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Arnold Adoff Culture Poem

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Mrs. Mann's Poetry Corner

Introduction: There are many cultures in America. Even one classroom can be made up of numerous background cultures. The key to living in peace is acceptance. This poem would be great to go along with a lesson on American culture or just to read to your class if you observe students teasing others about appearances.

The way I see any hope for later

The way I see any hope for later,
we will have to get
over this color
thing,

and stop looking
at how much brown
or tan there is
in
or on this
woman
or that man.

And stop looking
at who is a woman
and
who is a man.

Stop looking.
Start loving.

by Arnold Adoff
from "All the Colors of the Race"
Poems by Arnold Adoff
Illustrated by John Steptoe
(Beach Tree Publishers, 1982)

Extension: A fun extension for this poem would be to discuss with your class the concept that no one is truly black or white, but rather different shades of brown, red and yellow. You could have each student create their skin color by mixing paint until it matches their skin then color a picture of themselves using their skin colored paint.