Honesty, Reflection, Vulnerability

Submitted By:
Ryan Kimmett, Greene Street Friends School, PA

Raising Race Questions: Whiteness & Inquiry in Education by Ali Michael
Teachers College Press, 2015

In her book, which serves both as a series of interesting case studies, as well as an inspiring guide for teachers and school leaders, Ali Michael invites readers to add depth and clarity to their racial "lenses" in schools. Through actual inquiry studies with six white teachers, she establishes the following four premises: first, race inquiry is meant to make us all more whole. Second, one can have a multicultural classroom that is not antiracist. Third, teachers (especially white ones) must develop their own positive racial identities in order to teach students to do the same. Fourth, racial competence is a skill that can be learned. Michael is always careful to provide support and scaffolding in this often difficult and personal work. Her documented counsel of teachers leading their own inquiry studies show the honesty, reflection, and vulnerability necessary to engage in this work. In her effort to guide white teachers toward positive racial identities and antiracist classrooms, Michael adeptly balances inspiration and accountability. Raising Race Questions is an excellent choice for an all-faculty reading selection, not just the diversity committee.

Teaching Practice