It’s no secret that Black Americans have routinely faced struggle after struggle on the road towards attaining an education for themselves. Throughout this nation’s history, we find periodic reminders that African Americas weren’t welcome into the halls of education whether we’re examining schools in the North or the South. Even today, however, the United States continues to stifle Black education to a ridiculous and harmful extent.
Here’s how American society and its political structure actively works against Blacks trying to educate themselves, and what changes need to be fostered to bring about an equality of opportunity.
Shadows of the past still fall on us today
It sure would be nice to say that trials and tribulations haven’t been visited upon African Americans continuously throughout this nation’s history, but of course, that would be a terrible lie. We can see the shadows of the past still falling around us today everywhere we go, whether it’s Flint, Michigan or the very streets of our nation’s capital. Despite the fact that today’s American student body is more diverse than ever before, for instance, America’s teachers are still overwhelmingly White, and thus unlikely to connect with many of their students in fundamentally important ways.
Not only are teachers and professors in this country’s education system overwhelmingly White, either, but they’re also better-paid and routinely installed into more powerful positions than their Black counterparts. It’s incredibly challenging for Black students to connect with their learning experience in the same fashion White students do; after all, if you’re learning about whitewashed American history from White faculty members surrounded by White classmates, how could you possibly be immersed in an environment conducive to learning?
Black Americans are still incredibly likely to be turned away from institutions of higher learning than their White counterparts, too, even with affirmative action policies in place to try and prevent that very thing from occurring. A report from the New York Times actually uncovered the chilling fact that Blacks and Hispanics are astonishingly even more underrepresented now in top colleges than they were nearly four decades ago. This stifling of Black education has long-term consequences; with college graduates in the United States continuously taking a larger share of the income pie, it necessarily follows that the economic conditions of Black Americans will worsen while their college-educated White peers pull further ahead.
Besides these institutional hurdles to Black success, there of course also exist the cultural barriers to Black education. Black families struggle more with their finances than Whites, for instance, making it harder for them to afford textbooks and tutors when they’re needed, or to get an MRI from a place like Express MRI when necessary. More than that, however, Black families are also more fractured (largely thanks to aggressive and unjust policing practices) and less likely to provide the nurturing support of a nuclear family to their young children. America must start devoting more resources towards the education of its underprivileged Black citizens and erode the culture of whitewashing history if African Americans are ever to achieve equality.
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