It is one thing to find such White allies who were raised in environments where racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry were routinely and openly discussed and where the quest for true equality was seen as a noble cause. But what about people who grew up surrounded by racism and racist attitudes but chose to reject them and follow their own, more enlightened path toward becoming leaders on racial justice? These people possess a special kind of courage and independence from which we can learn a lot about creating a more just workplace and a more enlightened society.
In a recent article on cnn.com, a handful of these unlikely racial justice warriors were profiled. One of them, Matt Hawn, made a lot of news last year as a teacher who was eventually fired for teaching his students about White privilege. He is now fighting to get his job back and keep his teaching license. Hawn, who has only ever had two African-American students in his classes, asserts that he was just trying to challenge his students as the best teachers he had during school had challenged him. And he says his students need this teaching more than most because of their extremely limited exposure to classmates who aren’t like them.