A recent rash of events, have refocused attention on race relations which will eventually finds its way into defining the characteristics of a racist school. Scholars and others have held that education is a key factor as we continue to attempt to enhance the quality of life for all. Racist schools will no longer have an opportunity to perpetuate a system that continues to fuel racism.

In a recent article, an author questions the need to alter the name of confederate schools. While the efforts to remove the symbolisms associated with racism are noble, it remains a fact that without the transformation of the cultures of racist schools that continue to perpetuate racism, racism in America will continue to prevail.

How does school discipline identify a racist school?

Racist school characteristics begin with the over-discipline of historically underserved students. According to the United States Office of Civil Rights, this process begins in preschool and continues until the historically undeserved students have become victimized by the school to prison pipeline or graduates with a sub par education. Teachers discriminate against students by implementing differential discipline. Teachers with high percentages of Black students in their classroom are more likely to use an authoritarian classroom management approach. Teachers react to Black student learning experiences that are in opposition to traditional public schools by determining Blacks are incapable of following simple rules and therefore make rules that they deem intolerable. They justify this discipline procedure with the belief that these students want to be disciplined in order to have some order in their lives for a change. Teachers spend more time looking for possible misbehavior by Black students, especially males, and are more prone to respond to Black student behavior by using severe punishments that include corporal punishment and suspensions. The differences between the teachers’ backgrounds that teach them to conform to preset externally fabricated rules and regulations and Black street culture tendencies to derive order as a situation happens cause teachers to resort to punishment for petty rules in order to force obedience at the expense of hindering learning. Schools can avoid the Racist school label by utilizing the Raccelerate Racism Formula which is developed from the Raccelerate Racism Phenomenon.

What school codes are consistent with a racist school?

Many school social codes are unfamiliar and opposed to culturally diverse student home codes. Blacks have difficulty with school instructional concepts and ideas that are absent in their community, culture, or economic environment that ignore or misrepresent their present condition. School instructional procedures include cultural values, orientations, and perceptions that differ from those of Black students. Most elementary and secondary school curriculum focus on activities that are oriented towards white middle-class children. Public schools continue to have culturally based philosophies and curriculum activites that focus on White European and Judeo-Christian values. For example schools continue to require that students have to endure the works of William Shakespeare in order to succeed in Language Arts. William Shakespeare is a philosophy based on European philosophy. Instructional materials and instructors who work well for European students do not necessarily work well for culturally diverse students, and to believe that they do is to assume Black, Latino, American Indian, Asian, Arab and African immigrants, and European-origin students have identical personal, social, cultural, historical, and family traits.

What instructional procedures identify a racist schools?

School instructional procedures include cultural values, perceptions, and orientations that differ from those of Black students. Blacks do well on tasks that require auditory sensory involvement but have challenges when the tasks require visual perception. Blacks categorize pictorial representations in a more relational or holistic manner rather than an analytical or detailed manner. Black students are more likely to learn and recall words that represent concepts that they like compared to words that represent concepts that they dislike. Blacks prefer tactile hands-on learning activities, affective materials to facilitate their learning, approximate time, number, and space activities, and sort word lists by their functional value. Work that is relevant to present time or future time motivates Blacks while they prefer to focus on present time rather than future time, and value people focus over time focus.

In school, Black students become passive informational recipients while in their culture they are involved in a learning experience that is give and take, and in one situation, they may be the learner and in another situation, they are the teacher. Instructional strategies that work with Hispanic and Latino students include using an overhead projector and video clips to help students visualize the instructional material, letting students sit where they please as long as they do not become behavioral problems, giving constant praise, explaining directions in many ways, giving demonstrations, having patience to repeat directions, using hands-on materials, and extending time for assignments and tests.

As Americans continue to focus on destroying symbols that continue to fuel racism, it is a matter of time before the focus becomes racist schools and those attributes that continue to perpetuate racism.

 

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.

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