In a rash of recent events, Blacks continue to be victimized resulting in deaths which include the Charleston shooting. It appears that Blacks now have a bulls eye on their back. The Charleston shooting should serve as a notice that Blacks need to develop different strategies to ensure the survival of the next generations.

The Charleston shooting is a result of White privilege taken to an extreme. White privilege is a term used to indicate that societal privileges that benefit White people in western countries beyond what is commonly experience by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. When taken to an extreme, White privilege results in White supremacy. White supremacy is a form of racism centered on the belief that White people are superior in certain characteristics, traits, and attributes to people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds and therefore Whites should politically, economically, and socially rule non-whites.

What is the first way that parents should prepare Black students after the Charleston shooting?

The first problem that Black parents should teach their children to overcome is the Education to Prison Pipeline. The Education to Prison Pipeline is a nationwide system of local, state, and federal education and public safety policies that pushes students out of school and into the criminal justice system. The Education to Prison Pipeline sends students into the pipeline through zero tolerance policies that involve the police in minor incidents and often lead to arrests, juvenile detention referrals, and even criminal charges and incarceration. Schools push students towards the criminal justice system by excluding them from school through suspension, expulsion, discouragement, and high stakes testing requirements too.

While many factors muddle the real cause for the Education to Prison Pipeline, the determination of which students are pushed into the criminal justice system begins with those teachers who have difficulty with developing positive classroom relationships with Black students.

The three areas that White teachers make the determination are disrespect towards a teacher, open defiance, and classroom disruptions. However, the most troubling part is that teachers as a group have different expectations in all three areas which continues to confuse and punish Black students.

What are the hidden factors that continue to contribute to racism against Black students that have been highlighted by the Charleston shooting?

The hidden factors include the differences in verbal and nonverbal behavior. Blacks and Whites have remarkable differences in these areas which lead to widening the trust gap between White teachers and Black students.

Schools and Black student conflict develop from expectation differences related to communication styles. The general public fails to accept that Blacks have different communication norms and conventions by assuming that Blacks communicate using standards set by socially dominant Whites. Whites’ dispassionate and detached communication mode creates distrust among Blacks due to its similarity to Blacks who front which occurs when Blacks perceive there is a communication risk factor and chooses to remain silent in Black-White communication encounters.

On example of those differences involves how Blacks debate. Blacks not only debate the idea but they also debate the person while Whites debate the idea rather than the person debating the idea. Blacks will probe beyond a given statement to find out the persons perspective or in elementary terms to determine where the person is coming from. Specifically, Black students contrast White middle-class communication when they speak over others’ voices and repeat the communication until they are responded to or until they have someone’s attention.

Another area that can contribute to racism against Black students is standing distance requirements. Colleges teach teachers to ensure there is a distance between themselves and the students so the teacher can maintain discipline in the classroom. European Americans prefer to keep their personal space at arm’s length. Blacks prefer closer social distance when compared to other ethnicities. Blacks are more likely to touch each other in a conversation when compared to Whites. Individuals who perceive a proximity violator as someone who will provide them with negative rewards will react negatively when the proximity violator moves closer.

As previously stated, the three areas that parents must better prepare students in is disrespect towards a teacher, open defiance, and classroom disruptions. Preparing students to successfully negotiate through these there areas will require that students. teachers, and parents agree on the expectations for verbal and nonverbal behavior which can lead to disrespect towards a teacher, open defiance, and classroom disruptions.

The atrocities against Blacks in the United States which includes the Charleston shooting is an indication that Black parents will need to better prepare Black students for racism in education.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.

PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012


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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology


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