Opening Activity

Do people familiar with your background ever make common assumptions about you? Where and how do you think they learned to make these assumptions?

Discussion Questions

  1. Why are childhood memories "always a drag/if you're Black"?
  2. If the speaker becomes famous, why won't white biographers describe the happy moments of her childhood?
  3. According to the speaker, who can accurately understand or describe her childhood? What does she expect us to learn from reading this poem?
  4. Is it possible to separate assumptions from the reality of another's background? How would this be accomplished?
  5. What does it mean to really know about someone else's background or childhood?
  6. Is it possible to understand someone else's background if you don't share their race? Is race the defining factor in understanding or are there other things that determine whether we can understand someone else?
  7. What assumptions are made about our students and their backgrounds when they arrive on campus?

Closing Activity

What question would you propose someone ask to get an understanding of your background.

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