow policies over history, initially starting with the system of slavery, enforcing black codes and Jim Crow laws after reconstruction, and shifting once again to mass incarceration after the civil rights movement. It argues that this movement is far from over. I haven’t finished it yet, but so far I am very convinced of her argument, and I find this book very relevant in light of recent events in Ferguson, New York City, and Baltimore.

    1. In response to The New Jim Crow, Author Michelle Alexander expressed it well, “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it”. Under Jim Crow laws, black Americans were relegated to a subordinate status for decades. Things like literacy tests for voters and laws designed to prevent blacks from serving on juries were commonplace in nearly a dozen Southern states.
      These laws were state and local laws in the U.S. different for each states, which lasted until the 1960’s. The laws prevented blacks’ equal rights to economic, educational, employment, and housing. In Kentucky, whites prohibited from marrying blacks, who were more than 12% African American. There were separate schools, housing, restrooms, entertainment, etc. Civil Right act of 1964, ended segregation, and discrimination. Unfortunately, I have not completed the book as well.
      However, I am concerned about the increase of Race Relations in 2015, as it has evolved since the civil rights protest in the 60’s, some protest have become more violent, a reminder of the Rodney King riots in los Angeles. During President Obama second term, he use part of his State of the Union speech to address blacks and whites in America. There is disbelief amongst citizens in America today. I would like to believe we live in a post-racial society, but we do not. Inherent racial biases exist, even though we may not admit it.

  23. The important thing to understand when teaching any subject, is that students should be told that what they learn in class is a subject, not a new opinion that they have to agree with. Learning about the Holocaust does not make a person a supporter of Hitler, just as learning about slavery does not make a person a supporter of slavery. So many issues in our world have had to do with race and ethnicity that to not teach it would be doing a terrible disservice to the students involved. Teaching it only expands thinking and gives students information in which to form their own opinions about the subject and develop further as a human.

    1. I agree with Brandy, I think that a lot of educators would prefer not to talk about tough social issues with their students, but in my humble opinion, I believe the tough social issues of the past and present are the most important things a teacher can teach students. Most of our issues in our society, are social issues (even economic and financial issues can have social issues intertwined). The more students understand the social climate and understand the different viewpoints, the better they can become successful leaders, or become innovators and problem solvers for these issues.

    2. I agree Brandy! I have been scrolling through the comments on this post and your comment sticks out the most! Race and ethnicity is a issue that everyone in this world is connected by and despite what some say, their is a positive side to race and ethnicity. As we teach students the good and the bad, we are giving the tools they need to go out into the world and really understand and appreciate everyone and their opinions. As you said learning about something does not mean that you are a supporter and thats what makes for a more well rounded student – one that can listen and learn from an opinion unlike their own.

  24. This article honestly blew my mind. The fact that these teachers were located in HBCU campus is what honestly puts the icing on the cake. Teachers should be held responsible for teaching all of history, not bits and pieces. The fact that these teachers are African American and teaching their families own person history, and are being reprimanded for that shows a greater problem deeply rooted within our social structure. Evidence of this can be seen in really any interview done during the riots in Baltimore, the news casters are more interested in the hurt that these rioters are causing vs. the good that thousands of peaceful protesters showing.

  25. I thought this article on NPR this morning was an interesting read. As I did my research paper for EDC 601 on the subject of addressing race in the classroom, it was particularly interesting. So many scholars have written about “color-blind” versus “anti-racist” pedagogy, and I think this article makes some good points about how teachers approach the subject in the classroom today. When we have so many real-world, present-day examples to use in the classroom, it seems odd that we don’t use them to our advantage as educators:


    1. This was a very interesting article. I commented earlier on a post about the importance of race and ethnicity, and how it will always be in the school system. This article made a very valid point in talking about the NEED for the discussion of race (and ethnicity) in the school classrooms. Again, there is talk of African American accomplishments, but these are usually done within the month of February and the remaining school year, there is nothing more. The articles states that research shows that people who feel better about their own race will do better academically. Therefore, it shows that children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds need to learn more about their cultures at school, and this should be done throughout the school year and not just once. By enlightening our students about the accomplishments of others in their same racial and ethnic backgrounds, it gives these students something to strive for. It allows for them to make that real world connection that “if someone like me can do it, then so can I.”

  26. This article highlights the issue of racial discrimination present in schools today. More specifically, this article argues that black children face higher barriers to education and success in America compared to their counterparts. The article discusses the pattern of disadvantage for black children, claiming that it continues into elementary and high school. More specifically, the disadvantages become visible in standardized test scores and graduation rates. Furthermore, the article offers statistics such as: only 66% of African Americans graduate from high school on time, while more than 90% of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders do. Overall, this article is beneficial in laying out and highlighting the issue of racial discrimination in schools today. It offers relevant statistics and cites well-known sources in the field in order to provide a well-developed argument and discussion on racial discrimination.

  27. A very relevant article highlighting the social hierarchy when rioting. In addition to our white privilege readings, I think it’s accurate to say that Black men have a lot more to worry about in terms of their behavior than their counterparts. That hesitancy and questioning of their identity versus the lack of awareness of their counterparts demonstrates oppression and privilege.


    1. I agree with Lan. Many events in the media can be used to show the obvious discrimination that African American men face when it comes to law enforcement. There have been several accounts of black men being beaten or killed by white police officers after altercations that should not have required any physical harm to the suspects. It is also apparent by the way white men are shown in the media versus how black men are shown. Black men are always shown as more aggressive and more dangerous than their white counterparts. They are also depicted as guilty before any kind of legal trial has begun, unlike their white counterparts that receive the benefit of the doubt.

  28. I found this Atlantic article on Louisville schools to be really interesting. As Louisville and St. Louis seem similar in so many respects, this article seems particularly relevant. Perhaps if St. Louis could implement some of these same ideas, that city would see more peace.


    Also, I was curious if anyone here attended or worked at Louisville public schools and had thoughts on this article?

    1. Yes, I do live in Louisville and went to school in Louisville. However, I attended and worked at private schools in Louisville, not public.

    2. This article brought up a lot of great points. It is unfortunate that even though segregation “ended” long ago, it is still a very real occurrence in many of our cities and schools. From the article, it appears that the plans they have implemented have helped with opening up views and bringing diversity and inclusion to the whole city. I agree that if many cities, such as St. Louis, took this mentality into consideration, many racial issues could be resolved eventually.

  29. I found this article to be pretty interesting. It deals with the role of parents in improving their local schools’ diversity. I think a lot of times we want to blame cities, neighborhoods, or administrations for the way our schools are comprised, but the parents matter so much in a child’s educational experience. This article has some good reminders from a parent:


  30. Here is a post about Bringing Black History Month to STEM classes. http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2015/02/bringing-black-history-month-to-stem-classes.html

    I think black history month is a great time to teach students about African American people who were successful in areas like science, math or writing literature. Minorities not just black students want to see themselves represented in positive roles. Also, teaching about black history shouldn’t be limited to the month of February only. It should be talked about year round along with other minority groups.

    1. I certainly agree with Liz. I know that in many college history classrooms, professors are integrating minority history into the white history narrative, and makes a much fuller picture of American history than the previous style. By glorifying white history for 11 months out of the year, educators are attempting to hide the “unhappy” sides of history. It is the same reason many educators refuse to talk about how important immigration was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In order to teach a true account of the past, we must first get over the idea that American history paints a happy picture and the ridiculous idea that it should. It’s fine to be a proud American, but it is not fine to be ignorant about or lying about our past in the process of increasing that pride in students across the country.

    2. I personally disagree. I feel like it is a disservice to the advancement of black people in this country by only celebrating them during one month of the year. There is a black history month, but no white history month. I have heard so many white people complain about this, that whites don’t have a month for their history. These people fail to realize that white history month is all year long, all of our history is “white” history. I think blacks should be celebrated and their history should be studied, but students should understand that it is important all the time, not just one month a year.

  31. I found this to be very interesting. A Howard University middle school principal is suspected of firing social studies teachers for teaching black history. This baffles me because the middle school is located on an HBCU campus (Historically Black College and University). In the video clip and article the parents are the ones confused and angry because their kids had to witness their teachers getting pink slipped and escorted out by police. By allowing young African American students to witness their teachers being fired in the classroom for integrating black history into the curriculum, what is that telling them about their history or what the school administration thinks about their history? Is it letting them think they and their history don’t matter? I’m curious to know why the principal felt that it was necessary to fire these teachers in front of their students.

  32. Race and ethnicity in and of themselves are sensitive subjects to address. When teachers have to address them in the classroom with students, the topics can become even more daunting. While the topics are highly controversial, and sometimes intimidating, they must be talked about and understood. This article discusses the “Diversity Tool Kit” – in summary, how to teach students about race and ethnicity in the classroom. First, the article sets out to define the terms “race” and “ethnicity” and distinguish the difference between the two. Next, the article goes on to highlight and explain the main issues revolving around race and ethnicity, mainly the controversies stemming from the two in relation to policies in public education. Finally, the article concludes by offering a list of strategies to test out and suggestions on how to approach teaching students about race and ethnicity in the classroom.

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