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Inequity in education is a substantial problem for American educational system that requires immediate attention and remediation. The aim of this paper is to provide a sharp analysis of an article on racism in K-12 schools. The paper will dissect arguments presented in the article and assess the author’s line of reasoning in relation to the content of the course.
The Author’s Key Arguments
The article under discussing is titled “Let’s Talk About Racism in Schools” and written by Rick Wormeli. The writer argues that despite the proclivity of white Americans to blame higher levels of crime and poverty on black Americans, it is systemic racism that is responsible for the ever-increasing disparity between the two communities. Wormeli maintains that refusal to respect other people’s cultures and identities results in the intersection between racial, religious, and other prejudices. The manifestation of those prejudices can range from incivility to outright hostility and violence. The author notes that unfortunately, the tendency to disrespect divergent points of view, different cultures, and races is not “confined to interactions between blacks and whites” (Wormeli, 2016, p. 17) but also includes people of Hispanic and Arabic origins among others. Wormeli (2016) posits that religious prejudices stem from “fervent debate and divisiveness among Christians as well as among Muslims and Jews” (p. 17).
Another key argument presented in the article is that in order to solve issues related to discrimination it is necessary to start a candid and open discussion about these problems. The writer claims that the ability to eradicate prejudice in American educational system hinges upon the acceptance of the notion that institutionalized racism is a common problem for virtually all institutions and organizations in the country. Wormeli (2016) states that it is necessary to dismantle the habit of quickly categorizing people based on their race, sex, origin, and religion in order to help individuals of different expressions to accept sincere efforts of whites aimed at the promotion of acceptance and collaboration. The writer acknowledges that engaging in brave conversations on these topics can be an intimidating task. However, it is important to create constructive opportunities for such conversations to occur. According to Wormeli (2016), students, educators, and teachers are equally responsible for reducing conflict in social interactions.
Another key education issue raised in the article is that honest discussions about racism and discrimination have to be built on certain principles. Wormeli (2016) states that the risk of racial avoidance is too significant to dismiss the necessity of such conversations among educators. The writer states that before engaging in a discussion of discrimination in schools, it is important to assume that another party in a dialogue is doing their best to understand. He also states that such conversations have to be built on the principle “seek first to understand, then to be understood” (Wormeli, 2016, p. 20). Wormeli (2016) believes that robust discussions of racism have to be conducted in nonaccusatory tone. He is adamant in declaring that blame avoidance is a key strategy to having a productive conversation on the ills of discrimination. The writer concludes the article by stating that in order to secure a non-racist future for the US, it is essential to have community discussion on discrimination on a regular basis.
Evaluation of the Author’s Arguments
In order to start evaluating Wormeli’s arguments in light of course readings, it is necessary to acknowledge that multicultural education is based on the notion that “all students—regardless of their gender, social class, and ethnic, racial, or cultural characteristics—should have an equal opportunity to learn in school” (Banks & McGee Banks, 2010, p. 3). By having acknowledged the supremacy of equality inside and outside schools, it is easier to understand the author’s criticism of the current state of affairs in the educational system of the US.
Wormeli implies that some institutional characteristics of the American educational system are conducive to the propagation of discriminatory treatments of minorities. Indeed, the information presented in the course readings supports the author’s claim and confirms that systemic racism is a challenge for social justice in the country. Even though the majority of educational institutions in the US have developed “intellectual foundation supportive of diversity” (Banks & McGee Banks, 2010, p. 61), the public sentiment that is increasingly negative toward people of certain origins inhibits the progress in the reduction of inequity in education. Moreover, income inequalities between white and black communities substantially decrease the quality of educational attainment among minorities. Wormeli arguments become more clear in light of the course readings because it is easier to relate the author’s experiences to statistical evidence. Furthermore, Wormeli’s claim that in order to solve issues related to discrimination it is necessary to start candid and open discussion about these problems is supported by findings of a study that reveals that culturally responsive pedagogy along with collaborative approach to cultural differences reduces tensions between various sociocultural groups (Banks & McGee Banks, 2010).
The assessment of Wormeli’s arguments presented in his article “Let’s Talk About Racism in Schools” shows that they are based on empirical evidence. Moreover, the arguments coincide with the principles of multicultural education.
Banks, J. A., & McGee Banks, C. A. (Eds.). (2010). Multicultural education (7th ed.). Danvers, MA: Wiley.
Wormeli, R. (2016). Let’s talk about racism in schools. ASCD, 74(3), 16-22.