Diversity in Schooling Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2994 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Race

Diversity & Racism in Schooling

Any place where number of people of different culture, language or color, live that society usually generates prejudices among people. Societies where people live with full of prejudices affects the way in which a society grows or develops. These factors not only affect society but they also affect the people who are part of that society. More specifically, it causes negative impact on children especially in educational institutes while slowing down the rate of progress both educational & mental of a student.

In South Africa people had to suffer because of apartheid. However, in America the situation is not as grim but still biases and prejudices exist. In America people of color still face low levels of educational performance & overall quality of life.

Racism

Racism may be defined as belief, behavior or attitude that shows that people of a particular race are inferior or superior to others. Racism means behavior towards a person which shows no respect or value to that person. In America it is solely based on skin color or race. In American schools generally white students have superiority over the black and other races and that is why racism and white racism may be considered synonymous. In reality the racist discrimination does not only exists between blacks & whites only. Other minority groups like Hispanics, Asians etc. also suffer from this plague.

Reasons of Developing Racism

Experts say that a child starts recognizing color differences as early as age two. As the child grows starts his primary education, he/she starts identifying with his or her own racial group. This is the phase when children develop a particular preference pattern to races.

Though person from his childhood observes difference between him and the person belonging to different races but the major source for a child to develop a racial behavior is his parents. Parents can influence their children to observe difference between him and other children. Parent children relationships become important because parents are the ones who can guide children the most. In the absence of proper guidance children are misguided by other racist elements working in the society.

After home a child spends most part of day at school, so, we can say that school's atmosphere, school's style of teaching and most importantly the teachers can play a vital role in developing a racial behavior or attitude. Teacher's behavior, method of teaching can convert a normal student into a victim of racism. There are many ways in which teachers could instill a sense of racism in students. Some teachers may be discriminate in grading or even passing remarks in classrooms. Small things like seating arrangements in classrooms could foster racism. Seating arrangements should be such in which children of different races should be encouraged to sit together rather than in a segregated manner.

Not only teachers but peers as well play some part in developing racial attitude. Student from a particular race are more likely to have friendship with the student of the same race leaving behind students who are in minority. Also children from dysfunctional families are quick to relate to different racial groups because of their own disturbed backgrounds. Other than teachers, cleaners, office staff, canteen staff and casual workers can even become a source of racism in schools.

Extent of Racism in Schools

In most of the public schools racism exists and is growing to a greater extent day by day. In some schools racism is happening to such an extreme extent that students in minority are not able to learn. It affects their minds, intelligence, sharpness, efficiency with which they progress in studies.

There are instances when some children became racist bullies making other students' life a misery, hurling cruel taunts at them. It is also common for black students to get taunted by other students only because of their skin color or peculiar speaking style. This behavior affects the children's psyche and children may become withdrawn and quiet after such incidents instead of being playful and their bubbly selves. The children may feel anxious and unhappy and some may even have trouble making friends. By making fun of clothes, food or physical appearance and people's accents or names some children try to appear superior to other minority group. This behavior may cause other students to shy away from school and may have trouble studying and concentrating in class resulting in lower results in their exams.

Playgrounds are generally considered a place in schools where incidents of children playing bully and passing racist comments take place. Racial jokes and slurs, derogatory racial stereotyping, often lead to violent acts and hate crimes. It is a known fact that there are different groups like Neo-Nazi skinheads, Anti-Semitic groups and racial gangs that exist in the United States that support violence against people of different races. Inner cities and areas of high density immigration like California & Florida have become famous for such racial groups. Street level crimes are notable but there subtle racial crimes that take place at different educational institutions.

Some times stern action is taken against students who are consistently found involved in racist incidents. However a long-term and broad approach should be adopted. Only schools still have a chance to educate students about diversity and only schools have a better role to play in combating racism.

Issues of African-American Community

There are historical, cultural, and social problems associated with racism and so inferior social status of blacks remains a grim reality not just in the area of education but in overall social standing. When it comes specifically to academic achievement and intellectual functioning, the facts show that blacks continue to lag far behind whites. There have been negative stereotypes about blacks' intellectual abilities a part of American life for a long time. The phenomenon of racism in schools and educational institution in America are more conspicuously faced by Afro-Americans than any other race. Facts show that Blacks have lagged behind in achieving good academic standing due to inherent discrimination in the system because of which their representation in other fields remains dismal.

A general care about people's welfare can be a broad solution to the problem of racism. Government at both federal and state levels must strive to reduce economic inequality between blacks and whites. Schools and homes in which black children are raised and study should become prime targets because these two places can improve the climate in which the young generation of black children will develop their attitudes, ideas and perceptions. Over the years stories of fight of individuals for equal rights belonging to this particular community have surfaced and many black luminaries in different fields have shown that with persistence they can win a battle.

The Problem of Exclusion

There are court battles being raged by parents belonging to black or Spanish and other minority communities. They accuse schools of unequal opportunities and unfair treatment. Council for Civil Liberties in different states and their respective Department of Education have been fighting such cases. There are discriminations against students and schools in low-income and minority neighborhoods. American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU has been actively pointing out flaws in the educational system. For example, schools where mostly black and Latino students study, offer far fewer advanced course restricting their future prospects in higher education.

A segregated and thoroughly inferior system of public education exists in many parts in the United States. The poor area schools sometimes have leaky roofs, no toilet paper, and out-of-date books and materials. The flaws in the education system are further exacerbated by impoverished conditions & an atmosphere of racial violence. Due to lack of equal opportunities most bright black students have not been able to achieve their desired goals and they end up in dead end jobs. The situation though has improved a lot but there was a time when black students would not even dream of making it into college, much rarer to get a higher degree. The changes in the system were brought about by the civil rights movement and subsequent civil rights legislation of the 1960s.

Today the representation of participation of Afro-American students and faculty in academia is much greater but still the system has not become totally flawless so as to eliminate racism completely. The heart of the problem lies with the fact that at least one third of the black community is still living below the poverty line and therefore they send their children to increasingly segregated and impoverished public schools. Some critics even blame the education system and prevalent racism in it for the fact that there are more black men in prison than in college.

Problems in Text Books

The text books used to impart education to children particularly those of history & social studies have been full of examples of proclivity towards racism. The situation was worst in the beginning & minority groups were always portrayed in text books in a negative way. "This was the situation in 1964 when… [END OF PREVIEW]

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