Not American, obviously. but for what it's worth:
I used to teach at a College of Further Education. Because I live in Coventry, and because I taught on a number of courses, the students I dealt with were a pretty diverse bunch, all at different levels of achievement.
Now, I start on the basis that every human being, regardless of colour, gender, sexuality, etc, is as much of a dimwitted reprobate as I am. Level playing field, no fear, no favour. We work upwards from there - or not, as the case may be - and quite generally, everybody has something that can be worked with, drawn out and improved upon. That's people, and they'll always surprise you.
So comes the Team Meeting for one course, and there's an Indian lad who's having problems. He's withdrawn, his work is poor and his attendance haphazard. General view, he should be dropped, he's not interested. Says I "Haven't you talked to him?". Say they "Oh, young men from that culture don't engage with anyone outside it." "Really?" I say. "Because he talks to me. He knows everything about Star Trek and Quantum Leap, and he understands a lot of it. He writes himself, and it's good stuff. But his parents don't think he can make a living at it, so they've pushed him into this. He needs a different course." Upshot was that after a little more pushing, the Head of Department contacted the Imam of the boy's mosque, who spoke to the parents. Last I heard, the lad was an Imam himself, as well as a published author. I don't take responsibility for that - he did it himself - but he got the chance because somebody was prepared to listen.
I was nobody's' ally, nor hero. Just a teacher doing what teachers are supposed to do -support their students. If we all do what we're supposed to do, regardless of all other considerations but our common humanity, we'll at least have made a start.