Teaching Racial Identity in Public Schools

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Racial identity is a topic that many of us try to avoid. When brought up in discussion, we tend to brush it off, ignore it, or deny it. This issue has been a problem that the United States academic system has been facing since the development of this country. The more we dismiss this as a problem, the more it will have an effect on us. In the educational system, the government does what it can to provide a safe, comfortable environment for us as students to learn in. In order for it to be fully comfortable and to have the ideal learning space, the issue of racial identity must be addressed. When this issue is acknowledged, most times it is in relation to minorities, but there is always to sides to every story. Yes, it is important to recognize that the problems or issues will not be the same in comparison to the majority group but it is important to note that there is a story for each racial group. Racial identity will help each group gain a deeper, fuller understanding of each other. Having a deeper understanding of each other’s racial identity will allow us truly have the ideal learning space that we all need.

Racial identity is defined as: “a sense of belonging to a community of people who share a similar, specific heritage” and as “the identity of a group, culture or an individual, influenced by one’s belonging to a group or culture” . In many different academic institutions in the United States, there is a cultural and racial difference that cannot be ignore when we look into the breakdown of races and culture that are represented in our school system; we can see that the majority leads tremendously. According to the Tanenbaum’s Religion and Diversity in Schools fact sheet in 2006, 56% of the public school diversity popul...

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... the United States is making an effort to diversify many branches under the academic system but it isn’t enough. Race also needs to be dealt with in the curriculum as well as the population. If race continues to be an issue among the academic system, it will only get worst. The key components in this racial development are the ability to acknowledge the problem, understand it, and being willing to change the problem. Once we go through this process of racial identity, we can properly deal with race as an issue and move on from it as a community.

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