Photo: Me! All rights reserved.
Our school district has recently started a new task force looking at minority achievement. In such a resource rich district, but also with many social inequalities, its unsurprising but still really angering that we have disparities in the rate of college readiness, standardized test scores, and simply personal experiences. The number of times I’ve heard truly devastating stories of how kids are treated based on their racial, ethnic, or linguistic background is simply appalling in a school district that touts how progressive it is.
The creation of the task force got me thinking (as always) about my family’s experiences here. My children are in the second and third grades (and another a few years behind them), and we’ve been dealing with little things — microaggressions — since we started here four years ago. Microaggressions, a term coined by Dr. Chester M. Pierce, a professor of education and psychiatry at Harvard University, in the 1970s, refers to “everyday insults, indignities and demeaning messages sent to people of color by well-intentioned white people who are unaware of the hidden messages being sent to them.” I believe that my children’s teachers believed they were helping my kids — and my husband and I as parents. But their words and actions did a lot more harm than they realized.
Here’s a sampling of our experiences, from my point of view when they occurred: