Preparing White Teachers to Teach in a Racist Nation

What Do They Need to Know and Be Able to Do?

Authored by: Anna E. Richert , David M. Donahue , Vicki K. LaBoskey

Handbook of Social Justice in Education

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  June  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805859270
eBook ISBN: 9780203887745
Adobe ISBN: 9781135596149

10.4324/9780203887745.ch42

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Abstract

John: Since becoming a public school teacher two years ago as a White male in my mid-30s, I have been surprised at the degree to which race has been a factor in my relationships with my students (particularly with my African-American students). I had previously worked in different racially mixed settings and I did not perceive much tension with coworkers of different racial backgrounds. Once I entered the classrooms of inner city public schools, however, I quickly felt my White racial background to be an obstacle in developing positive relationships with my African-American students. Early on in my classroom experience, I found my students labeling me racist in response to what I felt was reasonable behavior. Having completed a teacher education program that emphasized personal inquiry, I wanted to explore how my African-American students perceived my behavior as racist.

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