Genocide Amongst Black Children in Special Education: Why Black Children Yearn For Conscious Black Teachers
By: Dr. Ray
Black children are having mental, spiritual, and emotional genocide committed amongst them within the United States education system. For over 50 years, there has been an abundance of research that critically examines the continuous evolution of Black children being overrepresented within special education programs for mild disabilities (Artiles & Bal, 2008; Blanchett, Mumford, & Beachum, 2005; Coutinho & Oswald, 2000; Dunn, 1968; Fenning & Rose, 2007). Even with the creation of special education laws, (i.e., Mills v. Board of Education of 1972, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, All Handicapped Children Act of 1975, and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 1990), Black children are overrepresented in special education programs, especially within subjective disability categories (i.e., learning disabilities, mild mental disabilities, and emotional disturbance (Serpell, Hayling, Stevenson, Kern, 2009). The results of overrepresentation of Black children has contributed to Black students being disproportional suspended or expelled (Archilles, McLaughlin, & Croniner, 2007) as well as Black children having the opportunity to have access to mainstream curriculum and resources; thus, resulting in them spending more than 60% of their day outside of general educational classes (Skiba, Poloni-Staudinger, Gallini, Simmons, & Feggins-Azziz, 2006). Even more alarming, the overrepresentation of Black children in special education programs has place Black children on the “preschool to prison pipeline” track. Rashid (2009) expressed his thoughts of the concept of the preschool to prison pipeline by saying, “It runs from preschool settings through elementary and middle schools, into the high schools from which young African American men continue to drop out in staggering numbers, and ultimately into federal and state prisons” (p. 329).
Since teachers are the primary referral for assessing students with mild disabilities within the educational system (Moore, 2002), it is vital to understand Black teachers’ perspectives of overrepresentation of Black students within special education. Milner IV (2007) notes that successful teachers “come to know themselves culturally, linguistically, gendered, racially, economically, and socially in relation to others; speak possibility and not destruction both inside and outside of the classroom regarding their students; care and demonstrate that care; and change their negative, deficit, counterproductive thinking in order to change their actions in the classroom with students” (p. 1574).
Therefore, in order to eliminate the over-representation of Black children in special education programs for mild disabilities, we need conscious Black teachers to become bold and aggressive by advocating on behalf of Black children. We need conscious Black teachers to take the lead and challenge the wicked, racist, and oppressive educational system. We need Black teachers to stop allowing Black children to be subjected with mental, spiritual, and emotional genocide within the educational system. We need conscious Black teachers to not be apologetic for advocating for Black children as they address discriminatory and injustice polices, practices, laws, attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors of anyone or any system that is trying to destroy Black children for gaining supreme knowledge. Therefore, we need conscious Black teachers to express their love for the Black children by making sure that Black children gain and maintain unlimited access to supreme wisdom and knowledge so they can become masters of the knowledge of themselves.
Dr. Ray is renowned scholar, teacher, leader, activist, and entertainer who has dedicated his life to encouraging and empowering Black people worldwide. His knowledge, wisdom, and creativity is sort out by people around the world. More so, he is one of the most positive and supportive Black men that you will EVER meet.