With the recent discussion about names, this message popped up:
What are your thoughts about this? Does this seem right? Would this spark controversary? Take a minute to gather your thoughts before reading ahead….
If that situation seems inappropriate and makes you uncomfortable, then explain the difference between that situation and doing the same thing in a language class. We have many (white) teachers giving a list of “Spanish names” to a students to assume an identity of a latino without facing the discrimination that latinos face. Don’t think latinos face discrimination in this country just by their name? Ask José:
Don’t think that names like Walter, Steven, Alan are authentic “Spanish names”. Ask Kristy Placido who is writing about 3 real Guatemalans with those names.
A lot of comments on the last blog post said I was “too sensitive” and yes, I am sensitive to the issue of stereotyping, discrimination, and identity. I will not apologize for that. But I was also glad to see a lot of teachers REFLECTING on this practice. As I said, this has been a common practice and many teachers did it with good intentions without questioning it. But all I can ask you to do is to really reflect on if this is the best practice moving forward for you and your students.
For many years, blackface was a common practice. White people trying to portray a black person. Some people still even defend this practice and think it is not wrong. Are there any similarities between blackface and “Spanish names”?
I am glad that people are discussing it and I’ve seen many teachers reflect on social media as a result. Because it’s time that we finally address this elephant in the language classroom.