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Study: Black Teachers Won’t Save Black Students from Receiving Harsher Punishments Than Their White Peers

May 28, 2015 | Posted by  


[Photo by Micah Walter/Getty Images)

(Photo by Micah Walter/Getty Images)


By now, a multitude of studies have helped capture the disparities in discipline handed to Black children when compared to their white counterparts, but a new study is now suggesting that addressing that racial bias will be much harder than simply getting more Black teachers in the classroom.


When study after study found that Black children were more likely to receive more severe punishments for the same behavioral issues shown by white students, the answer to the problem seemed simple enough.


Start changing the face of America’s predominantly white, female teaching force.


While doing so would certainly come with a plethora of benefits for Black students, it may not actually do much to quell the problems of discrimination when it comes to discipline in school.


According to a study conducted by MacArthur “Genius” Jennifer L. Eberhardt and Jason A. Okonofua, the implicit racial bias that drives teachers to view Black students as troublemakers and suspend them more often than their white counterparts is just as common in Black teachers.


It’s a finding that pulls back the curtain on the true power of racial stereotypes and the perpetuation of such generalizations in everyday life. Even when Black people are a part of the oppressed and marginalized population, it does not make them immune to the endless tactics that are being used to portray Black citizens as criminals, thugs and miscreants.


“I think that it attests to the pervasiveness of stereotype effects,” lead author Jason Okonofua, a Ph.D. student at Stanford, told the Huffington Post. “Research has demonstrated that exposure to media influences the stereotypical associations we all make in our daily lives. Thus, all teachers, regardless of race are more likely to think a Black child, as compared to a white child, is a troublemaker.”


So when Eberhardt and Okonofua followed up their first experiment with racial bias by including a larger pool of teachers, the results didn’t see a drastic change.


The first experiment started by presenting 57 female teachers of different racial backgrounds a picture of a middle school along with the profiles of some imaginary students. The profiles were based on real student records.


Each of the students had misbehaved twice but some were given traditionally Black names like Deshawn or Darnell while others were given names like Greg or Jake.


As ABS previously reported, it was found that Black students were more likely to be seen as a troublemaker than the students that were assigned white names even when they committed the same infraction.


Researchers followed up this study with another group of more than 200 teachers. In this group, the teachers were predominantly white females but also included men and people of other races. They were given the same exercise as the smaller group but the results were unwavering.


suspension of Black students Dis


So if Black teachers are just as likely to punish Black students more severely than white ones, can anything be done to make the learning environment fair for children of all races?


Okonofua believes it will simply take a new approach to the matter that acknowledges that racial bias plagues everybody, not just white teachers. He noted that being aware of racial bias is key and could help teachers think twice when dealing with Black students.


There have also been years of research being poured into efforts to help eliminate racial biases in the classroom. Some school districts are aiming to reduce all school suspensions and expulsions and alter their focus on how to address behavioral issues without forcing children outside the classroom.


Okonofua has actually teamed up with more Stanford researchers at five middle schools, the Huffington Post reported, in order to help guide the schools through the types of changes that could put an end to the discrimination that continues to harm so many Black students.


In the end, Okonofua says, it all comes down to changing the way people think.

“Try not to think of yourself as a fixed character in the same way that you should try not to think of your students as fixed characters,” he told the Huffington Post. “Rather, think of yourself as a growing person who needs to put in effort and practice to contend with the influences of stereotypes.”










"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins









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This is the truth. Black people in positions of authority are often worse than White people in positions of authority because Black people are constantly trying to prove to White people that they are not "race conscious" or even worse, they try to prove to White people they are on their side or even worst than that, they enjoy power and don't mind wielding it against their own race's best interest. 


I rather have a White male teacher than a Black female teacher.


I rather have a Black male teacher over a White male teacher. But Black male teachers are rare.


Black female teachers are the worst. Especially if you are Black male. Get a Black female teacher over the age of 40 and expect to face the wrath. 


Black male teachers are often the coolest, next to the White male teacher. White male teachers often just want to do their job and get the fuck on with their lives. Some can be headstrong, but often times White males just want their ass kissed and they'll give you leeway for it. IF you get in good with a White male teacher, your academic career will be smooth.


Piss them off that's your ass. 


White female teachers can be a hit or a miss. Some of them watch too many White female teacher save the pack of niggas movies and they grow a weird liking to you. Some automatically can't stand you thus you gotta walk on eggshells around them. 


But as a Black male student, you gonna want to avoid female teachers at all costs because they can't handle male energy, even the Black female teachers hate your guts soon as you walk in. Women become teachers to be around other girls. They want to mold  young females. They don't want to fuck with males. A lot of female teachers hate males. 


The first instinct is to castrate males in order to protect female students.


The second instinct is find ways to get rid of male students that refuse to comply to castration. That's where you get detentions for "talking loud". Suspensions for "classroom disruption". 


And for Black female students, it's all bad because you are automatically deemed combative unless you put on your best valley girl accent. Nobody wants to deal with Black female students. Their academic situation in regards to disparate punishments is worse than Black males. At least masculinity as a whole is deemed a hindrance in educational institutions and the punishment gap between Black males and White mans isn't as glaring. But White girls are treated like angels and Black girls are deemed too masculine, too abrasive and too combative thus teachers want to get rid of them. 


Black female students are the worse, because at least a Black male can be "cool and hip" and be an athlete and shit. A Black female student can't do anything to gain favor an the educational system because there is no place for a Black female. 


She can't be cool because expressions of Black female cool is deemed "ghetto" unless you are Beyonce or Rhianna and then it's girl power and being strong. She can't be a star athlete and gain favor because then she's masculine and male sports are above female sports. She can't be "preppy" because then she is an oreo and is competing with White girls and White is always right. 



The best thing for Black female students to do is fine a female teacher that isn't a bitch and in competition with her and attach herself to her.  


it's hard being a Black student.


Last edited by GoodMan

It's hard being a black anything including black insects.  A black ant crawls across the floor here, and it's ON!!!! A black spider or spider of any color, it's mental institution.


I only had one black teacher the whole time I was in school.  He was from the south. If anything got a little disconcerting, he'd refer to us as  "Hey, boy; Hey, girl!"  That was strange as hell to me 'cause my family had the YT speech patterns down to a science.  On the phone we were and still are YT-ized; talking to us you HAVE NO CLUE.  Took awhile to get adjusted.  He stayed here and after a time became a respected man and an accepted man. This was before the "Civil Rights Movement", before most of you were probably born. It's changed now as has the world.


On second thought, I digress, it really HASN'T changed that much; the actors have been replaced but the beat and the story still meanders along.

Last edited by Norland
Originally Posted by sunnubian:

Most Black teachers do, as far as our children are concerned, the same things that Black cops as far as Black people in general are concerned; which is. join in on the harassment, discriminatory practices and condescension, and hold contempt for and stereotype Black students.



But I have to say something .... how often sometimes I and mostly wifey would go to PTA meetings and other events at school and I would see only a few blacks sometimes we would be the only ones and the school is like 1/4, 1/3 blacks. 


My youngest knuckle head boy would get in trouble being a clown or just being a bully sometimes, hell he got suspended in kindergarten and I would often say what the hell I'm doing wrong? I don't believe in spanking and harsh punishments but the teachers knew we were very interested in our children performing well in school and our kids knew it too. When they hit the house door, food yes but no TV or playing until homework, reading and spelling assignments were done. If you are too tired or puzzled ask for help but take care of business.


Finally the boy started really doing well in school 2 years ago making more A's than B's, not C's and D's here and there, he's growing up and behaving well too but it was our showing interest by being there and respectful contact with teachers that helped teachers be more patience with him. He's was able to get in the same school his sisters went to, its a pre-baccalaureate program middle school and it feeds into a baccalaureate high school, both middle and high schools are in the same building and the grade school is next door. The girls have always done well in school and did not accept B's as a good thing, but the boy took a little longer to mature towards school. 


I think to help teachers to be more fair with our kids, parents have a big part in that too.

"But I have to say something .... how often sometimes I and mostly wifey would go to PTA meetings and other events at school and I would see only a few blacks sometimes we would be the only ones and the school is like 1/4, 1/3 blacks." 



This is a Pet Peeve with me; don't get me wrong, I fully understand the importance of parents being involved in their child's education and the benefits of parents attending and being involved in the PTA.  


But, I also firmly believe thatALL children should be treated equally, fairly and the same, regardless to who their parents are or are not, regardless to what "neighborhood" they come from, regardless to their race or religion, and regardless to whether their parents are heavily involved with the school or regularly attend the PTA or not


In fact, how teachers, faculty, administrators and staff will actually treat one child or another actually being dependdent on parental involvement with the school and/or PTA in the first place, is part of the problem.  



Originally Posted by sunnubian:
Originally Posted by Fabulous:

"I think to help teachers to be more fair with our kids, parents have a big part in that too."




I absolutely agree 



Teachers should be fair with our kids no matter what our involvement is.  

But we know in every aspect of life there is white privilege and bias against blacks. I think black parents should know that is the baseline in every single exchange we have when white people are involved especially white teachers and administrators, including white people we trust. 


Until blacks get more organized and vocal about social inequalities things will never change quick enough. 


Studies like this and blacks pointing out every single time shit happens is black people's burden. So parents need to protect their kids already knowing that they are targets. 


Really I think black kids did better in school in all black schools but is that the kind of society we want America to be?

Last edited by Momentum
Originally Posted by Momentum:


Really I think black kids did better in school in all black schools but is that the kind of society we want America to be?


I mean Asian kids in California go to all Asian schools. I bet Jewish kids in certain parts in NY go to all Jewish schools.


I think it's about the quality of school and how interested States are in funding Black Public Schools.


Black schools don't get funded because rich Blacks leave Black areas and go live with White folks and fund White public schools and private schools.


It's about what we do with our money and what we don't get, with our, "Well nigga I got mines" mentality, is we fuck up everything because we thinking stupid.


Most schools are public institutions funded by property taxes. If nothing but poor people live there, the school is gonna be crappy with crappy teachers and angry students - already angry because they poor, but then they go to a rundown school. 


If gov't funding for anything Black is already frowned upon and certain gov' Regans and Nixons axed funding for cities, and we live in urban areas...then we have suffered generations of being underfunded by the government. 


If you think about it, we as a ethnic group in the USA, fund our own public services just by living next to each other - it's already taxed from us. If everytime we get a little money, we move away from each other, we doing ourselves a disservice. 

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