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Posted on November 20, 2012 2:52 am
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Yasar Bodur
Yasar Bodur
Reps: 616
Your Dad Looks Like Osama.
Cultural awareness is important because we live in such a diverse country. As a teacher, I feel it is my responsibility to promote as much cultural awareness as possible in my 5th graders. As part my efforts, I invite people from diverse backgrounds to my classroom as guest speakers. I start with parents of my current students from various cultural backgrounds. Two weeks ago, I sent an invitation to the parents of my Arab-American student Mahmoud. Mahmoud’s parents moved from Saudi Arabia to the US before he was born. His father works as an engineer in a large company and his mother is a nurse. I received an answer to my invitation the next day. Mahmoud’s father agreed to come and talk to my class about his cultural and religious background. His guest talk was very informative and interesting. My students seemed to enjoy the session also. However, the next day I started hearing some of my students tease Mahmoud about his father’s beard. They called Mahmoud’s father “Osama.” They asked him if his father was a "terrorist." I was shocked that despite my efforts to raise cultural awareness, my students gave into stereotypes so easily. Where did I go wrong? How should I respond to this situation?
 
     
     
 
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Solution 1
Posted February 11, 2013 2:22 pm

Courtney Cummings
Courtney Cummings
Reps: 31
You did nothing wrong here. In fact I love the idea of inviting parents to talk with students about their culture. Stereotypes are all around us. It is hard to explain how a stereotype is not the truth to adults let alone children. I would start out by talking to my class about bullying because that is what they are doing to Mahmoud by hurting his feelings. If there were a few specific students that were fueling this “terrorist” line of questioning I would take them aside and explain how inappropriate their behavior was. I would ask them if the tables were turned would they like it if people were calling their father a terrorist? Children do not fully understand the impact of their words sometimes and it is up to us teachers to explain the reasons behind not using such hurtful language. If we explain why not to use such hurtful language to them while they are young, then they will not continue to share ignorant comments when they are older.
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Kathy Allen
Kathy Allen
Reps: 100
I like your response.
  Posted on: February 23, 2018 9:20 pm

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Solution 2
Posted February 11, 2013 3:24 pm

Nicolette Cuthrell
Nicolette Cuthrell
Reps: 25
I personally think that you done a great job introducing different cultures and backgrounds to you class. Children at this age especially are going to want to stereotype. The children have been exposed to pictures and articles on Osama and are more than likely going to relate anyone or anything to previous knowledge. To help stop this problem from reoccurring, you could discuss stereotyping and the negative effects of it. Discuss with them that some things in life may remind of us other things but that it is not respectful for us to put a label on anyone and/or "name calling" is unacceptable.
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Solution 3
Posted November 30, 2012 5:41 pm

Meredith Hein
Meredith Hein
Reps: 139
I do not think you went wrong anywhere. I think having cultural guests come speak to your classroom is a great way to educate your students first-hand. I think where the problem is deals with society's view and maybe the individual student's home-life and the way they hear people speak about certain cultural groups. I would address this situation to the entire class and point out both positive and negative people in history from all different backgrounds. (ex. "What if someone said your dad looks like Hitler, Ghandi, or Nelson Mandela?!") I would emphasize that it's not the color of people's skin that determine if they are good or bad, it's the actual person.
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Solution 4
Posted December 4, 2012 11:59 am

Savanna Hayman
Savanna Hayman
Reps: 104
I don't think that you did anything wrong at all. You made an effort to broaden he students' horizons and they turned it into something hateful. I think that disciplinary action should be taken against these students. By 5th grade, students know what bullying is and they know that something like that is not okay to say. These comments could potentially stay with Mahmoud forever and really make him feel ashamed, when in reality, his father was doing something very nice by even coming in. I would contact the students' parents and have a serious talk with them about their behavior. In 5th grade, most of those students probably don't even realize who Osama really is and are likely just regurgitating hatefulness they learned from their parents at home. I would start from the source, the parents and correct this problem. I would also probably pull Mahmoud aside and apologize to him and make sure that he was okay.
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Nicolette Cuthrell
Nicolette Cuthrell
Reps: 25
Starting with the source is always a great way to solve a problem or at least begin to try and solve it.
  Posted on: February 11, 2013 9:44 pm

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Solution 5
Posted December 9, 2012 5:12 pm

Melissa Tolbert
Melissa Tolbert
Reps: 104
You definitely didn't do anything wrong in this situation. This is unfortunately a big problem that many people of that ethnicity face while living here in the United States. I would start by addressing the man that came and about all that he has done for our country. I would also have a lesson on other influential people from that ethnicity and their impact on our learning. I would then lead a discussion on why we can't judge a book by it's cover. I wonder if I wouldn't necessarily discuss the man that came but another person we learned about in the lesson and how some people think this man looks like Osama. I would compare people's pictures who have had positive impacts on the world to those who haven't and say that even though we may have the same skin color as those who have done horrible things, we cannot assume that all people are bad. People can't assume that they as students are bad because of their skin color either.
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Solution 6
Posted December 6, 2012 9:26 pm

Jill Graff
Jill Graff
Reps: 104
Get to Mahmoud first and ask him what he thinks of the situation and what his thoughts are on the kids saying these things. Let him know that you are going to discuss something with the class about stereotypes and try to turn their minds around. Then with the class pick someone that has Justin Beiber haircut and start picking on him (playfully, just to prove the point you might even talk to this person before hand that you are going to use him for a prop.) and see what the kids do. Find some other students that resemble other people they know maybe the principal or some local celebrity good or bad. Have a talk about stereotypes again and let them know that what you have been hearing is hurtful to Mahmoud and his family and that they should open their minds and not always be followers sometimes they need to be leaders.
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Solution 7
Posted December 4, 2012 5:50 am

David Sanders
David Sanders
Reps: 143
I don't think you went wrong and I don't think you should be shocked either. Your students only know Arab people as terrorist. The are unaware of the similarities of hairstyle ahd complexion amongst many middle eastern cultures. You are exposing the students to new visions and you can use this incident to explain many good things about Arab American people.
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Solution 8
Posted December 6, 2012 5:56 pm

Anna Washinger
Anna Washinger
Reps: 121
I do not believe you did anything wrong. You provided a wonderful example of cultural awareness for your students. If I were to hear some of my students making negative comments about one of my student(s) parent/parents...I would ask the students doing the teasing how they would feel if someone were to make fun of/insult his/her parents. I would then reinforce what Mahmoud's parents do for a living and how both of them greatly contribute to our society. Ethnicity does not define a person, therefore, any stereotypes that go against that principle should be rejected/corrected. I would absolutely continue inviting parents to the classroom to talk about their cultural and religious backgrounds to bring awareness to the students.
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Solution 9
Posted December 8, 2012 7:08 pm

Ariane Anderson
Ariane Anderson
Reps: 114
You did not do anything wrong. You where trying to educate your class on cultural awareness and diversity. The best way to respond to the situation is educate your class on the Arabian culture. Show them that not all Arabians are terrorists. Provide video’s and read literature to them.
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Solution 10
Posted December 8, 2012 7:08 pm

Ariane Anderson
Ariane Anderson
Reps: 114
You did not do anything wrong. You where trying to educate your class on cultural awareness and diversity. The best way to respond to the situation is educate your class on the Arabian culture. Show them that not all Arabians are terrorists. Provide video’s and read literature to them.
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Solution 11
Posted December 9, 2012 4:51 pm

Erin Warren
Erin Warren
Reps: 142
I do not think that you went wrong anywhere. I think that the home upbringings and real world views of these students effect how they reacted. I would definitely have a class discussion and maybe show some pictures of other famous people that they love who look different. Explain to them how students are different but so are parents and their words hurt them. Read them stories of famous people who have been bullied or had similar confrontations. I would also maybe show them a clipfrom "Ugly Betty" the tv show and focus on how people made fun of her because of her looks. Use some play role acting to help the students understand better.
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Solution 12
Posted December 9, 2012 11:47 pm

Suzi Hancock
Suzi Hancock
Reps: 134
You didn't do anything wrong! In fact, I think you did something amazing by exposing the students to a new culture. The kids reacted in a way that was driven by media and ignorance. The students only know what they're taught or see in the media. I think that further classroom visits with Mahmoud's family/father will help the students develop more of an understanding about their culture and grow from there.
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Solution 13
Posted February 18, 2013 4:41 pm

Arria Simpson
Arria Simpson
Reps: 25
I think an appropriate response to this issue is to present several examples of people that students often stereotype. Students could be split into groups in which they will be assigned a person. They are to write what they first observed about this person, and their initial opinions. Then they can research more into this person if he/she is famous, or be given the person's story. The people for this activity should represent diversities that students are sure to come by, such as disabilities, speech impediments, those dressed in religious attire, etc. These people should be remarkable regardless of their differences. This may not completely change their minds, but it can open their eyes make them understand diversity better. To really support this, students can be given an opportunity to share what they have encountered themselves, or what they have seen. This should happen in a trusting environment when the students have their guards down and are able to appreciate their classmates' courage.
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Solution 14
Posted March 2, 2015 3:32 am

JuMaPa
JuMaPa
Reps: 100
Where did i go wrong
i lost a friend
somewhere alone in the bitterness
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