Dear Next President of the United States of America,
Academic profiling is a real and important issue in today's society. Without raising awareness to this, it will never be resolved as a conflict. Research conducted by the University of Texas at Austin, says that educating students about historical racism has a positive outcome and is seen to be beneficial to both black and white children (“White children more positive towards blacks after learning about racism, study shows”). Academic profiling hinders a student's academic opportunity, perpetuates racial stereotypes, and negatively affect a student's self-identity.
Academic opportunity is not a fair right for everyone. Schools that have more money have better resources than schools that are much poorer. Typically, children of minorities are stuck in these poorer schools and don't have the same opportunities as other students. “Far too many schools have high concentrations of students who are minorities and are poor, trapped in schools with fewer financial resources and academic opportunities” (“Poorest Schools Deserve More”). Because of fewer financial resources, they cannot pay their teacher’s salaries. This leads to schools hiring less-experienced teachers who may not know how to manage and run a successful classroom. They may not know how to work with children in an urban setting with appropriate measures. This could lead for a student to not understand what is being taught and therefore being caught behind with not much help getting back up to par with other students.
Racial stereotypes, or just stereotyping, is defined by English Oxford Dictionary, as “A held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.” Racial stereotyping is affected by everyone, both people of color and caucasians. According to a study that was reported in USA Today, “The more the college students worried or expected stereotyping , the more likely they were to report engaging in delinquent behavior, like skipping classes, verbally abusing someone, or vandalizing school property” (“Stereotyping makes people act badly”). All these actions produced from stereotyping have a negative impact on the individual education and learning of a student. According to Dr. Bodkin Andrews from the OECD, racism can bring test scores down by five to 10 percent.
Self-identity is a huge factor from racial stereotypes. “No one is born with self-image, but rather gain a sense of it through past experiences.” ("Self-esteem."). If someone is repeatedly stereotyped because of what they look like it, it will stick with the person and change who they view themselves as. Being stereotyped through education affects future life decisions for the students. “Schools can influence students' self-esteem through the attitudes they foster toward competition and effort, their recognition of achievement in academics, sports, and the arts, and their acceptance of every child as a unique individual.” If a student has gained a negative experience through their schooling, they won't be motivated to continue through higher education and instead believe that they can't.
I am a child of color, having a Asian mother (Korean-adopted), and a white father. Both of my parents are teachers. With this understanding and experiences, I have been able to understand and recognize that academic racism exists. I was brought up in white culture and only started realizing my racial identity. I've lived in a dominant white neighborhood my whole life, as well as family. It never crossed my mind that I looked different from anyone around my close circle. My family is mixed. We have been able to be cognizant of the world around us and the inequities that surround daily life. We have perspectives that contribute to more than one mindset. That is a skill everyone should possess and understand.
Raising awareness is the biggest asset to combating academic racism. If the issue is brought to everyone's attention and examined through the eyes of all, huge changes could be made to bring equality for people of colors throughout education. "If we ignore racism, we ignore the way racism is contributing to many of the inequities we see across society," (Dr. Bodkin-Andrews). Academic profiling is indeed a real issue. Throughout the world, we see people of color ”stuck” in lower education, while white students are seen throughout better and higher education. As stated, academic profiling hinders a student's academic opportunity, perpetuates racial stereotypes, and negatively affect a student's self-identity. We can't afford to deny or look away any longer, our future and our educational survival depends on it.
Central High School