I think that growing up in the environment in which I did - largely white, conservative, middle to upper middle class in Southeastern Wisconsin provided for an interesting experience in education. For all intents and purposes, i was hugely privileged. My school had the "Principal of the Year", fantastic graduation rates and university acceptance rates. The few 'minorities' that lived in my town were all fairly wealthy, and their kids were generally on the honors track. I feel like I can make this blanket statement because of how few minorities there really were, or at least 'minority' in the sense that you can tell their 'differentness' visibly so generally,religious or race based minorities. However, I remember one very specific event that resonated with me as a serious limit to our acceptance of all of these different cultures (sarcasm intended).
When my school would nominate students for Homecoming or Winter Ball courts, sports teams and student organizations were allowed to either nominate just one student, if the team/organization was single sex, or nominate both a male and a female if it was an organization with both sexes. I had a male friend, who had recently come out (and in such a small school, everyone was bound to know within hours of such an event), and was also the school's only male cheerleader. On the other end of the spectrum, I had a girl friend who was the only female on our school's hockey team, and was dating the quarterback of our football team. When it came time to nominate students for Homecoming Court, both my male and female friends were nominated as the opposite sex counterpart for their teams. However, our athletic director adamantly refused to let my male friend be on Homecoming Court, while at the same time he allowed my female friend to participate. His reasoning was something along the lines of wanting to make sure there were equal males and females on the court, and since some organizations had only nominated one person, my friend would make it uneven.
Looking back, I wish we had fought harder against our athletic director, who regularly favored his preferred sports and students, especially through the "random" drug testing that somehow was never done on the football and basketball players known to smoke and drink regularly. While I remember being thrilled when my friend came out, and the largely positive response that the student body gave him, it still remained within the educator's realm of power to hold him back, in whatever way they could. In this case, by showing him that he was not equal, he did not have equal opportunity, even for something as seemingly minute as Homecoming court. It scares me that even when a student body may have the potential to work towards a more intersectional educational experience, it is the educator's themselves that limit that potential. I think in some ways, Asher's discussion of bravery and safety in the classroom has its points. While this situation is very different from what she discusses, the principle is the same. It does take bravery to 'out' yourself in an environment that may not respect who you are, and find a way to punish you. I think Asher's commentary on her brave student teachers is interesting, because what she is trying to provide them, may in some ways already be inherent in the students they will eventually be teaching. While she is in many ways condescending to her group of teachers, I think the experience of many students is that sort of openness, while desired and not yet squashed in the mind of the teenager, is not available because the educators have not provided an environment in which it is rewarded.