a debate about reading

Yesterday, our high school class interviewed a 30-year veteran teacher

at their school, mainly about racial issues. He said—among other

things—that people in his home county (Montgomery, MD) read, whereas

young people in Prince George’s do not. They just watch television, he

said; and if they read, it’s "trash." Montgomery is predominantly

White; Prince George’s is majority Black. After he left, I asked the students

what they thought about this particular comment. Some were evidently offended

and suspected that the teacher was relying on racial stereotypes. Others

thought that he was factually correct. We held a debate on the question:

"Do people read more in Montgomery?" I said that I honestly

didn’t know, but that I wouldn’t jump to conclusions just because Montgomery

is whiter and richer than Prince George’s. One male student who was offended

by the comparison said that girls read in Prince George’s—although

boys don’t. This comment received a lot of assent.