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Editors note: There are four possible consequences to behavior. One is that something good can start or be introduced. The second, something good could end or be taken away. The third, something bad could start or be introduced, and the fourth consequence to behavior is something bad could end – or be taken away. My point is, “If you go to a two-year college that has a racial make-up of 53% or more of students of color and you’ve never had a Black student president; your Black graduation rates hovers about 7% (terrible); Black students are obstructed by lack of marketing and communications – and the cume of the student body is intentionally misrepresented by an administration to the public, then who will question the ineffectiveness of White Privilege in education. How do you change the behavior of White Privilege at educational institutions?”
by Donald W.R. Allen, II – Editor in Chief/The Independent Business News Network
Minneapolis, MN. (IBNN NEWS/Higher Education MN/ May 7, 2012)…From an article titled, “Marketing to students of color: you need a marketing strategy, yes, but make sure you lay your groundwork first.” The article, from CBS Interactive Business Network Resource Library cites, “First, you need to check your motivations. A college should never decide to recruit students of color because it is popular, trendy, or politically correct. Rather, there should be only one motivation, and it is this: You believe that the students you recruit will benefit. That is your first motivation. After that is the belief that current students–because of the increased cultural diversity that students of color will bring–will benefit as well.”
What happens when students of color aren’t marketed to? What happens when the marketing department doesn’t know how to market to students of color? What happens once students are enrolled in a college and are not in touch with weekly events, student government or student life? Does this affect the outcomes of student success for students of color, especially Black and Native American males?
The answer is a simple one…absolutely. Student success for students of color depends on contact, more importantly positive contact with peers and faculty who look like these students and can relate.
This reminds me of a story. A local Native American college group asked for a brochure so they could encourage other students to attend their meetings. What the group got back was a brochure with a Vietnamese woman on the front. In this case the marketing department is a total fail for everyone. Rule #1 of engaging students of color, especially when they’re the majority: “You must have diversity and equity in your marketing and student contact capabilities.” Many schools have not figured this out.
Let’s examine Race, Racism as it pertains to Black and Native American College students by defining the inner workings of European Privilege or educating Black males in White spaces.
The website, “Race, Racism and Law – Speaking the Truth to Power” says, “Institutions can behave in ways that are overtly racist (i.e., specifically excluding people-of-color from services, events or the student governance process) or inherently racist (i.e., adopting policies that while not specifically directed at excluding people-of-color, nevertheless result in their exclusion). Therefore, institutions can respond to people-of-color and whites differently. Institutional behavior can injure people-of-color; and, when it does, it is nonetheless racist in outcome if not in intent. Race issues are so fundamental in American society that they seem almost an integral component. Some Americans believe that race is the primary determinant of human abilities and capacities. Some Americans behave as if racial differences produce inherent superiority in European Americans (whites). In fact, such individuals respond to people-of-color and whites differently merely because of race (or ethnicity). As a consequence, people of color are injured by judgments or actions that are directly or indirectly racist.”
Could it be true? Is there “Education and the Myth of Black Anti-Intellectualism” on college campuses in the Twin Cities and across America? Author Tim Wise says it best, “Denying that racial discrimination might be implicated in different educational outcomes between African Americans and others, such commentators insist that different cultural attachments to education explain why Whites and Asians score higher on achievement tests, tend to get higher grades, and are more likely to go on to college than their Black counterparts. Some claim that blacks have adopted the attitude that doing well in school is acting White, and have sabotaged their own futures by way of downgrading intellectual pursuits.”
Vinay Harpalani from the Notebook.org – on White Privilege says, “Educators usually think of multicultural education as teaching students about Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, and other people of color. However, multicultural education is incomplete if it does not truly challenge the root of structural racism and racial oppression: the matter of white privilege.”
Harpalani goes onto say, “Historically, White Privilege derives from the fact that Whites have had the power to make all decisions of importance in America. Even political gains made by people of color – such as civil rights and affirmative action – had to be sanctioned by elite white men, which insured that advantages for Whites were maintained. Whites have always had greater access to money, property, social networks, and education than other groups. Also, the norms of schools and workplaces are geared towards Whites. Cultural expressions by people of color, ranging from hair and clothing styles to language, are often discouraged in these settings. All of these factors contribute to white privilege.”
In her well-known paper, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” Peggy McIntosh defined White Privilege as a “Package of unearned assets which [Whites] can count on cashing in every day…an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions.” White Privilege essentially consists of all the advantages that Whites obtain solely on the basis of their skin color. (Read Ms. McIntosh’s white-paper report here (PDF): White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
So how do we solve the degradation and the benign neglect of college students of color – especially Black males? College administrators and their neglectful practices of which they think benefits everyone, don’t understand (or don’t care) about ambiguous actions they take as it pertains to students of color.
If a Black faculty or student addresses disparities on campuses – they are “Black Labeled” as troublemakers and certain students are encouraged by administrators to make life miserable for said student and keep and eye on that “Negro,” or whatever he/she may be.
To change a behavior, you have to admit a current bad behavior is discriminatory, racist, exclusionary and the disparity exists by the hand of a few who are not concerned with the majority.
This is what education for Black males across the United States looks like.
The first step of change is always the hardest.
To be continued…