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Monday, January 05, 2009

Comments

Esther Carrera

I commend you for taking a stand. I wish I had done so a long time ago. I wasn't aware, or chose to ignore the racist behavior that still exists in our schools. I've been called deragatory names and have been sent insulting emails regarding Mexican Americans in the name of "just joking around". I work at a school where some people are offended that parent letters are translated into spanish and so on. I regret that I didn't take a stand.

The same people who are intolerant of other races are also intolerant of people with disabilities. Had I taken a stand then maybe I wouldn't be in the situation I am now. I will no longer look the other way.

Schools are supposed to be equal and a safe haven for our students. It's not. I've heard and seen just how unfair schools can be. Why do some students have their schedules changed with no questions asked and other do not? Why do the students who least need help get the most help? Why is it that when a Latino kid gets in trouble an administrator says their behavior is typical of their country when it's not. When a Latino kid and a White kid get into trouble together, the white kids is sill allowed to participate in school activities and the Latino kid is not. Why. Because racism still exists.

Just curious... Did you ever seek legal counsel for the leave you were forced to take?

Roshni Patel

There are many things wrong with the example given regarding racism in the workplace. First, educators are engaging in racist acts towards eachother. Is this the example being given to students? The ones whom we hope to educate become better citizens of the world? Yet we ourselves decide that it should be joke about? If they see how painful and hurtful their "joke" was to an adult, imagine how painful a child would feel when they are faced with racism. Most students would not have the patience and poise to ignore the acts and walk away from a situation and would act out. The fact that even the principal, the one person who is supposed to be "the head of the school" and the face of the school, decided to face this act by saying "lighten up, its a joke" proves the point that racism is everyone in our every day life. A school aged child or teen learns much at school regarding what to say and what is "cool". Is this what we want to teach children? No wonder the problem keeps occuring. This type of behavior is tolerated or not taken seriously. Also, to essentially push away certain students and give up on them in unethical as an educator. Of course school want to do well, but what is more important? Numbers or the education and well being of your students? Whoever picked numbers is in the wrong field. Why would any one group of student be more or less important than the other? If the black students seemed to be doing poorly compared to the other groups in the school, first find out why this is happening and then work on a solution to help those students improve. What does it say to a child when he and everyone that is like him is being left out in the education process and essentially ignored? To me, that is against everything an educator stands for and should not be tolerated.

Phuong Pham

I would've never thought that our educators, teachers, administrators that are suppose to be role models to our children are saying these racist slurs. The fact, that they laugh about it and continue to make jokes about it, is so ignorant. I can't believe that there are teachers like that. I understand that there are lazy teachers and teachers that can't teach, but to thought that there are teachers like these and administrators. It makes me feel uneasy about the school system.

Also, the fact that the administrator didn't want their fellow employee to complain to the district that these things are happening. What kind of administrator is this?!? They are not even trying to prevent this from happening? If I was the administrator, I would let the teachers know what they are doing wrong, let the community know, let everybody know so I'll be able to get rid of them. I would not want my students be near them. I can't imagine the things they would say to the students.

Sally Zhen

While reading the article, I was not surprised to find myself nodding in agreement with the points raised. As an undergraduate student fulfilling requirements for a minor in education studies, I would like to think that I have become knowledgeable of the education system and the problems students and educators face. Pursuing my graduate degree in education has only helped me become more knowledgeable; more fully aware of the fact that racism is still a problem that not only exists in education, but also in other aspects of our lives as well.
As the article mentions, “it’s easier to point to socio-economic factors to explain persistent inequities we see in our schools” than to look at race as the issue. Unfortunately, more times than not, it is students of color that suffer from low socio-economic status and therefore receive an inequitable education when compared to their high-income, typically White, counterparts. With little being done to close the widening achievement gap between these groups, I feel that racism should come into question because of the way race ties in with socioeconomic status. One cannot simply look the other way to socioeconomic status and ignore race when addressing inequities in school; socioeconomic status and race are simply too intertwined when it comes to education to believe that racism is not part of the problem as well.
I have been stereotyped based on my race during my school, which I find to be a form of racism, although it was in a more positive form-is there such a thing as a “positive form of racism” or would that be contradictory?- than that which is mentioned in the article. I have no idea where the stereotype that all Asians are mathematics and science geniuses originated, but I am certainly one that goes against that stereotype. Math and science are my least favorite subjects and I do whatever is in my power to avoid them. I would secretly loathe when teachers acted surprised that I did not know calculus as a junior in high school, or when my non-Asian friends would ask me for help on some chemistry homework that I could not help with and grumble over the fact that I am Asian so I should be a math and science whiz.
When it comes to education, pretending that racism does not exist will only compound matters and make the situation worse. I agree with the article that students of color are typically the students that suffer from the widening achievement gap and current legislation is not working, partly because it fails to address that racism is at the root of the problem. While the goal of education is to cultivate students to become knowledgeable citizens and leaders of the future, we cannot succeed if some students are marginalized and ignored. The article reminds us that it is time to look beyond test scores and number logistics, to see the students behind them, and realize how our education system is failing them because it is neglecting to address the huge impact race is playing.

Judy Maxwell

The episode of racism that you encountered at your school is appalling. Although I am not yet a professional in the education field, I have an abundance of experience as a student. For the majority of my k-12 years, I attended educational institutions that were supposedly “good schools.” These schools had a reputation for being academically challenging and producing competent and prepared students. Unfortunately, these schools lacked diversity. In particularly, they were composed of a majority of white students and staff. Being a part of the minority, it was easy for me to recognize the differential treatment given to Black students. Whether consciously or involuntarily, Black students were treated as subordinates. In the classroom, they we would be encouraged less to participate and teacher expectation was kept at a minimum. This was seen everywhere except for the athletic field. Blacks were always coach’s favorite, and encouraged to spend more time on the field than in the library. To me this says, Blacks youth should keep their craft to the field and leave the brain power for the White folks. This treatment was especially evident with Black males.

This kind of discrimination occurs all too often. I believe that educators are responsible for decreasing this type treatment in schools. It begins by making all staff aware of these disparities, whether they believe they are contributors or not. Once aware of it, the educator can then make a conscious effort to include and encourage all students, regardless of race or preconceived expectations.

lilmarcus1@aol.com

I would like "the devil's advocate" to email me with a response to my comment about her "ideas"

Marcus Reynolds

I would like to comment on the person that decided to "play the devil's advocate". First off I would like to say that you sound very ignorant and inexperienced when you speak of African American achievement in schools. You sound as if you are from the outside looking in and have not experienced being in those settings yourself. And you are obviously not black so using the term "nigger" is politically incorrect and unacceptable. If you don't know your history, just like you don't know about african american achievement in schools, the word nigger was and still is used as an insult to black people around the world, especially in the United States. As a person and especially as a person who is not black you should refrain from using that term and speaking on matters you don't understand fully.

Amy respondeburg

I feel that this article is pointing out the "elephant in the room" subject of racism in America. Usually, it is not brought up and if it is, it is intended as a joke. But it is not a joke, and the incident that occured at that place proved it. What if it had been another race being demeaned, then the tables would turn and it would be the other races defending themselves. THis article calls out the fact that although some people don't think real racism or hatred for another race is alive, to some it is apart of their everyday life and is very real. To the DROP SCIENCE commentator, it is clear that you are an outsider looking in. If you were a person of color and went through racism on the receiving end, you would not feel as though racism was being used as a crutch. It is clear that it is a real issue and that saying that its a crutch verifies that you are not involved with that whole subject, so maybe sticking to subjects that are in your field will help you, and if not then think about "both sides of the story" equally.

William Jackson

I read with interest your experiences with racism at your school. I teach at an inner city school and at a local college. So I’m consistently exposed to an environment with students. I personally don’t think that I have had anyone directly exhibit racism in the way you wrote from your experiences. My sister says that I look to crazy or militant for any one to try me. I guess since they know I write for three blogs and teach college courses that I’m fairly intelligent, so a Black man with a Masters and writes is a serious threat to them, even to some Blacks.

I can see that the administration allows this behavior and in some way encourages it by their lack of deterring this behavior. My question is why are parents not concerned and made aware of the actions at this school? Has someone not anonymously spoken to parents to evoke change or at least discussed this behavior. I have been teaching for 22 years and do agree that there is and will always be racism in education, but only to a degree that teachers and parents allow.

This behavior in the school is not acceptable, what troubles me is that I they can approach you with such malice and disrespect what are they doing to the students???

Wm Jackson
wiliam.jackson@ewc.edu

DROP SCIENCE

I'M GOING TO PLAY DEVIL'S ADVOCATE HERE...BECAUSE IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO. EVERYONE COMING ACROSS YOUR ARTICLE NEEDS TO SEE BOTH SIDES.

Schools are funded with public money, the majority of the money belonging to affluent white folks. They have never as group claimed to be alturistic although their political representatives sometimes do.

I want to believe your collegues called another facualty member a nigger in front of you but I think you're using racism as a cover for a much more troubling problem.

The real question that should be asked. is why black students perform so badly why other minority groups do so much better.
Some of your peers have come to the conclusion that black people are just less intelligent. They are the ones who "dumb down" education for the students who can meet the mandates. Those students (and those student's parents) often feel that they are not allowed to perform to their potentialc. Aside from private tutors and other privledges of the middle and upper-middle class, the biggest socioeconomic difference between black students and the general is black america's disregard for "white education". Ignorance is in, self-contempt is in, but assimulation is not accepted in many pockets of black america. Talking proper english is considered "White". Why should it come as a surprise that students that come from such a poor social enviornment perform so poorly on standardized tests?

Black people love to use racism as a crutch for the embarassing conditions in their communtites.

Next: DROP SCIENCE discusses the two social groups with the highest incidence of AIDS: black men and gay men.

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