My presentation focused on my learning with regards to internalised racism and in particular my personal and professional experiences. Of value to me in doing this presentation was the opportunity to share my research with the wider research community and to develop myself as an educational leader. As result of this presentation, along with my colleagues I was extended an invitation to present a lecture at the School of Human Development as part of the teaching training programme in relation to identity development.
One aspect of my research relevant to both my work as a teacher and counsellor is the idea that Maori internalise racism experienced externally. What this means is that a person will take on in their own thinking and speaking the negative ideas about themselves as Maori. An example of this is when a young person either thinks, believes or says "there's not point trying I am not brainy enough" or "us Maori's are dumb - that's what everyone believes". Not only is internalised racism something that young Maori demonstrate but also the education system and their teachers. In my experience often as teachers we don't even notice we have internalised racism towards Maori or that we are encouraging our young people to internalise racism they experience.
Over the years I have been teaching in the secondary context one of the ways I notice it the most is sometimes in the ways that teachers relate to their Maori students. Without even realising it teachers engage in classroom practices and ways of speaking that can be interpreted as them themselves believing that their Maori students are not capable of success because they are Maori and because of their personal circumstances.
On a daily basis I engage in conversations with Maori students where they hold on to deficit ways fo thinking and speaking about themselves. What is so difficult about dealing with this within a school context is that it's not just happening to our young Maori at school but also in their homes where sometimes their whanau (also victims of internalised racism) are also supporting the idea that their children are not capable of achieving "like pakeha do".
One way I believe that we can, as educators, combat this is through our relationships with our young Maori. By developing positive and genuine relationships with our Maori students we are better able to encourage our students of the possibility of their academic capability. What is key about the nature of our relationships with our young Maori is that they experience them as real genuine care. When this happens young Maori begin to believe that maybe they can achieve because their teacher (someone who cares) believes in them.
Personally, I believe this is the only way young Maori can begin to experience the possibility of hope for themselves not just while at school but into their future.