Friday, December 2, 2016

Not Black and White

The staff of our school is required to participate in cultural competence training this year, which involves monthly large and small group sessions with reading, discussion, and other activities designed to raise awareness of institutional racism and its impact on our students' achievement as well as the implications it has for our practice.

One of the questions we were asked to consider today was to recall an early memory of recognizing race or racial identity. Back in the 1960s, when I was very young, my grandparents employed a woman named Louise to clean their house once a week. I once heard someone refer to her as "the colored maid," but I was very confused about who they were talking about.

"You know, Louise," they kept on saying to me. "Grandma's cleaning lady?"

But I shook my head over and over, because in my mind, I imagined a person with bright rainbow-colored skin, and I was quite sure that I had never met someone like that.

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