Jack told me this story when I visited him two years ago. Sitting on his back porch, watching schools of fish swim by the dock where his small fishing boat was anchored, we were discussing my reasons for pursuing a career as a science teacher. I described what I knew about the achievement gap in the sciences between white male students and their female peers and peers of color. I told him that I want to encourage young women and students of color to pursue careers in science, or to at least open up STEM careers as options to consider. My grandfather responded by telling me about working his way from absolute poverty to a secure upper-middle class life. He spoke about his firm ...
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... they don’t believe this difference is negative), it will be that much harder for them to comprehend how race is socially constructed. As a science teacher, by partnering with other teachers within the school my students can learn why people have different skin colors in the first place, as well as how these skin colors became the basis of the social construction of race. This can lead to larger discussions about the persisting legacy of slavery and the many ways that students and their families have been impacted by race through the generations. My hope is that with a better understanding of the biological basis of skin color, students can better understand what teachers mean when they talk about race as a social construction, and understand that there are no real biological differences between students of different races – only different histories and experiences.
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