To Sir, with Love

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To Sir, with Love is an incredibly inspirational story. E. R. Braithwaite, the author of this memoir, captures beautifully the shame and hatred of prejudices and racism. The journey begins at the East End of London, during the 1940’s. Mr. Braithwaite teaches at Greenslade Secondary School, which is surrounded by poor neighborhoods crammed with social rebels.  Rick Braithwaite is a young black man, born in South America, who just got out of the Air Force. Now in Britain, Braithwaite is looking for a career, mainly to pay for food, but things do not work out as planned. He comes to know the malady of prejudice very well, as he is turned down from job after job. Braithwaite describes feeling “caught like an insect in the tweezers grip of prejudice.” Teaching becomes the therapy to set him free. When Mr. Braithwaite took the job as a teacher, he did not expect his students to be barbaric savages. Braithwaite has a hard time as he counters the cynicism of his impressionable students and, now and then, that of his colleagues also. The difficulties he faces, in getting students to focus on aspirations in the future rather than the upcoming weekend are painfully true. The need for inventive and genuine approaches to these educational challenges is abundantly clear. Gradually, he wins over the minds of his students as he tries to wipe clean their minds of prejudices. With hard work and dedication, he turns this class of delinquents into a class of young men and women with class. The whole time, Mr. Braithwaite realizes that it is not his skin color that is holding him back, but his attitude. He reflects that, “At first it was terrible, but gradually I’m learning what it means to live with dignity inside my black skin.” In the beginning, he describes that he wanted this job, “but it would be a job, not a labor of love.” Then, after spending time with the students, Mr. Braithwaite began “learning from them as well as teaching them.” The students did not respect adult...
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