Tonight, President Trump will deliver, “The State of the Union.” President Trump has so many flaws; too many for me to list in one piece, but his inability to feel empathy, his blatant racism, and his inability to take responsibility for his actions, are the most frustrating of his flaws. As bad as Donald Trump is, as a Black woman, Donald Trump is not unique. Donald Trump is simply one in a long line of tone-deaf, racist, sexist, non-empathic White men who have been political leaders in America. There are so many White male politicians, historically and currently, that are guilty of racism, sexism, and general apathy to the suffering of others, that I have to wonder if there is a school to teach them how to be shitheads.
America is a country based on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. But where did these values come from? Besides parents, most people have their morality developed in institutions, especially the schools. And, since the founding of this country, schools have been training grounds for White children, White boys, in particular, to become the political leaders of America.
With the pervasiveness of moral failings of White men, I have to just say it, “schools are failing to teach White boys morality and how to be decent humans.”
The reality is that there is nothing we can do now about the racism, sexism, and apathy to the suffering of minorities by America’s Founding Fathers or the Jim Crow legislators. But schools can change, and teach these morals now? How do we pressure schools to teach young white male students in 2019, to be decent, empathic, non-racist, non-sexist humans? Further, how do we enforce these lessons to white male students, when our country has political leaders, and the overwhelming are White men, who are racist, sexist, and behave atrociously? How can we demand schools and educators, teach our children in schools, especially White boys, right from wrong, when they see a President who is, without impunity, doing the racist, sexist, and self-centered, non-empathic rhetoric, that we should punish children in school for doing?”
If we have President that brags about grabbing women by the pussy, the Senate majority leader taking pictures with confederate flags, and governors posing in Blackface next to someone in KKK outfit, in 1984, on what moral foundation do we have to tell white male students that what they are doing is wrong? It is hypocritical to ask white male students to behave better than we ask White male politicians and leaders?
The most recent example of this racial blindspot in America and in
Wait, I am having an epiphany!
Maybe schools in America are already aware of this contradiction? Maybe schools are acting, behaving, and teaching the morals of White Supremacy because that is the way schools were designed: to have different, unequal outcomes for White children from Black children? Maybe schools are working to ensure a pipeline, a steady, stream of these particular types of White male political, social, and economic leaders, Maybe there are schools that provide a…pipeline to politics…for White boys? Further, maybe the much studied, “school to prison pipeline” that exists for Black children isn’t accidental either?
We have two very different, very unequal school systems in America. For Black students, we have a “school to prison” pipeline, that is overly focused on discipline and lacking resources, that leads to pipeline to prisoners to keep the worlds largest, and extremely profitable, criminal justice system. But, what if the purpose (design? intention?) of schools for White students, especially, for White boys, is a “school to politics” pipeline? Maybe schools, especially private, exclusive schools, understand that their purpose is to provide a school to politics pipeline, and are intentional about ignoring the bad behavior of White boys, believe when they misbehave they are, “just being a kid” and are resource-full?
American schools have been successful at producing racist, sexist, non-empathic white men, so it begs the hard question, can schools teach privileged white children morality? Do they have the knowledge and tools to be anti-racist and/or teach anti-racism? Are the schools such a vital part of the system of racial inequality and White supremacy, that teaching anti-racism and anti-sexism, even possible?
Because my vantage point, schools are White affluent boys failing them; not academically, like schools are failing Black students, but they are failing White students by not preparing them to be good moral citizens? And just like it is a national crisis to make sure that schools for Black children provide quality academic education, I believe it is equally important that schools with White children provide them a quality moral, anti-racist and anti-sexist, education.
My plea to education reformers and policymakers is this, improving the quality of academic programs for Black students is important but creating serious anti-racism, anti-sexism, and empathic programs, to increase the quality of the morality for White male students is equally as important. The academic success of Black children means little to the overall success of our country,if it is not partnered with a commitment and intentional teachings of anti-racism, anti-sexism, and empathy.