Did Ahmed Mohamed expose discrimination in schools?

In a recent article, Texas student Ahmed Mohamed has exposed discrimination in schools through his arrest for bringing in a science project. Evidently the lack of communication between teachers and administrators played a major role in this fiasco. Ahmed Mohamed is one of many children who continue to face discrimination in schools for which many schools can avoid by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.

According to the article, #IStandWithAhmed lesson: Curiosity is for white kids, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed brought a homemade clock to his high school located in Irving, Texas. School officials and police have termed the engineering project as a “hoax bomb.” The youth was arrested for the incident that has received national attention.

The response from the community has been overwhelming in favor of the Texas muslim student. Ahmed Mohamed has revived several invitations from organizations and national figures. For example, he has invitations to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to a television show hosted by a Canadian astronaut, and a personal invitation from Mark Zuckerberg. Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton tweeted “stay curious and keep building.” And even President Obama has extended a personal invitation for Ahmed Mohamed to bring the engineered clock to the White House.

Ahmed Mohamed has faced the same discrimination in schools that many Black and Hispanic students continue to face.

What are the factors that continue to contribute to discrimination in schools for students like Ahmed Mohamed? 

Schools encompass cultural expectations that present challenges for Black students. Schools and Black student conflict result from expectation differences. The lack of cultural synchronization between Black students and administrators coupled with negative teacher expectations result in hidden and often unintended conflict between educators and their students. Black students believe White educators have low estimates of the students’ ability and worth. Black students believe their teachers are more prejudiced toward them when compared to White students and indicate a strong feeling of rejection.

Teachers who are culturally different from their students have a greater challenge creating a trusting environment when cultural diversity and race factors are not put on the table by the school and students perceive these factors as important to their identity and school success. School leaders must stop operating on the assumption that all the reasons for Black children’s problems with school rest with the children and adopt a perspective that the responsibility for Black students rests with the school system.

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. Inappropriate curriculum and instruction are concerns that make reversing underachievement for culturally diverse students difficult. Most elementary and secondary school curriculum has a focus that benefits White middle-class children. Public schools continue to have culturally based philosophies and curricula that focus on White European and Judeo-Christian values.

How can schools avoid the negative perception associated with discrimination in schools for students like Ahmed Mohamed? 

Positive relationships at schools and in the classroom are in many ways the prerequisites for effective learning and behavior. Students and teachers who are warm, compassionate, and friendly toward one another in the classroom have the potential to improve instruction and learning.

In addition, good teacher-student relationships include teachers communicating to students that they care about them. Teachers who are caring, friendly, helpful, understanding, and dependable have the ability to foster supportive relationships with their students.

Caring teachers’ communicate with students in three distinctive ways:

  1. They think about how what they say sounds from the students’ perspective.
  2. They respond authentically and respectfully rather than giving patronizing pats on the head or using sarcasm
  3. They explain what they are up to and give reasons for their requests.

Schools can avoid the perceptions of racism in schools associate with the Texas student Ahmed Mohamed incident by promoting positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships.

Related Articles

Ga. teen blasts White House invite of Ahmed Mohamed

Florida Girl Arrested Under Similar Circumstances as Ahmed Mohamed Has Advice for Teen

How Will Ahmed Mohamed’s Story Play Out in Texas?

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

 

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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

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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.
This entry was posted in Discrimination, Leadership, Obama, Positive Teacher Student Relationships, Race Relations, Race Relations in America, racial discrimination, Racial Profiling, Racism, Racism in America, Racism in Education, School Discipline and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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