In a recent article, a local effort to involve students in the elimination of racism in San Francisco Schools is taking on a familiar model. People must realize that the many efforts only continue to fuel the problem. San Francisco Schools can only combat racism by responding to central cause of racism which is the lack of positive racial relationships.
According to the article, Combating racism in San Francisco schools, the authors had embarked on a mission to help students learn the history of racism. The authors efforts are only fueling the problem through an exposure process that will result in continuous dysfunctional behavior.
The author solicited the help of two film makers from the Social Justice Agency, Silicon Valley and a sound track by DJ Smash to produce the film “Racial Facial”. The film includes 400 photos and videos with the intent of sparking a conversation amongst students.
According to the article, this strategy has worked for San Francisco Schools. After each screening, students are asked to respond to the film. “Students of color discussed feeling marginalized at times, and how their sense of social activism came from being treated differently. White students talked about negotiating bigotry in their own homes when their parents used racially charged language. One white student talked about supporting Black Lives Matter, while her mother felt very strongly that the movement was wrong.” The major problem with this approach is that it only exposes the problem but does not heal the problem.
We know that exposing the problem does not heal the problem. For example, a major part of the Donald Trump platform is to expose the racial feelings of many Americans. Recently Donald Trump cancelled a rally in Chicago. According to the New York Times article, with thousands of people packed into stands and music blaring to warm up the crowd, Donald J. Trump abruptly canceled his rally due to security concerns as protesters clashed with his supporters inside an arena where he was to speak. Exposing racism is not enough.
Additionally, exposing racism in San Francisco Schools does not work due to exposures of historical racism. Racism arose with the African salve trade in the 1500’s. In 1526, the Portuguese completed the first transatlantic slave voyage from Africa to the Americas, and other countries followed the same endeavor. The first Africans imported to the English colonies were classified as “indentured servants“, like workers coming from England, and also as “apprentices for life”. By the middle of the 17th century, slavery had hardened as a racial system. Black slaves and their offspring were legally the property of their owners, and children born to slave mothers were slaves. Since the slavery that lead to racism has been exposed, we can surmise that exposure is not the remedy.
The remedy is to promote positive racial relationships. The first evidence of the impact of positive racial relationships is when the Quakers were instrumental in freeing slaves. Quakers played a major role in the abolition movement against slavery in both the United Kingdom and in the United States of America. Quakers were some of the first Whites to condemn slavery in the American colonies and Europe, and the Society of Friends became the first organization to take a united stand against both slavery and the slave trade. Quakers were also involved in the Underground Railroad which lead to the freedom of many slaves.
There have always been Blacks and Whites who have banned together to develop positive relationships resulting in the diminishment of racism. Exposure will never be enough because if it were so, racism would not longer exist. San Francisco Schools must move students and staff members to promote positive racial teacher student classroom relationship in order to completely diminish and combat racism.
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