"What we choose to talk about in schools and what we choose to avoid or not talk about sends a message about power," says Masko, an associate professor of English education who specializes in race, poverty and schooling.
Masko sent me an email a couple weeks ago after I put out a call on this blog asking teachers and parents to tell us their experiences about talking with their students and children about race. Masko teaches future teachers, and she says talking about race is her students' top concern. She says "they worry about opening a can of worms that they can’t handle." But she says it's crucial that teachers talk about and help students wrestle with these Big Topics, because if teachers just leave it up to kids to figure it out on their own without any adult guidance, "there's going to be further stereotypes, further myths created."
Masko is the first to admit that talking about race is NOT EASY. So I asked her to share some resources -- books and websites, mostly -- to help other teachers and even parents figure out how best to tackle the topic.
These websites provide lesson plans and articles for teachers
- Teaching for Change
- Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center
- Rethinking Schools
- Zinn Education Project
These organizations offer trainings
- The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (Holland, MI) -- this group hosts a summit on race and inclusion in Michigan, and offers a workshop for parents and teachers called Talking to Kids About Race
- Gary R. Howard Equity Institutes (West Coast)
- The Race Institute for K-12 Educators (East Coast)
A few book recommendations
- We Can't Teach What We Don't Know, by Gary Howard
- Raising Race Questions: Whiteness and Inquiry in Education, Ali Michaels
- Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race, Beverly Daniel Tatum
Do you have other resources you think would be helpful? If so, please share them in the comments section below.