IntroductionAmerica is known as the land of liberty but the racial discrimination still exists in the American society. The education system holds a pivotal role in shaping up of the society. Racial discrimination has become such an integral part of the society that nobody realizes it but it keeps making the rift between the blacks and the whites wider. Other people’s children by Lisa Delpit, Critical Pedagogy: Notes from the real world by Joan Wink and Identifying race and transforming whiteness in the classroom by Virginia Lea and Judy Helfand - these three books elaborate on this theme and help us understand the situation in a better way. Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the ClassroomThis book is about the status of black students and black teachers.
The author, Lisa Delpit uses the term minority but that basically refers to blacks. She says that the schools do not provide same opportunity to black children and this is not fair. She gives many examples to prove her point. First of all she proves that there is diversity in the classrooms today.
Children from both white community and black or colored community are present in the classroom. This situation may create an illusion that education is available to all the children regardless of race or color. But when we look deeper, we find that there are many differences in the treatment of children based on their skin color. Much of this depends upon the teachers and that is why she dedicates one full chapter to the teachers and how they can make their work more effective. Children may not understand the intricacies of the education system but they are heavily influenced by the teachers.
That makes teachers roles even more important. They need to understand the diversity that exists in the classroom and be very careful to provide equal opportunity to each and every child. While talking about the biases of the education system, she mentions the over-emphasis being given on raising the fluency of the black children. According to Delpit, fluency has never been the problem for black children. The way black children have been writing and singing rap songs is a proof that they are quite fluent.
But somehow this issue has been coming up and doing more harm than good to the black children. Delpit feels that this is not only an eyewash being done by the system to give an impression that they are also concerned about the black children and by helping them improve their fluency, they are helping them to catch up with the whites. Since that is not their problem area, so improving that is not helping them and at the same time not trying to find the real problem area which according to her is the lack of skills, these children are actually left behind.
In fact it looks like a conspiracy to keep the black children away from the dwindling job pool of the American market. Teachers should understand this and divert their efforts to improve the skill level of the black children.