This is Year 2 of teaching my students about Diversity in America.
My lesson originated from some Middle School students’ comments “Teacher. Black skin, not good.”
In Korea they are all about having porcelain skin. If a student has darker skin they often are teased “You African! You India! Black skin!”
Every time I hear this I am shocked because I view people of all skin tones equally. I would never even think darker skin= bad, because to me that is such a narrow, old school world view.
In a effort to expose my students to more diversity I talked about my friends at home and how they are all different from me in terms of languages, skin tone, religion, etc. Then we watched a Simpsons video called “Mypods and Boomsticks” which discusses how Homer believes Muslims to be terrorists until he learns the error of his ways.
Then I discussed my experience of living in Korea as a “FOREIGNER!” Everywhere I go, everything I do Koreans watch and observe me or try to interact with me. I don’t speak Korean fluently and I didn’t know much about Korean food or KPOP before I moved here. It was and still is at times hard to live here.
With that in mind I created the following scenario:
Imagine you and your family move to a new country: Mexico. You look different from most people. You can’t speak the language (Spanish). You don’t know what music the kids like. You don’t know the food they like to eat.
You meet a Mexican Boy or Girl who wants to learn more about Korea and you. What do you talk about? Korean food? K-Pop? Clothing? Make a comic discussing something about Korea.
Here are some of the best comics from this year
Note that a lot of the “Mexican” characters have blonde hair and blue eyes… I think they were using me as a model, despite the fact I’m not Mexican.
While I think that this lesson got some of the students thinking about how different things are in America, I think it would be better to have the students get a chance to interact with more diverse people.
In my city there aren’t a lot of people with darker skin. If the students see a person like that, they probably see them from afar and don’t get to actually interact with them.
I hope one day they can all go to America or another diverse country and experience diversity for themselves.