Yup. School’s out, but I’ve got something on my mind. A couple things, actually.
First, I’ve been reworking my lessons and the order in which I want to teach each unit AND I’ve been attending awesome conference calls with the Science Director of the Mississippi TFA region about making science content more relevant to students’ and their community, so basically I am bursting with ideas and can hardly contain my excitement for the upcoming school year (I’m just not quite ready yet, because I have several more units I need to figure out, so that was NOT a comment about wanting summer to go faster AT ALL!!). Wow, run-on sentence.
Second, Racism. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. It’s crossed my mind for numerous reasons.
Racism came up in my small group summer study at church last week and I commented on how I felt the South was more racist than I anticipated. This was taken better by some than others in the group. I did not mean it to offend any particular person I have simply noticed a lot more segregation and racist remarks than I am used to. This is not to say racism does not exist everywhere in our great US of A, because it does, I was simply making an observation.
The comment came up that in Jackson, as whites, we are the minority, and we experience a lot of racism as well. Which is true. I have experienced racism numerous times.
In fact on a student survey one time, a student (a black student) even told me that one of the reasons she thought her class had so many discipline problems was because people were racist. She added on (to clarify what she meant) that not only white people can be racist, black people can be racist, too. The way she wrote it almost sounded like an apology.
I have experienced racist remarks from my co-workers.
I have overheard students say or been told by students, Ms K’s not white, which they mean as a compliment, but why can’t I be white and still earn their respect as a woman?
I also do believe that I have to work much harder than my black co-workers to gain students’ respect. But if you look at the segregated city in which I live, it is easy to see why! Many of my students know and interact with so few white people in their day to day lives and often those they do might not leave a good impression. So if they have never met a white woman they respect before, why would they respect me? I have to work for that respect, because they have little prior experience.
All that said, this is not a post about me crying because I have experienced racism in the workplace. Racism of any kind is WRONG, but lets face it, for every one racist experience I have had, my students have probably have many more. It’s called white privilege, ladies and gentlemen. And we are fooling ourselves if we do not think it exists.
Which brings me to the reason I was finally moved to write this post:
Click on it. Read it. (Don’t read the comments, that’s a waste of your time, just read the text that goes with the photo and come back to my blog to read my response.)
Yeah. That. So, a friend of mine reposted it from that man’s facebook page and I came upon it and commented a really long comment (sorry about that), but I don’t feel like that’s enough. I felt like I needed to share my thought on racism with everyone, so here I am.
It is true that racism goes both ways. Like I said, as the white minority in the city in which I live, I have definitely experienced racism. It’s not pleasant; it’s not right.
On the other hand, there are no White Colleges because when colleges first opened, only white people could attend. Historically, that’s where Black Colleges come from. All colleges opened before the civil rights movement were white colleges. Thank God that whether a college proclaims itself as historically black or not, anyone of any race can attend any college they want today.
Scholarships that give money primarily to black Americans do so because of an inequality in the opportunities for black people even still today. Of course, legally we are all given the same “opportunities” but statistically far less minority students go to college. Not because they aren’t as smart, but maybe because they can’t afford it or because they grew up in poverty and didn’t do well in high school because they were working a job to help put food on the table. Yes, this is true for some white people as well, but statistically, far more true for Black, Hispanic, or Native Americans.
We celebrate President’s Day in honor of George Washington’s birthday, who was white, as was every other president up until 2008. We celebrate Christopher Columbus day, who was white. We celebrate MLK day not because he was black, but because he did amazing things for the civil rights movement-and DIED for what he believed in! Things like Black History month were put in place because there were no holidays celebrating role models for the minority students in our school, whereas we celebrate and learn about role models for white students almost everyday.
Trust me, it is difficult enough to find Google images of black kids doing science activities to use in my prezis, try finding black scientists my kids can actually look up to and think, “Yeah, that could be me some day.” If you are white, it might be hard to imagine why that is important. That’s because of white privilege. You have always been shown white role models so you don’t understand how discouraging it can be to continually not see anyone that looks like you in a history book or a science book or an English book….etc.
As much as we wish that our nation was completely and 100% equal, white privilege absolutely still exists.
I AM proud to be white, because that is who I am. I am proud of the color of my skin and heritage of where my ancestors came from. I hope that everyone is. But the reality is that I also know that with the color of my skin comes a lot of privilege that I might not even think about day to day. For example, no one thinks I’m a terrorist when I walk onto a plane because of the color of my skin. No one looks at me and automatically assumes I’m going to be loud and obnoxious in a restaurant just because I’m a black woman. No one is going to think I’m an illegal immigrant if I am speaking Spanish to my children in the grocery store.
It’s not only whites that are racists, I’ve experienced that first hand. But also, we maybe don’t know how good we have it.