Tag Archives: lessons

Early Lessons in Racism

When I was in 5th grade, a kid in my class brought in about a dozen baby hamsters to give away to classmates who wanted them (a scenario that, as a teacher now, I can’t even believe was allowed to happen, but I digress)…

Of the roughly 12 hamsters, 11 were beige and 1 was black. I approached the hamster cage to make my choice (not having asked my parents permission to have a pet, just straight up assuming that because I wanted it, it shall be mine). I perused the choices and stated with authority, “I definitely think the beige ones are cuter.”

My teacher, who was a tyrant and certifiably batshit, got wide in the eyes and said, “That is extremely racist. You’re taking the black one.”

The black one had patches of fur missing. Its eyes were swollen shut. It had one ear.

My preference had nothing to do with color. Also, I was 10 years old. And it was A FUCKING HAMSTER.

Still. I never made that mistake again.