Meeting #4: intro & ch. 1-2 of "Raising Race Questions"
Our fourth meeting was the first in which we discussed Ali Michael's book, and we found it took Delpit's concerns about a lack of reflection about race in education and shifted the conversation to just how we, as educators, can bring that conversation to the forefront.
We started by having a partner discussion about the stages of racial identity development (p. 45-58) based on a model developed by Helms. We noted that as white educators we have had varying experiences that have shaped our own racial identities, but that we appreciate the cyclical approach that Michael brings to Helms' model.
From there we moved to a whole group discussion based on this quote from page 44:
"What's complicated about having a positive racial identity as a White person is that it's not about feeling good about being White. It's about knowing that I'm White in the context of a racist society that favors White people. It's about understanding how being White affects my relationships and opportunities, and how not being White affects people of color. It's about proactively learning about and confronting racism outside of us and within us."
We discussed various personal experiences we have had as educators that relate to this quote, and eventually started generating questions about how to make schools better for students, teachers and parents of color. Our questions were grouped into three categories proposed by Michael (p. 23-25): Questions about teaching, pedagogy, and logistics; Questions about students as racial beings; Questions about oneself as a teacher. We closed by coming back to the idea of why it is important and difficult to talk about race. Next week, we look forward to further developing our own inquiry questions and deciding how we will pursue these questions in our schools this year.
Join us next week from at the A Space to discuss ch. 3-5 of "Raising Race Questions".