What are the unseen roadblocks to racial equality at the Boston Latin School?

In a recent article, several administrators have resigned in the wake of alleged racial equality roadblocks at the Boston Latin School. According to Harry A. Blackmun, in order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently. Overcoming the racial equality roadblocks at Boston Latin School will require treating students differently by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships.

According to the article, Headmaster of Boston Latin School resigns amid allegations of racism at the school, Boston Public Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang accepted the resignation of Dr. Lynne Mooney Teta as headmaster of Boston Latin School. According to Teta, the decision was a very difficult decision, but one that is in the school’s best interest. “I believe that it is time for a new headmaster to lead the school and carry on the tradition of excellence,” Teta communicated.

BLS Black Leaders Aspiring for Change and Knowledge responded by calling on the new administration to promote racial equality and establish an independent reporting system so students can report incidents to administrators. It is difficult to respond to the challenges associated with racial equality without responding to the unseen factors.

What are the unseen racial equality factors that contribute to racism in schools?

Many of the unseen  racial equality factors the contribute to racism in schools are associated with nonverbal communication expectations.

Nonverbal communication contributes significantly to communicative interpersonal interactions when compared to verbal communication. Nonverbal communication has greater significance than verbal communication that results from nonverbal communication, having a greater impact:

  1. In determining interpersonal context meaning
  2. When accurately determining feelings and emotions
  3. When revealing meanings and intentions that are deception and distortion free
  4. When attaining high-quality communications that represent a much more effective communication medium
  5. Represent a more suitable means of communication when compared to verbal communication

The primary function of teachers’ nonverbal behavior in the classroom is to improve affect or liking for the subject matter, teacher and class, and to increase the desire to learn more about the subject matter. When the teacher improves affect through effective nonverbal behavior, then the students are more likely to listen more, learn more, and have a more positive attitude about the school. Students who perceive that teachers feel favorable toward them demonstrate desired classroom behaviors. Students are more likely to complete assignments in classes that they feel accepted by the teacher.

Nonverbal communication includes three interacting systems, the visual, auditory, and invisible communication systems. Auditory communication involves loudness, pitch, rate, duration, quality, regularity, articulation, pronunciation, and pitch. Visual communication is the most important nonverbal communication system, and includes kinesthetic, proxemic, and artifactual subsystems. Kinesthetic communication includes facial expression, eye behaviors, gestures, and posture. Proxemic communication involves the use of space, distance, and territory for communication purposes. Artifactual communication involves facial and bodily appearances and the options that communicators use to alter their appearance. Individuals who nonverbally communicate in a manner consistent with a culture are perceived as more interpersonally attractive by members of that culture. Teachers who identify, analyze, and modify, if necessary, their nonverbal behavior improve their effectiveness. Nonverbal behaviors that become problematic for ensuring racial equality include standing distance, facial expressions, and listening techniques.

Colleges teach teachers to ensure there is a distance between themselves and the students so the teacher can maintain discipline in the classroom. European Americans are more likely to have close social distance with Mexican Americans when compared to Blacks and prefer to keep their personal space at arm’s length. Hispanic Americans stand close to or side by side instead of face-to-face when talking to another person. Blacks prefer closer social distance when compared to Mexican Americans. Blacks are more likely to touch each other in a conversation when compared to Whites.

Individuals who perceive a proximity violator as someone who will provide them with negative rewards will react negatively when the proximity violator moves closer. Maintaining the appropriate or comfortable proximity is associated with a positive effect, friendship, and attraction.

Teacher facial expressions can convey approval or disapproval to students. Individuals can also use facial expressions such as eye contact to convey liking for another individual. Individuals use nonverbal cues to indicate a liking for another individual by initiating and maintaining eye contact. Whites believe maintaining eye contact in face-to-face communication is most desirable. Within the Black culture, avoiding eye contact is a sign of disrespect.

Moreover, some Black parents teach their children that looking an adult in the eye is a sign of disrespect while White children learn to do the opposite. When reprimanding Black children, they tend not to look at the teacher as a sign of respect. Blacks are less likely to maintain eye contact with persons in a position of authority, and Black children increase eye contact as they begin to trust the teacher. Developing trust between teachers and students needs to become the center of all efforts to ensure that racial equality becomes a prominent factor in the education at the Boston Latin School for all students.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
www.positiveracialrelationships.com
PO Box 4707 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

 

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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 Classroom Management, Discrimination, institutional Racism, Race Relations, Race Relations in America, racial discrimination, Racial Profiling, Racism, Racism in Education, School Discipline, Structural Racism, Tips for Teachers and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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