Today I turned one-third of a century old. To celebrate, I went to work, found out I’d have two more paid days of work after “post-planning,” bought five reams of printer paper, ate a french toast bagel with cream cheese and opened a bottle of cabernet sauvignon I received as a gift a while back. Good times. I will celebrate my next third-of-a-century on Monday, July 25, 2043.
In my AP Government class, there are two statistics about race and voting that I emphasize. The first is that the average white person is more likely to vote than the average black person. The second is that if the only demographic difference between two people is that one is white and the other is black, the black person is more likely to vote than the white person. These facts are not contradictory because there are many differences in age, income, and other demographic characteristics between the average white person and the average black person. No big whoop.
So, today, my students discovered why I keep bringing these two facts up: because there are test items about it! Go figure. After the fact, one of my black students said that she thought I kept bringing those facts up to try and build up the self-esteem of the black students in the classroom.
My response was, in essence, “I harp on those facts because I want you to get them right on the tests. I don’t care about your self-esteem. There’s a reason it’s called self-esteem. It reflects what you think about yourself.”
I suppose I should have been more tactful in my response, but they seemed to take it as intended. No tears were shed, no ego was bruised.