White teachers, please stop judging your black students
The fine line between empathy, pity and casual racism in education
“Black people just aren’t united like Asians and Hispanic people are.”
I quietly listened to the white male instructor go on and on about his knowledge of African-Americans and Africans during an opening speech. Apparently he’d gotten his “expert” opinions from classroom teachings and a handful of books. My first thought while hearing this diatribe was, “If this is supposed to be your invocation speech, how does this qualify? The entire point of this particular speech is to provide an inspirational thought or pledge of the day.”
Meanwhile this flippant comment only succeeded in making the one African-American person on the virtual call irritated before the meeting could even pass the five-minute mark. And considering how united our speaking group usually is, I was caught completely off-guard by the judgment and alienation of an entire group of people.
Everyone has a right to their opinions. I hear them often in public speaking groups. And while all of my opinions do not mirror Patrick Henry or Voltaire, I can get on board with one of their most popular quotes: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
I don’t have to agree with every single person’s opinion — black people included — but there is a protectiveness I have when a non-black person decides to dictate how a group should act based on a group they will never be a member of. Yes, you can state your opinion, but you better be prepared for the backlash. And as soon as it was my turn to speak, I responded — with examples of how this generalization was absolute b.s.