Blind Spots and Biases: Exploring Racial Conversations in Curricula

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The following article is shared by Assistant Head of School Scott Parker P’23, ’24, in support of the ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusivity mission of New Hampton School. This series will continue intermittently to provide updates and information for our greater school community.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced.”
—James Baldwin

A cohort of New Hampton School teachers, administrators, and staff will participate in a four-part conversation with educator and curriculum director Lisa DiIorio, called Facing Whiteness: Critical Conversations on Race, Racism, and Antiracism. DiIorio writes, “As educators, advisors and coaches, we know that we need to show up for the young people in our lives and help them navigate these complex times.” Safe navigation includes an examination of our own mindsets, blind spots, and biases.

blind spots and biases must be considered to move curricula forward
Curriculum reviews touch all departments at New Hampton School, from the sciences to the arts and beyond.

Guiding discussions

I was introduced to DiIorio in September when looking for someone to help me guide New Hampton School’s academic departments through the process of a diversity, equity, and inclusion curriculum audit. The intention of a critical curriculum review is strategic. It allows us to reveal new ways to expand the range of voices and stories we consider in class. Additionally, the audit allows us to assess our shared teaching strategies’ adequacy and relevance, especially as they pertain to matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We hope that these conversations will help us step outside our own fears, and sometimes a sense of inadequacy, to thoughtfully address questions of race, racism, and the goals of being antiracist educators.

Over the next two months, twelve New Hampton School faculty will participate in a set of challenging conversations that will help us to grow, inspire change, and challenge us as a school community. We believe that having difficult conversations about privilege, the systemic nature of racism, and the historical and present exclusion and mistreatment of whole groups of people, is vitally important for young people.

Above, a new course called Acknowledging Discrimination explores the ideations of racism, sexism, and discrimination.

An empowered mission

New Hampton School’s mission to cultivate active and engaged citizens and our core values of respect and responsibility requires us to engage kids where they are in this particularly fraught but potential-filled moment. Empowering students to solve the world’s toughest challenges begins with the messy, failure-laden, but richly rewarding work of directly facing ourselves and each other. We are here to learn, and we are excited to continue along this path of reflection and discovery.

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