In a recent article, several authors claim that teaching tolerance is the answer to avoid future aftermaths that resulted from the Michael Brown shooting. The Michael Brown and Eric Garner grand jury verdict has sparked a climate of citizens distrust for police officers and government officials. The only way to eliminate future racially motivated protest and riots is to remedy the problems with racism and not tolerance.

Teaching tolerance is very different than teaching against racism. Tolerance or toleration to tolerate, or put up with, conditionally, also to suggest a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry. Tolerance includes other categories than racism.

The Michael Brown shooting was about a White cop – Darren Wilson – who shot an unarmed Black teenager. It was not about religion, nationality, or gender. It was about differences in race. So to ascertain that teaching tolerance the best way to avoid such aftermaths that resulted from the Michael Brown shooting is a fallacy in design.

I have to agree with the authors of – To avoid another Ferguson, we need to start teaching tolerance … in kindergarten – that the teaching process needs to begin early in the child’s education. However, there is a need to enhance the relationships between teachers and students at an earlier age. Many children know that the power relationship between a teacher and student is teacher dominate. When this relationships provides a disadvantage for Black students, Black students become resentful of the White power over relationships in the classroom which results in them becoming racist towards Whites.

We know that there is a power relationships problem between White teachers and Black students at an early age because of the over discipline of Black preschool students. According to the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, Black preschool children represent 18% of school enrollment while representing 48% of the out of school suspensions. White preschool students represent 43% of school enrollment while representing 26% of the out of school suspensions. In preschool, racism against Whites begins for many Black students.

Could it be that the continued attack on Black students is the real catalyst that results in such aftermaths that are related to the Michael Brown shooting?

The racial attack on Black students continues as they progress through school. Black students are over disciplined when compared to White students. Blacks are three times more likely to be suspended from school when compared to Whites. The average quantity of Whites who are either suspended or expelled is 5%, while the average for Black students is 16%.

Next, the fueled racism by White teachers is directed toward White cops. When students become a legal challenge for schools, the first agency that a school administrator calls is the police. It is paramount to the police protecting the racism that White teachers, school, and school administrators facilitate in the predominantly Black Student schools.

Black students who have already built up racism against White teachers have an everlasting experience with White cops that can cause such aftermaths related to the Michael Brown shooting. Black students represent 16% of the student population while representing 27% of the students referred to law enforcement and 31% of who are subject to school related arrest. White students represent 51% of the students population while representing 41% of the students referred to law enforcement and 39% who are subject to school related arrest.

Not only does White teacher racism against Blacks have an impact on the Black students but is also has an impact on White students. White students come to the conclusion that they are privileged. They realize that they have White privilege. White privilege (or white skin privilege) is a term for societal privileges that benefit white people in western countries beyond what is commonly experienced by the non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. These privileges are unearned and are distributed based on values of the dominant group, which in the west is white people. Many White students who experience White privilege are also the same people that become cops. This is the primary reason why we have such incidents as the Michael Brown shooting.

As stated before, we must begin before kindergarten. We must begin in preschool. We must not ever again blame students or parents. Teachers can eliminate classroom racism (Elcloomism) by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships). White teachers can take the leadership role in avoiding such events as the Michael Brown shooting?

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.
PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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One thought on “How can we avoid another aftermath like the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson?”

  1. Pingback: How should Ferguson Police Department respond to Justice Department lawsuit? | Learning Flourishes in an Environment Free of Racism

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