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May 22, 2003

a debate about reading

Yesterday, our high school class interviewed a 30-year veteran teacher at their school, mainly about racial issues. He said—among other things—that people in his home county (Montgomery, MD) read, whereas young people in Prince George's do not. They just watch television, he said; and if they read, it's "trash." Montgomery is predominantly White; Prince George's is majority Black. After he left, I asked the students what they thought about this particular comment. Some were evidently offended and suspected that the teacher was relying on racial stereotypes. Others thought that he was factually correct. We held a debate on the question: "Do people read more in Montgomery?" I said that I honestly didn't know, but that I wouldn't jump to conclusions just because Montgomery is whiter and richer than Prince George's. One male student who was offended by the comparison said that girls read in Prince George's—although boys don't. This comment received a lot of assent.

Posted by peterlevine at May 22, 2003 10:58 AM