The Kids Pay Attention
Today I asked my students to weigh in on racial profiling as it relates to airline security. I noted that some have called this akin to a “witch-hunt” and, as they were about to finish up The Crucible I wanted them to weigh in on what they thought about the issue and whether or not it was truly similar to the 1692 Salem Witch Hunt.
Their answers were quite interesting.
And the discussion was amazingly…civil. 🙂
“Is this a fair practice? Is this a necessary evil?” I asked the class, ramping up to begin playing Devil’s advocate. The class seemed to be, at that point, pretty much evenly divided over the issue. No one wanted to admit to being a racist, but no one wanted to think that their naivete was going to lead them to sit down on a plane next to a successful underwear bomber either. One student, curly-haired, angelic looking, acerbic witted, self-identified “wealthy” White male argued back with one of his classmates who claimed that it was a “hateful, but necessary” practice. “Yes, you’re right,” he says, sarcastically. “We should totally judge people based on race because obviously, their race has something to do with their motives for driving planes into things.”
“What about the IRS guy?”
“Not his fault,” he responded, quickly.
“White male, not his fault. Mental issues, suicidal and all that. Next?”
“Okay, what about the Oklahoma Bomber?”
“Again, not his fault…White male,” he grins.
“Ooohh…tough one,” he says, sucking his breath in and pretending to mull it over. “He was an American, but he was Black…and believed in Islam, so yeah… I’m going to go with…totally his fault.”
“British guy? With the bomb in his shoe?”
“Not really British…totally his fault,” he declares.
“But…he was actually British…”I point out.
“Lies! Prevarications! Corporate Falsehoods! Global Warming Hoax!” he declares “Dude didn’t look White, so it had to be his fault…just ask Fox News!”
Sometimes, I really, really love my students. Occasionally, when they think you’re not looking, teens pay attention.