When you hear the phrase “educational inequality” what comes to mind? What data or stories do you think of? How did this week’s reading and podcast affect your thinking?
When I think of “educational inequality” I automatically think of the podcast, The Fight for a True Democracy. Why? Because it’s the beginning of the story what constructed and determined lower-class. The color of one’s skin. The beginning begins talking about how Blacks were brought to the United States and used/sold to make profit. That quickly put a label on Blacks as slaves, being seen as anything but human.. essentially property. Fast forward, Black families may not have the label of “slaves” like back then, but they are still seen as less. One thing that sticks out is when the narrator says that Blacks were born into it, die into it and pass that status onto their children, having a generation of blacks of have not and will never know what it is to completely free. That also poured into today’s generation.
“The Economy That Slaver Built” talked about how black people were the reason why cotton turned into America’s first big business. Although the case, Whites profited off of it while Blacks worked really hard and died due to it, never profiting themselves or being rewarded for their hard labor. This continues to tie in to the fact that Blacks were seen as less and their main purpose was to serve others. Fast forward to years later during segregation, Blacks were isolated from the general population, working lower-waged jobs that were mainly service jobs where they barely made money. Only certain jobs, forms of housing and schooling were available to Blacks and they weren’t the best. They were kept below everyone.
In today’s generation, although slavery and segregation is not as prominent as before, “Education’s Limitations and Its Radical Possibilities” explains that race and class come hand in hand when it comes to education. The ability to afford education is stemmed from the income of households. Having a good income would help you decide on where you could place your children. Those who had a good income could afford housing in safe and upscale communities that have the best education, whereas those who did not have such a good source of income lived in rough neighborhoods where the educational systems were not the best. The article states that the spectrum of the color line corresponds to the class line. Particular racial-ethnic groups are represented disproportionately in the lowest household income and other groups in the highest. Children ages 18 or younger who live low-income or poor households, nearly two out of three African American, Native American, and Latinx youth live at or below 200% of the poverty line, compared to less than one out of three of their Asian and White peers. And those are obviously, the descendants of those who faced slavery, settler colonialism, genocide, and conquest.
Another factor that I think about when I think of “educational inequalities” is the prejudice behind different races. There is still racism, bias, and discrimination. This adds pressure onto children and prevents them from getting the proper education they deserve. For example, based on my own person observation, assuming that all Asians are smart and assuming that all Blacks are good at basketball and football which will and should be their own focuses because they are not capable of getting good grades. In many scenarios, it could be the complete opposite and one thing people are beginning to notice is many schools are enrolling students based on the racial bias that is placed on them, hindering all of them from performing to their best abilities.
What did you learn as a student in elementary school and high school about the origins of the United States and slavery in particular? How did the podcast align with what you were taught? What was different?
As a student in grade school, we were taught who our founding fathers were, that good they brought to this country, and talked about slavery so fast that you could easily forget having the discussion. In elementary school it seemed as though they were afraid to expose children to the horrors that truly took place in 1619 when the first boat of slaves arrived to Virginia. In high school, things were being discussed more and more. All students knew that Blacks were taken from their mainlands, brought to the United States and sold to make profit. It wasn’t until we had to do our own digging to find out who the particular slave owners really were; for example Thomas Jefferson. Slavery discussions were barely covered as lengthy as the discovery of America by Columbus, who did more damage than good. It was as though teachers were trying to prevent us from knowing the full truth about America.
Proof of this was, in the podcast “ The Fight for a True Democracy” the narrator talked about Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson went to Philadelphia to work on and sign what is known as the Declaration of Independence, something that states “.. that all men are created equal”, talking about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.. but while writing these words liberation he brought a slave that he owned to serve and make him comfortable. A slave who was his was in fact the half brother is his wife. To him, those words did not apply to him or his family. That is just one example of something they failed to teach us in grade school. Many things were hidden to preserve the image of America, slavery barely mentioned or talked about.