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blcw's Message:

Teaching Tolerance has excellent information, which would be helpful.


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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
whd507 03-01-2020 05:56 AM

Well I am also partly "indigenous" although I prefer the term "native" and the term "Melting Pot" is anything but offensive. In fact it's confirmation, of fulfilled prophecy of 10,000 years of native spiritual beliefs. My people are from the southeast and we have an oral history... detailed with names, places and events that goes back about seven hundred years, and a less specific oral history going back a Millenia. As with nearly all natives, our people did not have a concept of anyone "owning" land, we were part of the land... like the rocks, animals and the trees all created (and thus owned) by the Great Spirit. Who would be stupid enough to think they could own something that was there before them, and will remain long after they are buried in it? I'm sure we struggled with understanding the morons as they plodded through. Even our own boundaries changed frequently with climate and wars. When the Spanish came in the early 1500s, they were just another tribe, no more or less bloody and violent than what we already had. (We were plenty capable of horrors among ourselves.) So when it was expressed to us, the Christian gospel fit nearly perfectly into our existing spiritual narrative; the way a key unlocks a padlock. Before that, we didn't really have sin, but more of honoring our ancestors, (and the Great Spirit.) We knew we had a partial understanding, the phrase is roughly translated "The Whispers of a memory long-forgotten" it has the basic meaning of "on the tip of my tounge". You know it, but can't express it. It essentially completed our spiritual understanding and many tribes around my people willingly converted to Christianity. For 300 years we had a mix of Catholicism and Native beliefs because they did fit together well. Then in the 1700's many of the Chiefs of our people had visions and they sought out more information from the Protestants as they were told in the visions and dreams. As a result many of our people converted to a more Protestant alignment. Even despite relocation, we held these beliefs. (I cross the trail of tears twice, every time I drive to work, and feel the connection with my past each time.) But to blame racists for it would be stupid. You can't judge history by modern understanding. The "settled science" of the day was essentially eugenics, and they were acting on what they knew. The survivors in my family made the best of it. Hope for peace still lingered. During the westward expansion period, Baptists and Methodist missionaries would push through the wilderness almost always accompanied by Native Americans usually Chiefs, princes and elders to help fulfill the long-known wishes of the now-revealed Great Spirit that all tribes would live as one tribe/family as had been prophesied from time immemorial. Many of our people died trying to achieve that goal. The United States mostly fulfilled that goal by being a "melting pot" with all tribes being as one huge family. We were getting really close from the late 70s till the early 2000s, then we backslid a bit. Many from my family left Oklahoma prior to the dustbowl and settled within regular society as best possible. My grandmother married a railroad man and went to Ohio. Her children decided not to maintain a connection to tribal life. My cousins stayed connected or semi-connected. But that is in a nutshell why its a good thing to teach and explain. There will always be bad people of any color, just dont be that person. America is a family, not an ethnic group, its what we were supposed to be all along everywhere. We get to express our ethnicity as an added bonus, not a distraction. For added reference, i grew up in a black neighborhood (the blind side ghetto area of memphis) so i do understand struggling with racism and exploring your roots. You will not find unity in diversity, that root word is divide. You find unity in united.

Tori58 02-21-2020 04:53 AM

It sounds as though there's been a pretty good start in dealing with it. If you decide to address it with your class, I would suggest going the vulnerable route, not the stern route. I'm mixed race too (Native & Caucasian) and I rarely allow myself to be perceived as vulnerable so, when I've been very open and direct with students about how hurtful racial slurs and stereotypes have been to me, they usually take it quite seriously.

-WE NO LONGER USE MELTING POT. The image/mentality it evokes can be one of assimilation and the need to lose ones own cultural identity to create homogeneity/a white washed identity to belong so be careful.
And yes, I second this. I can guarantee you that this imagery is not appreciated by most indigenous people.
RetiredKat 02-21-2020 02:57 AM

Teammates is another book you may want to share with your 3rd graders. It was one of the stories in the Open Court program that we used for many years. IMO, it was the most powerful story we discussed each year.

BTW, you can use Ruby Bridges to teach QAR. There are several online resources including mini posters and YouTube videos.

lte's mom 02-20-2020 08:20 PM

Thanks for all your responses. Here's what happened so far. Mom of targeted child met with principal who talked to all children (third grade). Both girls deny saying the n word--one didn't know what it was. All parents were called.
I'm going to follow up with principal tomorrow to see what else happened.

Kinderkr4zy 02-20-2020 06:36 PM

Also I thought that I might have heard the "burnt chicken nugget" line before...Turns out I had . Its a viral meme. These kids are copying Dumb People ON Youtube and Vine. This also means that they may not be intentionally as racist as one might first think-they are copying what they have seen and may not understand how hurtful it is.

If this is the case then you are in luck-they are even more teachable about this unfortunate moment.

Kinderkr4zy 02-20-2020 06:24 PM

Just a warning-I have had parent who were very big on diversity/culturally responsive teaching/social justice/equity so be warned-WE NO LONGER USE MELTING POT. The image/mentality it evokes can be one of assimilation and the need to lose ones own cultural identity to create homogeneity/a white washed identity to belong so be careful.

I had a similar but tamer situation a few years ago in my third grade class. We did a close read of The Story of Ruby Bridges-I read it aloud to the class as a first read then they did a second read with ideas, connections, comments and questions in small groups (I made photo copies of my book) then we did whole class discussion about the power of words, tolerance and the right of all kids to come to school and feel safe and respected.

I also showed This Video (not in its entirety its kind of long and a bit much for third graders- I click around to the important parts, stopped and discussed as a class and restarted in the next important spot) and we made a classroom deceleration of human rights-it included right to be free from discrimination- and then finally, after the teaching had sunk in we had a restorative meeting between the students. Funnily enough the one who made the racist comment and the victim ended up being good friends the rest of the year and spending time at each others houses and everything. Kids need to be taught.

eliza4one 02-20-2020 05:09 PM

To piggy back on the melting pot...I have done that, too. And we make fondue with a mix of ingredients...each representing the various (unnamed) ethnicities in the USA. We taste them separately, then after melting them all together, taste them again with apples, bananas, pretzels, etc..

They taste great (albeit different) separately, and combined, they still taste great! . (There are many different flavors/types of chocolate chips). It really got the point across.

I also agree with read alouds and discussions/connected activities!

whd507 02-20-2020 02:37 PM

not sure what grade you have, but I did a lesson for jr high on how The United States is different than many countries that are based on ethnic history. we emphasize that america is a big blended family, how despite flaws in our history, we function apart from tribal and ethnic ties that bind, that people come here from everywhere to become Americans. anywhere else, and you are just an ex-pat. but we are different in that being born here as an american, is not much different than coming here, doing all the steps and how a naturalized citizen can do anything a natural born citizen can save be president. People from every nation, every race, culture and every language have successfully become Americans, and therefore its important that we exhibit our best nature and be kind and understanding to everyone... because we are family...

ConnieWI 02-20-2020 12:29 PM

I would also make sure the parents of the students who used the disrespectful language are informed what their children said.

These kids learned these words somewhere. I would be it was in their homes.

LaFish 02-20-2020 10:08 AM

Yes, this issue should be addressed. I am glad to hear that the principal will talk to the children too. What grade is it?
I had kindergarten students and I am not sure if the words would work with the older kids. We would talk about respect and appropriate words to use in school. We would also talk about ways we are the same/different and do a group activity.

I also agree with other posts...find something on character education on TPT. Or maybe ask the school's counselor for some suggestions.

blcw 02-20-2020 08:17 AM

Teaching Tolerance has excellent information, which would be helpful.


whiteturtle 02-20-2020 03:57 AM

I think I would take a few weeks and build reading, writing and social studies lessons around people of different races. Also search some character lessons on TPT that might hit the spot. Educate them about things they aren't "getting."

lte's mom 02-19-2020 05:58 PM

A little back info: I'm biracial Asian and Caucasian. I've been bullied my whole life by racist jerks. There were over 600 kids in my graduating class and there were 4 "minority" kids, so my perspective might be different.

Today I got a message from a parent that one of my kids called her son a burnt chicken nugget and then when he got off the bus, two of my other kids said, "bye n-word"

I want to address this tomorrow. The mother is going to meet with the principal and he's going to speak with the children but I want to address it with the whole class. I don't want to over react (because of my personal background) but I also want to be stern enough to make an impression.

Does anyone have some words I can use??

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