Saturday, October 25, 2014

Chapter 7: Racial Identity Development

Chapter 7 was a challenging chapter for me. I highlighted and took notes on so much of what was included in these thirty pages, and I'm not sure that I understand everything fully. There are a few key points that I think are really important:

1. "Racial identity development is not just for people of color" (Pg123)
2. "Race is a social construction. It was created largely to divide people, giving power to some while taking it from others." (Pg.124)
3. "While youth are the primary authorities of their own experience, adult alliances are critical in helping cultivate authoritative responses to oppression." (pg. 125)

I think these three points stood out to me the most because I work in a school district that lacks racial diversity. It is very easy to assume that because I work in a school that is made up of mostly white students, we don't need to do a lot of work regarding the realities of racism. It is easy to avoid, and I constantly need to be pushed and reminded that we should be doing more to make white students aware of the dominant culture that they are a part of. Even more importantly, I should be working harder as an ally to those students who don't identify as "white." This is still a hard thing for me to do, how do I work as an ally and acknowledge differences in an organic way? I think I do a lot of this when we talk about different places in the world (as we do in geography...), but it's much more uncomfortable and challenging to talk about differences in my own school and classroom.

While I feel as though I could write a novel in discussing these points, I also felt that the second half of the chapter was important too.  Because this is a large chapter to digest, the most logical way for me to make sense of the chapter was to create a Venn diagram:

I think that this will be a really important tool for me to refer back to, especially as I think about those students who might be trying to figure out their own identity as a Black student in a white community. I think that there are some very important differences between Black racial development and white racial development, and it's necessary for ALL teachers to have an understanding of this prior to becoming professional educators.


  1. Brittany,
    Love the Venn diagram!! It is a brilliant way to compare and contrast the information in the chapter. I was thinking as I was reading about the lack of diversity in your school that strangely we have a similar concern. Even though my school has been culturally diverse for many years, this year we have a different situation. My team is starting to realize that many people, students and teachers are treating the new ELL all the same. What I mean by this is that these kids are all being grouped together even though they come from many different countries and extremely different situations from one another. This is beginning to cause some problems. This is all so new to me and to almost everyone in the building. No one is to blame but after speaking with some faculty members, the situation needs to be addressed.

  2. Great Venn diagram, and as always, a very intuitive post! We could take it to the next level: our students could come up with a Venn diagram or a flow chart. But it's not all about black and white... what about other cultures? I know you have an excellent unit that addresses racial stereotypes among Latinos; I've used your stuff and it was outstanding. It would be nice to put it all together somehow. So how could we get students to visualize as well as understand the concepts of race, ethnicity, and their implications in society? Your chart has me thinking...