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ERIC Number: EJ866715
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1066-2847
Lies Our Students Tell Themselves
Gibson, Cynthia
Teaching Tolerance, n35 p16-17 Spr 2009
This article is a part of the "Why I Teach" series. The author has been immersed in the culture of Selma, Alabama for the past 15 months. The world knows Selma as a focal point of the Civil Rights Movement. Presidents and presidents-to-be have come here to commemorate the city's role in the struggle for equal voting rights. Despite the city's prominence in the public eye, progress in Selma is slow. This racially and economically divided town exemplifies the need for change, the need for social justice and the need for healing. The author teaches in a rural, all-black school just outside of town. Her students are hopeful yet disillusioned, free yet held down, youthful yet already grown. Many live at or below the national poverty line, have faced racial struggles, and can relate to at least one of Langston Hughes' deferred dreams. In this article, she discusses what disturbs her. It's not so much the racist minority in the community but the mindset she sees in many of her students who--subtly--seem to believe that they are inferior, that their life options are limited, that they are unworthy of their own hopes and dreams. Statements like "too poor and too black" hint at a belief in the lie. She contends that a little education can change a mindset, and when the mindsets change, futures change. By learning the truth about oneself, one can overcome a childhood of abuse, poverty, and lack of parenting. Life can change when people are willing to stand together to fight against injustice.
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A