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 The Mythical African American Male 
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Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 1:41 pm
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"They are the most likely to be punished for minor infractions, and they receive penalties disproportionate to their conduct. In the same way that African American male students are tracked academically, they are tracked behaviorally. When one misbehaves, he is quickly branded a troublemaker and is henceforth never able to escape this label."

I am a special ed major and so I think this topic definitely applies to me and will be very significant in my future. In my intro to MR class last semester I wrote an entire research paper on this specific topic and it is overwhelming to know that specific people are labeled just because of the color of their skin or their background. Not only are they labeled academically either, but behaviorally as well. In my research from last semester, I found that so many African American males were being mislabeled and over represented in special education. But not only were they being over represented, once they were placed in special education they are often marked by low-level instruction, restrictive placements, and limited opportunities for return to mainstream settings. It really bothers me that as much teachers realize how many biases there are in today's society, they aren't doing anything to change it. Just like in the article that we were to read for class for Thursday, it says "for many individuals, including educators (since they don't leave their beliefs at the school-house door), these images are programmed at an unconscious level and generate an automatic response". This is not very good because teachers are supposed to be looked at as treating everyone as equals and this is not happening in our school systems today. Teachers are using their biases without even realizing it and because of this students are misplaced and labeled, which inevitably causes them to have academic failure and to even drop out of school.

So my point in saying all of this is what can we do to change this? Student learning should be the most important thing as teachers regardless of who the student is, but it seems as if it is not. Instead of just ignoring some children that seem to misbehave in class maybe we should focus on why they are misbehaving and not just assume that they have a disability or a behavior problem. What does everyone else think about this topic?

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Katy Dellinger


Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:17 am
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