2022 Academic Exhibition


Teaching Uncomfortable Texts about Race in Secondary Education

Faculty Advisor

Lisa Oliverio

Student Status



English and History

Publication Date

Spring 2022

Presentation Type

Research Essay



Degree Program

English, History


In light of recent events in America, school districts are having to be more and more careful about how they teach anything about race. In a recent board meeting that took place in the Rockwood school district, members of the community were calling for books to be banned because they touched on race and used inappropriate language. It is important to teach uncomfortable texts about race, and there are ways for teachers to use these texts so that students and other school community members do not feel they are being indoctrinated into any new teachings. The text that I will use to represent what is being taught in the classroom is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I will argue that schools need to teach uncomfortable texts about race because it will help to create a more well rounded student who has empathy and is a contributing member to our democratic society. Using this more modern take about racial inequality I can discuss how teaching language arts has changed due to the language of young adult literature, the issues that cause books to be challenged, and how outside voices believe teaching anything on race becomes teaching the youth critical race theory. In this presentation I will use The Hate U Give because it teaches about race and social constructs from the African American perspective, and show how teaching uncomfortable texts about race helps students to see things from different perspectives.


Nat Paasch is double-majoring in English and History. His presentation highlighted the importance of using young adult literature in schools to combat systematic racism. Teaching about social issues in the classroom is imperative to the development of students. Teaching books like The Hate You Give provides a connection to students’ lives and educates them on different perspectives and experiences. Teaching how to combat systematic injustice provides students with a well-rounded education. It can be uncomfortable to have these conversations, but it is critical for growth. Students lose valuable lessons on how harmful systemic racism is when fiction from marginalized voices is ignored, or worse, taken off the shelves.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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