I’m blown away by this great list of 10 ways well-meaning white teachers bring racism into schools. Number 2 is my favorite:
2. Being ‘Race Neutral’ Rather than Culturally Responsive
In my work with teachers, I sometimes meet teachers who claim that they “don’t see Color,” both in naïve attempts to be “progressive” but also in an ill-advised attempt to avoid tracking students based on race/ethnicity.
But our students don’t need a “race neutral” approach to their education.
There is endless research about how students of all races need a culturally responsive education; it’s just that White students who have White teachers are far more likely to receive one.
Culturally responsive teaching is not just a box that we can check with simple changes to curriculum. Instead, it is a pedagogical shift that all teachers must work to cultivate over the course of a career, one that works its way into every aspect of how we teach.
Part of culturally responsive teaching also demands that we not simply focus on the races of our students but, instead, turn the lens on our own racial identity.
Race neutrality lends itself to defensiveness to the ways Whiteness and racism are problematic in our teaching.
Cultural responsiveness demands that we do the difficult work of exploring a different way of being White, one where we see our liberation as bound up with that of our students and their families.
What to Do Instead
Start by reading the amazing literature on culturally responsive teaching, looking to Geneva Gay, Beverly Daniel Tatum, and Gary Howard for starters…
Hat tip to Marcella Simadris for the great find!