Friday, May 3, 2013

Lest we forget, all is not perfect: confronting racial issues in education

Sharing a link first: “When Too Few Minorities Are Too Many”
It is very easy to walk on to a college campus, to look around and think you are seeing diversity. Yes, you might see people of different creeds, cultures, and colors (we are all one race, the human race). However, if you actually look at the school stats, you will find that things are still very skewed. Some of it has to do with things that started long before the kids ever got to college, civil rights in America were only just granted within living memory of a lot of people, and the fact that affirmative action is still necessary means that there are still problems to fix.
Anyway, the type of racism I am talking about is something that we can control, and that is how we treat people. Have you ever spent time in the south? We often think of the south as the bastion of racism (I am not disputing history here), but what you will notice is how unfailingly polite everyone is. Just simple good manners that seem to have been forgotten by many people. That is where we start, by simply being polite.
Racist jokes are not funny because they hurt people, exclusion and shunning all because someone is different, is like putting someone in solitary confinement in prison. Humans are communal, we need to belong, and when you have a culture that is not welcoming, bad things happen.
Forget about school violence for a moment and let us look at the dropout rate and suicide; I do not have the exact numbers but they are higher than they should be. Cyber bullying seems to be all the rage now, and we do nothing because it is ‘virtual’ not physical.
This is all preventable, start by being nice; yes, I believe it is that simple. We do not have to accept the level of rudeness that currently exists and schools should enforce a simple code of good relations. Words like please, may I, you are welcome, and thank you should be back in fashion.

Teach our students to be polite, it will translate to school.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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