Saturday, July 22, 2017

Emerging Number of Missing Black and Latina Girls Missing in Washington, DC

In March, The Congressional Black Caucus has contacted the Office of the Attorney General and the FBI to help in the search for missing black girls in the Washington, D.C., area, following an alarming string of missing children cases from the nation's capital.

Earlier this year, the Women’s March On Washington drew crowds that totaled close to 5 million attendees. Simultaneous marches were held in cities worldwide as women from all walks of life banded together to protest against various women’s issues from equal pay to reproductive rights, which have long been central to political debate.

But where were these women when DC’s town hall meeting to address missing black and latina girls was taking place? Nowhere in sight.

Where were the white women and other activists from the Women's March in January? Why isn't the national news networks bringing this issue up? Their silence reveals the hypocrisy of the women's movement: organized by affluent white women who do not care about the lives of ordinary black and brown girls. Women's rights has traditionally struggled with acknowledging the untold stories and lived experiences of women of color. Since no white woman showed up, it proves that white feminists can be racist towards causes that does not fit their dominant narrative.

Black women cannot depend on white women and mainstream feminists to save these girls. These missing girls need to be found, and we need all the manpower--including local, state and federal officials--to get to the bottom of this grave situation. If these young girls are victims of human and sex trafficking, I pray that they are found safely and in good health as soon as possible.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Georgetown Law Report: Black Girls Perceived as Less Innocent

Georgetown Law's Center on Poverty and Inequality released a disturbing report, Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, which revealed that adults perceive black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than white girls of the same age (especially age 5 to 14). It expanded upon a 2014 study on adult perceptions of black boys. But the new study differs in how it examines adults' views of black girls and innocence.
Researchers surveyed 325 adults from various racial, educational and ethnic backgrounds from across the U.S. They used a scale of childhood innocence that included items associated with stereotypes of black women and girls. One survey asked about adults' perceptions of black girls, while another survey asked adults about their perceptions of white girls.

The new report concluded that adults surveyed thought:

  • Black girls seem older than white girls of the same age.
  • Black girls need to be supported less than white girls.
  • Black girls know more about adult topics than white girls.
  • Black girls need less protection than white girls.
  • Black girls know more about sex than white girls.
The report has several implications on the status of black women in the United States. If adults perceive black girls as needing less help, then adults will overlook the barriers that black girls often encounter in society. Black girls also face emotional and social challenges. Much of the adultification of black girls have to do with lingering negative stereotypes that depicted black women and girls as aggressive, defiant, loud, and oversexualized. Like black boys, black girls are not exempted from high suspension and expulsion rates. This fuels the school-to-prison pipeline problem which has blacks face a higher likelihood of incarceration than their white peers. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), black women are also more likely to have higher student loan debt than other races. The national conversation often depicts race from a black male perspective and gender from a white women's perspective. It is time for society to recognize how racism and sexism shapes the lived experiences of black women and girls. Black feminist scholars, such as Kimberle Crenshaw and Patricia Hills Collins, were pioneers in creating a body of literature that explained not only the importance of intersectionality but also the need for effective policy interventions that help black women financially provide for their families and save for retirement. Black girls deserve to have a normal childhood.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Baltimore Sun: De Facto Segregation Persists in Integrated Schools

As schools become more diverse, a lingering problem persists that inadvertently creates de facto segregation in the classroom. In a Baltimore Sun article, "Within integrated schools, de facto segregation persists", educators in a Howard County, Maryland school district have discovered that black students are less likely to be enrolled in honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses than their white peers. This sort of racialized tracking ensures that white students have greater access to educational resources and guidance counseling, increasing their chances of attending an elite college or university. school tracking is a controversial issue because it involves separating students by academic ability into groups for certain classes and curriculum within a school. Black students are disproportionately selected into regular (a.k.a. non-college-preparatory) and special education courses, which sends the message that they are not college material. Furthermore, black students miss out on gifted and talented programs, which provide many opportunities for cultural and social capital (particularly around their more affluent peers). De facto segregation in the classroom is not equal educational opportunity. Educators and policymakers must understand that enrolling more white and black students in the same school does not always lead to integrated classrooms.

School tracking can have disastrous effects on student learning and can lead to a poverty of learning particularly among black students. Click here (Education Week) and here (ASCD) for more information about tracking.

Howard County is the most integrated school district in the region, according to the Maryland Equity Project of the University of Maryland. Children of different races — especially those who are black and white — are more likely to sit next to each other in Howard than almost anywhere else in the state.

But within that diversity, school leaders have uncovered a de facto system of segregation.

Enrollment data obtained by The Baltimore Sun through a public records request shows that the district's advanced classes — honors, gifted and talented, and AP — are disproportionately white, while the regular and remedial classes are disproportionately black.

I also highly recommend these scholarly articles if school tracking in K-12 education is of strong interest to readers:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Judge's family apologizes 160 years after Dred Scott decision

The famous landmark case, Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), declared that people of African descent, whether free or enslaved, were not American citizens and, therefore, had no legal standing to sue in federal court. The decision also ruled the Missouri Compromise as unconstitutional and thus prevented African Americans from pursuing freedom in states or territories where slavery had been abolished. The Dred Scott decision sparked heated discussions over the future expansion of slavery, the rise of Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party, and eventually a civil war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Slavery was finally abolished first under the Emancipation Proclamation (1862) and the Thirteenth Amendment (1865), which overturned the Dred Scott decision.

According to the Atlanta Black Star, descendants of the Scott and Taney families will gather together at the Taney statue for a historic apology and to speak against its removal. They hope to inspire reconciliation with a proposal to erect statues of Dred Scott and Frederick Douglass standing in positions of dialogue with Chief Justice Taney, along with an educational display on the Dred Scott decision and its aftermath.

Most historians today agree that this ruling, or more accurately abomination, was one of the worst decisions ever decided in the Supreme Court's history. I hope that this formal apology is a first step to a greater discussion around truth and reconciliation regarding America's past with slavery. Americans need to make amends with its past over the issue of slavery. In addition to Georgetown, more prominent elite institutions such as Columbia and Harvard have begun to investigate its ties with slavery. Most importantly, we must not forget our history--even the painful facts--because future generations need to learn from the mistakes of the past.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – A family member of the chief justice who presided over the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision has apologized to the family of the slave who tried to sue for his freedom.

On Monday, the 160-year anniversary of the decision, Charles Taney IV of Greenwich, Connecticut, stood a few feet from a statue of his great-great-grand-uncle Roger Brooke Taney outside the Maryland State House and apologized for the decision, in which Roger Taney wrote that African-Americans could not have rights of their own and were inferior to white people. Roger Taney lived in Maryland.

"You can't hide from the words that Taney wrote," Taney said. "You can't run, you can't hide, you can't look away. You have to face them."