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White female educators trained how to ‘overcome’ bias against black males

An educational session called “The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys” has been making the rounds among academics in recent months, offering educators instruction on how white female teachers can “overcome” their unconscious bias to better teach black boys.

The University of North Carolina-Charlotte recently promoted the talk among its scholars for a session that took place Monday at a Charlotte high school. Similar presentations have been promoted and held at the University of Iowa, University of South Carolina, Grand Valley State University and Metropolitan Community College in recent months, according to the institutions’ websites.

The sessions are based off a book with the same title, and highlight research, activities and personal stories to help attendees, especially white women, learn how to better teach black boys, according to organizers.

“Given that as Whites, they come to the teaching profession with ingrained and implicit bias simply because they live in a White supremacist country, their Whiteness impacts their classrooms, and especially those Black males who exist in their space for the school year,” the book states in chapter two, titled: “The State of the White Woman Teacher.”

The authors of the book argue there are three things white female teachers can do:

“Develop learning environments that help Black boys feel a sense of belonging, nurturance, challenge, and love at school”

“Change school culture so that Black boys can show up in the wholeness of their selves”

“Overcome your unconscious bias and forge authentic connections with your Black male students”

Although the lessons are more specifically aimed at K-12 educators, several colleges of education — which train up future teachers — have hosted them. It was billed by UNC officials as “an important discussion that will transform the next 25 years of educating black boys.”

Noting that 65 percent of teachers are white women, UNC’s website described it as a way to shift the way “black boys are seen and heard inside and outside of the classroom.”

The co-authors of the book include Eddie Moore Jr., Ali Michael and Marguerite Penick-Parks, with contributions by other others. Moore is founder of The Privilege Institute and The White Privilege Conference. Michael founded the Race Institute for K-12 Educators, which describes itself as an “affordable and accessible opportunity for educators to grow their racial identities.” Penick-Parks is the chair of educational leadership and policy at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

While the book details in chapter two that white men are also less capable of connecting with black boys, the fact that they’re men gives them more of a connection than white women. White men’s gender can be “a positive connection with boys and youth in their care” but, at the same time, activist and “anti-racist White female teachers are doing remarkable work with black male students.”

The College Fix reached out to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and its spokesperson Buffie Stephens said the presentation was held at West Charlotte High School and the Office of Educational Outreach shared news of the event with faculty and students in the college “in case they have interest in attending.”

The University of Iowa did not respond to The Fix’s request for comment.

MORE: Conference teaches K-12 educators how to combat ‘whiteness in schools’

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About the Author
Kyle Perisic -- University of Minnesota

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