To the Editor:
Unfortunately, racial discrimination is still an embedded part of our society. Laws on affirmative action and nondiscrimination in employment were created in an attempt to eliminate such discrimination, but have not been effective in reaching the goal of ending it (“Racial Equity in Schools,” OpEducation blog, Oct. 9, 2013).
The only sustainable solution to effectively eliminate racial discrimination must be through education. More than ever before, teachers have the potential to be huge role models for their students. When teachers provide the spark or drive for their students’ learning experiences, they have more influence than they know. What better way to be that role model than to educate about problems of discrimination?
As a camp counselor and young educator myself, I try to educate and be a positive role model for my campers. Because of this impact on young lives, teachers and educators have a moral responsibility to educate students in a way that looks critically at racial discrimination and instead promotes dialogue, diversity, and understanding in the classroom.
Schools need to devote more resources and effort to providing teachers with a safe and comfortable space to teach values of acceptance, love, and inclusiveness between students in the classroom.
Educating kids about discrimination can be as simple as telling a kid that some words are hurtful to others. But because this sort of education can seem easy, it gets overlooked. If we stress these values and education to stop racial discrimination at an early age, in the future we will not have to worry about our kids being mistreated, or not being hired because of their race.
The author is a freshman at Beloit College.
A version of this article appeared in the December 11, 2013 edition of Education Week as In Ending Racial Discrimination, Teachers Should Be Role Models