Mad Science or School-to-Prison? Criminalizing Black Girls

May 2, 2013
By

kiera wilmotHigh stakes test question: A female science student conducts an experiment with chemicals that explodes in a classroom, causes no damage and no injuries.  Who gets to be the adventurous teenage genius mad scientist and who gets to be the criminal led away in handcuffs facing two felonies to juvenile hall? If you’re a white girl check Box A, if you’re an intellectually curious black girl with good grades check Box B.

When 16 year-old Kiera Wilmot was arrested and expelled from Bartow high school in Florida for a science experiment gone awry it exemplified a long American-as-apple pie tradition of criminalizing black girls.  In many American classrooms black children are treated like ticking time bomb savages, shoved into special education classes, disproportionately suspended and expelled–then warehoused in opportunity schools, juvenile jails and adult prisons.  Yet, while national discourse on the connection between school discipline and mass incarceration typically focuses on black males, black girls are suspended more than boys of every other ethnicity (except black males).  At a Georgia elementary school in 2012 a six year-old African American girl was handcuffed by the police after throwing a tantrum in the principal’s office.[i]  Handcuffing disruptive black elementary school students is not uncommon.  It is perhaps the most extreme example of black children’s initiation into what has been characterized as the school-to-prison pipeline, or, more accurately, the cradle to grave pipeline.  Stereotypes about dysfunctional violent black children ensure that the myth of white children’s relative innocence is preserved.

Nationwide, black children spend more time in the dean’s office, more time being opportunity transferred to other campuses and more time cycling in and out of juvenile detention facilities than children of other ethnicities.  Conservatives love to attribute this to poverty, broken homes, and the kind of Bell Curve dysfunction that demonizes “welfare queens” who pop out too many babies.  Yet there is no compelling evidence that socioeconomic differences play a decisive role in these disparities.[ii]  The fact remains that black children are criminalized by racist discipline policies regardless of whether they’re privileged “Cosby kids” or are in foster care or homeless shelters.  According to Daniel Losen and Russell Skiba, authors of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Suspended Education” report, “ethnic and racial disproportionality in discipline persists even when poverty and other demographic factors are controlled.[iii]

National research such as the Southern Poverty Law Center’s study and the Indiana Education Policy Center’s 2000 “The Color of Discipline” report has consistently shown that black students do not, in fact, “offend” at higher rates than their white and Latino counterparts.[iv] Middle class African American students in higher income schools are also disproportionately suspended.  This implies that black students are perceived by adults as more viscerally threatening.  “The Color of Discipline” report found that black students were more likely to be referred out of class for lower level offenses such as excessive noise, disrespect, loitering and “threat.”[v]  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “race and gender disparities in suspension were due not to differences in administrative disposition but to differences in the rate of initial referral of black and white students.”

When it comes to black girls, the widespread perception that they are dangerous, hostile and ineducable is promoted and reinforced by mainstream media portrayals.  Historically, black women have never been regarded as anybody’s “fairer sex” because white women have always been the universal standard for femininity, humanity, and moral worth.  On contemporary TV and in film, heroic white women abound as “new” models of bold, adventurous, breakthrough femininity.  Writing on “women’s” TV portrayals recently in the L.A. Times, Mary McNamara gushed about how the current crop of small screen female protagonists were complexly layered, daring departures from the typical crone, slut and mother roles of the past.  According to McNamara, “TV’s female leads are breaking ground with their unexpected choices. Thanks to the feminist revolution and TV’s increasing ascendancy, women are allowed to make mistakes without paying the ultimate price. It’s all quite refreshing.”

Yet, once again, the “feminist revolution” is lily white and over-exposed.  McNamara hails characters from “House of Cards,” HBO’s swaggering white-fest “Girls” and “Homeland,” then blithely acknowledges that the female protagonists of these shows are all white and mostly middle class.  Previous pieces from both the L.A. Times and the New York Times have saluted the rise of ass-kicking female adventurers like those in the “Hunger Games,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and (even) Pixar’s animated movie “Brave,” as evidence that Hollywood is becoming more receptive to strong independent female characters.

But back in the image ghetto, substantive, much less starring roles, for women of color are still less abundant than Aunt Jemima’s head scarf.  The endless parade of reality show swill featuring hyper-sexual “out of control” brawling black women has long dwarfed dramatic mainstream portrayals of black women’s lived experiences, ambitions and narratives.

Thus, Kiera Wilmot’s arrest and expulsion is a national travesty.  It is an indictment on not only the inveterate racism and sexism of American public education, but on an image industry that still loves to see black women doing mammy, Jezebel and welfare queen to white women’s heroic explorers.

 

Sikivu Hutchinson is the author of Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and the Values Wars and Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels.


[i] See Jeff Martin and Jeri Clausing, “Police Handcuff Georgia Kindergartner for Tantrum, Huffington Post, April 17, 2012, (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/17/police-handcuff-ga-kinder_n_1430749.html).  (Accessed January 31, 2013).

[ii] See Daniel J. Losen and Russell J. Skiba, “Suspended Education: Urban Middle Schools in Crisis,” Southern Poverty Law Center, 2010, p. 8.  “If we assume that Black and Hispanic poverty rates are similar in these districts (as they are nationally) and if we assume that Black males and females have similar exposure to poverty it becomes difficult to explain why suspension rates are so much higher for Black males than for both Hispanic males and Black females.” Losen and Skiba cite previous research that has not identified a link between socioeconomic background or poverty and high rates of suspension (e.g., Skiba, 2002, Wallace 2009, APA 2008).

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid. pp. 3-6.  Losen and Skiba report that there has been a 9 point increase in black suspensions from 1973 to the present, such that “Blacks are now more than three times more likely to be suspended than whites.”  Based on data from 18 districts nationwide they also concluded that white females were the least likely to be suspended and black males the most likely out of all racial and ethnic groups. See also, Russell J. Skiba, et al. “The Color of Discipline: Sources of Racial and Gender Disproportionality in School Punishment,” Indiana Education Policy Center, Policy Research Report: SR1, June 2000, pp. 1-26.

[v] See also Losen and Skiba, p. 10.

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68 Responses to Mad Science or School-to-Prison? Criminalizing Black Girls

  1. Conor McCartney on May 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-05-10/news/bs-md-co-lacrosse-discipline-20110509_1_zero-tolerance-policies-lacrosse-players-school-board

    This issue of this black girl being suspended has more to do with idiotic zero tolerance policies at schools then it does with race. Of course some people will see everything through a racially tinted lens, but there are weekly examples of someone being suspended or expelled for silly things like science experiments or in the case of a maryland 6 year old for chewing his pop tart into looking like a gun.

    • Jenny on May 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      While the truth is that some schools are zero-tolerance, statistically it should still be equal levels because people go to the same schools. So a black student should be equally likely to get in trouble as a white student for the same offense at the same school. Does that make sense? This is not about one student, or two lacrosse players, it’s about an overwhelming trend in schools.

      • Conor McCartney on May 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

        You could say the same thing for the murder rate too. It should be roughly proportional for blacks as it is for whites, but it isn’t. Blacks make up roughly 12-13% of this country but nearly half of the murder rate. Just as they are over represented in school suspensions they are over represented in murdering each other.

        • Tamura A. Lomax on May 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm

          Conner, you are quite simply misguided and completely unaware of how race and racism function in our society–and quite honestly, I blame the educational system (pun intended). Who gets away with crimes and who does not, and how certain crimes are configured as bad and how others are not…and what penalties get meted out and to whom…is ALL RACIALIZED. Shall we go back to the superficial ‘founding’ of our country by Columbus…or shall we return to slavery…what of Jim Crow…lynching…how about Vietnam??? Have we found the weapons of mass destruction yet? Learn YOUR history before spouting off pseudo-facts.

  2. Conor McCartney on May 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-05-10/news/bs-md-co-lacrosse-discipline-20110509_1_zero-tolerance-policies-lacrosse-players-school-board

    This issue of this black girl being suspended has more to do with idiotic zero tolerance policies at schools then it does with race. Of course some people will see everything through a racially tinted lens, but there are weekly examples of someone being suspended or expelled for silly things like science experiments or in the case of a maryland 6 year old for chewing his pop tart into looking like a gun.

    • Jenny on May 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      While the truth is that some schools are zero-tolerance, statistically it should still be equal levels because people go to the same schools. So a black student should be equally likely to get in trouble as a white student for the same offense at the same school. Does that make sense? This is not about one student, or two lacrosse players, it’s about an overwhelming trend in schools.

      • Conor McCartney on May 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

        You could say the same thing for the murder rate too. It should be roughly proportional for blacks as it is for whites, but it isn’t. Blacks make up roughly 12-13% of this country but nearly half of the murder rate. Just as they are over represented in school suspensions they are over represented in murdering each other.

        • Tamura A. Lomax on May 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm

          Conner, you are quite simply misguided and completely unaware of how race and racism function in our society–and quite honestly, I blame the educational system (pun intended). Who gets away with crimes and who does not, and how certain crimes are configured as bad and how others are not…and what penalties get meted out and to whom…is ALL RACIALIZED. Shall we go back to the superficial ‘founding’ of our country by Columbus…or shall we return to slavery…what of Jim Crow…lynching…how about Vietnam??? Have we found the weapons of mass destruction yet? Learn YOUR history before spouting off pseudo-facts.

  3. Conor McCartney on May 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-05-10/news/bs-md-co-lacrosse-discipline-20110509_1_zero-tolerance-policies-lacrosse-players-school-board

    This issue of this black girl being suspended has more to do with idiotic zero tolerance policies at schools then it does with race. Of course some people will see everything through a racially tinted lens, but there are weekly examples of someone being suspended or expelled for silly things like science experiments or in the case of a maryland 6 year old for chewing his pop tart into looking like a gun.

    • Jenny on May 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      While the truth is that some schools are zero-tolerance, statistically it should still be equal levels because people go to the same schools. So a black student should be equally likely to get in trouble as a white student for the same offense at the same school. Does that make sense? This is not about one student, or two lacrosse players, it’s about an overwhelming trend in schools.

      • Conor McCartney on May 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

        You could say the same thing for the murder rate too. It should be roughly proportional for blacks as it is for whites, but it isn’t. Blacks make up roughly 12-13% of this country but nearly half of the murder rate. Just as they are over represented in school suspensions they are over represented in murdering each other.

        • Tamura A. Lomax on May 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm

          Conner, you are quite simply misguided and completely unaware of how race and racism function in our society–and quite honestly, I blame the educational system (pun intended). Who gets away with crimes and who does not, and how certain crimes are configured as bad and how others are not…and what penalties get meted out and to whom…is ALL RACIALIZED. Shall we go back to the superficial ‘founding’ of our country by Columbus…or shall we return to slavery…what of Jim Crow…lynching…how about Vietnam??? Have we found the weapons of mass destruction yet? Learn YOUR history before spouting off pseudo-facts.

  4. Conor McCartney on May 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-05-10/news/bs-md-co-lacrosse-discipline-20110509_1_zero-tolerance-policies-lacrosse-players-school-board

    This issue of this black girl being suspended has more to do with idiotic zero tolerance policies at schools then it does with race. Of course some people will see everything through a racially tinted lens, but there are weekly examples of someone being suspended or expelled for silly things like science experiments or in the case of a maryland 6 year old for chewing his pop tart into looking like a gun.

    • Jenny on May 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      While the truth is that some schools are zero-tolerance, statistically it should still be equal levels because people go to the same schools. So a black student should be equally likely to get in trouble as a white student for the same offense at the same school. Does that make sense? This is not about one student, or two lacrosse players, it’s about an overwhelming trend in schools.

      • Conor McCartney on May 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

        You could say the same thing for the murder rate too. It should be roughly proportional for blacks as it is for whites, but it isn’t. Blacks make up roughly 12-13% of this country but nearly half of the murder rate. Just as they are over represented in school suspensions they are over represented in murdering each other.

        • Tamura A. Lomax on May 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm

          Conner, you are quite simply misguided and completely unaware of how race and racism function in our society–and quite honestly, I blame the educational system (pun intended). Who gets away with crimes and who does not, and how certain crimes are configured as bad and how others are not…and what penalties get meted out and to whom…is ALL RACIALIZED. Shall we go back to the superficial ‘founding’ of our country by Columbus…or shall we return to slavery…what of Jim Crow…lynching…how about Vietnam??? Have we found the weapons of mass destruction yet? Learn YOUR history before spouting off pseudo-facts.

  5. Tamura A. Lomax on May 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    And Conner, you’ve done the research that the NYT, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a host of other scholars and experts haven’t done?? Of course some people are too privileged to get how race functions…

    I’d love to see your research (national research, not 2 or 3 examples) re: “weekly examples of someone being suspended or expelled for silly things like science experiments” and how they have nothing to do with race. The key will be putting your information within the national conversation on education, discipline, the penal system et al., which is racialized…

  6. Tamura A. Lomax on May 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    And Conner, you’ve done the research that the NYT, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a host of other scholars and experts haven’t done?? Of course some people are too privileged to get how race functions…

    I’d love to see your research (national research, not 2 or 3 examples) re: “weekly examples of someone being suspended or expelled for silly things like science experiments” and how they have nothing to do with race. The key will be putting your information within the national conversation on education, discipline, the penal system et al., which is racialized…

  7. Tamura A. Lomax on May 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    And Conner, you’ve done the research that the NYT, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a host of other scholars and experts haven’t done?? Of course some people are too privileged to get how race functions…

    I’d love to see your research (national research, not 2 or 3 examples) re: “weekly examples of someone being suspended or expelled for silly things like science experiments” and how they have nothing to do with race. The key will be putting your information within the national conversation on education, discipline, the penal system et al., which is racialized…

  8. Tamura A. Lomax on May 2, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    And Conner, you’ve done the research that the NYT, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a host of other scholars and experts haven’t done?? Of course some people are too privileged to get how race functions…

    I’d love to see your research (national research, not 2 or 3 examples) re: “weekly examples of someone being suspended or expelled for silly things like science experiments” and how they have nothing to do with race. The key will be putting your information within the national conversation on education, discipline, the penal system et al., which is racialized…

  9. Melanie Gatton on May 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    While I do NOT dispute the research mentioned in this article or the racism associated with this story, I agree that the “idiotic zero tolerance policies” in our school systems must go. I live in a vastly predominantly white community. Children in my son’s high school are being suspended all the time for ridiculous reasons. It’s nearly impossible to contest any punishment the school gives because they site that catch-all phrase: “the behavior was disruptive to learning”. Anything at all can fit the description of “disruptive” as long as a school administrator says so. When I was in high school, you had to do drugs or fight at school to get suspended. (That was also the only time police were involved.) Schools are so focused on punishment, while our nation’s academics are an embarrassment. When I was in college, a hearing about a high school boy who got in trouble was held at my university so we could watch the process. After, one of the judges explained to us that children in public schools basically have fewer rights as citizens than they do while walking down the street outside of school hours. Until we change that and hold our schools accountable for their disciplinary actions, it will be nearly impossible to fight racism, sexism, and any other injustice, or educate our children appropriately.

    • Jenny on May 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Honestly that just reflects the overall climate outside of schools. More laws are being added, but very seldom are they taken away, and as time wears on more things are becoming punishable by law and with incarceration, things which would be more easily fixed through other forms of punishment.

      • Melanie Gatton on May 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        agreed!

  10. Melanie Gatton on May 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    While I do NOT dispute the research mentioned in this article or the racism associated with this story, I agree that the “idiotic zero tolerance policies” in our school systems must go. I live in a vastly predominantly white community. Children in my son’s high school are being suspended all the time for ridiculous reasons. It’s nearly impossible to contest any punishment the school gives because they site that catch-all phrase: “the behavior was disruptive to learning”. Anything at all can fit the description of “disruptive” as long as a school administrator says so. When I was in high school, you had to do drugs or fight at school to get suspended. (That was also the only time police were involved.) Schools are so focused on punishment, while our nation’s academics are an embarrassment. When I was in college, a hearing about a high school boy who got in trouble was held at my university so we could watch the process. After, one of the judges explained to us that children in public schools basically have fewer rights as citizens than they do while walking down the street outside of school hours. Until we change that and hold our schools accountable for their disciplinary actions, it will be nearly impossible to fight racism, sexism, and any other injustice, or educate our children appropriately.

    • Jenny on May 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Honestly that just reflects the overall climate outside of schools. More laws are being added, but very seldom are they taken away, and as time wears on more things are becoming punishable by law and with incarceration, things which would be more easily fixed through other forms of punishment.

      • Melanie Gatton on May 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        agreed!

  11. Melanie Gatton on May 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    While I do NOT dispute the research mentioned in this article or the racism associated with this story, I agree that the “idiotic zero tolerance policies” in our school systems must go. I live in a vastly predominantly white community. Children in my son’s high school are being suspended all the time for ridiculous reasons. It’s nearly impossible to contest any punishment the school gives because they site that catch-all phrase: “the behavior was disruptive to learning”. Anything at all can fit the description of “disruptive” as long as a school administrator says so. When I was in high school, you had to do drugs or fight at school to get suspended. (That was also the only time police were involved.) Schools are so focused on punishment, while our nation’s academics are an embarrassment. When I was in college, a hearing about a high school boy who got in trouble was held at my university so we could watch the process. After, one of the judges explained to us that children in public schools basically have fewer rights as citizens than they do while walking down the street outside of school hours. Until we change that and hold our schools accountable for their disciplinary actions, it will be nearly impossible to fight racism, sexism, and any other injustice, or educate our children appropriately.

    • Jenny on May 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Honestly that just reflects the overall climate outside of schools. More laws are being added, but very seldom are they taken away, and as time wears on more things are becoming punishable by law and with incarceration, things which would be more easily fixed through other forms of punishment.

      • Melanie Gatton on May 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        agreed!

  12. Melanie Gatton on May 3, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    While I do NOT dispute the research mentioned in this article or the racism associated with this story, I agree that the “idiotic zero tolerance policies” in our school systems must go. I live in a vastly predominantly white community. Children in my son’s high school are being suspended all the time for ridiculous reasons. It’s nearly impossible to contest any punishment the school gives because they site that catch-all phrase: “the behavior was disruptive to learning”. Anything at all can fit the description of “disruptive” as long as a school administrator says so. When I was in high school, you had to do drugs or fight at school to get suspended. (That was also the only time police were involved.) Schools are so focused on punishment, while our nation’s academics are an embarrassment. When I was in college, a hearing about a high school boy who got in trouble was held at my university so we could watch the process. After, one of the judges explained to us that children in public schools basically have fewer rights as citizens than they do while walking down the street outside of school hours. Until we change that and hold our schools accountable for their disciplinary actions, it will be nearly impossible to fight racism, sexism, and any other injustice, or educate our children appropriately.

    • Jenny on May 3, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Honestly that just reflects the overall climate outside of schools. More laws are being added, but very seldom are they taken away, and as time wears on more things are becoming punishable by law and with incarceration, things which would be more easily fixed through other forms of punishment.

      • Melanie Gatton on May 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        agreed!

  13. Gonzo on May 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Being a “coloured person” and having attended an American School (in Kuwait) and schools in Canada, I am not surprised. It seems that even with a “Black man” as their President, racist Americans haven’t grown or changed.

  14. Gonzo on May 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Being a “coloured person” and having attended an American School (in Kuwait) and schools in Canada, I am not surprised. It seems that even with a “Black man” as their President, racist Americans haven’t grown or changed.

  15. Gonzo on May 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Being a “coloured person” and having attended an American School (in Kuwait) and schools in Canada, I am not surprised. It seems that even with a “Black man” as their President, racist Americans haven’t grown or changed.

  16. Gonzo on May 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Being a “coloured person” and having attended an American School (in Kuwait) and schools in Canada, I am not surprised. It seems that even with a “Black man” as their President, racist Americans haven’t grown or changed.

  17. Hope in the Storm-Tossed Church | WIT on May 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    [...] and concretely, in light of the ongoing manners in which white supremacy threatens the survival and flourishing of black women, children, and men. So when I say that her theology helps me live in the Church, the [...]

  18. Hope in the Storm-Tossed Church | WIT on May 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    [...] and concretely, in light of the ongoing manners in which white supremacy threatens the survival and flourishing of black women, children, and men. So when I say that her theology helps me live in the Church, the [...]

  19. Hope in the Storm-Tossed Church | WIT on May 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    [...] and concretely, in light of the ongoing manners in which white supremacy threatens the survival and flourishing of black women, children, and men. So when I say that her theology helps me live in the Church, the [...]

  20. Hope in the Storm-Tossed Church | WIT on May 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    [...] and concretely, in light of the ongoing manners in which white supremacy threatens the survival and flourishing of black women, children, and men. So when I say that her theology helps me live in the Church, the [...]

  21. [...] Moreover, Assata Shakur is once more associated with other “dangerous” people of color.  Even liberal media could not help but frame her by association (godmother, though many claimed she was his aunt) with the talented and well-known rapper, Tupac Shakur.  Of course, he was was often placed within a racist media/political frame of “thug/gang member.”  But aunt, godmother, it all blurred together:  Shakur now joined the pantheon of pathologized black women who produce young, criminalized black kin, either physically or spiritually.  Criminalization of race and dissent is once again seamlessly blended into an image of menace. Finally, placement of Shakur as the first female on the “Most Wanted Terrorist” list comes at a time when there is increasing criminalization of young, black girls.  Read more at Prison Culture blog  and The Feminist Wire. [...]

  22. [...] Moreover, Assata Shakur is once more associated with other “dangerous” people of color.  Even liberal media could not help but frame her by association (godmother, though many claimed she was his aunt) with the talented and well-known rapper, Tupac Shakur.  Of course, he was was often placed within a racist media/political frame of “thug/gang member.”  But aunt, godmother, it all blurred together:  Shakur now joined the pantheon of pathologized black women who produce young, criminalized black kin, either physically or spiritually.  Criminalization of race and dissent is once again seamlessly blended into an image of menace. Finally, placement of Shakur as the first female on the “Most Wanted Terrorist” list comes at a time when there is increasing criminalization of young, black girls.  Read more at Prison Culture blog  and The Feminist Wire. [...]

  23. [...] Moreover, Assata Shakur is once more associated with other “dangerous” people of color.  Even liberal media could not help but frame her by association (godmother, though many claimed she was his aunt) with the talented and well-known rapper, Tupac Shakur.  Of course, he was was often placed within a racist media/political frame of “thug/gang member.”  But aunt, godmother, it all blurred together:  Shakur now joined the pantheon of pathologized black women who produce young, criminalized black kin, either physically or spiritually.  Criminalization of race and dissent is once again seamlessly blended into an image of menace. Finally, placement of Shakur as the first female on the “Most Wanted Terrorist” list comes at a time when there is increasing criminalization of young, black girls.  Read more at Prison Culture blog  and The Feminist Wire. [...]

  24. [...] Moreover, Assata Shakur is once more associated with other “dangerous” people of color.  Even liberal media could not help but frame her by association (godmother, though many claimed she was his aunt) with the talented and well-known rapper, Tupac Shakur.  Of course, he was was often placed within a racist media/political frame of “thug/gang member.”  But aunt, godmother, it all blurred together:  Shakur now joined the pantheon of pathologized black women who produce young, criminalized black kin, either physically or spiritually.  Criminalization of race and dissent is once again seamlessly blended into an image of menace. Finally, placement of Shakur as the first female on the “Most Wanted Terrorist” list comes at a time when there is increasing criminalization of young, black girls.  Read more at Prison Culture blog  and The Feminist Wire. [...]

  25. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  26. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  27. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  28. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  29. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  30. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  31. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  32. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  33. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  34. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  35. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  36. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  37. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  38. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  39. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  40. [...] Marginalized youths are regularly the targets of the school-to-prison pipeline, as in the case of Kiera Wilmot, a 16-year-old girl who was arrested less than a month ago for accidentally causing a small [...]

  41. Franklin on May 25, 2013 at 4:47 am

    This is a many layered issue. Firstly, the reason black children are targeted is because it is expected that they are more confrontational than their peers of other colors, not just expected by whites, but by people of all colors. It is a self fulfilling stereotype perpetuated by the media and enforced by everyone that influences their lives. If you expect a child to act a certain way for whatever reason, then eventually that child will try to conform to expectations. Secondly, schools and teachers have zero actual accountability to anyone. There are no legal ramifications for a school employing bad, lazy, or racist people, and because those kinds of people seek easy jobs with little accountability, many of them become teachers. Then there is tenure, a practice that practically guarantees someone a job no matter what they do or how poorly they perform it. Third, there is the government, at all levels, that uses “we need money for schools” that works hand in hand with those schools to suppress bad publicity so that people won’t mind so much when their taxes get raised. Schools have become not a place for children to learn and grow, but a place for them to be indoctrinated and institutionalized so that they never think to question the status quo. If you’ve been involved with any school in any way in the past 15 years or so, you will see that chaos reigns and the brightest and the most needy are shunted aside and treated as pariahs to bring make sure the low-average kids feel better, and to make sure the “team players” get all the rewards. To sum up, poor expectations produce poor results, no accountability leads to negative results, government influence leads to corruption, and institutions produce inmates. down with tyranny…

  42. Franklin on May 25, 2013 at 4:47 am

    This is a many layered issue. Firstly, the reason black children are targeted is because it is expected that they are more confrontational than their peers of other colors, not just expected by whites, but by people of all colors. It is a self fulfilling stereotype perpetuated by the media and enforced by everyone that influences their lives. If you expect a child to act a certain way for whatever reason, then eventually that child will try to conform to expectations. Secondly, schools and teachers have zero actual accountability to anyone. There are no legal ramifications for a school employing bad, lazy, or racist people, and because those kinds of people seek easy jobs with little accountability, many of them become teachers. Then there is tenure, a practice that practically guarantees someone a job no matter what they do or how poorly they perform it. Third, there is the government, at all levels, that uses “we need money for schools” that works hand in hand with those schools to suppress bad publicity so that people won’t mind so much when their taxes get raised. Schools have become not a place for children to learn and grow, but a place for them to be indoctrinated and institutionalized so that they never think to question the status quo. If you’ve been involved with any school in any way in the past 15 years or so, you will see that chaos reigns and the brightest and the most needy are shunted aside and treated as pariahs to bring make sure the low-average kids feel better, and to make sure the “team players” get all the rewards. To sum up, poor expectations produce poor results, no accountability leads to negative results, government influence leads to corruption, and institutions produce inmates. down with tyranny…

  43. Franklin on May 25, 2013 at 4:47 am

    This is a many layered issue. Firstly, the reason black children are targeted is because it is expected that they are more confrontational than their peers of other colors, not just expected by whites, but by people of all colors. It is a self fulfilling stereotype perpetuated by the media and enforced by everyone that influences their lives. If you expect a child to act a certain way for whatever reason, then eventually that child will try to conform to expectations. Secondly, schools and teachers have zero actual accountability to anyone. There are no legal ramifications for a school employing bad, lazy, or racist people, and because those kinds of people seek easy jobs with little accountability, many of them become teachers. Then there is tenure, a practice that practically guarantees someone a job no matter what they do or how poorly they perform it. Third, there is the government, at all levels, that uses “we need money for schools” that works hand in hand with those schools to suppress bad publicity so that people won’t mind so much when their taxes get raised. Schools have become not a place for children to learn and grow, but a place for them to be indoctrinated and institutionalized so that they never think to question the status quo. If you’ve been involved with any school in any way in the past 15 years or so, you will see that chaos reigns and the brightest and the most needy are shunted aside and treated as pariahs to bring make sure the low-average kids feel better, and to make sure the “team players” get all the rewards. To sum up, poor expectations produce poor results, no accountability leads to negative results, government influence leads to corruption, and institutions produce inmates. down with tyranny…

  44. Franklin on May 25, 2013 at 4:47 am

    This is a many layered issue. Firstly, the reason black children are targeted is because it is expected that they are more confrontational than their peers of other colors, not just expected by whites, but by people of all colors. It is a self fulfilling stereotype perpetuated by the media and enforced by everyone that influences their lives. If you expect a child to act a certain way for whatever reason, then eventually that child will try to conform to expectations. Secondly, schools and teachers have zero actual accountability to anyone. There are no legal ramifications for a school employing bad, lazy, or racist people, and because those kinds of people seek easy jobs with little accountability, many of them become teachers. Then there is tenure, a practice that practically guarantees someone a job no matter what they do or how poorly they perform it. Third, there is the government, at all levels, that uses “we need money for schools” that works hand in hand with those schools to suppress bad publicity so that people won’t mind so much when their taxes get raised. Schools have become not a place for children to learn and grow, but a place for them to be indoctrinated and institutionalized so that they never think to question the status quo. If you’ve been involved with any school in any way in the past 15 years or so, you will see that chaos reigns and the brightest and the most needy are shunted aside and treated as pariahs to bring make sure the low-average kids feel better, and to make sure the “team players” get all the rewards. To sum up, poor expectations produce poor results, no accountability leads to negative results, government influence leads to corruption, and institutions produce inmates. down with tyranny…

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Arts & Culture

  • Remembering and Honoring Toni Cade Bambara Sanchez

    Sonia Sanchez: What are we pretending not to know today? The premise as you said, my sister, being that colored people on planet earth really know everything there is to know. And if one is not coming to grips with the knowledge, it must mean that one is either scared or pretending to be stupid.

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