One of my students said today, aloud, in front of a whole class (we were just about to leave, and someone had asked me about my other class, and the student's comment came as a response to my answer): "[Ethnic group] are liars."
Holy Cow. I was taken aback.
And then I told the student that big generalizations like that were inappropriate. But not in any sort of brilliant or stunning way. Alas.
My students usually try not to be racist. They don't generally want to be racist. Sometimes they're insensitive, and sometimes they're closed-minded. But they really don't WANT to be racists. That's one of the things that makes them wonderful to work with.
I think I need to talk to the student about how that comment sounds racist, and how s/he might want to think about people of [Ethnic group] who might be in the room.