Black Boys and Wealth Don't Mix

The adage goes: "If you work and study hard, you can make something of yourself." A person should be able to have a good life. But what if you come from a family that is already upper-middle class or rich? For some reason, when it comes to Black boys something is happening to their socio-economic status when they become adults.

A study done by Stanford, Harvard, and the Census Bureau shows that Black boys who grew up in wealthy families did not maintain their socio-economic status at the same rate as their white peers. Even if they grew up with similar family structures and educational levels, the gap persisted. Black boys who grew up with wealth have a greater chance of becoming an adult who is middle class, lower middle class or poor.

We could also assume that the same inequality gap is present for Black girls, but this study says otherwise. Even though Black women have to deal with race and sexism, those issues have not affected their income level compared to White women.

There are some unique barriers for Black males that affect their upward mobility. Indicators such as marital status and mentors in the community can make an impact. The researchers elude to systemic issues of how Black males are portrayed and treated in society. The graphs throughout the article highlight the impact of various disparities.

Questions for Reflection:

  • What barriers do you feel have the greatest impact on the income gap?
  • As a group, are Black males perceived to be dangerous to our society?

Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys

Badger, Emily, et al. “Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 Mar. 2018, www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/19/upshot/race-class-white-and-black-men.html.

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Did You Know: What is Colorism?

Have you ever heard this saying before? “ If you’re brown, stick around; if you’re yellow, you’re mellow; if you’re white, you’re all right; if you're black, stay back.” The wording can switch around, but the impact is still the same. Many African Americans know this saying because during segregation it reminded them to be careful of the places they went to publicly due to their race.

There is another form of racism that most people haven't heard of and it's called colorism. The term colorism is mostly credited to Alice Walker who defined it as "prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their color." Typically the lighter complicated you are, the more preferential treatment you receive because your skin tone is more reflective of the majority group. Research suggests people who are darker complected may not do as well financially, socially, and treated as lesser-than within their own racial circles.

One of the issues with colorism is that you can have people of different races with the same skin tone; it's easy to mistake someone for being part of a group they may not belong to. Assumptions can get us in trouble if we don't spend the time to find out more about people.

Questions for Reflection

  • Have you ever seen anyone treated differently because of their colorism?
  • How can we increase our level of awareness of the various forms of colorism?
  • Have you noticed colorism in the media (television, social media, or newspapers)?

“Colorism and Its Impact On Society.” The Odyssey Online, 28 Aug. 2017, www.theodysseyonline.com/colorism-and-its-impact-on-society.

Forman, Tanesha B. “Colorism and the Classroom.” Love.Tanesha, 19 Aug. 2017, www.lovetanesha.com/2017/08/colorism-and-classroom.html.

What's In Your Toolbox?

Are You a Restorative or Punitive Educator?

Schools and districts throughout the country are exploring alternatives to the traditional Punitive model of discipline. They're noticing that it may not be a deterrent to students. Some researchers believe by using a punitive model that you increase the likelihood that students will drop-out or end up in the juvenile system.

Schools/districts are using the restorative justice model to build a stronger sense of community. Restorative justice brings the persons harmed with the persons responsible for harm together in a safe and respectful place to promote dialogue and accountability. Restorative practices also encourage student voice, value, and safety at school.

Depending on your beliefs and experiences as an educator will determine your perspective and attitudes toward discipline. Take the Restorative or Punitive Survey to help you assess where you fall along this given tool. Remember our views can evolve based on experiences and what we learn from professional development. Find out where you fall along the spectrum.

*Please read directions on sheet two before taking the survey!

“8 Tips for Schools Interested in Restorative Justice.” Edutopia, www.edutopia.org/blog/restorative-justice-tips-for-schools-fania-davis.

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