Racism in Education

Week 7 Post

I find it interesting how the Civil Rights Movement is primarily focused on the Southern states such as Alabama and Georgia. Theoharis writes why that might be the case in terms of an education perspective. He says that the North such as New York or Boston claimed that they did not have the same sort of racism as those in the South. They didn’t feel the need to segregate their schools often. They thought that how they were treating Black people was fair and just. It may seem that way from a broad angle, but it was far from equal. Theoharis explains how racism affected education and housing in this chapter. 

There were different laws and practices that oppressed people of color in the Northern states. For example, schools were zoned to favor a segregated school. Areas of town where many Black families lived were zoned for a certain school. Those areas where many white families lived the zoning lines would put them together. This essentially created segregated schools without having them legally segregated. Because of this, when families were looking to move to a Northern city and buy a home, parts of the city were ranked in an A, B, C, or D fashion. Depending on the racial diversity of the part of town, the lower the ranking was. This affected who could afford to live where. Another part was the hiring of teachers. There were hardly any teachers who were any race but white. The hiring process worked to vet out minorities. They could determine who would get hired based on their accent. If the hiring board heard a Southern accent or a foreign one, they probably would not hire that teacher. The teachers hired in a poorer school did not have as much experience. This was the case for Mallory. Her son was told for an assignment to count the pipes under the sink. Obviously, this isn’t a great assignment and is assuming the intelligence level of her students.

I was actually surprised about this history, even though I probably shouldn’t be. I knew in the back of my mind that the Civil Rights Movement took place across the nation but never really thought about it in detail. It was interesting to learn about the different movements in New York and Boston. Having been to Harlem a couple of times, I want to go back knowing its history about the Civil Rights Movement. I am sure there is some good local history that I could uncover. The reason why I am not that surprised about this history is because of how racist this time period was. This was a time of Jim Crow laws that enforced segregation. How anyone thought that it was okay to do these things is mind blowing. However, that was the general mindset for many people across the country. It makes me feel good to hear those stories of protests and how the oppressed communities overcame some of their issues. But, not all the issues are fixed and we still need to think about equality and equity for everyone. 

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