The Karens Policing Black Kids’ Hair Aren’t Here to Help

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What does banning dreadlocks have to do with youngsters’ take a look at scores? “Not a damn thing.”

Last week, Barbers High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas, after administering greater than 40 days of in-school suspension to 18-year-old Darryl George for the size of his dreadlocks, eliminated him from courses and enrolled him in a disciplinary program. Since October 12, George, who has filed a lawsuit in opposition to the district and state authorities, has been attending the Eagle Positive Intervention Center, or EPIC, an “alternative school” whose company companions embody quick meals chain Sonic, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Amazon.

Among the a number of questions on my thoughts, one actually stands proud: how is penalizing this teen supposed to additional his training? According to racial justice and training advocates alike, it doesn’t, and will very properly be hurting his grades and future as a pupil—only one instance of a a lot bigger challenge affecting many Black youth at this time.

“Punishing him for his hair does not at all help him,” Columbia University training professor Bettina Love advised me. “At the end of the day, how is this young man supposed to feel about his school? How is he supposed to feel that this place is safe for him and values him?”

As my colleague nia t. evans and I explored in a latest interview with Love, discriminatory insurance policies like these at Barbers High School aren’t designed to assist marginalized college students thrive. They as an alternative strong-arm them into conforming with whiteness. But the baked-in discrimination of those guidelines isn’t the place bias in opposition to Black college students ends. Ultimately, these focused punishments can have devastating results on Black college students’ tutorial efficiency and trigger long-term injury to their relationships with training.

A 2021 University of Pittsburgh research, promoted by the American Psychological Association, discovered that not solely had been Black college students cited extra typically for minor infractions, like costume code violations, than their white counterparts, however that they had been extra possible to report “an unfavorable school climate” the next 12 months, leading to decrease grades. Another study within the journal Psychological Science discovered that college students who expertise in-school punishment are extra possible to drop out and to face incarceration. 

“We do not need to police children’s bodies. This is school, where children should be able to express themselves, which includes clothing and hair,” mentioned Love. “What do these policies have to do with improving reading scores or math scores? Not a damn thing.”

“Number one is the hiring of Black educators. There’s good data out of American University that says if you are a Black student from a low-income family and you have two Black teachers in elementary school, the likelihood that you will graduate increases by 32 percent. It matters to be able to have a teacher who looks like you. We need a true recruitment of Black teachers. We also need to mobilize Black parents. We have a few powerful people changing the course of public education in this country and we need parents—all parents—to understand what’s happening.” 

When it comes to bettering the remedy of Black college students within the nation’s college system, there are a number of locations to begin. As Love beforehand said: 

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