Discrimination in the Classroom

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Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, I was exposed to many different cultures at a young age. I was exposed to the dominant culture, which is the U.S. Americans and European Americans, and the co-culture, which is the Latinos, African Americans, and Muslim Americans.

When I reached the age of 6, my parents enrolled me at Brooklyn's P.S. 118. Not only did I learn my ABC's and 123's, but I also had the opportunity to learn and observe children of different cultures and backgrounds. I was exposed to mainly children of the co-culture groups. My teacher was a bright young woman by the name of Ms. Bonaford. She seemed to be very loving and welcoming to all of her students. Although my peers and I were very young and naive, her prejudice against a certain ethnicity became clear to us later on in the year. In our kindergarten class, one of our peers was a Muslim child named Mohammed. When it was time to assign seats, he was always put in the back of the classroom. Ms. Bonaford also gave us an opportunity to choose what we wanted to do during play time, and Mohammed's suggestions were rarely considered. Due to our teacher's unwillingness to accept Mohammed, it became almost natural for my peers and I to ignore him. I can recall one particular time after lunch, Ms. Bonaford was calling out the names of every student whose turn it was to use to bathroom. Mohammed made it a point that he had to use the bathroom very badly, and Ms. Bonaford purposely ignored his numerous requests. She decided that he was going to be the very last one to use to bathroom, which eventually left him with wet pants. It was obvious that he was embarrassed, but he held back his tears and walked to the nurse's office so he could change.

Another specific time I remember was play time. Every day my peers and I were given crayons, paint, and markers to create drawings of our interest. One of Ms. Bonaford's rules was to always share with one another. A young girl named Maggie was using crayons to...
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