Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's in a name

The classroom teacher has pointed out my students who are scattered all over the room: five boys, one girl. Miguel, Tyrone, Jamal, Marques, Jacob, and Alisha. Try as I might, I can't keep the boys straight. I hate the fact that I fall under the white man stereotype of not being able to tell African Americans apart. They are all unique. I can see that. But still their names shuffle through my mind like the ball in a game of shells. If they would only stop moving.


  1. You know MM, the thing about stereotypes is that those who acknowledge that they might have some are the people less likely to stereotype, and as a consequence less likely to discriminate.

    It takes courage in this day and age to acknowledge that you are finding this names hard to memorize. Names are just names. But you can see that the actual children behind those names are unique. And ultimately that's what matters.

    They're lucky to have you as a teacher. :-)

  2. We all do. Even as feminist as I am, I was in a drugstore enxt to Harvard Medical School. The druggist brought out a stethoscope to show a young couple. I assumed it was for the man, but it was the woman who was the medical student.
    This type of mistake keeps us humble. What is important is how you treat those kids.