“Why Does He Feel This Way?,” They Wondered. “Where Did

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“Why does he feel this way?,” they wondered. “Where did race come from?” “Who “founded” race?” “Am I really Black, Hispanic, White, and/or Asian?” “Do you believe my race comes from the slave masters that owned my ancestors?” These were just a few of the questions that filled my white board one Friday afternoon as my students reflected on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ definition of race. Coates identifies race in the U.S. as a social construct that has its origin in a history of violence and oppression. Every Friday for a month, my students have been analyzing Coates’ Between the World and Me. Before reading the book my students would oftentimes tell me, “Black people don’t do that.” or “That’s white people food you’re eating!” I would reply jokingly,…show more content…
Inspired by my reading of Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, my project studied the slums of India with a focus on culture, education, and economics. I interviewed women, children, professors, teachers, visitors to the country and international students. I collected data regarding their experiences with education, clashes with cultural traditions, and how education affects their socioeconomic status, and this project would prove to be instrumental in helping me figure out my passion. The poverty that I witnessed, such as children without clothes or shoes digging through the garbage for food, made me wish I had the power to help them. After I was done with my study I was left with the question of what to do next. I then realized that I needed to come back home and arm myself with the necessary tools to serve my community. As I progressed through my undergraduate career, I spent my summers teaching literature, history, and reading at Breakthrough Collaborative in Miami. The program strives to bridge the educational gap of minority students through summer enrichment courses, college visits, and post-secondary education planning. After three summers at Breakthrough, I realized that education is how I want to leave my mark on the world, deciding to pursue a career in teaching. The past year and a half I have been teaching at KIPP Delta Collegiate High School in Helena, Arkansas. My first year I taught three courses in English I
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