Friday, September 06, 2013

Sometimes it's Hard not to be a Little Racist

I try not to be racist because I know it isn't fair to individuals to prejudge them due to their ethnicity. But sometimes certain things happen, and you just go WTF!!!

My daughter was substitute teaching for a class of inner-city middle schoolers for the past 2 weeks. Today was her last day. They had to take a standardized test. The test weighs very heavily on whether or not the kids will be moved up a grade. This is a charter school that is supposedly for college prep science and math.

Anyway, one class (almost all black students) was rowdy and wasn't taking the test seriously. She asked them, "This test is important. You seem to be ignorant of the significance of this test?" This set the class off: One girl said, "Are you calling me ignorant? I'm not stupid!" She tried to explain that ignorant just simply means you don't have knowledge about something but they wouldn't hear of it. Then, her co-teacher (also a sub) went and got another permanent teacher (who was a black woman) and brought her back to the class. The permanent teach laid into my daughter saying that the word ignorant is derogatory and that she was calling her whole class stupid. She threatened to tell the director.

My daughter told the other sub to watch the class and she would walk with the other teacher to the director's office. While there, the director told my daughter that she had used the word properly and that she hadn't done anything wrong, after dismissing the black teacher from the room where she hadn't shut up yet. But the director (who is white) said he didn't realize that the word ignorant was derogatory to blacks but that he should put that on his list (along with the Spanish word "negro" which just means black, that they are now not allowed to teach in that school due to a prior incident). When my daughter got back to the room for her next class, the black co-teacher wouldn't let it go, calling my daughter racist.

Are we supposed to tiptoe around actual words that people in the real world of work should know just because some inner city blacks are IGNORANT of them? Shouldn't the school actually be trying to teach the real meaning of these words instead of avoiding them for fear of pissing off the blacks?

Thankfully, five black students came up to my daughter after class and apologized for their classmates, saying they knew what the word really meant. I feel sorry for them. The students can be forgiven, since they haven't been taught, obviously. But there is no excuse for a college-educated teacher not knowing what an everyday word really means and then using that ignorance to lambast a colleague in front of students.

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