The increase of home-schooling for African-American

by Emma Desautels on October 19, 2015 - 9:42pm

 

To begin, the article “Racism in schools is pushing more black families to homeschool their children” written by Mrs. Ama Mazama who is a director and a teacher from the department of African-American Studies at Temple University, describes how her study conducted in 2010 explains why there was an increase of home-schooling. To be more precise, she interviewed 74 home-schooling families to understand the reasons behind their choice. The results of her study questions the education curriculum and the attitude of the teachers towards African-American students. First, the curricula viewed in class is entirely based on the European history or as the author titles it as the “European ethnocentrism”. Therefore, this excludes the African-American history from the class material. Thus, coloured children are not informed of their culture or their history. In addition to the European ethnocentrism curriculum, Mazama reports that the white teachers who make-up 85 percent of the public schools, are another important reason of the increase on African-American home-schooling. Parents who were interviewed were concerned by the racist stereotypes that teachers seem to take into consideration. In other words, white teachers still have the notion that African-American are less intelligent, lazier and prone to do crimes. According to her research, these stereotypes have an impact when teachers chose students from the special-education programmes and when they give them a consequences. As the author explains, coloured children are more likely than white children to be identified as cognitively “deficient”. Adding to their bad labelling, white teachers make racial discrimination in their punishment. In fact, Mazama informs that African-American are more likely to give a more serious punishment like a suspension to coloured student than white students. Furthermore, there seems to be a correlation between consequences and the path to prison. The author concluded by describing the positive aspects of home-schooling for African-American families. Even if there is not many education materials available on their culture or history, home-schooling parents have the determination to teach “imparting self-knowledge and self-esteem through positive teaching about Africa and African-Americans” to their children.

After reading this article, many questions about racism immerged. Of course, being a student who studies to become an English teachers in primary school, I felt compelled by this article to understand the problems behind the American education systems and its employees. Even if this article is about the United-States, I would not be surprised if we can find some similar results in Canada. The following text will discuss “if we should readjust our education system by primarily changing the curriculum and sensitizing teachers on how they impact a child with a simple stereotype in mind?” For me, it is clear that the education system should be revised in a way that includes every child that can be sitting in the classroom. It is normal to approach the general curriculum from a specific perception, however it does not mean to become bias by using just one view and excluding the others. Some historical events, like the conquest of the America, should be looked at multiple ways. This would teach students that there is always two sides to a story and that it is never all white or black. In addition, it would help the unity of the class by not excluding the minorities. As mentioned in Erin Winkler article, children start as young as three years old to use racial categories to classify others and themselves in a group which implicates that they begin racial discrimination. In other words, children include and exclude others from their activities or group and even express authority over others. This fact clarifies that minority groups are excluded from the dominant group too young in their lives. I cannot even imagine how much they must feel excluded in their classroom when listening to the dominant group culture over and over again. To modify just a little bit the curriculum, the children from the minority groups will have the general knowledge of their culture and more confidence that they can also achieve as much great things as the dominant group. It can also go both ways, because it teaches white students other views of their culture and history. Secondly, in my view, the teachers are not always aware of the impacts of their actions based on some stereotypes, but it is radical to sensitize them. Knowing that it impacts children’s confidence, education or even the probability to end up in prison, stereotypes most be abolish from education. As mentioned in the article by titled “Children are not colorblind”, children attach meaning to race due to the development of their brain. Unfortunately, their intellect is prone to make stereotypes since it can only classify someone using one characteristics. After that process achieved, it can bring a child to make other assumptions on another traits like intelligence. Based on this fact, one can understand where children start to acknowledge stereotypes. Therefore, the white teacher’s stereotypes may have started as young as the age of three. Consequently, this could explain why teachers might not notice how they have racist stereotypes. For that reason, it is essential to stop this negative infinity wheel of stereotypes by alarming teachers of how they act. This will certainly help teachers to question themselves on their every action to make sure it is not based on their stereotypes, rather based on equality and knowledge. Form that questioning, they will certainly bring up some discussion in class about racism which can be very positive if approached in the right way. As we learned in class, it is important to speak early on to children about this “taboo” subject to remove those early categorisation, stereotypes and discrimination from their brain.

            This article demonstrated how much racism is still very present in the education system. I found that this article was very well written which made it highly comprehensive and eye opening. In addition, the results felt very true and real since it was based on interviews. The only weakness I found was that she couldn’t generalise her results to the entire population due to the small sample size. Knowing that it was her study based on her profession, she obviously agrees with her research findings. For my part, I also agree and mostly understand her shocking results. Honestly, they all make a lot of sense and I will treasure them, because it helped me as a person and mostly as a future white teacher. Even if one does not want to become a teacher, it is still alarming to wander how other professions are affected by their stereotypes?  

Bibliography

Mazama, A.M. (April 10, 2015). Racism in schools is pushing more black families to homeschool their children. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com

Winkler, E.W. (2009). Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young Children Learn Race. Academia, 3(3). Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu

Comments

The reason why I chose to comment on Emma Desautels' post is because the name she gave for her title was very intriguing since we are so often accustomed to reading about students with disabilities, social problems or even children of celebrities being home schooled. Not once have I ever heard of a situation where an African American boy or girl had to be home schooled for being discriminated against because of their skin color. This upsets me because it is the educational system that is being racist of all other system or institutions. As mentors, teachers or even just as adults, they have to teach students about race and racism in a positive way and not in a way which encourages white privileges. I find it interesting how the parents of the home schooled children responded in Mazama's report. The stereotype that African Americans are not intelligent and lazier than white folks still carry on through this generation. They are currently being governed by an African American president who according to me, did a splendid job and this already proves that African American men and women are not lazy, in fact they probably work twice as hard not only to receive a prestigious ranking such as president of the United States but also to earn recognition and respect as well. I am happy to read that there are many positive aspects of home schooling African American families but I do not think that its the right solution to this social issue. I believe that the educational system needs to be fixed rather than pushing away colored people.

I am in complete agreement with Emma on her perspective on how things should be and her opinions formulated based on the article and Mazama's experiment/report. I especially agree with her point on perception and having more of an approach towards a general curriculum. I believe that it is important to engage everyone within a classroom and to avoid excluding certain individuals because those who are excluded will feel a sense of being a minority. I will also be adding on to Erin Winkler's article and how it relates to Mazama's article. Children and teenagers are very well aware of race and without proper guidance or education within that subject matter, they begin to form their own opinions and reflect on what they see going on around them. This is why it is important to teach students about race and racism at an early age. This article begs to question, is there a possibility that in other countries white foreigners face the same issue as colored people do here?

Thank you for this article. It offers further proof that we do not live in a post-racial society, but still live in a society where racism exists. In order to understand why more black children are being home schooled, we must look at the gender stereotypes that follow the black community, specifically black males. Black males are often given negative, generalized traits that create a notion of violence and laziness. As a result, they are stereotyped as prone to committing crime and are therefore a threat to the people around them. This leads to harsher treatment within the school system, whether its in suspension or expulsion rates, or how a teacher treats a black student. For example, the suspension rate for black boys is higher than their counterparts, signifying racial discrimination.

The intersectional approach to race and gender is perfectly demonstrated here. The black male experience greatly differs from the white male experience, which can be internalized by black males. Thus, the very identity of a black individual is affected, since they are forced to navigate between the supposed mainstream reality of equality and the minority reality of a society that stills has discrimination and oppression. This is known as a double consciousness.

For these reasons, black males are often left behind while other students, usually white, are provided with the respect and dignity that black students are left without. This subsequently forces black males to seek other forms of schooling, such as home schooling, after experiencing or in order to avoid prejudice.

Here is an article that further explains the concept of double consciousness: https://honors.uoregon.edu/class/double-consciousness-web-du-bois-and-mo...

Your article is really interesting to me as I, myself, am a person who has faced racism several times because of Canadian white teachers. I have not only had experienced implicit discrimination as white teachers actually thinking that black people are lazier and more inclined to crime, but also downright forward ones where teachers would actually make me the butt of the joke for my race. Oh yes! I have had teachers comment on my eastern asian eyes, making remarks on how they could barely see them and saying that Chinese people would invade the world and that everyone should scotch tape their eyes. Now that I think of it, it is no wonder that in my school, even in my group of friends, it wasn't reasonable for me to tell people that those kind of jokes were inappropriate, racist and hurtful. Teachers are doing it, so how could it be wrong? I would be called a person who couldn't take jokes and people, including teachers, had the guts to tell me that if these jokes bothered me this much, it must have been because I found some truth in them. This is the most preposterous thing I have heard but in some moments, I found myself believing them, which is pretty normal as my teacher, a figure of authority, a person who is supposed to be a role model, told me these things. What is very funny and sad about this is that these jokes and racist comments were made by my high school history teachers. These teachers teach us how civilization was brought up and make us reflect on the mistakes society has made and the solutions we could apply to make our society a better one. Not only does our european-centered history curriculum prevent us from connecting with our cultures, but history is presented to us by biased, racist teachers that devalourize for their ethnicity. I would not want to send my children to the kind of environment I had to live through, but I would because I don't believe home-schooling is the solution. African americans have fought so many years to simply sit in the same classroom as a white person and I, even though I am not an African American, am very grateful for their work as I too probably would not have been allowed the same education that I am if it weren't for them. By homeschooling, we are not in the same place as these white people, affirming our right to have the same education as them and prove them wrong about the stereotypes that are associated with us. It doesn't say in the law that black people are not allowed to study with them anymore, but the hostile environment they set up for people of colour forces them to separate themselves from white people. This all leads once again to segregation when white people and black people weren't allowed to be in the same room. I will send my children to the same schools that I have went to even though it means potential white racist teachers because it will make them stronger and fully aware that they have the same rights as all human beings and that they should seek their rights no matter what and speak up when there is an injustice. However, I don't think they will have to live through the same things I did because I have hope that the next generation will be a lot better and more conscious of making the world a truly better place and excepting everyone for who they are disregarding their race, sexuality or whatever. It will be full of teachers who are conscious about discrimination like you and allies of people who face oppression.

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