Editor’s note: At Monday’s Talking About Race event “Can we talk about how race affects our classrooms?” with Beverly Daniel Tatum and David Hornbeck, we received an unprecedented number of questions from the audience. It was clear that audience members wanted to continue the conversation. Towards that end, we’re posting some of those questions here to start the dialogue. Every day we’ll add a new question. Feel free to respond and give us your ideas and comments.
1. Baltimore’s public school system is vastly majority African-American. The private “independent” schools are vastly white. But no one ever points this out or discusses it! It is purposefully avoided. What can we do to engage in this conversation? Can we ever envision that all these schools would be integrated?
2. How do you begin the conversation about the impact of race in education when there is a perception/belief that colorblindness is the way to think and be, and that raising the topic of race creates dissension?
3. How can we change the attitudes of white communities who seem to react to “tipping points” which, in my mind, are relatively low, i.e. white flight takes place when “too many” people of color move into the neighborhood or enroll in school?
4.How can we bridge the divide between very young, white teachers teaching a predominantly, if not all, black population? Particularly with programs such as Teach for America recruiting mostly young, white, ivy league students with no substantial interaction with the population?
5.When the topic of race comes up, it seems that the majority of people only think of black/white relations. Do you think that it is important to change people’s perspectives on race to encompass multiple races? If so, how do you do this in a classroom setting that may be a poor example of racial diversity?