Let’s get our hands dirty…talking about race

This is a 7th grade student’s submission for the Power over Prejudice Summit.  I’m getting excited…

“W” is a great school, but we are all guilty of sometimes thinking unkind thoughts about people who are different from us. We are not a racist school, but sometimes we don’t really take the time to learn about other people. Sometimes we just immediately judge them as weird, because of their race or family or social economic background. We are so privileged, and sometimes we get a little too focused in our iWhatevers and our designer clothes and the people who have them and the people who don’t that we don’t look at the person inside.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink there is a study where participants are given words such as good and trustworthy and are given two pictures, one of a white person and one of an African American person. Participants are asked to click on the picture they feel better represents the characteristic. They are just given a second to click on it. Malcolm Gladwell, who is half Jamaican, found he had a slight white preference. This study tells us that even if you think you aren’t racist, your subconscious might tell you otherwise. This is a result of all the conditioning we receive from the outside world that tells us so. I know the truth won’t always be easy, but I want to get my hands dirty talking about controversial issues.

If I get chosen for the conference, I like forward to meeting people who are different than me as well as bonding with the other girl. I also want to able to teach “W” people about what I learned. I want to become a better person, so I will be able to make the world a better place.

*school name omitted, emphasis added by Moxie

Power Over Prejudice

On September 23, another teacher and I will be taking 10 students to this conference in Atlanta. I’m really excited to see the impact this will have on our community. I think the key word here is “indifference.” Our community’s issues are not so much overt racism (although we have had recent events of that nature), but passive inaction. As long as this goes unexamined, racism will continue to cripple our efforts to “provide the best possible education for young people.”

Here’s the description on the website…

“This event brings teams of middle school students together to participate in a one-day workshop on prejudice and discrimination.  Students spend the day, in small breakout groups, learning about the impact cultural, racial, ethnic, socio-economic and physical indifference’s have on their peer group.”