I love this post. As a white high school teacher in a very diverse school (where most of the teachers are white), I think about this a lot.
I am trying to audit my own prejudices and previously unexamined biases, so please call me on this if you see anything that’s messed up, but at the beginning of every year my biggest struggle as far as classroom management goes is convincing my black students that I’m trustworthy. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND why they don’t trust me! I see what kind of institutional and overt racism they’ve had to put up with in our school district throughout the 10 years preceding their arrival in my class. I wouldn’t trust me either. We work it out.
But I do notice that the black educators at our school don’t have to be as deliberate about that trust-building. The students are usually happy to see them.
I’m just saying that part of what your colleagues are noticing when they say you’re “better at connecting” with black students could be based on the implicit trust your students may have for you that they don’t have for white educators.
Which doesn’t excuse or unpack the bigger issue you’re raising.