Chapter 12 Diversity

Case Studies

Renee : Renee’s English teacher stops her at the end of class and asks if they can set up a meeting. Naturally, Renee is a bit apprehensive; most student-teacher conferences seem to focus on problems. But when she arrives for the meeting, Renee is pleasantly surprised—at first. Her teacher says, “I just wanted to compliment you on your writing skills. You are doing beautifully in my class . . .” Renee is about to thank her teacher when she hears the next words: “. . . for an African-American student.” Renee is stunned and speechless. She doesn’t know what to say. She gets up, turns, and walks out the door without saying anything. Her eyes become teary as she quickly moves toward the door of the building and heads for her next class.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think Renee’s teacher would say something like that?
    1. Was Renee overreacting to the statement? Explain your answer.
    2. Did Renee do the right thing by walking out of the office without saying a word? What else could she have done to explain her feelings?
    3. Was there a lesson for the teacher here? If so, what was it, and how could Renee help her teacher understand it?

Professor Harris, James, Christina, and Ty : In a college success course, Professor Harris announces that two members of the Gay and Lesbian Student Association will be visiting class at the next meeting. One student, James, says, “What are they going to do, try and convert us?” Another, Christina, says, “It’s against my religion.” Ty chimes in, “I refuse to be in the same room with them.” The other students simply sit there and stare at one another.

Discussion Questions

  1. Should Professor Harris abort the plan to invite the students? Explain.
  2. Should Professor Harris explain why it’s important to invite the students? How would she justify this?
  3. Apart from the statements made by James, Christina, and Ty, what do you think was going on in the minds of most students in this class when Professor Harris made the announcement? What would you say made them think or feel this way?
  4. How would you react if you were in the class? Explain.