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?
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