Education: the hidden face of racism and discrimination

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education-the-hidden-face-of-racism-and-discrimination

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”. This is a well-known quote of Heraclitus that we learnt at schools, universities or heard from a motivational speaker. But as we go deeper into the mysterious forests of life, we start to understand its meaning more and more. No matter whose turn is to walk on this earth, the sun will still rise from the east and set in the west. It’s just the way world functions, it’s always changing spinning and growing. Another constant is the never-ending dispute of the generations. The endless cycle of wanting the new generations to be better and excel in what the previous one couldn’t. But there is also denying that the next generation chooses a different way of living. Fighting against the discrimination faced in education and the internalized racism.

The future is indeed in the hands of the new generations

The kids we form today are the adults that will rule us tomorrow. That’s why we have to look more carefully into what shapes their thoughts, feelings and actions.
The educational system is supposedly made to help every student learn and acquire knowledge. This knowledge is going to form students into capable adults, to be able to start their individual life journeys.

In the academic ethics and integrity course I learned my role and obligations as a part of the academic system. There are the do and don’t that are oblivious unethical behaviors such as bullying cheating and so on. But how about the ones that are swept under the rug? The ones that every privileged person claims that it’s not there.

Certainly, no educational institution will admit that discrimination is present within its classrooms or employees. Sadly, the issue isn’t as evident as it was before. Discrimination in education is present and this form of racism is real. It is an improvement now that legally you can’t stop a certain gender or ethnicity group from persuading an education. But changing the laws doesn’t mean changing the mentality of the people. There are certain ideas and stereotypes that are so deeply embedded into the people’s subconscious.  When acting on them people don’t even seem to acknowledge or see any issue with the way they project it into the world.

But where do we find discrimination?

To be able to understand the idea of discrimination we need to understand the root of it. The definition of the word is “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex”. Prejudice, as stated in its own definition comes from the internalized stereotypes. They are implemented into us as children and grow with us. As an adult, in this case the teacher, you should be able to acknowledge those problems. You should try to fix them, not ignore them or, even worse, pass them on to the younger generation.

Whether it is the Whites on the Black, the Romanian on the Gypsy or the White on Arab, it doesn’t matter, as the result is the same. In Romania you may not see the black rights movement as often as in America, so one may think that he is “not racist” or that “all of these issues don’t happen here”. But the minute a Romani person passes them, they hold tight onto their belongings. Countless cases have resurfaced of teachers treating their Romani students badly because of their ethnicity.

But who is really to blame?

Those literal children are seen by the people who should be role models and educators as “lazy dirty gypsies”. They think the kids aren’t here to study anyway. Or that no matter how much they study, they are going to end up selling second hand iron or become thieves. So why should they give them a chance? So when are we gonna stop tolerating racism and put an end to the presence of discrimination in our day to day education?

In my opinion as a member of an ethnicity group myself, one that is looked down on by most people, I cannot deny the truth. Part of those with a lower income tend to get trapped into the illegal life and the wrong path, but this doesn’t mean that it is inherently their fault.

For every action there is a reaction. And the reaction of those marginalized people that are living in places that are unfinanced and unkept by the government is to become more and more mean and aggressive. If you treat someone like a monster, in time he is going to become one.

 

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