Education Reform Is Impossible Without Addressing Racism

Michaela Pomells, Huffington Post, October 4, 2012

I’m tired of talking about education reform. Tired of yapping with other “reformers” who are trying to figure it all out. I’m done. I’m throwing in the towel. But this doesn’t mean I will let my lips turn blue from silence; I’m taking my rant to the picket lines. It’s time to lead the conversation about education reform, with race: the structural organizing factor that determines educational access and opportunity in education institutions.

Let’s face it, race inequity may not be a deliberate goal of education policy and practice (or maybe it is) but neither is it accidental. The result is a whole lot of seemingly well-meaning people trying to evoke change in an education system that never intended to educate people of color in the first place. Educational institutions are places that actively reproduce ways of thinking, feeling, believing, and acting that work to the advantage of white students. If we want to “reform” education, it requires that we acknowledge and dismantle the power structures that are embedded in the system. It involves understanding that the conversation about education reform takes place in the shadow of slavery and Jim Crow.

The outright denial of the institutional racism that afflicts our schools and classrooms is reinforced through bad policies and educational malpractice. This lends little value in criticizing the circumstances in public schools when most schools fail to even recognize the presence or impact of racism. Yet, it’s a problem because the actual process of dismantling racial inequality in education requires an outright revolution. Power structures and institutions cannot change without getting everybody involved.


Today, education policies have barely responded to the disparities in the system that systematically disadvantage students of color. Democrat’s policies have aligned with the corporate education agenda. The GOP and the Tea Party have made strong endorsements for school choice and have essentially suggested eliminating the Department of Education. We can’t rely on our government for this one. Achieving an anti-racist education system will require an uprising from the ground up that demands anti-racist policies and carries out systematic anti-racist education among teachers and students. Until then, we will only pretend to care about education reform.


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  • Francis Galton

    Yes, systems and institutions that reward intelligence and a strong work ethic (like the education system) will systematically disadvantage “people of color,” because they are not known to have much of either. (As an aside, last time I checked White was a color, too!)

    Also, it’s laughable to say that the education system somehow props up White “privilege” of sorts–nowadays, it’s the exact opposite.  Every opportunity is taken to tear down Whites and White achievement.  Has the author been living under a rock for 100 years?

    • MekongDelta69

      Has the author been living under a rock for 100 years?

      Pick one answer:
      1.) Yes
      2.) She’s probably 18 y/o
      3.) Her body is living under a rock, which is above her neck
      4.) The rock kicked her out because she was dumbing it down

  • nathan wartooth

    I would love for the author to give one example of racism besides low test scores. 

    It will be tough because there isn’t any. She is just assuming that racism must be to blame. It wouldn’t be the IQ gap that is causing the lower grades. 

    I wonder what her response would be when asked if the schools were originally designed to teach Asian students. Since the Asian students get higher grades than the white students, the schools but have been secretly designed to give Asians an advantage. 

    • Bad_Mr_Frosty

      We, as Whites, need to fight against Asian Privilege in American schools. Systematic discrimination leads to Asians getting higher test scores that White Americans.  

      • The__Bobster

        No, Asians get higher test scores by gaming the system, something White students are too honorable to do.

  • Oil Can Harry

    Another weenie whining that US schools are not magically transforming blacks into geniuses.

    Can the author please point out a country anywhere in the world where black students excel? I won’t hold my breath… 

    • So CAL Snowman

       The South African school of mining strikes?

  • MekongDelta69

    Somebody tell Michaela Pomells that 1965 is calling and they want their excuses back.

    (I’ll be right back – I have to go print Mzzzzzzz. Pomells protest sign for her. I mean, what’s a righteous ’60s protest without a cool sign? I’d let her do it, but I don’t want to take the chance of any words being mispelled.)

    • Question Diversity

      It doesn’t matter what that sign says, they’ll call it racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic anyway.

  • So CAL Snowman

    “Educational institutions are places that actively reproduce ways of
    thinking, feeling, believing, and acting that work to the advantage of
    white students.”

    Whoa, whoa, whoa slow down there little miss liberal.  I thought we were all “equal” and had the same natural intelligence.  This seems to be a stark admission that we are not all equal.  After all why would blacks and browns have trouble learning in an environment that is “racially neutral?”

    This author uses a lot of words to essentially say one thing  – White people are racist and that’s why non-whites are failures.

  • jedsrael

    He’s on the winning side of Social Progress.

    Many White college presidents have already signed off on Diversity Mandates that systemize the privileges of Diveristy to get first pick at the best jobs.  Department hiring commitees are now subjected to Diversity Accountability Standards that punish them with budget cuts if they don’t hire the Diversity instead of the White man who earned the job and is most qualified. 

    White in colleges, denominations, and government are now systemically discriminated against in the name of eradicating systemic discrimination.

    Any governors coming to your rescue? Anybody in power saying anything on your behalf?  No, because they all just agree that, “We’ve come far, but before we contratulate ourselves too much, we must admit that we STILL HAVE MUCH MORE WORK TO DO”.

    • thomas

      In other words, there are still more Whites left to disenfranchise.

  • Puggg

    Nothing’s stopping her from building her “anti-racist” (i.e. anti-white) educational utopia.

    Though I get the feeling if it hasn’t been done already, by people whose world views are the same as or similar to hers, it can’t be done.

    Perhaps Mary Morrison, the author of AmRen’s many California education features, wishes that the “power structure” would be dismantled.

  • Barrack Osama

    I agree with her completely. Children with special needs should have special classes or even specials schools that are built from the ground up to meet these needs. Likewise, the achievers should be allowed to learn in environments that are tailored to their abilities. Everyone should be helped down the road towards own maximum potential.

    How about leaving the “racist” whites in their oppressive schools and building specialized black schools completely free of “racism”? The tragedy is, no one even knows if there is any teaching or method of instruction that is especially effective on blacks, because the very idea has become verboten. Forced integration hurts both sides.

    • ed91

       when I was a kid they had a small building down the street that served the ones that couldn’t/shouldn’t be in a classroom.

      40 yrs later, for one example, I had an 8 yr old running around the classroom screaming in babble with the aide close behind trying to catch him.  When she did, she talked to him gently for 5 minutes with him giving intermittent 10 second outbursts.

      The problem was the class and I waiting patiently so we could go with the lesson the little boy couldn’t begin to fathom.

      and that is an example of just one small problem with US education today.   There are 10-20 huge problems, like textbook writers, race denial, gender denial, (as in the difference between boys and girls at the ages they are during school years)
      etc etc

    • C_C_Conrad

       Blacks do have such schools, there called prisons. 

      • ed91


    • The__Bobster

      At a school suitable for the needs of spoonies students, all of them would arrive in short busses.

  • Shawn_thefemale

    We must “dismantle the power structures” and have an “outright revolution” for true reform to take place.

    Absolutely true.  Oh, but I don’t think we mean the same kind of revolution, do we…

    • newscomments70

      I was about to right the same thing. You beat me to it.

  • Diamond_Lil

    I heard today that LAUSD is raffling a new car for students (almost all Latino now) who have perfect attendance.  The entitlement mentality is unbelievable.

    • The__Bobster

      It might take years for one of them to qualify.

  • 5n4k33y3s

    I laughed out loud at that one. Hilarious.

  • SarahConnor

    Sounds to me like she wants all “the coloreds” in one school where they can all be equal —sounds good to me!

  • KD_Did

    Is this from the Onion?    ohh wait, OK,  Huff post. For a minute I thought it was for real.

  • Ulick

    She’s obviously an African-american Studies graduate.  She parrots all the nonsensical lingo like “power structures” an “institutional racism”.  It’s clear that she’s swallowed it whole without ever giving a second thought to alternate reasons for black academic failure.  She writes, “The outright denial of the institutional racism” without seeing the irony of her own outright denial of the causes of black failure.

  • .

    During the Cold War, the US & USSR both agitated ethnic and class conflict throughout the 3rd world in order to topple governments and replace them with ones more friendly to themselves. That never really stopped. Countries around the world still do it. I’ve often wondered how much of the racial agitation in the US was funded by Russia, China, Iran, etc. Even if politicians and the various groups were to find a way to get along, outside interests would still fund agitation to keep things stirred up.

  • JohnEngelman

    With a name like “Michaela” I assume this person is black. The only people who think this way are blacks and white liberals who know few blacks, and who certainly went to school with few of them. Blacks are not being held down by the school system. They are being lifted up. Unfortunately, the weight is too heavy. 

  • JohnEngelman

    “Institutional racism” is the alibi for the persistence of inferior black performance in the class room and on the job, as well as the large number of blacks who are expelled from school and put in prison.  

    In the past, when clear thinking was not clouded by political correctness, these problems were attributed to intrinsic inferiority.

    • ed91

       what happened?

      You woke the f*+k up?

  • APaige

    ” race: the structural organizing factor that determines educational access and opportunity in education institutions.” Please allow me to translate:
    race: the genetic factor that determines IQ which SHOULD determine educational access to education institutions.
    “systematic anti-racist education among teachers and students” sounds like re-education camps.

  • Bad_Mr_Frosty

    I love watching them squirm. They are getting desperate and scared. They’ve had 50 years and trillions of dollars, yet they have NOTHING to show for it. The problems are worse than they were 50 years ago. They are out of time and out of money. Once this whole mess explodes, liberalism is going to be as popular as the flat-earth hypothesis.

  • C_C_Conrad

     The “shadow” that blacks are living under is the shadow they made by their own behavior. 

  • thomas

    No matter what is done or how much is spent trying to uplift diversity, “racism” will always be the reason for their failure. I think we should all “throw in the towel” trying to make diversity something they are not.

  • thomas

    Yeah…where are all these White people they talk about. Where I live, I’m usually the only White guy in a sea of mexicans. Diversity is certainly not lacking. What are they going to do when there are no more Whites to kick around, turn on themselves?

  • JhoffaX

    The author cries her little eyes out over, omg! the injustice! The power structures!!  The disparate outcomes! All the bad apples in education, that are dragging black students down!!!!!!!   WAHHHHHH!  BOO-HOO!  We are even presented with a supposed fact that our schools aren’t organized around teaching minority students!  Just whites! It ain’t fair, brah!!!!  *shakes fist*

    Well, if the differences really are that stark and entrenched, why not embrace Charter Schools and portability?

    The “power structures” and the rest of the bad actors that are mistreating minority students will be at a tremendous disadvantage in such a system..  Because it’s: A) Merit based. B) Scored and judged by the parents themselves..  The best and most vigilant watchdogs anyone could possibly hope for.

    What’s the problem here?  You’ve got a solution right in front of you..   If you won’t embrace it because you profit politically from the current system and the union money, then haven’t you become an integral part of the very same problem you claim to be fighting against?

  • The__Bobster

    Maybe Aradyne would benefit from going to a school in Japan.

    Oh, that’s right. The Japanese discriminate against children with any White blood in them. 

  • Bardon Kaldian

    Read enough of it:!who-we-are

    Women’s Studies and Pubic policy

    Pubic policy …..

    • Luis

      I saw that too, paisan. A Freudian slip, perhaps?

  • Chris R; Something Clever

    This lady picked a lot of words to say nothing.

    I’m so sick and tired of these sycophant leftists claiming that either poverty or racism is what is keeping minorities down. It’s them! T-H-E-M!

  • jessej

    It seems to me the blacks I hear talking is what they want is an equal chance to progress in a mixed society at this point.  My question is,  when you show the behaviour and educational and job training required you probably will move forward.  Bill Cosby had it right ,, pull up your pants,  go to school, learn to speak English as it is supposed to be spoken.  Ebonics is a pile of horse crap,  not a language and you master it , you can be the cheif thug on the block. The orientals come into this country  work hard and are now selling the blacks stuff from their convenient stores.  Apparently racism of the whites didn’t hold them back.  not only that but the blacks hate the orientals for doing what they have not been able to do in hundreds of years.  Work hard,  follow the fricking rules, make a business.  Stay out of prisons, too comfortable there,   Go to prison for a few years and it is like old home week.  If blacks do not straighten up , and there is a revolution,  I think they shall not fare well.

  • jessej

    Get off the crack, and don’t run 4 states away when the baby comes.  It is hard enough in this society for two parents to raise a baby.  Seems to me a high percentage of black moms end up raising the kids themselves.  Good example for a man to show his son. 

  • Question Diversity

    Except Mitt Romney didn’t inherit much from his father.  True, he had a very good home environment and educational opportunities from his father being CEO of American Motors  (*), then Michigan Governor, then HUD Secretary.  But Mitt inherited relatively little from George, and since George didn’t die until 1995, a year after Mitt became a public figure (running for MA-SEN against Ted Kennedy), and already after Mitt made a career at Bain Capital, Mitt took his father’s inheritance and gave it to some charity.

    If I was filthy rich and had kids, they wouldn’t be in my will.  I know, it’s an awfly convenient thing for someone who is neither rich nor has kids to say, but I’m not joking around.  You really don’t know what money and prosperity is until you have to earn it yourself.  Mitt Romney mostly earned his.  Yes, squabble over how, but it wasn’t a matter of George Romney putting a silver spoon in Mitt’s mouth.

    * –  BTW, saw a Rambler American two door hardtop 1964-69 last weekend.  Mitt Romney’s prominence is making people think of George Romney and in turn AMC.  All of a sudden, I’m seeing old AMCs everywhere.  It’s just selection bias.  Something to think about when we ponder how common interracial relationships are.  It’s not necessarily that they’re more common, it’s that we’re noticing them.

  • A Swain

    “Let’s face it, race inequity may not be a deliberate goal of education
    policy and practice (or maybe it is) but neither is it accidental. The
    result is a whole lot of seemingly well-meaning people trying to evoke
    change in an education system that never intended to educate people of
    color in the first place. Educational institutions are places that
    actively reproduce ways of thinking, feeling, believing, and acting that
    work to the advantage of white students. If we want to “reform”
    education, it requires that we acknowledge and dismantle the power
    structures that are embedded in the system “

    First of all, Ms Pomells is of non-White origin, of Black or Asiatic origin, it would appear.  

    There’s a distinct acceleration of non-Whites placed in enabled positions throughout the media and academia who seemingly are being hired to harrass and vilify White people anywhere and everywhere with the intent of dispossessing and disenfranchising them of their inalienable human rights, territories, heritages, cultures, belief systems and traditions across the whole of societal life worldwide.

    The cries of institutional racism when non-Whites comprise half or the majority of inhabitants and/or students in a given place or institution, is farcical and irrational in the extreme.  It proves beyond question that non-Whites who engage in this victimhood nonsense are out-and-out anti-White race haters and should be arrested and prosecuted.

    It’s my contention that those whom these enabled non-Whites are primarily getting at is the tiny percentage of White liberals beavering away like rodents in the perpetual cause of non-white uplift and betterment.  Simply put, they want rid of their benefactor Left brethren by force.  These White Liberals also comprise, of course, predominately the architects of Political Correctness and Affirmative Action, ie, the Askenazim.

    In the case of those enabled non-Whites guilty of the abovementioned behaviour, their constant complaining and haranging may well soon come to be viewed as a demonstration of ungratefulness, tedious and irritating, and ultimately backfire on them.

    Let’s face it, there are plenty of individual non-White ethnicities available upon whom to switch Affirmative Action and Quota privileges both in education and employments fields as a neat method of punishing those non-White element(s) daring to grossly diss their White  Marxist Liberal benefactors.

  • Ghg32

    Just look what education has done for Michaela Pomells; invent an absurd description of a public system in her own mind; write of that absurdity as if it were unquestionable common knowledge; propose radicalization of her invented absurdity so that it will finally emerge victorious; and finally enstate her absurdity as unopposable institutional dictatorial power.

    Wow. We can all go with that, right fellow comrades?

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    Notice this lame journalist didn’t give any specific examples of exactly how the education system is “racist,” “disadvantaged toward students of color” and “geared toward White students” — that’s because she can’t and it isn’t.  In fact the system is “geared toward” students of color.

    The entire education system, top to bottom, is entrenched in anti-White cultural marxism that favors black and brown students at the expense of White students.


    Open any K-12 textbook to get an idea of what the education system thinks of White children.


  • Luis

    Aren’t the Macedonians still living under the shadows of Alexander the Great? Aren’t Mexicans still living under the shadows of Porfirio Diaz’ regime? Aren’t Spaniards still living under the shadows of the Moors? 

  • sbuffalonative

    There are many schools and school districts with majority black and Hispanic students. These schools are run from the top down by black administrators, black principals, black school boards, and black advocacy groups.

    Failing black schools are overwhelmingly control by blacks pushing their black agenda. Through integration, they have transformed successful white schools into failing black schools.

    I don’t see how this could be more obvious.

  • Screamin_Ruffed_Grouse

    Achieving an anti-racist education system will require an uprising from the ground up that demands anti-racist policies and carries out systematic anti-racist education among teachers and students.

    A great example of the Leftist Church of Government. Put aside the racial idiocy of this entire column for a moment. If this “ground up” restructuring of education is really the goal, would not the derided “Tea Party” method of eliminating the DOE and ending the government monopoly on education be the best way to achieve it? But no, that would be to distressingly independent for the standard HuffPo leftist. Instead, we should “demand policies.”

    The rest is pretty unremarkable. Standard boilerplate indignation, accusations of Institutional Racism with no examples, all the requisite buzzwords (slavery, Jim Crow, disadvantage, power structures, etc.). I’ll leave it to everyone else to eviscerate the horse carcass being beaten here.

  • Oberon Oberoff

    The author mentions:  “. . .  an education system that never intended to educate people of color in the first place. Educational institutions are places that actively reproduce ways of thinking, feeling, believing, and acting that work to the advantage of white students.”

    I agree with her.  But why should white people want to change that?  I would love to see Ms. Pommells and other people of color develop an education system appropriate for people of color.

  • Question Diversity

    What I would worry about is that if I was both rich and had kids, my kids would grow up never really having to struggle for anything or do without anything.  I would worry that they would use my fortune for left wing or elitist purposes.  Yes, I would have to worry about “charities” doing the same thing.  This is why I would plan on spending most of it before I go, or setting up a trust run by reliable WN/RR/HBD advocates as a socio-political slush fund.

    But the reality is that I won’t have to worry about that problem.

    Anon:  Again, you’re right.  Mitt Romney had opportunities, but he wasn’t handed a fortune on a platter.  George Romney rose from carpenter to auto company CEO to Governor to Cabinet Secretary.  I bet he had the same attitude that I do in the hypothetical, that he wanted his kids to know what something is worth when one has to earn it.

  • zWsA

    Was this Huff Post article intended to be satire? If so, Michaela Pomells must be a satirical genius, because this piece is absolutely hilarious!