ERIC Number: EJ866735
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 0
Colorblindness: The New Racism?
Scruggs, Afi-Odelia E.
Teaching Tolerance, n36 p45-47 Fall 2009
Kawania Wooten's voice tightens when she describes the struggle she's having at the school her son attends. When his class created a timeline of civilization, Wooten saw the Greeks, the Romans and the Incas. Nothing was said about Africa, even though the class has several African American students. This article discusses racial "colorblindness"--the idea that ignoring or overlooking racial and ethnic differences promotes racial harmony. Trainers and facilitators say colorblindness does just the opposite: folks who enjoy racial privilege are closing their eyes to the experiences of others. Paying attention to the cultural experience of students is becoming increasingly important, given the differences between the demographics of American students and their teachers. In order to be effective, teachers will have to learn about the cultural experiences of their students, while using these experiences as a foundation for teaching. The approach is called culturally relevant pedagogy, but that is hard to do if a teacher doesn't see differences as valuable. That means the blinders have to come off. Failure to see and acknowledge racial differences makes it difficult to recognize the unconscious biases everyone has. Those biases can taint a teacher's expectations of a student's ability and negatively influence a student's performance.
Descriptors: African American Students, Culturally Relevant Education, Racial Differences, Foreign Countries, Racial Bias, Racial Factors, Ethnicity, Cultural Pluralism, Social Attitudes
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site: http://www.tolerance.org/teach/magazine/index.jsp
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A