In a recent article, Washington Post author Colbert King attempts to ascertain the reason that racism in America continues to plague our nation. The author’s primary focus is the systems that lead to racism without dissecting the solution to the problem. It is a though the author’s only intention is to continue to fuel the problem for entertainment purposes. Racism in America can only prevail with an institutionalized support mechanism. According to the article, continued racism in America is evidenced by the recurring racism in colleges, the inability of the United States to appropriately respond to the causes, and extremist such as Dylann Roof, assassinators of past civil rights leaders, and the continued harassment of Blacks from the Ku Klux Klan. The author pins the problem on racial prejudice.
What is racial prejudice that continues to fuel racism in America?
According to Dictionary Definition : Vocabulary.com, A racial prejudice is a negative attitude towards a group of people based on race — not on direct knowledge or experience. If you prejudice someone, you cause them to have a negative attitude towards someone else.
Where does the attitude of racial prejudice that continues to fuel racism in America originate?
Children develop racial attitudes as young as the age of two. They become aware of differences in the ways that people look as well as gender differences. They continue those pattern by becoming curious about differences in physical characteristics such as skin color, hair color and texture, and eye shape. As children enter in the age of three they seek explanations regarding physical differences. They become more aware of their differences and seek advice on how to classify those differences. As they progress to the age required to enter school they identify themselves with the ethnic group that they belong. They continue by comparing and contrasting racial differences and become more aware of any family traditions and history associated with differences in their race. The attitude for racism originates from family responses to the external explorations of children.
How does education continue to validate the racism in America?
For the Black child, the racial attitudes taught by parents are supported by the actions of White teachers. Since Indians, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Blacks share the experience of being forced into slavery or indentured servitude they are forced to teach their children to be wary of people and the systems in their environment.
This train of thought becomes supported by the actions of White teachers who compose the majority of the teaching and educational force in America. According to the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, Black children represent 18% of preschool enrollment, while representing 48% of preschool children receiving more than one out-of school suspension. Alternatively, White students represent 43% of preschool enrollment but only 26% of preschool children receiving more than one out of school suspension.
This pattern of racism in America supports the racial development of White students. As White students attend the primary grades the superiority of their race becomes evident because the majority of their teachers are White and particularly White female as well as their behavior towards Black children.
Teachers discriminate against students by stereotyping according to ethnicity. White teachers may have difficulty in understanding minorities due to the teachers’ rejection of the students’ lifestyles. Schools have a bias against students who do not share the same characteristics as White, female, middle-class teachers. Teachers are more likely to have negative academic and behavioral expectations regarding Black students when compared to expectations of White students. White teachers have more negative attitudes toward Black children and rate Black students more negatively when compared to White students.
The primary reason that racism in America continues to prevail is due to White teachers becoming the support mechanism for the racial attitudes that White children learn and develop.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012
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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
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