Where are white women in the fight for black men?

iuThe most disrespected person in America is the black man. The most unprotected person in America is the black man. The most neglected person in America is the black man. The black man has the highest incarceration rate in the US. The black man is demonized.

We live in a country where Whiteness is rarely named, where we don’t talk about the fact that 85% of the teachers are White (65% are White women).

  • It’s about understanding the research that says if you were socialized as a White person and a woman, when you’re shown a video of preschoolers and asked to find the “problem behavior,” you’re likely to keep your eye on the Black boy in the video almost twice as much as on the other children, even though the video contains no problem behavior (Finnerty, 2017).
  • It’s about understanding that if you grew up in the U.S., you likely grew up in a largely segregated community, in racially segregated social circles, reading books about White people, watching movies about White people, and receiving messages that reinforce anti-Blackness.
  • It’s about realizing that even though we’re individuals, with individual-level intention and motivation, we’re part of a system where we’re asked to judge, evaluate, and gatekeep; and our bias is mutually reinforcing as we and our 85% White colleagues look out at our students from this White worldview (Frankenberg, 1992).

The White women teachers who are effective teachers of Black boys know the tropes, the potholes, the pitfalls, that threaten to consume Black boys. They also know the fears that Black children and their families hold about how success in school might be mutually exclusive with Black cultural and linguistic styles. They work to build schools where Black students can be successful without having to be someone besides themselves.

White women are in the classroom. This is where they should fight for black men. The amount of hours a black boy/man spends with a white woman is very high. Higher for the black men who go on to get to degrees from a college or university. Use your privilege to make a good difference and receive a blessing for being good.

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