The same student who stuck up for me and said that I was light skinded and not white was what we here in this neighborhood call ghetto. I mean, to some extent, most things around us are ghetto, but all the other kids called him ghetto. I had to tell him that he couldn't call me 'Blood' or 'Dog' as I was his teacher, and it was disrespectful. He did try hard to respect my wishes. We had a conversation that went something like this:
[student walks into the room, sees teacher]
Student: [kind of cocky] What up, Blood? [looks at teacher and says quickly]: I mean, What up, Dog? [now looking really flustered] I mean, what up, mama? [now totally embarassed] I mean, what up, teacher? [Student sits down and puts his head down, after having totally confused himself]
I guess it wasn't really a conversation, because I didn't have to say anything. It's tremendously powerful when you realize you can get the kids to do what you want with just a look. It's also something that will never ever happen without them having a tremendous amount of respect for you. It's a triumph.