Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The American Education System and Racism

As parents we have to worry about so much when it comes to raising our children to become good people and productive parts of society.  Part of that pursuit means ensuring that they are well educated and allowed to engage every aspect of potential in life.  But when you have to deal with people like Marilyn Bart inside the classroom trying to systematically destroy that when their defenses are down, within an environment that is supposed to be safe, you can't help but wonder if it's worth subjecting them to it at all.
A veteran Fairfax County high school teacher has been accused of using racially insensitive language by telling a student to read a Langston Hughes poem in a "blacker" style. 
"She told me, 'Blacker, Jordan. C'mon, blacker. I thought you were black,'" Shumate told the Post. The 14-year-old student claimed that when he refused to continue reading the poem, the teacher read it herself, apparently to demonstrate the style of speaking she meant. 
"She sounded like a maid on the 1960s," Shumate told the Post, saying he asked the teacher if she thought all black people spoke that way. “She read the poem like a slave, basically.”
He said he was reprimanded for talking out of turn and was told to sit down.Shumate told his mother, Nicole Cober Page, about the incident on Tuesday, the Post said. 
I will say that I am not the mother for these type of shenanigans.  I have no patience or desire to give adults the benefit of the doubt when they are in a position to damage my child.  I am the parent that will write an email to the teacher with a cc: the principal and I expect to get any issue addressed in a timely manner.  Some parents think that they are creating a problem for their child (which the corrupt are hoping for) but I feel that it is the exact opposite.  We are our children's best advocate. Paper trails are amazing tools.

The teacher taunted this student in order to get him to do what she wanted.  She wanted him to "do it blacker".  As if the speech used in that poem was not indicative of the time period, region and education level rather than racial identity.  When white folks keep perpetuating the lie that only Black people during this time period spoke in this manner they continue their lying white fairytale. 

Because our children are disproportionately taught by white teachers (which really needs to change) it that means that any of them can be exposed to racially charged language, behaviors and actions by those teachers if they are inclined to use them.  This is the kind of crap that parents of Black children have to guard against everyday and there is a direct correlation between that bias and our children succeeding academically.

These types of people can make our children hate school because their environment is littered with trash disguised as teachers.  So to the Marilyn Bart's out there I would be very careful when you request for a Black person to behave in the manner of your stereotyped mind because you won't get to pick and choose which stereotype they choose to engage!

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