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Our education crisis: American children afraid to learn

Jeanine Russaw | 9/15/2014, 6 a.m.
What does “acting white” look like?

We ought to refuse to pander to the discriminatory foundations on which this society was founded—the society that hated dark skin and ethnic features so much that a person with only “one drop” of African blood was forever labeled as a second-class citizen— or three-fifths of a person— in her own country.

Understanding the social construction of “race” would help as well. We are all human beings; the idea of “race” in this country is little more than a socio-political structure to delineate between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” The United States’ capitalistic system thrives on that. Coming to grips with this truth will speed up our inevitable rejection of this outdated, harmful notion.

My dream is that we as Americans will one day move into an actual post-racial era where content of character is not socially predicted by “race.” That people of color won’t be afraid to learn and highly educated “minorities” will be the norm. My dream is to see a world in which black youth do not purposely dumb themselves down in an effort to keep pace with what is expected of them, and educators won’t expect them to lack intelligence.

We need a cultural shift of our understanding of race. All children have a natural capacity to learn. Our educational system— our teachers, administrators and policies— need to reflect this. The future of America depends on it.

Jeanine Russaw writes for PeaceVoice, is a multimedia journalist, and a journalism student at Hofstra University. To contact her, email: jmarierussaw@gmail.com