On May 17, 2012 in the Chicago Tribune (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-17/news/sns-rt-us-usa-births-minoritiesbre84g1kt-20120517_1_minority-babies-whites-immigration#.T8Oi28dhhMg.mailto) article an interesting statistic was stated; as of July 1, 2011, 50.4% of babies younger than age 1 were minorities , or were minorities of more than one race, this is up from 49.5% in 2010.
As an educator I have seen the demographic change in my classroom, school and division. There are more minorities in our schools. As an educational leader, I cannot help to question how to effectively lead the changing demographic in my school. Firstly, I tell myself all students are the same and that it makes no difference what my ethnicity, race, socio-economic or gender is because is not relevant to effectively lead. Concomitantly, I do have a greater understanding and more often a deeper relationship with students of the same ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic class as myself.
Finally, this leads me to think, “How important it is that leaders represent the same ethnicity, race, socioeconomic class, or gender as those they lead?” Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkol Karman, Cesar Estrada Chavez, Mahatma Gandhi, Gloria Marie Steinem and Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela all lead or have led people of the same ethnicity, race, socioeconomic, and/or gender. Would Martin Luther King Jr. had been just as an effective leader if he were white? All of the above leaders are representative of those they lead or have led. I know the struggle for civil rights, worker’s rights, or women’s rights is different from the struggle to effectively educate all students, but the struggle to effectively educate our students is presently a critical struggle for the country. According to the Chicago Tribune article our classroom demographics are changing and will more rapidly change in the future. When the future students look around in their classrooms, schools and divisions will they see leaders of the same ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic class or is this irrelevant?