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Biology Class Asks Students To Question Racial Stereotypes

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Students post characteristics on a whiteboard as part of a class on DNA and genetics.
Armando Trull
Students post characteristics on a whiteboard as part of a class on DNA and genetics.

Seventh-graders at Cesar Chavez are being asked by their older classmates to group 20 different pictures of people according to race and ethnicity as part of a biology experiment.

Most got it wrong. One student tells 10th-grader Sarina that she looks Spanish.

"But I'm not, I'm only one-third Spanish. I am mostly black and [Arab]...You can't categorize people just by their skin color, hair texture or anything like that," she explains to her classmates.

Biology teacher Alexandra Fuentes hopes this approach will empower her students to reject stereotypes of all kinds.

"Pushing them to question the information that they receive and think more critically. That, they can apply to anything in their lives in the future," Fuentes says.

Wendall Kyler, 16, says he initially mistook a lot of people as white.

"It really doesn't matter [what someone's race is] because we're all just human," he says. "We're all just people."

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