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The challenges faced by People of Color in health spaces

This is an excerpt from Intersectionality in Health Education by Cara Grant & Troy Boddy.

Key Takeaways and Concluding Thoughts

People of color often have the role of being a member of a “minority” group and often can identify how racism plays out for students. They may have to “work 10 times as hard” just to get as far as their white colleagues. Living with these challenges can be exhausting because it adds a layer that other people do not have to consider. The perspectives and voices of educators who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color and other minorities are sometimes silenced or ignored, as described in Lisa Delpit’s (1988) article “The Silenced Dialogue.” This can happen when Black educators attempt to provide perspectives that challenge white supremacy culture. When heard, Black educators can add great value to addressing issues of inclusion and responsiveness. Educators of color must seek out peer groups and organizations where they can decompress and renew. White educators should examine the cultures they create and interrogate whether they are, in fact, inclusive of Black colleagues. This same interrogation of practices has to be carried out through educators’ collectively building relationships with students so that Black students are not seen as a monolith but are instead understood to lead complex lives like all other groups of students. In this way, we begin to create inclusive learning spaces for the entire school community.

Discussion Questions

  1. In what ways can educators ensure that students have autonomy and self-awareness in schools and classrooms?
  2. Differentiation is a term that is used to describe how educators should make curriculum accessible to support diverse students, but school leaders often do a poor job of creating differentiated support for diverse educators. What lessons can be learned from the planning group and case study?
  3. Who are the people who supported you early in your career? How do you support colleagues in navigating your school or district?
  4. How might school leaders create spaces to support diverse staff?
  5. How might feeling like the “other” cause diverse staff members to seek employment at other schools? How does being “othered” affect students?
  6. What are ways you can create a more inclusive environment for your colleagues of color?
More Excerpts From Intersectionality in Health Education