CNN published an excellent story about whites who grew up surrounded by racism, but turned against racism as adults.

You may recall the story of Matt Hawn, the high school teacher in Tennessee who was fired for teaching his students about racism and white privilege. He was a tenured teacher for 16 years. He never received anything less than a satisfactory rating. He was also a coach. He has appealed his termination.

Hawn became one of the most prominent casualties in an ongoing debate over how racism and history should be taught to students in the US. His plight has divided people in his conservative, heavily White city near the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

But Hawn’s improbable personal journey is as dramatic as the headlines he’s provoked.

There is nothing in his background that suggests that he’d take such a public stand against racism. Hawn grew up in a White community and says he didn’t have a single nonwhite classmate from kindergarten through high school. He says he was surrounded by people who used the N-word, flew Confederate flags and wore T-shirts declaring “The South Will Rise Again.”

So why did he turn out differently?

The rest of the story probes that question by asking others who turned out like Hawn.

Hawn says he misses teaching and has financial worries now. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help him.

“What am I going to do for health insurance?” he says. “I’m a Type 1 diabetic.”

Matt needs our help while his appeal is pending. I gave $100 to his GoFundMe page. If you are so moved, I hope you will give whatever you can.