What Happened in South Carolina is a Daily Risk for Black Children

“In 1920, W.E.B. DuBois wrote: “There is no place for black children in this world.” Almost a century later, that remains true. Too often, to grow up black in the United States is to live in a perpetual state of vulnerability to the brutality of racism: People fear you, and you know there is no safe place for you. For many white children, the future is one of hope and endless possibilities. How can black children have hope, how can they dream, when they’re unable to feel safe, secure and loved by society?

The daily incidents are startling reminders of how far we have to go to secure a post-racial future. Black kids have been slapped on a plane for crying, verbally assaulted by racists on a school bus, terrorized at a birthday party by armed white men carrying Confederate flags, had their hair cut off in front of the class by a teacher, called “feral” in a viral, racist social media post, and assaulted by police at pool parties.”

President Obama speaking

Obama Speech Focuses on Plight of US Black Women

“U.S. President Barack Obama said African-American women continue to face long odds to succeed more than five decades after the height of the civil rights movement.

Speaking Saturday at the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation awards dinner in Washington, Obama praised the role black women played in the campaign for civil rights, from strategizing boycotts to organizing marches, even though they were not in leadership positions.

But he said that while black women and girls in the United States have made progress in terms of education and economics, they are still more likely to be mired in poverty due to working in low-wage jobs, and are incarcerated at twice the rate as white women.”

Black girl with her hand raised in classroom

How Our Schools Are Failing Black Girls

“In a recent study focused on how schools respond to black children with behavioral and social challenges versus how they respond to white children facing the same difficulties, sociologist David Ramey uncovered what many black parents, including me, already know: Black children who exhibit “bad behavior” are more likely to have police intervene than medical professionals. “Black students are more likely to be punished with suspensions, expulsions or referrals to law enforcement,” writes the Huffington Post‘s Rebecca Klein, who spoke directly with Ramey regarding his research, “a phenomenon that helps funnel kids into the criminal justice system.”

Finishing Last: Girls of Color and School Sports Opportunities

This report, from the National Women’s Law Center and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, presents new data showing that at the national and state levels, girls of color do not receive equal chances to play school sports.

The report delves into the consequences of this inequality for girls of color and offers recommendations for addressing the problem.

How We Can Help Black Female Students

What happens when an entire population has been largely absent from the discourse around public education? Unfortunately, this has happened to girls of color, and it has fueled assumptions that they are doing just fine and has allowed the significant barriers they face in school and life to go unaddressed.

“Unlocking Opportunity for African-American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity,” a new report from the National Women’s Law Center (where I work) and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, takes a comprehensive look at the many impediments to African-American girls’ educational success and the poor educational and economic outcomes many girls face.
The findings are disturbing: Because of pervasive, systemic barriers in education rooted in racial and gender bias and stereotypes, African-American girls are faring worse than the national average for girls on almost every measure of academic achievement.
In sharp contrast to reports of the academic success of girls overall, African-American girls are more likely than any other group of young females to receive poor grades and be held back a year and are less likely than any other group of girls, except Native American girls, to complete high school on time. The report also documents the close connection between these school outcomes and bleak economic futures for African-American students as a whole.

Read the full article in Education Weekly.