A White Teacher Talks about Race

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9781578861811: A White Teacher Talks about Race

Veteran teacher Julie Landsman leads the reader through a day of teaching and reflection about her work with high school students who are from a variety of cultures. She speaks honestly about issues of race, poverty, institutional responsibility, and white privilege by engaging the reader in the experiences of a day in the classroom with some of her remarkable students. Throughout the day, we meet bigotry head-on, struggle with questions of racial identity, and find cultural conflict in the corridors of the school building. Along the way, we come face to face with Tyrone, a young African-American student grappling with the realities of discrimination in suburbia. We encounter Sheila, a teenage mother struggling to raise her baby in poverty, and we get to know Sarah, a white girl living on the streets of Minneapolis. Through the author's eyes, we begin to understand the complexities of teaching in today's society and we learn within the pages of this book, if only just for a moment, what it feels like to be the other.

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About the Author:

Julie Landsman is Benedict Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Until her recent retirement, she had spent many years working with both troubled and gifted students in middle and high schools in the Minneapolis Public School System. She continues to teach in Minneapolis as a Writer in the Schools. Ms. Landsman presently has a monthly column in the Skyway News in Minneapolis.

Review:

This readable book conveys its message simply and powerfully. A superb addition to public and academic libraries. (Library Journal)

Julie Landsman is courageous. In a time when racial rhetoric has gone stale, and when too many have thrown up their hands in despair, Ms. Landsman's clear-eyed observations are a tonic. This painfully honest and sometimes troubling book challenges readers to think critically about what is going on in our classrooms and in our society. A White Teacher Talks About Race is required reading for anyone interested in the future of American schools. (David Haynes, novelist, teacher, and assistant professor at Southern Methodist University)

Julie Landsman breaks the silence, taking us into the lives of her propulsive students, grounding her reflections on race in these energetic and engaging young people as they negotiate the tricky terrain of identity within an American multiplicity. (William Ayers, educational theorist, author, and distinguished professor of education and senior university scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago)

Julie Landsman has said everything I, as a black woman, always wanted to say to white people...Landsman has assembled a moving series of stories and reflections which throw a shaft of light on every day but often ignored racial/cultural collisions...This book gives me tremendous hope because it demonstrates how one can understand back and forth across the lines of race and culture without giving up anything dear to our identity. I want everyone I know to read it. (Mary Moore Easter, professor of dance, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota)

If you are one of the teachers exhausted by the ways that systemic race and class dynamics play out in school, Landsman's stories may give you courage....This is a teacher I would cherish for my children: wise about power dynamics, committed to justice, engaged with students, and never self-righteous. (Peggy McIntosh, associate director, Wellesley College Center for Research on Women and author of White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsa)

Unique, vital kids and a great teacher, yet it is also larger than that...Inspiring, gorgeous, heart-breaking prose...A must-read for anyone who claims to be alive, awake, alert―or who wants to get there. This is an important book! (Natalie Goldberg, teacher, author, Writing Down the Bones, Wild Mind, Long Quiet Highways, and Thunder and Lightning)

Landsman's intellectual and personal rapport with her students is impressive...this balanced, quietly impassioned account affords insight into race relations in the classroom and will appeal to parents and educators who are struggling with these issues. (Publishers Weekly)

...Landsman brings keen observation and empathy to her recollections of working as a writer and teacher with racially diverse students at a public high school in Minneapolis....She lifts some of those blinders in this insightful presentation on the intersection of race, poverty, and culture in an increasingly diverse nation. (Booklist)

...Landsman pushes for an ideal educational diversity while never departing from the concreteness of her own classroom, her students, and their shared daily challenges. (Doubletake)

...Landsman draws readers in...[she] writes frankly about the intersections of race, culture, class, gender, education, and white privilege...Landsman's reflections have import for all who teach and work with teens. (VOYA)

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