Racism In America Essay

1150 words - 5 pages

Education Curves RacismA recent study conducted by Education Digest indicated that77 percent of teenagers believe that there is racism at theirschool. Another staggering 75 percent said that the student bodyat their particular school is socially segregated. Moreremarkably, the survey indicated that over 86 percent of highschool students feel that there is racism in their communities.The magazine, which circulates 500,000 copies to over 1,900schools, polled 285 high school juniors and seniors across thecountry. The poll shows that racism is not just a problem amongadults; rather, it is a problem for youth as well (Schroeder, 67).A common misconception is that children are not capable ofprejudice at early age. Yet, this is not true. In 1984 a studyby Darlene and Derek Hopson showed this. The study replicated afamous 1930's study, where both black and white students weregiven dolls of various colors and asked to state which doll wasthe 'bad' doll, and which was the 'good' doll. In the study, 74percent of the preschoolers, between the ages of 2 and 5,stated that the dark colored doll was the 'bad' doll (Cole 88).The survey shows that children can develop opinions through avariety of sources, even at an early age. According to theHopsons these sources include the media, what they pick up intheir own homes, and from the culture in general (Cole 88).The preceding examples illustrate that there is a need toeducate students when it comes to racism. Affirmative action andother current programs designed to solve racism only solves thesymptoms, not the problem itself. In order to stop racism it isnecessary to attack racism at its very roots. Since racism candevelop at an early age, it is best to confront the issue beforeit can spread.In educating children it is important to get everything outinto the open. Differences should not be shrugged or discounted.Children should not have their perceptions discounted. Forinstance, if a child draws attention to a man in a wheelchair,he/she should not be scolded. By scolding the child you areactually saying, according to psychologist Brunson Phillips, that'physical disabilities are negative, and that nice people don'tnotice these conditions.' Thus, a child would be better off beingtold that a wheelchair helps some people 'to get around (Cole88).'According Seamus Kearney, a Principal and class teacher inSt. Patrick's Primary School in London, 'education is critical forovercoming ignorance and prejudice, and encourages openness amonghis pupils (Croan 5).' In order to overcome racism, Kearneyimplements many tools to create an atmosphere of discussion andopenness. For instance, in a geography lesson he tells the classto come up with the meaning for the word 'harassed.' After this,he asked the question, 'who does the harassing in NorthernIreland?' The children, after a interesting discussion, came upwith answers such as the Sinn Fein, the IRA, and various otherterrorists groups that operate in England. This activity...

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