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Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville Leans into Community Conversations about Race

By Peter Gaines, Upper School Director, Tandem Friends School
Walking behind two 7th graders into our screening of I'm Not Racist… Am I?, I watched one look to the other and say, “I don't think I'm a racist.” She smiled. As her classmate looked her way, he said, “I guess we'll find out.”
I don't like to think I'm a racist either. But I knew enough walking into our Community Hall with all of our 7th through 12th graders to know that the film would be reminding the three of us - and the rest of our community - that those of us who are white face the hard truth of being consistently advantaged by institutional racism. Not because we are bigots, but because of the way our whiteness allows us to benefit from the racist structures of our society. 
As Upper School Director, I sit in my office, which at one time was slave quarters on the property where our school is situated on a hilltop overlooking Charlottesville, Virginia. I can nearly see Thomas Jefferson's Montic…

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