How should South Africa respond to racism in education?

In a recent incident, parents from the Roodepoort Primary School community expressed their discontent with the appoint of an administrator who they believe is a product of racism in education. Since then, the administration has been replaced with the delight of the many parents who objected to the appointment. The demonstration by the Roodepoort parents provides South Africa an opportunity to overcome the problems associated with racism in education.

The article points out that the 1994 project of Reconciliation may not be working. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a court-like restorative justice body assembled in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.

The TRC, the first of the nineteen held internationally to stage public hearings, was seen by many as a crucial component of the transition to full and free democracy in South Africa. Despite some flaws, it is generally (although not universally) thought to have been successful.

The reason that the author may believe that the 1994 project of Reconciliation may not have worked is due to the response of the Roodepoort Primary School parents. According to the article the racism in education began with the appointment of a Black principal and her deputies. When a black principal and her deputies were appointed, the coloured parents cried foul and demanded that a coloured principal be appointed. The coloured parents also prevented children from entering the school premises. Last week 19 coloured teachers did not report for duty and only black teachers were on the school premises.

In Southern Africa, the term Coloureds (also known as Bruinmense, Kleurlinge or Bruine Afrikaners in Afrikaans) is an ethnic label for people of mixed ethnic origin who possess ancestry from Europe, Asia, and various Khoisan and Bantu tribes of Southern Africa. Besides the extensive combining of these diverse heritages in the Western Cape — in which a distinctive Cape Coloured and affiliated Cape Malay culture developed — in other parts of Southern Africa, their development has usually been the result of the meeting of two distinct groups. Genetic studies suggest the group has the highest levels of mixed ancestry in the world. However, the maternal (female) contribution to the Coloured population, measured by mitochondrial DNA studies, was found to come mostly from the Khoisan population.

Due to this incident of racism in education, South Africa will have to address four major challenges. The first challenge is between the Black teachers and the Coloured teachers. The article indicates teacher behavior that is paramount to how Black and White teachers interact in schools in the United States. Normally, since the Black teachers are in the minority, the White culture will dominate the values of the school. You will also find this prevalent in South African schools. The majority ethnicity of the teaching staff will dominate the school culture. The Black and Coloured teachers will benefit from a team building process designed to reduce the perception of racism in education by uniting the teaching and administrative staff as one united front with the perspective of enhancing the quality of life for all of their students.

What is best for the school is that the culture enhances the educational experience of the students. Black students will find it beneficial to interact with Coloured teachers. For example, one of the biggest problems that White students have in the United States that attend all White schools is that as they enter the workforce, if they have an immediate supervisor that is not White they eventually quit their job because they have not had the benefit of interacting with authoritative figure of a different race.

The Roodepoort Primary School parents will find it beneficial for their children to interact with Coloured teachers and White teachers. This transition will require that teachers transition the parents perceptions of their intentions.

The second challenge is the perception of racism in education that Roodepoort Primary School parents have regarding Coloured administrators. This will require that future Coloured administrators involve themselves in a team building process with Black parents which will focus on enhancing the education of all children who attend the school.

The third challenge is the perception that the Black and Coloured community have regarding which teachers are the best teachers for their children at the Roodepoort Primary School. This will take the effort of bringing the community together to develop an overall strategic plan that will enhance the overall community.

The fouth challenge is the perception that the Roodepoort Primary School parents have of the Coloured teachers. The best way to offset this distrust is to enhance the perception that Black students have regarding Coloured teachers. This will require that Coloured teachers eliminate alleged racism in education by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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About Classroom Racism Exterminator

Racism is a menace and so we’ve been taught for ages which is the primary need for a diversity expert. However, even in this modern society of today where we see a lot of colored celebrities performing on stage with huge fan followings and of course an Afro-America President for the USA, we are still in a phase where racism exists in all its brutal glory and has been eating away at the society like a plague. Classrooms, are one of the most affected areas where color differences and racism exists to its extremes. Even after decades of progress and a lot of communal efforts at bridging the gaps between colored students, white students and teachers, it is sad to say that the disparities still exist and are just as pronounced today as they were back in the 1950s. Colored students, even in the likes of New York City, are attending under resourced schools or have been significantly isolated and made to be unequal in regular schools. Even if the teachers are well-intentioned, perpetuating the structural racism that has taken deep roots into the fabric of our education system is a tough task and make the need for a diversity expert imperative. Teachers need to recognize the biases that exist within the classroom and also take conscious measures to address them and their own biases of course. James Baldwin once said, “it is your very own responsibility to change this society, if you think of yourself as an educated person.” Dr. Derrick L. Campbell took this quote very effectively and straight to the heart and thus this Classroom Racism Exterminator happened. Classroom Racism Exterminator is an initiative that will teach you about your duty and moral obligation towards eliminating racism from the classrooms. This is where and how you will learn about what you need to do to produce a better society that is free of biases and disparities amongst the blacks and the whites. Because we understand how classroom biases and conversations about racism are difficult and how teachers and students almost avoid the topics altogether, we have put together a range of effective methods and products to help address the problem at hand and talk meaningfully to counter issues related to race and racism in the classroom. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell understands that it takes a lot of courage to talk about race and racism and that racial issues need to be viewed through a very critical lens that can understand and attend to the pertaining aspects of racism in the classroom. And therefore through this website we have made a conscious effort to eliminate racism from the classroom and make the educational system equal and beneficial for all. We know and we understand that there are no words that can actually describe how racism feels. There are cases and everybody tends to deal with it in their own manner. Some might lash out verbally or others might just withdraw into shells. Whatever the case, people don’t talk about it openly and teachers don’t really make a conscious effort at addressing the issue. We don’t really know if our children or if the youth is learning to be educated or become racists in their classroom. Our program is focused on helping children of color and regardless of their race, their full potential. We want every student to be able to recognize and reach their full potential so that they think of themselves as responsible citizens of their country and not regard themselves as worthless human beings. Here you will find motivational books and flash card games, all of which have been designed focusing on eliminating racism completely from our classrooms. The books and the games have been consciously designed keeping in mind the American society and educational system. It is a small effort on our and Dr. Campbell’s part to help this society become a better place to live in. A little about diversity expert Dr. Campbell Dr. Derrick L. Campbell the driving force behind Classroom Racism Exterminator is a dynamic figure and a constant source of motivation for us. He has a Bachelors of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, Math Education, a Masters in Education Administration and also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Dr. Campbell is a well known personality throughout the nation. He has lectured at various events including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference and a lot of local churches. He is a personality well dedicated towards eliminating the plague of racism from our classrooms and helping every child recognize his/her true potential not the color of their skin. He realizes how a child would feel if he/she was made to think they are worthless human beings. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell is compassionate and related to the experiences and therefore this initiative is a constant and continual effort to eliminate racism manifested in us, completely from the classroom and from our society.
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