Posts Tagged ‘race’

Race Based Mentoring

February 10, 2011

I just read an article on CNN’s website about a school in Lancaster, PA that has stopped a mentoring program between students and teachers of the same race, gender and/or language.  The students voluntarily self-identified which group they felt best suited them.

According to the article,
“McCaskey East High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, instituted what it described as a pilot program meant to enrich “students’ experiences through mentoring” and was derived from research “that shows grouping black students by gender with a strong role model can help boost their academic achievement and self esteem,” according to a school statement”

The school points to data that supports the program although there are many critics.  And of course, many interracial families–particularly those who have adopted transracially–are well aware of the same types of studies and parents are often very conscious of same race/gender mentors in their child’s lives.

What do you think?  Was the school right or wrong?  Were they too progressive for the general public who tends to subscribe to the “colorblind theory”?  Or, is it too intrusive for a school to implement and does it promote racism?


Talking About Race with Children

October 25, 2010

As we were leaving dance class, my five year old pointed to a classmate walking away with her mom and said, “She’s a black and white girl”.   This little girl happens to be a child of color and her mom happens to be white.  Given what I do for a living, maybe it’s not too surprising that my first thoughts were about race and that I wondered what questions or thoughts Olivia was going to present to me about race.  Fortunately, I took a moment to clarify:

Me:  What do you mean by black and white girl?

Olivia:  I mean she has a black and white bag.  It’s really cool and she likes black and white.  I’m more of a pink girl or a rainbow girl because really like my pink bag and things with lots of colors.

I had to laugh at myself a bit for jumping to conclusions, even in my own head, but I think it’s a good reminder that we can’t always assume that we know what our kids are thinking, asking or talking about!   It’s important to follow their lead so that we don’t miss opportunities to talk about important issues or conversely, start dispensing information they are not ready to understand or hear.

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