Thursday, July 30, 2015

Quit Making it About RACE!

I have to let you in on a secret. I’m a black parent.  My parents are black, as are my grandparents.  My siblings and I have experienced academic success, as have many of the black students with whom we went to school.  As an educator, I have plenty of black students who are successful.  Some of them come from more affluent homes, and some come from homes where resources are low.

My sister reading to her children, niece, and nephew at a recent family gathering

So when I read this article, I became very angry.  The point of the article was that there are factors that affect educational outcomes for poor children.  However, as I was reading, I came across the paragraphs that state:

White adults spend 36 percent more time than black adults reading to young children, and three times more time talking with and listening to them, according to research Morsy and Rothstein cite. White parents not only read more to their children, they offer more guidance and are more strategic about helping children build their literacy skills.
By age 6, white children typically have spent 1,300 more hours engaged in conversations with adults than black children have. White parents also tend to offer their children more choices in daily life, helping them to think through decisions and consequences, which are important skills that prepare them for critical thinking, according to the research.
So are they trying to say that black parents are inferior to white parents and black children to white children? I don’t believe that was the point at all.  The researchers based their data on black children from low income families and white children from more affluent families.  This is where they made a mistake.  In their attempt to better understand the role of poverty, they focused on RACE.  It would have been better to eliminate the race factor and compare (black) children from low-income families to (black) children from more affluent families. [Sub any other race in the parentheses.] 

I am sure that the authors meant well when writing this article.  But we as educators must be careful when tackling issues like this.  After all, it isn’t a black/white issue that affects educational outcomes, but a poverty issue. 
I am blogging over at The Gavit Educator.  See this post and many others from my Gavit family.