In a recent article, an author presupposes that transforming racism in schools can only happen by listening to students. This strategy has been well documented with great failure. Transforming the relationships that continue to perpetuate racism in schools is the only possibility for a productive future for many Black students.
According to the article, We must listen to racism concerns at school, a new generation of students are forging forward with efforts to eliminate racism in schools. The presupposition that equipping students with the appropriate language and tools to provide the best possibility for ushering a new type of opportunity in education is a fallacy.
The authors goes on to specify that much of the professional development for students is targeted on those who perpetuate the racism in schools which incidentally has failed miserably. “There is a pressing need for change in leadership. Young people of color need to see themselves better represented among K-12 teachers in urban classrooms, as well as in business, community, and government roles. And there is a need for more believers –– more adult mentors who possess a critical consciousness about racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity.”
The rhetoric sounds good but the reality is that racism in schools will persist unless school choose to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships and hire administrators who had the skills to implement the process.
The first thing that the author must realize is that students have spoken against racism in schools for decades to only be silenced by the power structure between the teacher and students and schools and students. This has resulted in student perceptions regarding the present educational system that has lead to such outcries as the #BlackatBLS and #Blacklivesmatter.
When incorporating students into a marginalized society by slavery, conquest, and colonization, students believe school is detrimental to their identity. Indians, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Blacks share similar experiences of having been transported into the United States against their will and then relegated to an inferior status. Many of these minorities are not willing to perform well in school due to difficulty with crossing cultural lines which results in the lack of representation in schools, businesses, community and government roles. In particular, Blacks have learned since slavery that the best way to get ahead is not through merit and talent but through white patronage.
Americans of color adapt to a society that does not value their ethnicity, history, heritage, or language by establishing societal survival strategies. Black parents participate by preparing their children to live in a dual cultural world that involves helping them to develop skills for adult roles such as wage earners and parenthood in addition to negotiating a dominant society that has different cultural values and judges people by their skin color or ethnic background. Blacks who live in an urban society and a society that dislikes them for the color of their skin ensure they do not become victims by approaching people with caution, wariness, and a sense of distrust.
The perception that students have influences student achievement. Students do better in school when they believe getting a good education will increase their chances for success. Students who perceive that teachers have favorable feelings toward them have higher achievement levels when teachers have positive views toward them. Children who have positive feelings regarding teachers have higher achievement levels.
Secondly the author must understand that it takes a specific type of leadership to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationships. Promoting positive racial teacher-student classroom relationships requires the following leadership characteristics:
- Social justice
- Participative management
Eliminating racism in schools also requires specific organizational transformation processes that will eliminate the characteristics associated with a dysfunctional organization. Without the understanding of the prominent principles, the voices that the author wishes to empower will continue to suffocate under the guise of racism in schools.
Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology
“The model that you use to analyze teacher-student relationships is a good one for most school districts”.
~ Joe Vas ~ Perth Amboy Mayor
“Dr. Campbell’s Cultural Relationship Training Program is comprehensive, informative, and should be required training for all schools”
~ Darrell Pope ~ Hutchinson Kansas NAACP President