A Reflection on Racism and Student Stereotypes

In our current American society there is a strong diversity of language, ethnicities, backgrounds, and even skin color. It is my belief that we have tried our best to learn how to be accepting of our differences. However, it has been a long and hard struggle to accomplish many of the things society now considers “rights”. As our environment has changed, with technology and multiculturalism, our values have also gone through a process of desegregation toward a more general spectrum of involvement.

As I read an article named: “Toward a Critical Race Theory in Teacher Education”, I found myself reflecting upon the many issues American people have experienced and how few have managed to use education not only as a way to improve society but also as the key to maintain a dominant ideology. Critical Race Theory strives to develop and promote a curriculum and attitude that eliminates racism and empowers minority groups, which are often underrepresented and over stereotyped. As I read the article, I found myself analyzing the information presented and agreeing with the many points given on how many teachers and scholars use their position to segregate and misestimate students from minority groups.

As an educator, I believe our goal is to encourage an equal opportunity environment and allocate resources in the same amount for each individual. I agree with the article that many educators fail to support their minority students and use fancy terminology to condescendingly speak to them and about them. I think the main purpose of this article was to open the eyes to everyone who reads it, as well as demonstrate the many ways minority students are being left out and wrongfully portrayed in the media and professional environments. Throughout the article, we find many examples of words and attitudes toward minority students like calling them uneducable and lacking motivation to even use words such as “dumb” and “lazy”; in addition, I found interesting how the school system has blamed these communities for the low academic achievement and disorganized school structure. They have used the students’ values and even genetic composition as reasons and evidence of their “inferior” level in comparison to other students.

I was appalled by the commentaries presented in the article that were made by different scholars. Many of their “knowledgeable” opinions showed how they view Mexican-Americans and African-American students as children coming from families with low educational standards, lacking abstract knowledge skills, and with deficiencies in their genetic structure. In reality, the fact that low-income schools receive less resources and attention from Districts may be one of the biggest reasons for their low achievement and slow academic improvement. If the student’s social conditions and environment was taken into account, then minority groups would be represented as struggling communities in need of extra support and schools would be held accountable for their actions; all of this, in order to find proper guidance of children into the path of academic success.

As educators we cannot underestimate, criticize or ignore the values and behaviors of minority cultures that have been discriminated and misrepresented for a long time. It is our duty to the students to eliminate dominance from any cultural group and foment acceptance and understanding of the various cultures we have within our community. We need to analyze and discuss racial stereotypes and societal attitude towards it; moreover, we need to begin by making our own classroom a place where offenses and disrespectful behaviors are not allowed and where all students have the same possibilities and probabilities of success and learning.

As a teacher I learnt so much from this article; not only to identify racial remarks from scholars and school system representatives but also to analyze their wording and the effect it may have on the students. I gain knowledge of Critical Race Theory and how it seeks to promote understanding of stereotypes and the burden this has over minority groups; at the same time, I became more aware of how to use experiential knowledge in the classroom and how this helps to understand the communities. Furthermore, this article reinforced my beliefs that cultural acceptance benefits not only the social environment but the academic outcomes of the students.

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