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Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom Paperback – August 1, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1595580740 ISBN-10: 1595580743 Edition: 1st

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Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom + "Multiplication Is for White People": Raising Expectations for Other People’s Children + The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The; 1 edition (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595580743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595580740
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A godsend . . . honest and fair, yet visionary and firm."
Quarterly Black Review

"Phenomonal. . . . [This book] overcomes fear and speaks of truths, truths that otherwise have no voice."
The San Francisco Review of Books

"Here, finally, is multiculturalism with a human face."
Teacher Magazine

"Provides an important, yet typically avoided, discussion of how power imbalances in the larger U.S. society reverberate in classrooms."
Harvard Educational Review

About the Author

Lisa Delpit is an Eminent Scholar and Executive Director of the Center for Urban Education and Innovation at Florida International University in Miami, where she lives. Her work is dedicated to providing excellent education for marginalized communities in the United States and abroad. Herb Kohl is a recipient of the National Book Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He was the founder and first director of the Teachers and Writers Collaborative in New York City and established the PEN West Center in San Francisco, where he lives. He is the author of more than forty books, including the bestselling 36 Children and the classic “I Won’t Learn from You” (The New Press).

More About the Author

MacArthur "genius" award winner Lisa Delpit's article on "Other People's Children" for Harvard Magazine in the 1990s was the single most requested reprint in the magazine's history; Harvard School of Education gave her its award for Outstanding Contribution to Education. She is now the Felton G. Clark Professor of Education at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she lives.

Customer Reviews

Kids will learn better white, black or purple if it is made more fun.
Bradley G. Fetes
Educational institutions must strive to provide equal opportunities to all students for common good.
Kalpana Mukunda Iyengar
I found this extremely important book to be insightful, well-written, and engaging.
Madelyn Campbell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dana M. Pavuk on December 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Even though the focus of this book is working with African-American children, the underlying theme that I took away from this book is the importance of understanding the culture of the children we work with on a daily basis. At one point I taught in an inner-city school with children with a variety of socio-economic and cultural experiences. At another school, I taught in a rural school, with my first class being children of farmers, and another class children of factory workers. Even though I was white, and they were white, I had to understand the farming and factory culture in order to reach my students. Relationship is primary in teaching, because if the children don't trust you, you will not be able to teach them. This book helped me to do that.

This book also helped me understand the social justice part of the teaching profession. Knowledge may be power, but education is opportunity. It's one thing to teach children because you "like" them, it's another to see yourself as doing the work of social justice.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Rosenblum on September 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a must-read. Many important issues are presented which I had never engaged with before, even in my teaching program, and even in a class in which the teacher urged us to read this book (but didn't make it mandatory).

To cut to the quick, though, I have a few problems with it. Delpit seems to suggest that white teachers are not direct enough with minority (esp. black) kids, and this is a source of confusion, because black parents have a much more direct style than white parents, and so black kids don't know what to do when they aren't being ordered around as at home. Perhaps this is true, but what she doesn't say is that black parents also tend to use corporal punishment to enforce their authority... should we white teachers then be allowed to hit black kids for disrespecting us or refusing to comply with our commands? Many blacks I've talked to have emphatically argued that indeed, teachers should be allowed to hit the kids. But somehow this must cross the line for Delpit.

Another thing I noticed is that on p. 120, she quotes "a black teacher who taught for 2 years and then left the profession in 1971" as saying that "Minority teachers expect kids to make their own decisions; white teachers tell kids everything to do." This is obviously contradicting what Delpit says in her entire book, yet she does not even address the contradiction after the quote.

Then on p. 173 to 174, she talks about the now-cliched idea that we need to teach disadvantaged kids MORE, not less as we have been doing. Yet we can't teach them boring, minute skills, she says. What she doesn't say is, HOW are we supposed to teach them more when they can't even get the little we are trying to teach them? Is she saying we should pay home visits for extra tutoring?
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Format: Paperback
Anecdote after anecdote, generalization after generalization, this book left me disappointed. I was already frustrated by her conflation of race and class when I got to the "Hello, Grandfather" chapter and read the following:

"In our Western academic worldview, we assume that literacy is unequivocally good, and that everyone should aspire to be literate. Most of us have not taken the time to think about possible drawbacks or political implications of this ideology. Literacy can be a tool of liberation, but, equally, it can be a means of control: if the presses are controlled by the adversaries of a community, then reading can serve as a tool of indoctrination. Governments may want more people literate so that they can be held accountable for upholding laws - whether or not those laws are in the best interest of a particular community."

I had to read this seven different times to make sure I wasn't hallucinating, and to try to imagine just what was going on inside her head when she wrote it. Yes, yes, I suppose my mindset about literacy is culturally derived, but so is EVERYTHING. By the time you deconstruct education to that point, you're dealing with such fundamental aspects of our collective culture (ie, why we even have schools in the first place) that the whole book seems to implode upon itself.

I would recommend that others at least skim this book if they're interested in the topic, but they should expect to use it more to learn about the author and people of her mindset who are involved in this conversation, rather than to actually discover any meaningful teaching strategies or solutions for schools.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V ROUSE on June 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have used this book for in-service training courses on meeting the needs of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students. Delpit is extremely honest and forthright in her discussion of Cultural Conflict in the Classroom -- and how our schools can prepare our CLD students to make their way in the world.
This book is NOT for people who want to say they studied these issues but do not want to risk offending anyone. It is for people who truly want to have these conversations and are willing to get down to the nitty-gritty of dealing with differences, prejudices, and how we prepare students of all colors and backgrounds to be part of our multi-cultural world.
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