How to Teach about Racism in School

Racism, being contagious, didn’t take much time to spread all over the world. The racism, by countries, takes different forms, depending on historic, cultural, religious, economic or demographic differences. Though it is mostly seen in the US, other countries too are facing the problem. According to scholar Paul McGarr, “African students in India regularly complain about colour prejudice they encounter".

Racism has reached from the stage of criticism and abuse to violent deaths. The death of George Floyd in the US is the recent example. Its high time one should focus on teaching about racism for the current generation kids, both by teachers and parents as well. They should make kids understand that a person shouldn’t be discriminated depending on the colour, language, and cultural differences. Let’s know how to teach about racism in school as teachers play a key role in making them understand everything in the right way!

How to Teach about Racism in School

Understand Insecurities: It is important to understand the insecurities of victims. If the student seems to be uncomfortable and unable to mingle or be friendly with other students in the classroom, the teacher must have to ask and understand if it is the effect of racism by others (students or other teachers as well). If the problem is racism, speaking with a concerned person to make them understand how racism affects others’ life is essential.

Friendly Conversations: Making friendly conversations in the classroom to know if there is racism is quite important. It is the responsibility of the teacher to explain things without hurting anyone.

Asking Questions (Probing): You could ask plenty of questions to understand how students in the class are feeling about each other. Whites should be asked if they feel black people are less than them. If the answer is yes, the teacher should ask how, why, and when they got that feeling.

If a teacher feels that black students are feeling inferior and suffering by racists in the school, it is a must to increase confidence in the students who are suffering. At the same time, it is also important to identify racist students and make them understand real things.

Personal Experiences: Ask students to share their personal experiences in front of everyone in the classroom. There would be many students unnoticed who suffer from the depression because of unspoken problems. Teacher should take an initiative and ask them to speak on the stage if they have any personal experiences regarding racism.

Reverse Role Plays: Call one black student (preferably sufferer) and a white student (preferably the student with racist qualities) on to the stage. Ask them to reverse their roles of real-life and conduct a role-play. This makes students understand the feelings of each other.

Teaching History: There are many examples of Racism in History. So, teach students about the history of racism – how it began, how it killed people in thousands and lakhs, how the country lost peace because of it and more helpful things.

Strength & Self-confidence: “When we cannot change others, we have to change ourselves”. It is a must to fuel strength in blacks and make them understand that tolerance doesn’t work every time. A teacher must help students to increase their self-confidence and strength to address and fight such issues boldly.

Anti-Defamation League (ADL): The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) provides resources for teachers to approach current issues of bias in a proper way.

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