Joan Evans, Lawrencevillve, GA. And I am 100% white. But (far too many of) my students associate “white” with oppression and bigotry. When they tell me I’m not white, they are trying to tell me I’m not a racist. Telling me I’m not white is a compliment. Pretty damning, huh?
Ed Maietta Savannah, GA After 30 years of teaching in both diverse and not-so-diverse environments, I now teach at the oldest HBCU in Georgia. If there is an achievement gap, it has nothing to do with intelligence or strength of character.
Ernie Lee Savannah, GA Struggling with my whiteness and my student’s blackness until we connect. I am a good teacher and after a while I don’t color just students who want to learn. It is more of a socio-economic divide, but I will never know what it means to be black as my students will [...]
Zuhura Hussein Houston, TX
Patti Bear Middletown, DE This was a exchange when I was in 5th grade, over a call in a kickball game. I know now what I was supposed to call my friend after she called me a cracker but I thought she was making fun of my white face with freckles so I responded with [...]
Bobbi Siegelbaum Bronx, NY I found my political voice and activism as a 10th grader in 1961, in my Social Studies class during a lesson on bussing. My teacher was a racist.
Lynn Schaefer Conway, AK As a university-level ESL teacher, I interact with students from all over the world every day. I am well read in the areas of cultural differences and intercultural communication. Yet recently I have come to realize that I don’t know as much as I could about different cultural groups within my [...]
Jenna Roberts Sacramento, CA I was raised in a low income area, primarily white and latino. My experience with African Americans was very limited until I moved to Sacramento, a relatively large city compared to where I’d come from. It was the first time I’d experienced “Urban Youth.” I’ve lived here for 14 years, and [...]
Clare Hilger As an artist and art teacher I believe art can make us consider important issues in our world though visual means impacting us intellectually aesthetically, and emotionally. We enrich our lives through the sharing of art.
Ted Willis, Jr. Cary, NC As a teacher, I have seen how, with each passing generation, race is becoming less of an issue with my students. Most of the racial tension is bred from their parents and the time frame most of then grew up in (however, the parents are become the generation in which [...]
Vivian Dimmel Liverpool, NY Retired inner city school teacher who had to return to the suburbs and the mindset of ignorant people in my retirement.
Eric Miyeni Johannesburg I don’t like the phrase “body part” much. At its worst it has a tendency to remind me of murders and psychotic murderers. At its best it reminds me of the work of medical doctors. Don’t get me wrong. I love doctors. I’m just not cut out to do what they do. [...]
Sarah Brookner Minneapolis, MN I am a white female. I grew up in a wealthy suburb of Minneapolis. My students are mostly Somali, African American and Mexican American. They all have different needs. I care deeply about all of them. Some days are hard for me to connect and relate to their experiences, which are [...]
Joanne Pope Melish Wakefield, RI
Sharren Wellsboro, PA I was floored when a special education teacher called me a racist because I did not give her daily lesson plans I had developed on my own. The daily plans took hours to develop, and she never volunteered to help. Instead she made copies for herself, without my knowledge, to use in [...]
Deb Wunder Brooklyn, NY Thank you for doing this.
Sister Kathleen Reilly, UAC, CSAC Union City, NJ The above summarizes my main prayer when the movement for racial equality got started. I think of myself as more a part of it now than I was then as I am now teaching in a predominantly minority high school. A large percentage of the young men [...]
Deborah Council Wilmington, DE In 1970, I was doing my practice teaching in Barrington, NJ and took on of my student’s to an outing. When I returned her to her home, her mother informed me that the neighbor approached her and told her how lucky she was to have had two (2) maids in a [...]
Laura Speegle Waco, TX I teach elementary school in Waco, Texas. I can’t remember why this little bitty girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, was sitting in my lap crying… but suddenly she reached out and stroked my pale white are and looked up at me in surprise. After making this observation she snuggled [...]
Patrick Nolan Jacksonville Beach, FL As an educator having taught in urban school districts for more than twenty-seven years I have had the pleasure of teaching students from numerous cultural and ethnic backgrounds: We’re all one race–Human–and the variety we present is astonishing and awesome. My students have taught me that external factors have nothing [...]
Marianna Boncek Woodstock, NY I am a high school teacher. I have been accused of being a racist so many times I can’t count. I am not a racist, nor have I ever been. I actually have a multi-racial family by marriage. The first time a student accused me of being a racist I was [...]
Shakira Phoenix, AZ One day after our teacher snapped photos of our class she developed them in black and white and scattered them out on a table and told us to find ourselves. I got frustrated because I could not find my photo; that day my mother was volunteering as class mother and she pointed [...]
Aku Kadogo, teacher South Korea I am an African American woman from Detroit, MI. I have lived in Australia since 1978. My daughter is African American Australia (Caucasian father). My grand daughter’s father is from Thailand. I am currently living and teaching in S. Korea. I have spent many years with Indigenous people in Australia, [...]
Kokujin Cameron Salt Lake City, UT When I was in kindergarten and in class, I had to use the restroom. The teacher had forgotten and I was unaware but there was a girl using the restroom already. The bathroom is part of the classroom and has it’s own corridor which leads down a hallway to [...]
Nancy Sale Pleasant Hill, CA During my career as a public school teacher this statement (which I made up) was written on a paper banner by my students and hung on the wall of every one of my classrooms for years – I still have the banner even though I am now retired.
Shanita Nelson Fort Wayne, IN I hate when people say they are colorblind…because then they are ignoring pieces of everyone. Please notice me is what I say when I hear those words. I am black, I am a teacher, I am a wife…do not ignore any parts of who I am!!!
June Jacobs Submitted at the Penn Central Conference
Tracee H. Norfolk, VA It’s amazing how similar everyone is, while somehow they just can’t see eye-to-eye. As a white teacher I get called racist often, while my blood boils in rage every time whites view/treat blacks as inferior or as the government’s unfairly “privileged ones.”
Leslie Owen Pensacola, FL Submitted via: NPR’s Talk of the Nation