In a recent article, a UC Berkeley student outlines the many strategies used to respond to the institutionalized racism that has prompted the county into a mode of responsiveness to the many killings of Blacks. Efforts to render racism ineffective have existed since the 13th Amendment and racial problems for Blacks continue to persist. Overcoming institutionalized racism will require intensified efforts to unearth racism that exist in schools.

Institutional racism is any system of inequality based on race. It can occur in institutions such as public government bodies, private business corporations (such as media outlets), and universities (public and private). The term was introduced by Black Power activists Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton in the late 1960s. The definition given by William Macpherson within the report looking into the death of Stephen Lawrence was “the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin”.

The first organization that Black students enter and become subjected to institutionalized racism is the public school. We know that institutionalized racism exist due to the disciplinary consequences that are delved out to Black preschool students from a 78% White female teaching staff. According to the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, Black children represent 18% of preschool enrollment, but 48% of children receiving more than one out-of-school suspension. White preschool students represent 43% of preschool enrollment but 26% of preschool children receiving more than one out of school suspension.

This pattern of institutionalized racism continues through school. Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than White students. On average, 5% of White students are suspended, compared to 16% of Black students. Since the majority of discipline referrals that results in disciplinary consequences are submitted by teachers, we can assume that the institutionalized racism begins with the overwhelming percentage of White female teachers submitting discipline referrals.

The major reason that institutionalized racism is such a great problem to overcome is due to the impact that schools has on the White economy. There is a projected 3.7 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) elementary and secondary school teachers who were engaged in classroom instruction in fall 2012. Since 78% of the teachers are White female that is the equivalent of 2.886 million teachers. The average salary for a teacher is $44,384.00. The amount that is contributed to the White economy is $128 billion annually.

The teaching profession provides additional advantages to the White family. Since teachers have every evening off, every weekend off, every holiday off, and every summer off, it provides White female teachers an opportunity to contribute to the household finances and to care for their children too.

To further exasperate the problem, the 78% White female teachers are supported by law enforcement. In many cases, Black students are referred to law enforcement personnel. The institutionalized racism continues because Black students represent 16% of student enrollment, while representing 27% of students referred to law enforcement and 31% of students subjected to a school-related arrest. White students represent 51% of enrollment, 41% of students referred to law enforcement, and 39% of those arrested.

In essence, White female teachers are the gate keepers for institutionalized racism in public schools.

While demonstrations and sit-ins are great. While Black history month activities bring a heightened awareness to problems that Blacks and other historically underserved persons continue to face. The reality is that the same institutionalized racism that existed before Brown vs. Brown still continues to run rampant in our society with no relief in site.

Instead of continuing to use the same antiquated strategies that continue to fuel institutionalized racism in schools, let’s go to the crux of the problem and eliminate classroom racism (Elcloomism) by promoting positive racial teacher student classroom relationships (Properateasclaships).

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


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