Racism in Schools

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Kozol considers the current American society as one which is the most divided in history. Moreover, he makes his inferences from the observations which he made that included students, parents, and teachers. Early on in his career, Kozol started teaching in a segregated public school in Boston but later moved to another suburban school within the same region. He noticed some differences between the two types of schools with racial segregation being the most dominant. Despite the fact that there had been a ruling by the supreme court regarding how unconstitutionally segregated education was, Beauford asserts that “it still had no impact in most schools that Kozol visited or taught” (Beauford, Domenica). On the other hand, Kozol noticed that in most non-white schools, there was no mixing with white students.

The situation surrounding racism in schools was dire at the time and required attention, but most individuals considered segregation in schools as something of the past. Little attention was on this issue as most reports by the government bodies only focused on the low reading scores, poor motivation, and high dropout rates. Moreover, some states such as Detroit, Baltimore, and Milwaukee enforced laws that saw black male students study in different classrooms as those of their white counterparts. Beauford explains that “over time, the culture spread to other states which include New York, Washington, and Philadelphia” (Beauford, Domenica). At the time, only Martin Luther was the only activist who voiced out this matter with suggestions that kids should school together.

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Internalized Racism

Unlike the ruling passed in the case Brown v. Board of Education, the relevant bodies that would enforce the elimination of segregated schools now sought to support Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) ruling. A few schools in most urban centers still showed signs of reforms, but nonetheless, the issue was a pressing matter. Similarly, segregation still prevails in most American schools. Regarding internalized racism, with or without the acceptance of many people, it has turned out that in most instances the white students receive a better ranking compared to the people of color (Kohli, Rita, Roy, Johnson, and Linda, Perez). The Critical Race Theory and its framework have assisted in showing the gap that exists when it comes to classroom pedagogy, different school resources, and the curriculum. The impact of these factors towards the performance of the people of color is responsible for defining their identity.

Most non-white and low-income students believe that their poor performance comes about due to the inferiority they possess. It, therefore, becomes evident that internalized racism comes to play here as they think whites have a higher intellectual ability than them. However, it is important to note that the lowly performing children face quite challenging structural injustices that distract them from dedicating enough time to their studies. For this reason, racism faced by students does not thrive only on individual grounds, but its instigation could also be due to other institutional factors. The realization of internalized racism stems from the fact that students start having inborn negative stereotypes based on their race. The issue is attributable to the manner in which the white majority in the United States make these students feel (Kohli, Rita, Roy, Johnson, and Linda, Perez). Despite the fact that the African Americans, Hispanics among others are all categorized as people of color, racism in schools affects children from these backgrounds on different magnitudes.

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Improving Diversity

In a move to put an end to racism in schools, the educational system in the United States ought to identify and devise solutions to problems emanating from diversity. One of the ways could be through the adoption of a multicultural system that grants pupils a chance to learn histories of various Americans without creating any biases (Justin, Quaempts). Ultimately, the environment created will be conducive not only for students but also for teachers and parents. On the other hand, parents can take a step of introducing their kids to the various cultural and ethnical backgrounds while they are of a tender age. Therefore, they would have made their children to appreciate the uniqueness presented by the differences and in the end reversing the stigma associated with racism in schools.

Concerning the perceptions held by students, they will find the negative racial attitudes of the past unimportant and thereby abandon such beliefs as they have little importance to their lives and those of others. Moreover, they will see other pupils unique and equal given their skin color and personal abilities. Students will positively embrace one another to the point Justin asserts that “it would become a problem for anyone to interfere with the healthy relationships that prevail along the way” (Justin, Quaempts). Important to note is that racism is not an inborn trait but rather something which is taught, promoted, and instilled in the minds of kids as they grow up. The initiative by parents and teachers to teach children equity will translate to the end of segregation and racism in virtually all schools and other education institutions across the globe. However, when teaching young children of ethnicity and cultural differences, we ought to only address the legitimate concerns and issues that surround their young lives.

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Works Cited

Beauford, Domenica. Savage Inequalities: Children In America's Schools Jonathan Kozol 1991. 1st ed., New York, Broadway Books, 2009.

Justin, Quaempts. "Schools Can Improve Diversity, Impede Racism In U.S.". Confederated Umatilla Journal, vol 5, no. 15, 2014, pp. 1-4.

Kohli, Rita, Roy, N. Johnson, and Linda, H. Perez. "Naming Racism: A Conceptual Look at Internalized Racism in US Schools." Chicano/Latino Law Review 26 (2006)

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