Racism Isn’t About You

Left Cheek: The Blog

My student, R, called me a racist! He let all the teachers on my floor know that he was sure that I, his English teacher, was a racist too. But Ms. B and Ms. G wouldn’t hear it. “He can’t be racist. Dye is Puerto Rican just like you are! Minorities can’t be racist against other minorities.” My colleagues were protecting me for a variety of reasons, but even I didn’t buy that defense then.

I knew that R was calling me a racist partly because it’s the Great Grenade, and R was very astute at setting off. And it works. It made me feel horrible; there are few who don’t feel particularly and personally targeted at the slightest hint of the word. But he wasn’t without validity. R was often an angry young man, but he didn’t just get furious for no reason at all. He may have been…

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