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I have to agree with both of

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I have to agree with both of you regarding rascism and how it can it be dealed with it in a professional manner. I honestly believe that no single person can live without any form of sterotypes. It is part of us from very start of our lifes when we say "mama" for the first time. I am a college student, and I am taking a diversity course which summoms up what you two are trying to inform anyone reading this blog. With that being said, I do believe diversity courses should start around third grade. The best way to solving a problem is knowing you have one which is always the first step, and then following up on it through education and actions that results in any sort of change that can improve the way of life. Everything I learned in my diversity course, I would try to use it outside the classroom. Well, as a result, my parents saw me as a crazy person, my friends believed I "wasn't myself," and I soon saw myself as the only one with certain opinions on people of different racial backrounds. Who do you go to when your parents and friends disagree with everything being taught at these courses? I usually just bottle my emotions and hope oneday racism can be issued in a polite, mannerful way. But, I always try my best at treating everyone and anyone with with same attitude, that is no one is inferior nor superior to me.

Primary school teacher from Buffalo, Minnesota

I have to agree with you that

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I have to agree with you that racism needs to be confronted and it takes more than just simple conversations to do so. It would be nice if such a thing as racism were a thing of the past. The separation of individuals in a school setting can be seen from a student or teacher standpoint. I work with several other teachers from around the world at my school. It seems that we have joined together because of a similarity we have in common, speaking English. Looking back I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have had the opportunity to work with my colleagues, perhaps if we were in one of our home countries things would be different. We are all too familiar with racism, it seems to be present no matter where you are in the world, though in some places it is more evident than others, it seems to always make itself known.

I have found that as outsiders in a foreign country there are many aspects which set us apart from the majority of the other teachers. We are always the last to hear about aspects from within the school and are always excluded. Although we all have well-grounded educations which provide us with considerable insights to be gained, our opinions are never heard. Though we would enjoy eating with the other teachers, we must leave the school grounds to eat during lunch time, and despite learning about the culture, speaking the language, and respecting every aspect of life in this country, we are always viewed as outcasts. I have to say that if these things were experienced in one’s own country, these things would be much worse.

I cannot say that I do not have my biases at times; it seems that there are things we hear or experience through life which have an impact on us. I have said things about others that I come to regret. I try to learn from my mistakes and see people as people, but this too holds its biases. Some people want to be known for their unique cultural heritage.

I must make it sound that I do not enjoy being here, but that is wrong, I do enjoy it. Even though there are many biases and aspects of racism which I see and experience day to day, it does not come from everyone. Some people are aware and respect individual differences. It has however been an eye opening experience and it has been through these experiences that we, in the English department at my school, decided to take matters into our own hands.

I think to begin to deconstruct racism people need to learn more about the cultures and values of others from around the world. We are unique but we are also all here together on this earth, so why not learn from one another. For these reasons we decided to use several lessons to discuss cultures and values of a diverse range of ethnicities. We felt that it was important for our students to learn that there is a much larger world out there full of people who are very different from them. Rather than just following the usual curriculum it was decided that this issue needs to be addressed so that our students could grow up knowing about different aspects of cultures from around the world.

To do this we try to establish what our students know already about certain cultures, trying to incorporate at least one or two cultures from every continent of the world. We must teach ourselves as well so that we can address any questions which may arise in the discussions. It would be nice to have a whole unit devoted to the study of race and racism for that matter, but our students are very young, and we do this outside of the established curriculum, thus we are limited to our approach.

Through trying to teach young children about different cultures, we hope to promote a new generation of people who are more willing to accept differences between people and who want to learn more about the rich and diverse ethnic backgrounds from people from all over the world. It is as you mentioned the 21st century, it is time for a change, and it needs to start small at the individual level.
On one final note, the school administration has finally decided to begin to promote cultural awareness within the students. We have begun the process on a school level of teaching the children about other Asian countries outside of Thailand, in an attempt to be a part of the ASEAN community. Perhaps in the near future this will expand outside of Asia and the children will learn that there is much more to the world than one culture, being here has surely helped me to realize this, I now know what it is like to be the minority, and I hope that I can help to make a difference.

K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, PA

Thank you for this, Jose

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As an urban educator in a school that is 99% African American with only one African American teacher, this conversation is the elephant in the room that it seems no one really talks about. I find that I have to prep my students before we watch videos or view images of students and people that do not look like them. If we don't have a candid conversation about how the people they are about to see do not look or talk like them, the learning is usually derailed by either giggles and laughs or too much focus on what the people in the video or images look like. These candid conversations are important, though it is sad to me sometimes that they are so necessary.

In addition, I am sure that many of the suburban-born and raised teachers in the school have not broken down and reflected on their own assumptions and stereotypes (that are part of life) based on preconceptions and based on their own experiences with the school community over time. It is also important that these conversations include families, who often unknowingly influence their own children through their own assumptions and statements they make at home.

I would never pretend to be color blind, and I won't pretend that I don't hold some stereotypes in my own view of the world (is it possible not to have stereotypes?), but I find that being completely aware of my own biases is the first, important step in the process of being the best person I can be.

Thanks for this important advice!

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