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ERIC Number: EJ791401
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1086-4822
Munin, Art
About Campus, v12 n2 p30-32 May-Jun 2007
The unfortunate reality is that racism permeates life. The time that students spend in higher education offers a window of opportunity for educators to confront students' assumptions about the world and challenge them to critically analyze their experience. After students complete their education, they carry their knowledge to offices, law firms, police departments, social work agencies, and countless other places. Whether they perpetuate the spread of racism is directly related to educators' ability to demonstrate that they understand how difficult it is to face racism, to provide opportunities for students to discover their ignorance, and to foster skills that students may eventually teach to others. It is a difficult work, regularly underlined with frustration when institutional politics, hidden biases, and a shortage of local allies impede progress. This work will never finish in the end zone with a touchdown dance, and the victories are usually small. The outnumbered minority who are doing this work are often thwarted by the actions of people who consciously or unconsciously undermine it. Among the many learning goals of diversity education, a singularly important one is turning intolerance into not just tolerance but acceptance. The educator's job is to create a climate for this transformation and to help disenfranchised students gain access and, more important, succeed in college. Bringing them in only to have them leave because of a climate of intolerance is unacceptable. As educators working to promote multicultural understanding, they have to lead with love. Their anger, sarcasm, and defensiveness may be justifiable, but they are just as destructive as racism. In fact, these emotions can lead to actions that look very much like racism. Learning opportunities are lost when students feel that they and their family are being cast as villains, when they are told that everything they have learned in their life is wrong and that teachers' way is the right way.The author believes that diversity educators do not spend enough time healing and forgiving themselves as they do this difficult work. If they are not healthy, he wonders how they can be ready for the next student. They need love and empathy as much as others do.
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A