educational disparities

Progress which was made in that period was a different progress than most people think. That period was not directing itself to helping the poorest black people. It was not directed toward the poor.

It was a program which was directed both politically and psychologically to the black middle class who had nowhere to go, and who were therefore getting jobs in the name of the poor but not jobs for the poor, who were getting training in order to help the poor but were not, in fact, liberating the poor.

Because the poor can only be liberated when they have got the training, the education, that the very people who were being helped by the war on poverty were getting.

So it was not a war on poverty. It was a war to politically satisfy the middle class blacks with education that the society would provide a place for them to go.

—  Bayard Rustin, on Lyndon B. Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’
Homefront USA; Interview with Bayard Rustin, 1982
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Little Simz pays homage to the #FeesMustFall protest movement in South Africa

London rapper Little Simz flew halfway across the world to Cape Town, for this Jeremy Cole-directed video for single Gratitude. It features footage shot during this year’s #FeesMustFall movement, which saw a South African university students protest the raising of tuition fees at sit-ins and rallies that often involved violent clashes with armed police.

Simz raps her verses over a melancholy, thudding beat and an indie-indebted guitar line while London-based band the Hics take over singing duties in the chorus.

For context, the Guardian recently ran a long-form story looking at #FeesMustFall and the origins of educational disparity in a country still divided by the racist policies entrenched by the former apartheid government. 

Simz’ debut album, A Curious Tale of Trials and Persons, is out now on AGE 101.

However, what many African Americans in our social media communities secretly wanted was for Ms. Jeantel to code switch, remove the vernacular from her vocabulary directly rooted in this young woman’s experience to make her more appealing to Whites, and less “embarrassing” to the guardians of acceptable Blackness. The notion that Ms. Jeantel was somehow inarticulate perpetuates the stereotype that our youth lack credibility, intelligence, and purpose as their authentic selves. It furthers the stigma that we do not deserve to be the storytellers of our own experiences, in our own voices and languages. We see this manifestation of self-hate again and again in post-slavery and post-colonial societies that rather embrace the language of their oppressor and openly vilify the speech rooted in the historical experience of the African Diaspora.
—  DA Lovell and France Francois
Today my cooperating teacher turned to me and said, "In the past 3 days, you've experienced enough to bring down lesser student teachers."

Talk about understatement of the year!

Going from growing up in Detroit and observing social disparities from the student perspective to actually talking about those social disparities in a college classroom was one thing. I continued to reflect on my experiences and became thankful that I learned how to navigate the system.

BUT going from talking and self reflection to being in a classroom where students are facing similar and, in some cases, more serious problems than I had to is a whole new ball game. I knew these problems where present and I even experience some of them first hand, but now that I know how society screws over social minorities, it’s unsettling to see that some of these students have no desire to navigate the system to achieve success on their own terms and in ways that are right for them. There is potential in my classroom. I just wish society wouldn’t have told those students that they are inferior.

…Like Trayvon Martin’s controversial photo with gold teeth, we’ve allowed Ms. Jeantel’s broken English to become a sideshow to the real issue, our children’s right to safely walk the streets, because we are too embarrassed to stand up for them amidst media scrutiny. Ms. Jeantel should not be lambasted for being a product of her environment and education, instead you should be the one who feels ashamed that even after all that has happened to us as a people, you still believe that speaking proper English or dressing and acting less “urban” alone will not subject you to institutionalized racism, suspicion, or a fate similar to Trayvon’s.
—  DA Lovell and France Francois
If you're outraged about The Wiz's all Black cast, but you're not equally as enraged about police brutality against minorities, the school-to-prison pipeline, the prison-industrial complex, housing discrimination, gentrification, islamaphobia, the wage gap for minority women, the exoticisation of Black and Brown people, cultural stereotypes, education disparity for Black and brown people or underrepresentation in the media, don't talk to me about racism.

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When we talk about closing the gap, we often talk about very siloed ideas of what that means: there’s over-incarceration, the health gap and the education gap, for example. But viral hepatitis, and particularly hepatitis C, is one of those areas where it all links together in a horrible cycle that ends up disproportionately affecting Aboriginal people’s health.

The over-incarceration of Aboriginal people means that more of us are in an environment where there are very high rates of hepatitis C. We’re more likely to inject drugs and share equipment when we do inject drugs, and our historic disconnection from the health sector means that people aren’t getting treatment and they aren’t being monitored. We’re also often disconnected from health messages that educate drug users to inject safely due to educational disparity and geographical distance.