Inspired Ideas
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Inspired Ideas

In a Time Like This: Lessons from the Racial Equity Institute

By Dr. Lanette Trowery, PhD, Senior Director of Learning Research and Strategy, and Jhade Pilgrim, Academic Designer at McGraw Hill

  • Race was constructed in this country back in 1640, when the first case of unequal sentencing based on race occurred. Three indentured servants were captured and sentenced after trying to escape, but only the Black servant, John Punch, received a lifetime of servitude as his punishment.
  • Race and racism were codified through the 19th and 20th centuries by continued policies, laws, and rules, such as Jim Crow, that were designed specifically to create a sense of inferiority amongst non-white races and led to a systemic set of advantages for those who were identified as “white” by American society.
  • Through the early 20th century, white people were given opportunities to improve, learn, and financially advance their place in society — The New Deal, most college and university admissions, the GI Bill, FHA — while other races were denied these opportunities. This furthered the system of advantage whites had over other races in this country.
  • As the Civil Rights Movement worked to dismantle both codified and implicit forms of racism in the country, programs were developed that focused on ”correcting” the behaviors and habits of people using those programs. Many of these programs do not provide much in the way of financial or advancement opportunities. More importantly, these programs did not address ways to ameliorate the systemic racism in our institutions.

But if we diagnose the problem of racial inequity as being something wrong with the people who are adversely impacted, then we will spend our efforts and resources trying to “fix” them in some way.

By developing critical inquiry skills

By using critical inquiry skills

By emphasizing collaboration and connectedness

Tasks and activities that connect students’ lives with the lives of other students and communities around the country (and world) can help students become culturally conversant and culturally aware.

By supporting and uplifting teachers



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