Straight talk on race

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We admired it a couple of years back when the school board at OPRF sat down for extended conversations about race. Not about race in a macro academic or political sense. But race in terms of real life. Their real lives.

It was an enlightening effort, a brave thing to attempt for leaders of a key institution where issues of race and class are always present but not so often addressed or even acknowledged.

Last week our reporter Terry Dean wrote about the latest incarnation of "Courageous Conversations" at OPRF. This time it is teachers listening and talking about race and how it touches their teaching, their expectations for black students and even their attitudes about African American parents.

What does a white teacher say when black students profess they can't learn the material? How does a teacher engage African American parents when they have a real but unspoken bias that those parents just don't care as much about their kids?

Well, as OPRF is proving, you start by talking, by understanding that you don't grow to adulthood in America without carrying racial bias. It is how you deal with the prejudice, how you actively grow through it and beyond it.

Keep talking OPRF. You're on the right track.

Reader Comments

4 Comments - Add Your Comment

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LB from Oak Park  

Posted: April 20th, 2011 9:01 PM

This is a ridiculous waste of time. OPRF is going to have a MAJOR (think of some other area schools) discipline problem if it does not stop pussyfooting around discipline and academic issues at school and using race/socioeconomic crap as an excuse for problems within the school. Enough with this sugarcoated discussion of an "achievement gap" and training teachers in "non-combative" discipline. Kids who don't know how to act in school need discipline! Kids who are behind academic intervention!

Oak parker for life  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 9:58 AM

I am so sick of talk of race. the key to success in this country is to work hard, stay away from drugs, have a supportive family that goes to work and encourages education, go to church if that is your thing. No matter what color you are those attributes are the key. The Japanese were in camps 50 years ago and now they are dominant. All oak park does is give blacks an excuse to be lazy. A black man is president - end of story on race issue

OP Resident  

Posted: April 8th, 2011 9:22 PM

Why does it always seem that these conversations focus on African-Americans. The, perhaps unintended, message is that other races aren't as important, or perhaps don't face biases. That is simply untrue. I will be impressed when OPRF moves beyond limiting its consideration of race to black and white.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 6th, 2011 9:32 PM

I have fought for my entire life with the biases I received in my early life. Have I been successful? Somewhat! But not near the level I desire. Thanks, Dan, for reminding us that the first battlefield against prejudice is our own minds.

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