Race and Racism Issues in Classroom
It is always hard to speak about Race and Racism in the classroom. However, both terms are essential to acknowledge as “It is virtually impossible to live in U.S. contemporary society and not be exposed to some aspect of the personal, cultural, and institutional manifestations of racism in our society”. In other words, classroom conversations are extremely important in spite of the fact they can make some students feel shame, guilt, or even anger. According to Beverly Daniel Datum, three main factors appear to be the main sources of students’ resistance to Race and Racism discussions. At the same time, she offers several efficient strategies to handle such sources of resistance considering the fact many educational establishments strive to become as multi-cultural as possible.
It is vital to consider that talking about racism calls for much courage. This courage is necessary not only when discussing the topic but also when listening to other opponents. It means that a proper atmosphere is necessary. The first and foremost step for teachers is to create an atmosphere featuring mutual respect between students in spite of their skin color. The idea is to make them understand how racism evolved historically and how it continues to develop. That is why some personal experiences of a particular student can be of great importance.
The primary goal is to overcome the barriers that limit such discussions. Guilt is among the most typical ones. Surprisingly, white students feel guilty about their racial prejudice more often. It results in the fact they are advantaged by racism and have a low level of awareness. Another typical barrier is a total denial of white students’ connections with any forms of racism. In other words, they start the conversation with “I am not a racist, but I heard…” That is why new observation of common beliefs and racial stereotypes is necessary to overcome the main sources of resistance to discussions that were considered taboo topics.