A Majority White Teaching Staff Serving A Majority African-American Student Population Personifies and Perpetrates White Supremacy Thinking in Black Youth.
By Nehemiah D. Frank, founder and editor-in-chief
I have a difficult time hearing that a local charter has a majority white teaching staff while serving a majority African-American student body. It reminds me of an excerpt from Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery.
“These gentlemen seemed to take it for granted that no coloured man suitable for the position could be secured, and they were expecting the General to recommend a white man for the place.” – Booker T. Washington
- First, not having at least half or a majority African-American teaching staff serving a majority black school sends the message that blacks aren’t astute or scholarly enough to join their teaching staff.
- Second, it shows that the school’s administration is not actively seeking talented African-American teachers to join their teaching staff.
It should be noted that Up From Slavery was written a few decades after the Emancipation. And the civil rights era was only 50 years ago.
Now, back to my argument.
After all, aren’t African-Americans intelligent enough to teach African-American children? I know my position may appear a little separatist, and I can assure you that I am not; however, when a school boasts a majority black student body with a teaching staff that’s majority white, one can’t help but to think about how implicit racial biased hiring practices could be playing out.
Furthermore, I can’t seem to eradicate how this image of the ‘great white hope’ launching a school on the negro side of town to help our black children psychologically affects our black youth.
If research indicates that African-American youth perform better and have a greater chance at graduating from high school and attending college based of their exposure to having a black pedagogue, why doesn’t your school’s hiring practice match reflect what the data says?
You are, after all, serving black youth.
My opinion is: If you really care about black youth, you will hire more black teachers into their lives, so they can see that people who look like them can also achieve and be successful. Furthermore, they can see that there are people that look like them that can teach them and love them every day.
Let me be clear, I’m not saying fire the white teachers that are doing an excellent job and have cultural competence skills; this means hire more people that look like your student population so we don’t have a bunch of black children selecting white dolls as good and black dolls as bad. So, we don’t have young adults being disrespectful to their black elders because they’ve never had a black teacher and therefore, don’t think that a black person can teach them anything.
Now, to any white teacher or non-black person who desires to teach black children, I commend you on your willingness to be compassionate towards teaching black youth. However, don’t let your selfish desires inevitably become psychological harm to black children.
As far as I’m concerned, African-Americans are still in our reconstruction period from hundreds of years of forced illiteracy.
Before teaching in a majority-black school, evaluate the need and call out what you see as a reality that is totally out of balance.