Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." - Stacia Tauscher

Logo of the New Orleans-based non-profit organization ERACE
Last week, through my internship with ERACE, I had the incredible opportunity to lead and listen as over 40 tenth grade students engaged in discussion about racism. I'm not going to lie, as a twenty-something White girl, I was nervous about trying to incite a conversation about racism with 15 to 18 year-old African American girls and boys. As my co-leader and I led three, one-hour discussions, I was consistently the only White person in the room, with the exception of maybe the students' teacher. I thought to myself (and then later got semi-called out by one student), who am I to be in this high school, leading a discussion on racism? 

Yet, as tough as the first ten minutes of the session went - eyes staring blankly at the front of the room, heads on tables, comments mumbled under breath - the last ten minutes was truly enlightening. True, some students never got into it, which I don't blame them, I don't think I did either in my first discussion. However, those that did really had something to say, which is why I chose today's quote to represent the importance of these students.

Some people look at these children and think they can predict their future. But after talking to those kids, no one will be predicting their future besides them. The message became clear by the end of the day: LISTEN. Listen when they say they haven't been as mischievous as one might believe; Listen when they say they want to go to college; Listen when they say they can prove society wrong and that they will.

To learn more about this experience and other ERACE initiatives to open up the dialogue about racism, Click the Web Site HERE.

*Special Note: These are my views on my personal blog and do not represent the views of the ERACE organization as a whole.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I think sometimes the tension in situations similar to that sometimes create more honest and moving responses. We had a really interesting discussion in one of my classes at Pepperdine with a gay and lesbian group, and it was so moving. Almost everyone in the class was sobbing by the end, but I know that middle schoolers are a bit different than graduate students :) or some of them are hahaha

    Also, I have a giveaway going on at my blog for a $20 gift certificate to Green Apple Paperie if you're interested. They have super cute stuff!