Thursday, September 6, 2007

Addressing Stereotypes

I was rather horrified the other day to hear a news story on CNN about protests against a public school in NYC teaching about Isalm and teaching the Arabic language. Naturally, the rhetoric against it is peppered with use of the words, "madrassa", "terrorist" and "immigrant". (The linking of those two itself could be the subject of a dissertation!) I showed the kids the video clip of the story and printed out copies for each student to read. As I'd hoped, this lead to discussion of racial stereotyping and fear of the unknown. For example, I was pleased that my students, in the writing activity I designed to prepare for discussion, wondered whether a public Arabic school would be a problem for people at all before 9/11.

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