Tale of a Multicultural Classroom
As I sat observing my 5th graders during an independent work time, I admired the combination of colors. This was my most diverse group yet, Hispanic, Black, Asian, South Pacific Islanders. And I had one white kid. He had informed me that he was a Cossack. Not sure if he was born in Ukraine, but his parents certainly were. We had recently put up a map with different colored pins where we or our parents had been born. It covered a good chunk of the world.
Anyway, as I was watching the group, one of my girls came up to me. She was large, African American, and had a reputation of intimidation with some of my smaller students.
"Ms. Storrs, are you mixed?" she demanded in my face, hands on hips. "Because most everyone in here is mixed."
I thought quickly, pulled out of my own thoughts and trying to connect with hers. I am white. My ancestors had been white, Northern Americans since they came here from the UK in the 1600s. My great grandfather had been a veteran of the Civil War. He always told my mother, "Always remember, Birdie, you're a Yankee." And she told me. That's my culture. White, Midwest, Farm, Yankee.
"Well," I replied slowly while the above thoughts raced through my mind, "I'm mixed English and Irish. Does that count?"
Chin up, head cocked, she considered.
She went back to what she had been doing, leaving me absurdly flattered. I'm part of this group. I fit in.