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Showing posts from July, 2016

Hard Conversations

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“Miss, reading is for white people.” These words sent shock waves through my soul. It was a typical February day in the Skeeter Library. I buzzed about--doing my Book Pusher Thing--convincing high school students to check out books to read for fun. This is the part of my job that I love the most, but it can also feel like teaching toddlers to tango. Jose sat at a table with four other boys, two Hispanic and two black, when he said those words. They snickered at his comment, and Jose basked in the glow of the validation from his “squad.” Even though I felt horrified by his words, I didn’t let it show; I smiled and waited for them to stop laughing. Then I said, “I want to know why you think that.” The boys sat in silence and then started talking. I listened. One of the Hispanic boys said, “You know, Miss. Mexicans work on roofs and mow yards.” One of the black boys added, “Black people hustle in the streets.” “And white people read.” Jose concluded and then explained, “That’s just the …