Thursday, January 11, 2018


Have you seen the video? You know, that crazy clip where a teacher is pushed to the ground and handcuffed for speaking out at a public meeting? Outrageous, right?

It didn’t happen in Howard County, thank goodness. Although I will note that our former Superintendent of Schools increased security protection towards the end of her tenure with the school system. And there was that incident with a Howard County parent speaking out about Common Core at a meeting in Baltimore County...

Here’s the deal. I am wondering how much the race of the teacher in the (now viral) video affects how we view it. If she had been a person of color, would white viewers feel the same indignation on her behalf? I think teachers would ‘have her back’ no matter what, because the issue of low teacher pay vs. high administrative costs runs deep in the teaching community.

But I wonder if the public response would now be qualified.

 “She didn’t do as she was told.”
“She didn’t need to be so angry.”
“That wasn’t the time or the place for that kind of display.”
 “I have to question her devotion to teaching if all she cares about is the money.”

Of course I can’t prove that changing the race of the speaker would have produced this response. But I have seen enough examples of white people’s discomfort with people of color speaking out (see “angry black women”, for instance) to be reasonably certain that the very same words coming out of a different mouth would be lauded less, and questioned more.

This didn’t happen in Howard County. And with the change in our school system, I don’t think it will, for a variety of reasons. But it made me wonder about the underlying (and often unconscious) bias that many of us have.

What do you think?

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