While doing a guided reading activity in class this week, my students were asked to write down what they wanted to be when they grow up. Creative, right? After finishing the story, I went back and let students share answers. This is what happened. And I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
Me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Me: “Um, okay, tell me more.”
Jerome: “I want to be Chinese because you can work anywhere.”
At this point, all kinds of stereotypes are running through my head and I’m thinking maybe he thinks all Chinese people are smart and he wants to be smart when he grows up (because, to be honest, as of right now, “smart” is not an adjective that fits him). I’m almost a little impressed with this rationale. Almost.
Me: “What do you mean, work anywhere?”
Jerome: “Because you can’t work at the Chinese food place unless you’re Chinese. It’s a rule, they won’t let you. And if I was Chinese, I could work there and get all the free food I wanted. That food is good.”
At this point, I went on to the next student. I didn’t know what else to say.