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  Case: I Wish I Were Black!
As a teacher of 5th grade students, I try to make sure that my students have a good sense of all the people and cultures that make up this country. Last couple weeks, I paid special attention to the African American people who have made significant contributions to the US. We read a book written by Walter Dean Myers. We have studied scientists, writers, and political figures. Students were very engaged and interested in the content. Yesterday something happened that puzzled me. Three of my White students told me that they wished they were Black. This was not my intention when I planned all my lessons on contributions of African Americans. How should I address this issue?
Solution: (Rates are posted for this solution!)
In this situation, I would pull these students aside and ask why they feel this way and what about the lesson brought about these feelings, and I would modify the lesson in ways that would prevent these feelings. I would also encourage each member of class to embrace his or her cultural identity and heritage. Instead of focusing solely on African American history, I would branch out and take a multicultural view of history. By only focusing on African American history, you are setting up your white students to feel the white guilt phenomenon that is often associated with the white society's treatment of African Americans throughout U.S. history. I would center my lessons to focus on the different cultural groups in America. Talk about white history, African American history, American Indian history, and the other ethnic groups that are prevalent in the U.S. today. This will discourage students from feeling guilty or superior about their race and will teach them more about cultural diversity.