Allowing Race in the Classroom, Summary

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In an educational world that is still dominated by predominately white teachers, it is unsurprising that Julie Helling would write an article based on her experiences dealing with students who are overcoming racism on a daily basis. The theory behind her article is that students of color have less energy to devote to studies because they are dealing with racist comments and racial discrimination in their daily lives, while white students have all the energy in their capabilities to devote to their studies. She backs her theory with her own recounting of classroom discussions and her talks with her students, as well as her attendance at lectures.

Julie Helling recalls a lecture where one teacher stated that he solves the problem of race by "not allowing race" in his classroom. She feels that this only further complicates the problem because it negates the experiences of the students of color. The lecture happened to involve mostly, if not all, white teachers. The subject of race and discrimination was uncomfortable to the teachers, as it usually is.

The writer goes on to tell of a class she was teaching where she discussed the subject of white privilege. The students turned this into a heated discussion, yet the teacher remained calm in the conversation and kept it moving by focusing on different students from different backgrounds. Students seemed to have a hard time discussing the matter of race because it has become such a taboo subject.

In conclusion, Ms. Helling would like to acknowledge that race exists, and it should not be banned from classrooms, but openly discussed in a safe environment. She states that the students need to talk about it, and fears that "students of color will take advantage of the system" should be eliminated.
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