If you are reading this, chances are you are complicit in the racist education system that exists in our country.
White people, do I have your attention now?
Now let’s define our terms. I use “racist” here to reference institutional racism, that is, any system where, REGARDLESS OF INTENT, there is a significant difference in outcomes between different racial groups. We white people don’t like to think of racism this way. As Peggy Mcintosh wrote, we whites are taught to only believe racism is the act of mean individuals. People who know better realize that racism is the true invisible hand of our society.
White people, dozens of you loved to comment in affirmation of my post disparaging Education Nation; not one of you chimed in on my post talking about the racism of tracking in the suburbs. Are we scared of something?
Here are the indisputable facts: 26% more white boys are proficient in reading than black boys in fourth grade; 32% more white boys are proficient in math in eighth. Black boys do worse than whites independent of class differences. Economic factors do play a role in educational inequality and need to be addressed, but race is a separate and independent factor that cannot be ignored.
White people, just look at the images of the teachers on your Twitter feed and in your blogroll – do you notice a pattern? Those who think getting teachers online is the solution need to wake up and realize we have a skewed perspective, not because we’ve embraced technology already, but because we are almost entirely white.
When the Council of Great City Schools released their recent report, which echoes the reports that have been released quite frequently since the famous 1965 Moynihan report, there should not have been any reaction other than, “Well, of course we knew this, and we’re already talking about solutions.” This should not be news yet again. It is the plain truth for anyone with their eyes open.
White people, ask yourself if you have heard these phrases in your conversations or know what they refer to: “the school-to-prison-pipeline,” “the prison-industrial complex,” “institutional racism,” “the hyper-sexualization of the black male,” “red-lining,” “the Jena 6″… if not, you’re missing part of the understanding of our current and recent history that brought us to this moment.
Eliminating the racist inequality in education – let’s please stop using neutral and safe terms like the “achievement gap” – is not the “civil rights battle of our generation,” it’s not about creating “economic opportunity for all in the 21st century world,” rather, it is a moral imperative. To fail to address it is immoral, unjust, and irresponsible. This is bigger than being about “rights,” this is about human decency.
White people, there are known solutions to these problems out there, we just need to take the responsibility to find them. But first, we need to open our eyes and be honest with ourselves: we support the continuity of a racist system, and “color-blindness” will only allow it to continue.