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White Texas Teacher Suspended After Telling Middle School Students His Race Is ‘Superior;’ Sparks Alternative Conversation Among Adults

A Texas teacher is on administrative leave after he was recorded by a student sharing his racial ideologies in the classroom.

In the video, now viral on social media, a white male teacher at Bohls Middle School in Pflugerville, Texas, told students he believes his “race is the superior one.”

White Texas Teacher Suspended After Telling Middle School Students His Race Is 'Superior;' Sparks Alternative Conversation Among Adults
A Texas teacher suspended after conversation with Bohls Middle School class about race. (Photo: Twitter video screen grab)

One video of the interaction has garnered more than 2.5 million views on Twitter.

The school district has slammed the conversation as “inappropriate,” and it has unnerved some parents and left others angry. It also has spurred a debate on social media on the complexity of discussing race in the classroom on social media.

The Pflugerville Independent School District has not identified the teacher or released the full scope of the conversation.

“Deep down in my heart, I’m ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one,” the teacher says in the 57-second video.

Some students in the class respond with laughter.

“So white is better than all?” asks the student, who seems to be holding the cell phone that’s recording the interaction.

“Let me finish,” the teacher replies. “I think everybody thinks that. They’re just not honest about it.”

“I am not racist, though. I like all types of kinds,” one Black student responds.

“So, you said you are what? You are racist,” another student asks.

“I think everybody is racist at that level,” the teacher replied.

The student then asks the teacher to repeat himself, but the teacher says he has “said it enough.”

“I actually respected you for a while, but like now, I ain’t got no more respect for you,” the first Black student said.

The boy’s mother later identified him on social media as Mello. Atlanta Black Star has reached out to the mother, Janae Hardy, for comment. Hardy did not immediately respond to requests for comment but said she is going to ensure that someone was held accountable.

“I’m not letting this slide at all and the bad thing is the school still hasn’t” contacted her, she wrote, “but the news got the info first.”

Pflugerville Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Douglas Killian said the interaction “does not align” with the district’s core beliefs.

“The video of the conversation includes statements that we find wholly inappropriate,” he said in a statement.

“Pflugerville ISD and Bohls MS work together to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for our students. The advisory activity was inappropriate, inaccurate, and unacceptable. This type of interaction will not be tolerated in PfISD schools,” it continued.

Brian Hennington, who has a child who attends Bohls Middle, said the conversation was in poor taste.

“There are other personal experiences we’ve had as people of color that we had individually, but to see this in the classroom setting is just not acceptable,” Hennington told KVUE-TV.

However, commenters on social media pointed out that even though the discussion was inappropriate for a middle-school class, the teacher’s remarks were grounded in some facts.

What is Ethnocentrism?

Cambridge Dictionary says ethnocentric is believing that one’s “customs and traditions of your own race or nationality are better than those of other races.”

Merriam-Webster defines ethnocentrism as “the attitude that one’s own group, ethnicity, or nationality is superior to others.”

The teacher’s remarks weren’t “right, but this is the reality,” one Instagram user wrote. “This conversation was better had in a university setting in a debate class,” she added.

“Because we all believe our specific kind to be superior,” the user also said.

Twitter user @KingsupremeM wrote: “I know what he’s getting at and he’s right. Deep down we all think our specific race is better. People might not want to admit it. He didn’t say he didn’t like other races. Also, this is not a conversation he should be having with those kids.”

While race is a social construct, social scientists say that ethnocentrism can develop when one group judges another’s culture based on their cultural ideals. It occurs when someone believes their culturally specific practices are “natural” or “right.”

However, social scientists argue the concept differs from racism, which is prejudice based on preconceptions formed from negative stereotypes. There is a positive side of ethnocentrism, some argue.

Cultural anthropology Sheila S. Walker said that affirming her ethnocentrism is a way to acknowledge her “beingness as an African American” and she expected “others to do so also. I take anyone’s failure to do so as an attempt to deny my person, my heritage, my culture.”

“Whereas I share in generalized U.S. culture, the version of it that is most intimately mine, in a society in which people of African and European ancestry have had radically different historical and present experiences, is specifically African American,” Walker wrote in an essay republished in The Journal of the Association of Black Anthropologists.

Walker still points out there are conflicting views about the line between ethnocentrism and racism.

“What is needed is to progress from a position in which ethnocentrism, the awareness of ethnic and cultural differences and the conscious appreciation of one’s own ethnic characteristics, is also, in fact, racist. This is a twofold and complementary process. First of all, the basic fact needs to be acknowledged that no culture is inherently superior to any other,” she wrote.

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