education · high school · Hispanics/Latinos · teaching

A Nice White Lady?

Reading about one writer’s responses to watching the movie “Precious”, she mentioned the “nice white lady” trope and I thought, “Huh?” So, the writer, of course, added a video. As a former English teacher in NYC public high schools, I’m not even sure what to say about this video or this “trope.” I laughed but it wasn’t a comfortable laugh at all because I was thinking about the hardworking white teachers I’ve worked with and learned from and how I hope that this little video doesn’t devalue the good work they’ve done.

5 thoughts on “A Nice White Lady?

  1. my nose hurts from snorting. in the school where i taught, it was the other teachers telling me that i was too soft, aka too white and middle class, to teach inner city kids. the kids themselves appreciated that i didn't practice “tough love” or try to be someone that i'm not. you really can't go wrong with just treating kids like human beings instead of people that need to be fixed or shaped to fit a mold.

    also, that teacher looks like she's wearing a sheitel. reminds me of my kindergarten Hebrew school teacher whose sheitel was always crooked and off-center.


  2. I've never met this troupe in person.

    More often, I met teachers of every color who despaired that “these kids” were simply unteachable and the students weren't too blind to see that they weren't being treated like human beings. They could also see when someone was soft and they would eat them alive. Quickly. Efficiently.

    I did “tough love.” I was the scariest disciplinarian in the English department. I gave crazy amounts of homework, then stayed late and during lunch so the kids could stay in my classroom and work on it. It's probably completely illegal but I gave every kid who needed one a hug. And I taught high school.

    I remember being there age and having gone weeks, if not months or years, without a hug from a caring adult.


  3. yeah, i taught high school also but tough love is not where i come from and i won't try to pretend that i have any idea how to do it. but i was referring to “tough love” in quotation marks because the other teachers in my school thought it was beneficial to the kids to be downright verbally abusive and crass. they get enough of that at home, they don't need it from their teachers.


  4. NCavillones, I remember those kinds of teachers vividly. I think one of the best things about being a teacher was that I could help kids like me. I was tough. Probably because I've always been tough. But I loved those kids like they were my family and for a time, they were.


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