Perhaps the most difficult conversation for a teacher to have with students centers on the issue of race. How best to approach the subject without offending someone? How best to make a bitter pill sweeter and easier to swallow? The list of questions is endless.
There are no easy ways to dilute what happened. What we do know for sure is that how the conversation is approached can and so often determines future relationships, impact policy, and even determine legal outcomes…the underlying premise is perception.
The tension and animosity that develops from attempting to have these conversations often leaves the listener with mixed feelings, especially students.
What has been called “White Guilt” and “Black Rage” is all part of the residue that is left when groups clash and disagree about how best to discuss and deal with this subject. There simply has to be a better way to communicate.
Looking over Black Shoulders is a step in the right direction. It uses role reversal to begin the conversation of at least addressing the ethical and moral aspects of hatred. We can no longer afford to present this issue as merely as the oppressed and the oppressor. There is no value in this type of presentation. Real value of conversation comes when individuals no longer reside within the superficial walls of us versus them.
A supplement to the book will follow in the coming months. The supplement will provide educators with the “how to” on discussing race in the classroom.
Each chapter of Looking over Black Shoulders will present its own set of challenges and questions. However, in the end no one will feel superior or inferior but equal. We sincerely hope this is the aim of all who seek a resolution.
Read the reviews and consider this question. If there is a book that can finally help level the playing field, wouldn’t it be worth the investment?
Looking over Black Shoulders is that book.