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Dwayne Reed @TeachMrReed
, 26 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
I feel as if it’s fair to spend a little time speaking candidly about race in education, don’t you? There are so many with questions, and others, anxious to use their voice. Educators, let’s come together in order to grow together. #EduColor
While there are a myriad of needs to address, I will primarily be speaking about the Black experience in education - both as a scholar, and an educator.

Others, feel free to chime in with any thoughts, experiences, perspectives, and questions.
Where to start?

Ahh... Racism is America’s oxygen. All of us breathe it in. No one is untouched by it. Our country was built on the principles & evil practices of it. Every American system and institution has been poisoned by racism, including the school system.
Historically, like almost everything else in this country, the education system was set up to benefit White Americans. The end goal of American schools has always been to educate White males (females as a residual effect), and widen the gap between them and minorities.
Why were Black slaves beaten or killed if they learned to read? Why was there such White-backlash & rage against school-integration in the 60s/70s? Look up red-lining & housing discrimination and their connection to schools.

America is bent on keeping education from Black kids.
Look at the suspension rates for Black children in comparison to Whites. A 2017 study out of California found that Blacks were suspended 4x as much as their White counterparts. Does this mean inherently that Black kids act worse than the White ones?

No. Let me explain.
I went to Purdue University (an almost all-White school). While there, I met more drug-addicted, alcoholic, physically abusive criminals than any “hood” I’ve ever been in... My classmates! Their crime rate was obscene, yet, police never really seemed to make many arrests. Hmm..
On college campuses, cocaine, ecstasy, and no arrests is an average weekend. But come to the hood, and the Black kids here are getting locked up for smoking marijuana.

Both are wrong... The point is, however, that generally, Black kids are the ones getting punished for crimes.
The same is true in our schools: White kids & Black kids can both misbehave & commit the exact same offense, but more often than not, the Black kid will receive the punishment (or the harsher one). Our ed system suspends & expels Black kids because it doesn’t want them to learn.
82% of American school teachers are White women. In my experience as a Black man, (both as a scholar and an educator) I’ve faced no greater resistance or consistent oppression, than from that of White, female teachers.
What I am not saying: White women are bad, and racists.

What I am saying: People carry their unchecked biases and prejudices wherever they go, and these adversely affect others.
Visited a school. All Black Kindergarten class w/ a White female teacher. A 5-year-old was apparently too talkative, so the T grabbed her, carried her out, threw her down on the ground, & slammed the door.

I was horrified. Other kids didn’t bat an eye. Normal for them, I guess.
America has normalized the abuse of Black bodies; it is our country’s favorite pastime. And historically, nothing has made White women (Wp in general) more satisfied than putting Black people “in their place.”

This is America.
As a child, my White teachers spoke to me:

1. Like I had no source of information outside of them.
2. Like their presence in my life was literally saving my life.
3. Like I was already guilty of something they assumed I’d do.
As an educator, I’ve seen how White female teachers will speak to Black kids.

To Black boys: like they’re unintelligent, violent thugs, whose only hope is their amazing teacher.

To Black girls: like they’re disrespectful, combative, hyper-sexual, and vying for the Ts’ control.
And let’s not forget special education. Countless stats and studies prove that Black children (especially boys) have been targeted, and needlessly placed in “resource rooms,” or other special education programs.
Many Black kids are placed in special education programs, not because they can’t learn or don’t want to, but because their Ts find it easier to pass them off rather than teaching to the Ss’ particular learning style.
Black students are disproportionately placed in special education programs due to behavior (see: teacher’s perceived threat to control). Oftentimes, it has very little to do with the Ss’ learning ability.
My brother and sister attended an all-white elementary school, 7 years apart from each other. Both were recommended for the special ed program.

Mom shut that down.

Fast forward: My bro attends West Point Military Academy, and my sis was valedictorian of her 8th grade class.
One of the many reasons why POC (people of color) don’t go into education as much as WP, is because we’ve had a lifetime of racist experiences in schools.

Years of oppression is both traumatizing and tiring.
“Ok, so what can we do?”


Pay for workshops & PDs for teachers that challenge them to face their prejudice, bias, & privilege.

Hire qualified people of color.

Hold your staff accountable, check them when they’re wrong, fire the ones who refuse to “get it.”
“Ok, so what can we do?”


Admit to your own white privilege & leverage it to benefit your students of color.

Request professional racial & cultural sensitivity trainings from your admin.

Check your colleagues when you see them perpetuating racism/oppression.
“Ok, so what can we do?”


Consider any racially-motivated implications of every interaction you have w/ students of color.

(This is tiring, yes. But your SOCs are doing the exact same thing, every day, all the time).

Reflect. Apologize. Fix it. Move on.
“Ok, so what can we do?”


Consider moving into, or near the neighborhood in which you teach.

Spend time with your SOCs outside of the school setting- this will help you “re-humanize” them, and see them as people.
“Ok, so what can we do?”


Look up “micro-aggressions,” then, stop committing them. Please.

Go out of your way to try, eat, experience, and talk about the many things your Students of Color love. Invite other teachers to do so, as well.
Education is inherently political, and politics are often a prickly subject to discuss. Mix in racism, privilege, and children, and you’ve got yourself a party!

These are really tough conversations, but they have to be had. Not only for our personal growth, but for our kids.
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