AR Staff, American Renaissance, April 27, 2015
In the March 28 New York Times, black columnist Brent Staples lovingly described a recent DOJ Office of Civil Rights study that claims young black students routinely get more severe discipline than white students for exactly the same offense. Mr. Staples concludes with his usual self-righteous wailing: “Racism, after all, is in the very air that we breathe as Americans. It filters the way many of us see the world (whether we know it or not) and shapes decisions of all kinds.”
Some reader/commenters joined in the hand-wringing, but many heaped scorn on the DOJ “study.” It’s also worth noting that comments at the New York Times are moderated, so if there were comments about racial differences in IQ and time preference they were probably rejected.
This is ridiculous! I am a teacher and I can say that I have witnessed the exact opposite occur. While working in my old district, I would regularly receive emails from administration asking us to not send any more minorities to the office until we had more white kids. Any white student out of dress code was immediately sent to ISS (in school suspension) for the day in order to make it okay to send a Hispanic or African-American student for worse offenses (fighting, stealing, using profanity in class) to ISS. Race has become a cop-out. . . . This article says that it’s better to be white because whites are given more opportunities and aren’t punished as much but that is NOT true! I have been told to exclude white children from special tutorial sessions because, “they’re white, they’ll get by.” We had to give scholarship awards to African-American and Hispanic students for being “C” average students. I will NOT listen to ignorant people that have never been in the classroom or school discuss how unfair the education system is to minorities! On a similar note, I was told by a friend whom worked in the office of a school I had applied for a teaching job that I couldn’t get an interview because I was “the wrong color.” The district told the principal that he needed more minorities. Racism is still prevalent but the victims aren’t the same. It’s “taboo” to discuss racism against whites . . . .
I’m Black and went to a diverse school adjacent to DC. Most of the fights, class disruptions and just overall cruelty was committed by Blacks. I don’t care what DOJ investigation says about some random school district, I know what I experienced. I know what my family and friends experienced as well and it is not pretty.
JohnB, Staten Island:
My mother is a retired high school teacher, and to this day she will tell you how the black students in her school (who were about a 10 percent minority) were able to get away with behavior that would never have been tolerated in the whites, because if they had been held to the same standard as whites too many of them would have been suspended, and the school would have been accused of racism. I went to that same high school, and I saw for myself that, while there were certainly exceptions, the black students overall were far more rowdy and disruptive than the white students.
This is my own personal experience, and if contradicts what government Civil Rights investigations say then so be it. Maybe the behavior of black students has varied at different times and in different parts of the country. Or maybe Civil Rights investigations are politicized somehow–difficult as that may be to imagine!
But there really is something strange going on here. School teachers and administrators tend to be very liberal, and areas with a lot of black students also often have a lot of black school officials. I find it very hard to believe that these people–consciously or unconsciously–are punishing students just for being black! There is something else going on here, something that perhaps contradicts the official narrative of unending oppression of blacks by whites. Whatever it is, we are not likely to read about it in the Times.
Ian Maitland, Minneapolis:
What I would like to hear from Brent Staples (and the Department of Justice), but I haven’t yet, is the recognition that racial disparities in punishment are justified if they reflect racial disparities in behavior. In that case, “racial disparities” are perfectly consistent with treating violations of school rules the same, regardless of race or ethnicity.
As has been pointed out, there is an enormous “disparity” between boys and girls when it comes to discipline, but no one claims that boys have been discriminated against.
I’ve been a public middle school teacher in a mid-size California city for about five years. I try very hard to create a positive learning environment. And I really try to appreciate my students, often urging myself to look for their strengths and special gifts that I might miss because we have different backgrounds. ALL students have great things to share, if we pay attention.
That said, I have found in my first five years that different groups of students tend to present different opportunities and challenges in the classroom. Yesterday a black girl sat down and said loudly, “I hate white people.” She described being “surrounded” by white people in a cafe and how they talked in a style she found “stupid.” AA students also use the N word a lot, along with the F word. White students where I teach tend to keep that language to themselves more of the time. Why? I’m sure it’s complicated. Also, AA students where I teach get physically violent or just disrupt class by yelling and moving around much more often than whites. . . .
Can’t we really celebrate our differences, and stop pretending our communities are all exactly the same?
William Case, Texas:
Anyone who has walked the hallways of both predominantly white suburban schools and predominantly black inner city schools knows there is distinct difference in student behavior. Discipline is more difficult to maintain in inner-city schools.
It is important to note that the behavior of the student is not the only factor that is considered when determining consequences for violent or disruptive behavior. I teach in an inner-city environment where parents often ignore teachers (many screen out calls from the school or fail to respond to notes and letters from teachers or administrators), fail to show up at conferences or disciplinary hearings, and curse at and threaten teachers when confronted with their child’s inappropriate behavior. When parents are cooperative in working with school staff to correct a problem, the students are far less likely to be suspended. Might there be some disparities in this area that account for the differences in consequences?
Everything’s always the white man’s fault if you never take personal responsibility for your own failures and direct instead the blame fully on outside forces, then you will never improve, or overcome–let me guess, the solution will be to mete out punishment to blacks on a percentage basis equally.
Spend some time at an actual school and watch staff and administrators bending over backwards to try and not suspend/discipline African American students.
Michael H., Alameda, California:
The assumption seems to be that administrators and teachers are at the very least biased against minorities, if not a bunch of racists. That they are primarily white and just don’t like minorities.
The problem with that mindset is that the suspension rate for Asian students is consistently half that of whites. Asian are about 16% of the population in California, and their suspension rates are consistently way, way lower than whites. And the reason for that is behavior. Students are suspended based on their behavior.
Chris, Toms River, NJ:
This is nonsense. Boys are suspended at 4 times the rate of girls, yet no one calls teachers (predominantly women BTW) sexist bigots. Whites are suspended at twice the rate of Asians; is the school system biased against whites and boys? Is there any evidence that schools are racist against black boys in favor of Asian girls? After all, teachers are indoctrinated in college with systematic anti-male, anti-white critical race theory and white privilege. Many, if not most, of the administrators engaged in these suspensions of black children are also black. Could it be that with shocking levels of single parenthood and violent crime, there are lower rates of impulse control and higher rates of violence among black youths? Illegitimacy rates are three times higher among blacks than whites, and the rate of violence among black youths is 8 times higher (its 16 times that of Asians). One of my fellow teachers was attacked by a Kindergartner who called her cracker, white bitch and a host of racial epithets; he was suspended only after attacking her with a pencil and attempted to stab her. She was then told by administrators that if she could not deal with the situation, she should not be teaching in such a district (translation: here’s the door, cracker).
Charlie, Flyover Land:
This is a country where the Justice Dept and their Civil Rights Division have yet to charge any minorities with hate crimes they commit while committing their so called knockout game which has resulted in numerous deaths and permanent brain injuries. So it is very odd that small matters of school discipline come under scrutiny when hate crime murders are ignored. There may well be a very significant explanation for African American kids getting disciplined in schools, that being that a much smaller percentage are being raised in traditional two parent homes where kids are taught appropriate discipline from an early age.
Kosovo, Louisville, KY:
The study is biased, it was looking for those results, and so it found them.
Spend some time in a real public school and watch staff bend over backwards to accommodate African American students, excuse their behavior violations, give them a second chance, model respectful behavior, etc. Courtesy and manners are viewed by far too many AA kids as weakness. Defiance, disrespect and violence are all seen as signs of strength, hence their disproportionate suspension rates. . . .