Ten years ago, I sat down with my then 8-year-old daughter to read a book before bedtime. The book was sort of a modern-day "boy who cried wolf" story, only it was about a little girl named Lucy who had a bad habit of telling lies.

In the story, Lucy borrowed her friend Paul's bike and crashed it. Lucy lied to Paul, telling him "a bandit" jumped in her path and caused the crash. I saw the image and stopped reading. I was stunned. The image on the page was the racist stereotype of the "Mexican bandit" wearing a serape, sombrero and sandals.

By training, I am a critical race theorist in education who understands that racism is ingrained into the fabric of our society in general, and in educational institutions in particular. One area of my research is about how people of color experience racial microaggressions, which are often subtle but significant attacks – verbal or nonverbal. They can take on many forms, such as remarks about one's identity, and occur because of institutionalized racism.

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