HW 4.4: Uncovering Your Experiences with Race and Privilege


Learning Outcome Pedagogical Intent Student Position

Candidates provide support and advocacy for ELLs and their families and understand the history, laws, and policies of ESL teaching.

Assessment: 25 pts.

Due: Session 5

Teachers can improve their classroom practices as they learn more about how poverty affects how students learn so they can determine better strategies to use in their work with families

Students have studied about stereotypes held by many educators regarding the students they teach and also what teachers believe about people living in poverty.  They will now read two articles to lead to greater understanding of unconscious bias related to critical race theory and white fragility.


  1. Read the two summaries about white fragility and cultural capital (Just click on the titles to find the articles linked). 
  2.  Use the following reading guides to support your reading and answer the questions for each of the readings. The white fragility reading guide is at this link: White Fragility Reading Guide and the whose culture has capital reading guide is found at this link:  Whose Culture Has Capital Reading Guide.  Also read the experience of an Hispanic teacher in several places, found below these instructions, and consider whether you or your family members have had similar experiences. 
  3. Consider a student or family you have worked with who may have had experiences like this teacher did. Report your thinking about your experiences and those of your students identifying what teachers and schools can do to support people who have experienced these things. Think both in terms of creating democratic classrooms as well as the kinds of advocacy you might undertake if needed.
  4. Think about a person of color you have known in your life—a friend, a parent, a student, a person who lives in your neighborhood, a sales clerk, etc., who is a different race from yours.  Write about how you interacted with that person initially and if later on, those interactions changed. In what ways did it change, and how do you think thischange  happened?
  5. Bring both reading guides and your written work with you to session 5.

    Privileged or Not? One Teacher's Experience with Her Backpack 

    By L. Cervantes-Zaragoza  

    Things seem to have changed since the last time I read this article.  Last year, I realized that I could do 99% of the things listed without too much problem, but this year—not so much.  I don’t know if it’s because I live in a different neighborhood, it it’s just me thinking this, or maybe everything going on in our nation now. 

    I remember just last year, how my family (who has visited often) said they feel a sense of cultural disconnect.  I didn’t get it at that time.  And my children’s care-taker, an African American) duplicated my sister’s feelings.  My sister told me how she took my daughter to buy her some shoes in Farmington.  While in line, she said she was behind a woman who had lots of clothing, shoes, etc. The cashier let her put in her pin for her card and gave her the receipt. When my sister approached the cashier, she had only two items.  As she pulled out her debit card, the cashier immediately asked her for her ID. My sister, a successful lawyer in Houston, handed over he ID and was extremely friendly to the cashier.  She had no problem showing her ID, but she did wonder why the lady in front of her was not asked for her ID, especially because her purchases totaled a lot more than my sister’s.  She certainly did not want to jump to that conclusion, but it was pretty obvious.   

    Until recently, I didn’t notice things like this, but during Christmas break, while parking at Target, three women became extremely angry at me because they believed I got too close to them while parking my car. One woman came up behind my car and angrily started hitting it.  I was startled, and so was my four-year-old daughter.  She then came up to my window yelling and cursing.  I am not confrontational, and I told her she was scaring my daughter.  She continued to berate me.  She then told me to go back to my country.  I felt I had no choice but to call the police.  I was able to get her plate number before she drove off.  I was extremely shaken by this confrontation. The policeman were nice and said they would call and talk to her and the other women. He then told me that she lives in the same town I just moved to—Syracuse. I didn’t think this would ever happen to me—ever, mostly because it makes no sense. 

    This is my country! My family has been here for six generations! Also, my husband is active in the Air Force and has been serving this country for 14 years!  I like to think that most people are not like this.  I came from a neighborhood(all white) who couldn’t have been nicer and supportive to my family.  This is just a huge eyeopener. 

    Even at my school, I am the only Hispanic teacher.  The other people who are Hispanic work in the office and the cafeteria.  I’ve been in Utah for three years now, and in many ways I feel a bit of a disconnect from my culture—just a bit. In looking at these items in the article, I, too, felt like I had lost some realizations that I had never noticed before.

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