Maya Angelou, the acclaimed poetess and civil rights activist, once said the following: “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” Her words of wisdom on the harmful nature of racial prejudice continue to ring true to this day. We, The Village Method, are strongly opposed to racial discrimination.
Systemic racism in education is a serious issue. According to a Journal of Neuroscience study, race perception develops during infancy and can easily shape one’s perception of various racial and ethnic groups. The more we put off the talk about racial segregation and unequal treatment, the more they will become an integral part of our daily lives.
Racial prejudice in education is rampant. The unwillingness to do a systematic investigation on the topic of racial profiling is keeping our young scholars from having equal access to high-quality education. Read on to find out our 4 steps that could help overcome racial prejudice.
#1: Racial Prejudice Thrives Where There’s Silence
All children, regardless of national or ethnic origin, have an awareness of racial prejudice. The latest Black Lives Matter protests have managed to further fuel this awareness in Black children. Therefore, they have a clearer understanding of what racial stereotypes are.
However, society would have us believe that the implications of racial discrimination are either minor or not worth discussing within the classroom. The intentional omission and silence that our young ones have to deal with in schools show just how deep the roots of systemic racism in education are.
This silence suppresses our people’s history and encourages prejudice and discrimination among several groups of children. Anti-racist educators have a moral duty to dive into so-called sensitive subjects.
There is no rational reason as to why Critical Race Theory, Social Emotional Learning, or the real history of African-American people should be considered controversial or even taboo.
#2: Counteracting Racial Prejudice With Family Engagement
According to Sesame Workshop research, parents feel more than comfortable addressing the issue of racial prejudice. They believe that their children should hear it from them first and then have that information backed up by books, teachers, and other family members.
Family engagement activities are seldom the main interest of schools. The cultural hostility that most parents of color have to face is overwhelming and upsetting. On the other hand, anti-racist educators work hard to change attitudes and bridge the gap between home and school.
As with everything, there are stereotypical factors at work that emphasize these cultural differences. Racial discrimination is the result of a lack of family engagement and empathy towards the parents. Going beyond the socioeconomic status of the families could help them speak up and give the educators a hand on how they could improve the current curriculum.
By encouraging family engagement and putting the Social Emotional Learning framework into practice, the racial disparities in education might soon take a step back. Research done by Steven O. Roberts shows that family engagement and academic achievement go hand in hand. After-school programs should definitely not be the only ones showing enthusiasm about family engagement.
#3: Racial Prejudice Raises the Alarm On Mental Health
According to the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network, 50% of Black college students have not received any education on mental health issues before they enrolled in college. This is not only unacceptable but also highly dangerous. Under these circumstances, the rise in suicide rates points precisely at systemic racism in education.
Although researchers have been blowing the whistle for years now, the schooling system continues to ignore the struggles of our young scholars. Furthermore, the parents recognize the limitations of the curriculum and are collectively deciding to look into other solutions. Culturally inclusive and affirming after-school programs are the perfect fit.
#4: After-School Programs Address Racial Prejudice
If there is good news at all in this article, it has got to be the rise in culturally affirming after-school programs. Families and educators come together through respectful family engagement activities and help the kids become confident and liberated from the weight of racial discrimination.
Here is a summarized list of what you should be looking for in an after-school program:
Empowering Reflections on Racism
A truly great after-school program will seek to empower its attendants along with their families. Anti-racist educators will openly discuss the social and cultural effects of racial discrimination.
It Takes a Village to Raise a Child
The old African proverb says it best. Look for after-school programs that care about the academic and health outcomes of your child.
Make sure that they provide youth development programs, family engagement activities, Social Emotional Learning, and community outreach among many other things.
From Elementary to College
If we want our youth to thrive under these grim circumstances, it would be wise to sign them up for after-school programs that care about their long-term success.
From elementary to college, an effective after-school program will ensure that the child not only does well in school but that they will also have the chance to get into the college of their dreams, regardless of whether they’re first-generation students or not.
Let’s Fight Racial Prejudice Together
The Village Method is not your usual after-school program. We believe that the advancement of Black youth rests in our hands. Together we can build strong villages that will nurture our children and encourage them to create a more equitable future.
You can get involved now and help our cause gain momentum! Donate, volunteer, or spread the word! We are more than grateful for your input!