In America, students and pupils experience racism because some student form negative attitude towards others when they perceive them as inferior. Racism is mostly between pupils of different races or those from wealthy versus poor background (López & Parker, 2003). The attitude develops in phases where a child becomes aware of color differences as early as at the age of two years (Baker, 2001).
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This is followed by the child identifying with his or her own race, which is followed by formation of preference patterns. Such attitude develops from the parents but can also be motivated by school administrators as well as the government’s funding systems. Existence of racism is evident through racial slurs and jokes as well as racial stereotyping that are derogatory. There are also violent acts, which school authorities observe and not punish (Barnes & Wane, 2000).
Conflicts that arise over race usually manifest in education in the United States of America. Most large American cities have schools that are separate for black and white though the managements claim they are equal. However, statistics indicate that such schools are inherently unequal, which is caused by residential segregation (Barnes & Wane, 2000).
Most schools located in the inner cities have majority of their students from the black minority. The issue of funding in schools inhabited by black children from poor background compared with schools with white children is even more troubling because the spending per pupil irrespective of whether black or white is the same (Baker, 2001).
Research on the spending in some of the schools in Baltimore, Seattle and Cincinnati indicated that the difference in funding schools with white children and those with black children ranges from $1 million to $400,000 (Barnes & Wane, 2000). This is explained by the fact that staffing is done according to schools instead of per student. In addition, experienced teachers have taken advantage of the existence of seniority rules to transfer to schools that are more affluent with students that are perceived as easier to teach (Berlak & Moyenda, 2001).
As a result, experienced teachers tend to concentrate at low poverty institutions, which benefit undeserved pupils with excess of new teachers. The new teachers who are paid low salaries compared to the experienced teachers work in poorest neighboring schools disproportionately. The staff pay has a wide range and therefore less funding goes to schools in the district that employ teachers with least experience (Baker, 2001).
Remedies for the problem can be through deep curriculum adjustments and declaration of public repugnance to end racism. An example is racism free zone declared in Lane county schools, which has been found to be effective (López & Parker, 2003). Teachers can also encourage and build tolerance in pupils at an early age by identifying discriminatory signs through classroom activities. Administrators should also use confrontational and motivational means to prevent racist behavior. Clear statements concerning racism need to be made.
Any violation of the laws set to fight racism should be punished (Berlak & Moyenda, 2001). Congregation in schools according to race should be discouraged and seating assignments designed with priority being given to integration (López & Parker, 2003).
Peer counseling should be used where possible. Students and parents advisory boards also need to offer advice through teacher’s assemblies and workshops. In addition, any person who makes effort to discourage racism in American schools should be rewarded (Berlak & Moyenda, 2001).
Baker, C. (2001). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism. Clevedon. Buffalo: Multilingual Matters.
Barnes, J., & Wane, N. (2000). Equity in schools and society. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.
Berlak, A., & Moyenda, S. (2001). Taking it personally: Racism in the classroom from kindergarten to college. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
López, G., & Parker, L. (2003). Interrogating racism in qualitative research methodology. New York: P. Lang.