Monday was an inservice day at my school. I am always torn about these days. I enjoy the day off from teaching, but I am also wary of the drivel that is going to be shoved at me during the instruction that is provided for the staff.
For the last couple of inservice days, we have been working with a consultant who has been showing us methods by which we can close the ever-present achievement gap. At one point, the consultant, who is black, mentioned some anecdote about her dealings with some of her black students (she is a principal). At one point during the anecdote, she referred to the black students - and black people in general - as "my people." I instantly cringed. I tried to imagine me, as a white person, standing before an audience of mostly black teachers and referring to other white people as "my people." You can imagine that my comment would go over like a lead balloon. I would soon find out that I wasn't the only teacher who took note of the comment. Later, when we broke up into our departments to meet separately, the "my people" comment quickly became an inside running joke among the members of my department.
I realize that the consultant made the comment in jest while telling a funny anecdote and it would be very easy to pass it off as no big deal. But again, I ask you what would happen if the racial roles were reversed? No matter the amount of jest involved, the comment would be in poor taste if made by me to a black audience. I am not angry at the consultant for her comment; I am angry at the condition of race relations in this country where one side is under a defacto gag order, while the other side can say whatever they want no matter how hypocritical it is. What needs to happen is that all sides should be held to the same standard. Either we all say nothing, or we all say everything. I prefer everything; life is more humorous that way.
Good Day to You, Sir