I know that this is a very obvious incident related to bias, prejudice, or oppression but I would like to relate this to a book that I read to my students today, called “White Water” ( In this story a young boy is going into town with his Grandma. When the bus pulls up, they climb in and pay their fare, get out, walk to the back door, and climb in again. When they arrive in town, the boy heads to the water fountain for a drink but after a few sips, the warm, rusty water tastes bad. He wonders why the kid at the “Whites Only” fountain is still drinking and wonders if it is cold and clean water unlike his. He determined to find out what the “whites only” water tastes like. He does and realizes that it is the same water, coming from the same pipe. He decides that he will continue to questions the way things are.

This diminished equity for the little boy because in the beginning I’m sure he felt segregated from the little boy at the other water fountain but then at the end after he realized they were drinking the same water but they couldn’t share a fountain, I imagine that he questioned even more the reason for the segregation. I imagine he felt less important than the other little boy but didn’t have true understanding of it.

This brought up feelings of frustration and sadness for children who experienced this type of segregation. I cannot begin to understand the thought process behind the idea of segregation and prejudice. I also felt a sense of relief that this is not how the world is anymore and that my child will be raised like I was… to be tolerant, caring compassionate and to love all people. And he will be able to do so in a world where people are treated equally rather than in a world filled with so much hate.

Well, we all know how it turned out, as this story is obviously one from the past. But the “majority” or those that were the ones creating and backing the segregation are the ones who needed to change. They needed to take a stand for those who were being treated unfairly. Now we are all offered the same rights, privileges, and opportunities at equity.


About toteachistotouchlives

Hi. My name is Kristen Hammel and I am a first grade teacher in Maryland. I am in my fourth year of teaching and now beginning my Masters program in Early Childhood Education at Walden University. I am very excited for this new journey I am embarking on and am excited to share my experiences with you.

4 responses »

  1. I would like to think that these types of biases and prejudices didn’t exist anymore but they do maybe not in the same way. I wish I could say to my children that they wouldn’t have to deal with it but they will. I love your comparison with this book. The best way we can educate or children is to do what you’ve done here and expose them to it and not ignore it. Show them that this is unacceptable and it hurts to treat others differently. I just read a real life story about a Black nurse who wasn’t allowed to hold a white baby (too lazy to include the link) and apparently is suing the Hospital. We must all stay aware even if we don’t experience the same types. Nice response 🙂

  2. I too used a book for my blog posting this week but mine did not depict the concept in in real life terms or experiences. I agree that teaching children about diversity rather than ignoring in hopes that children “turn out” to be accepting and respectful individuals is the way to go. I am sure that many of your students were impacted by this book and went home to ask their family questions which hopefully started some meaningful dialogue about this topic in their home. Thanks for including the link for this book so I can look it up!

  3. It is sad how often we face injustice and how we encounter prejudice almost daily in our life. But we have the key to inspire others to appreciate humanity in its many dimensions.

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