“I don’t see color!”
This refrain common to the most well-meaning teachers and friends has come under a lot of scrutiny in the past decade. The melting pot mentality of diversity in the United States that some of us learned about when we were younger was upgraded to a multiethnic salad when I was in elementary school. As opposed to the U.S. being a place where different flavors came together to become a dish that tasted great but whose individual flavors were forgotten, adulterated, changed and transformed into a homogenous soup, a “salad” mentality was born. Each ingredient retained its flavor, each hue and flavor was distinguishable and the benefits of a colorful plate were no longer relegated to metaphor. The more we mix, the better we feel, we eat colors at every meal.
Now that we have traded places, occupying a different side of the teacher’s desk, we have the opportunity to frame the conversation in a way that makes sense for our own teaching context. The question is, how and where do we start?
Here are some questions to ask yourself before getting started:
- What is race and what’s the difference between being colorblind and being antiracist?
- What is my teaching context and who are my students?
- How do I talk about these sensitive topics/current events with my students?
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