This past spring, a history teacher in North Carolina was giving a lesson about Christopher Columbus. He covered how Columbus and his men enslaved and otherwise mistreated the native people of the island of Hispaniola.
One white student piped up: “Well, that’s what needed to happen. They were just dumb people anyways like they are today. That was the purpose, that’s why we need a wall.”
Multiple students agreed. An argument ensued. After class, two Latina students came up to the teacher and said: “He doesn’t need to be saying stuff like that in class. We are worried for our well-being. We’re worried about things not going good for us.”
The anonymous anecdote was collected as part of a new UCLA survey. In it, teachers report that in the current political climate, some of their students fear for themselves and their families. Others reported that students seem more “emboldened” to express racist and derogatory views.
Illustration: LA Johnson/NPR