The past few weeks we have rightly been talking about the life threatening issues Black and Latino Men face from the police and our (in)justice system… but new studies have just come out about the plight also faced by Black girls in this country and our school-to-jail pipeline… lets review and fold this into the discussion.
Last week, the New York Times ran a crucial piece about school-age girls and the massive disciplinary imbalances that effectively segregate them, both by race and also by skin color. From the New York Times article:
“Data from the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education show that from 2011 to 2012, black girls in public elementary and secondary schools nationwide were suspended at a rate of 12 percent, compared with a rate of just 2 percent for white girls, and more than girls of any other race or ethnicity. In Georgia, the ratio of black girls receiving suspensions in the same period compared with white girls was 5 to 1, and in Henry County, that ratio was 2.3 to 1, said J D Hardin, the spokesman for the county’s school district. And researchers say that within minority groups, darker-skinned girls are disciplined more harshly than light-skinned ones.”
“There are different gender expectations for black girls compared with white girls, said Lance Hannon, a Villanova sociology professor who conducted the analysis. And, he said, there are different expectations within cross-sections of black girls. “When a darker-skinned African-American female acts up, there’s a certain concern about their boyish aggressiveness,” Dr. Hannon said, “that they don’t know their place as a female, as a woman.”” (JUST WOW!!!)
This issue in particular really hits home to me. My mother always tells the story of being called in for a meeting with the principal of my elementary school because the teachers complained that I raised my hand too much in class. Let that sink in…… I was not yelling out the answers or disrupting class, but because I dared to be a young black girl that knew the answers. My mom of course inquired, ” We’ll why don’t you call on her?” HA!
I love that these issues of bias are finally starting to be confronted.
This American Life recently did an amazing podcast about the school-to-jails pipeline… def worth a listen below:
Here is also a great documentary on the issue: DARK GIRLS