Sunday, March 27, 2011

As Easy As ABCD


This weeks blog focuses on TIM WISE the author of Between Barack and a Hard Place and his argument that racism is still very prominent in today's society and that the next big change in racism has arrived. It also focuses on Bob Herbert and his article in the New York Times which he argues that whites and people of Black and Hispanic heritage are still UNEQUAL in today's society.

You might be wondering why the title of this blog is "as easy as ABC" well because realizing that racism exist is as easy as ABCD and FIXING the problem is even easier.

A ccept
B lacks and
C hange the views of
D iscrimination

I'm not really sure why I thought of this acronym, but when you think about it, fixing discrimination is just that easy! Discrimination can simply be put as the unfair treatment of a race, so why can't be fair to this race?

Tim Wise talks about his new book and his findings of how racism still exists, maybe not as prominently as 50 years about but it still exists non the less. He says that there are two types of racism: 1.0 and 2.0. Racism 1.0 is the racism of Martin Luther King's time where there were signs specifically separating Whites from Blacks, different education types, or the racism that puts whites far above blacks thinking they were inferior (not to say that isn't seen now a days though either). Racism 2.0 (Wise says) is "transcending race from black or brown norm. WHAT does that mean? Well transcend means to go above, so what Wise is saying is that racism today is whites become "comfortable" with blacks or browns that go above their own race. Whites accepted Obama because he wasn't like the average "blacks" that most White people view as being less intelligent, more aggressive or prone to be apart of crimes, and not as hard working as Whites and more likely to live off welfare. Wise states how these stereotypes are the basis of today's racism. People are comfortable with Obama being black because a) he had years to prove his experience and intelligence and b) because he also has a parent who is White. The big question that struck me was can an average person of color amount to something the way an average white could? In today's society, white Americans might not even know that this racism exists but they still think less of black American's and it is seen in places of business, jobs, etc. Because of Barack Obama coming into Presidency, the new standard is that all people of black origin need to be truly exceptional in order to achieve anything now.

Bob Herbert's article states "The election of Barack Obama has not made true integration any more palatable to millions of Americans". This coincides with Wise's book because you would think that Barack's election would help White American's accept Black American's but it is still not the case. Herbert's main argument is on the education of today's Black and Hispanic students. Most of these students live in poverty and "the best teachers tend to avoid such schools, expectations regarding student achievement are frequently much lower, and there are lower levels of parental involvement" This all impacts the student and therefore puts graduates in the position of being "less intelligent" as stereotypes may point out. Wouldn't make sense to focus more on these public schools than the schools with the best test scores and more privilege? The teachers that do end up teaching these students would be less than inclined to teach them the rules and codes of power. Delpit would fear the way that the teacher operates her classroom for these students. Herbert argues that students would perform better if they were in a school with peers of middle class (rather than a school of their own racial and ethnic integration). Isn't it interesting that there are schools mainly with black students and schools mainly of whites? Couldn't we say that this matches the segregation of schools 50 years ago? This really relates to Herbert's argument of Separate but Unequal. 

This one quote from Bob Herbert really shows the relationship between Brown vs. Board and today's issues:

"More than a half-century after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation ruling, we are still trying as a country to validate and justify the discredited concept of separate but equal schools — the very idea supposedly overturned by Brown v. Board when it declared, “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality."

 Take a look at the site of Brown vs. Board of Education:

"The current obsession with firing teachers, attacking unions and creating ever more charter schools has done very little to improve the academic outcomes of poor black and Latino students. Nothing has brought about gains on the scale that is needed."

The home page of this website shows two pictures. Notice that the white school has nice desks, pictures, a teacher and happy kids all in rows. The black school however has a heater right in the middle, no pictures, no desks, and not a teacher to be seen. Today, might not be as extreme but in my Service Learning area, I see some distinct differences from my middle class high school to their urban, poor school. This is happening today.

In class, I'd really like to discuss how this can be changed. How can we figure out why it is that people are poor, how can we split districts and maybe have kids from Providence going to a school like Barrington? How can we break the segregation happening today in schools even thought we supposedly broke those barriers years ago.


  1. Let me start by saying that I really liked listening to Wise talk about his thoughts on racism. I really believe that what he has said is completely true. To try and answer your question about an average person of color amounting to what a white person could, I believe that the average person of color COULD indeed have the same accomplishments. They just have to work to get it. Now I am not saying that this is fair to make a black man work harder for something that a white man can achieve with less work. All I mean is that, since there is still racism, black people need to prove that they can do what a white man can do. It is unfortunate, but one day, maybe not in our lifetime, or our children's lifetime, I hope that everyone could work the same for the same achievements. Nobody should have special privileges.

  2. i really like the way you put fixing the problem into ABCD because it really is. people dont think of blacks to be equal with whites. if we all just saw people and who they are instead of color the world would be such a better place.