This essay explores the implications of the Trayvon Martin case for educators who must contend with the complexities of race in the context of schooling. With the assumption that race continues to function as an important category in social arrangements, this essay addresses the following questions: What is the role of race and racial stereotyping in educational disparities? How can educators work purposely toward a curriculum of racial justice and reconciliation? Drawing on the work of African American theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman, this essay argues that new approaches to social justice education should address both the extrapersonal and intrapersonal aspects of antiracist and antioppressive work.

“We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs. To put our beliefs on hold is to cease to exist as ourselves for a moment—that is not easy. It is painful as well, because it means turning yourself inside out, giving up your own sense of who you are, and being willing to see yourself in the unflattering light of another’s angry gaze. It is not easy, but it is the only way we learn what it might feel like to be someone else and the only way to start a dialogue.” Lisa Delpit (1988), The Silenced Dialogue, p. 296