Chapter 4- Race Lessons
This chapter follows Dalton through his first academic experiences where he is introduced to the concept of race through personal experiences. In his first classroom experience his mother was given the choice of enrolling him in a predominantly Black, Puerto Rican, or Chinese class. He describes the fact that his mother was given the choice of which class he should join be stating, "The choices our race gave us were made quite explicit- by a government institution, no less."
His mother chose the classroom with predominantly black students, but he was later moved to a predominantly Chinese classroom due to his clear discomfort with being singled out by his teacher for being the only white student. In order to enforce discipline in the classroom the teacher in the black classroom hits the students on the back of the hand using a ruler, however because he was a white student, the teacher was not comfortable using this type of discipline method with a white child ("... took it for granted that a black teacher would never cross the racial line to strike a white student."). His mother visits the school and suggests that none of the children should be disciplined in this manner, but the administrator then explains that many of the black parents "prefer" that their children are disciplined in this manner and that maybe Dalton would be more comfortable in the "Chinese" class. In public school, Dalton begins to realize the difference between race and that "race was not mutable, like a freckle or a hairstyle; it defined who looked like whom, who was allowed to be in the group- and who wasn't... we (him and his sister) had no idea that we belonged to the majority group, the privileged one... I had yet to learn the privileges that attended whiteness. One month in public school would fix that."
During his time in the Chinese classroom the teacher tried to integrate Dalton into the culture, which he generally accepted as his own as much as he...
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