White Male Teacher Looking to Help

ps-testNewo Zoils,
Minneapolis, MN.

I understand that as a white male in America I have in many unconscious ways perpetuated racism. I and my family have also benefited from over hundreds of years of white privilege. This is a systemic problem in America that continues to be unresolved. I am a teacher and one can see racism continue to play out in the racial achievement gap. In education people are constantly trying to explain the achievement gap by pointing the finger at the students home life, and other factors out of the school’s control. It’s very easy as a teacher to do this. I think every white teacher, and every white person in America needs to take a long look at the history (and continued history of racism in America), and first acknowledge that it exists, and that if you are white you have benefited from being white. Racism isn’t about isolated cases about how individual white people grew up, or feel like they’ve been treated, or feel like they believe X,Y,and Z. If we look carefully we can see that racism is, and has been a huge problem in the United States and continues to be a huge problem.

I think after realizing this the only response that makes sense is to look at oneself and ask: How am I part of this problem? As a teacher I am constantly asking myself: How am I treating or thinking about my students of color differently? Am I? Are other people? How do people of color feel in my classroom? In my school? How can I do my absolute best to make sure I am equitably serving ALL of the students in my classroom? As a society I think we have to take this approach. We as white people, largely in power STILL in this country need to ask, how can our country equitably serve ALL people regardless of race? I think this is a continual process of growth and reflection. I know I am far from having any definitive answers or even understanding my own relationships with race, but I am interested in listening to people of color’s experience in America and striving to do what I can to equitably treat and serve all people.


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