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The Danger of Double Standards

To me, the American Dream is the idea that anyone that works hard can fulfill their dreams and have a better life. I am Caucasian, so I am part of the majority. I don’t experience discrimination, and my ethnicity is represented very well in the curriculum. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I recognize that there is a lot of stigma and taboo around the topic of gender and sexuality. We are not well represented, and people are afraid to talk about it because they are afraid of saying something offensive, or don’t fully understand the community, or don’t agree with our identity. I believe the American curriculum does not fully encompass the American experience. Many of the books we read surround the lives of white men, and do not fully depict not only the lives of minorities, but the discrimination they face. Once in class, people denied the sexuality of a female character in one of our novels, describing her sexual awakening as “gross and weird.” If it had been with a male, they wouldn’t have made these comments. And they didn’t when a female character became sexually active with a male in another book. If I were a teacher, I would stress the importance of inclusion and remind my students that if something happens that makes them uncomfortable, that my classroom is a safe space to bring it up to me. I would include more diverse curriculum about different religions, genders, and sexualities. I think Hockaday does a good job of showing what happened with our gender in history. The danger of a white male’s perspective of history is that they’ve never been oppressed before and therefore cannot sympathize with other minorities and look at many different angles to one story.

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