“‘My Children are black. They don’t look like your children.
They know that they are black, and we want it recognized. It’s a positive difference, an interesting difference, and a comfortable natural difference. At least it could be so, if you teachers learned to value difference more. What you value, you talk about.
’” p.12 The things that Mrs. Hawkins says to Mrs. Paley are things that really stuck out to me. I think that if Mrs. Paley had thought more about what Mrs. Hawkins said to her in the beginning of the book she would have made a few of her discoveries about teaching African American students earlier.
I feel that this statement made a huge impact on the way that I think about teaching. I never thought about the positives of the differences before. I grew up in a mainly white area. We had a few black students in our school, but most of them where bused in from the city and didn’t live in the area. I always wondered why they wouldn’t just stay and go to schools that were closer to where they live. Mrs. Hawkins brings up a good point that integrating brings in positive, interesting and natural differences.
I think that if I had gone to a school with only white children I wouldn’t have been shown these differences in such a good light. “Arlene was black. I was glad that she was in this class, because Steven was there. In other words, if the most difficult child in the class was black, then I wanted the most outstanding child to be black too.
” p. 25 This passage bothered me. It is probably the part that bugged me the most about this book. There are many African Americans who are better behaved, smarter, more artistic, more athletic, etc. then white children. There are also many African Americans who are less educated and more poorly behaved than white children, but the same for both of these things go with white children.
It bothers me that she knows that if the worst child in the class was white she wouldn’t care if the best child in the class was white. I think that throughout the book she often generalizes with African Americans and doesn’t even realize it.She claims that she is getting better, but I don’t think that she really is. She keeps trying to have the African American children become the same as the white children. I think that this passage definitely made me see that everyone is different and it doesn’t matter if your skin is black or white, you could still be the best, worst or in between student of the class no matter what your color.
In the book there is a part where a little girl only wants to hang out with other Jewish people like she is. p.28-31 I really like the way that Mrs. Paley handles.