We speak with Jillian McRae and Sam North, English and history teachers at Ossining (NY) High School, and their student, Alaysha. For 15 years, Sam and Jillian have co-taught a college-level course called “racism, sexism, and classism: a popular approach.” They focus on pervasive systems of power, and encourage students to discuss their own experiences of privilege, disadvantage, and intersectionality.  


00:00-00:46 Intros

00:46-01:54 Ossining’s demographics

01:54-03:35 Latiné as an alternative to Latinx or Latino/a

03:35-06:27 Origin of SUNY Racism, Classism, & Sexism course

06:27-09:16 Why students take the course

09:16-10:37 “Popular approach” in the course title

10:37-14:26 Curriculum

14:26-17:02 Avoiding “losing” students during controversial topics

17:02- 18:47 Student conversations outside of class

18:47-21:15 Impact on other classes

21:15-23:47 Impact on ethical thinking

23:47-25:52 Religion

25:52-28:15 Materials

28:15-28:25 Alaysha: what she values in the course

28:25-31:59 Conversations in class; for example, relationships between Black boys and Black girls

31:59-35:23 Teachers modeling relationships for students 

35:23-40:23 Ossining: Increasing equity and implementing culturally responsive education

40:23-43:15 Outro


Click here to see the full transcript of this episode. 


  • SUNY Racism, Classism, Sexism – Book List
  • Racism, Classism, Sexism: A Popular Approach – University at Albany Fall 2020 – Spring 2021 – Syllabus
  • White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh


Images taken from “Jillian McRae and Sam North: Race conversations in the classroom”, a video directed by Manauvaskar Kublall (Future for Learning Vimeo) 

Soundtrack by Podington Bear