Racism in Schools

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Multicultural Teaching Scenario Analysis
Reflection Paper

Fifty-six years after the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education Supreme Court decision, a clear divide can still often be seen between students of different races. That is, on the school bus, students tend to sit next to someone of the same race; or at recess, groups of students often play and socialize only with others of their same race. In addition, this display of self segregation is frequently seen in the lunchroom. In a situation where a new Black student is called racist names and told by a white student that she cannot sit at the table for white students, both immediate and long term action need to be taken. Furthermore, the long term action involves both teaching the students about cultural awareness by incorporating it into all aspects of school; and also, getting the students involved in different activities where cultural learning and acceptance are promoted and extend beyond the classroom. Without delay, it is the teacher’s responsibility to object to the idea of segregated tables, have the student give up their seat to the new student, and implement some sort of disciplinary action. There would be no tolerance for any type of racism in the school. In addition, this response would be witnessed by the other students, setting an example of what is acceptable and what is not. The next step would be to address the issue of racism and the need to create a more diversified community with the principal. The teacher should propose bringing the school community together by raising awareness of the differences within it; and also, by raising the point that the new labor force will require students to understand cultural differences around them. Teachers can present cultural lessons and themes throughout the year by highlighting the accomplishments of other cultures and preparing students to have a better global perspective. Additionally, the teacher should not only bring the issues to the principal’s attention, but should also have a “Cultural Awareness Action Plan” prepared as well. This plan would break out the different steps that need to be taken, reference the staff member that would be responsible, set goals and timelines for each step. A list may be created highlighting staff members who support this idea, who are willing to help, and who are committed to bringing about cultural awareness. Cultural awareness can be incorporated into all aspects of the school. In the classroom, each class should aim towards incorporating cultural awareness whenever possible. For instance, the students may discuss inventions and inventors in science class and discover George Washington Carver who was an American scientist, educator, humanitarian, and former slave. A math class could highlight and reference discoveries made by different cultures. That is, the students may find it interesting to learn how African people were first people anywhere in the world to us counting to keep track of their things, or maybe to keep track of time. Furthermore, English classes could incorporate stories of race and racism such as Bud Not Buddy or The Watsons Go to Birmingham for the class to read and discuss. History class is an area where students can really gain perspective on different cultures. A school should place a strong emphasis on the background of African American History in order for the black students to have a sense that their history is important. Both English and History classes can also discuss the harsh consequences of ethnic and racial discrimination. Students may read first-hand accounts from those who suffered through Apartheid in South Africa, the Holocaust, or slavery. Students may also watch videos such as Mighty Times: The Children’s March or A Time For Justice.

Cultural awareness should also be present outside the classroom. For example, the cafeteria could highlight a particular food weekly and as the students travel...
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