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Prejudice, Racism and Education

Racism has been a steady problem all through time. One of the most troublesome areas of racism is in places of education. Finding a cure for this would be a major step towards ending racism in general. No one has ever thought of a solution yet, and racism will be strong as long as there isn’t one. It all started back when the colonists traded certain goods for slaves. They had never seen a black person before and thought of them as lower human beings because they did all of the colonists’ work for them. Since blacks were so low, they were never given a good education.

This lack of education continued throughout the centuries. Even in the 1700’s slaves were never taught how to read or write. In the 1800’s everyone’s feelings about slavery, good or bad, culminated in one big war, the American Civil War. During this period, the slaves really tried to break free from their past stereotypes. A small percentage of them taught themselves to read and write and they began to teach others. Some blacks even fought in the Civil War. The most educated were selected and several black units were formed.

Once the North had defeated the South in the war, the slaves were freed from bondage, however, that did not mean hat they would be free from the terrible prejudice that still permeated the country. Schools sprang up in all black areas but were not given the public funding that they needed and deserved. They were usually only one room and very dirty. They were given the oldest and most worn out books and equipment that were available. There weren’t even many teachers who were qualified and were willing to teach at an all black school.

Even though education was instituted for African Americans, which was a step in the right direction, it was a very small step and still didn’t give blacks the education they deserved. This treatment prevailed for many years after the Civil War. A new concept, segregation , evolved and was predominant from the late 1800’s through the first half of the 1900’s. Whites assumed that they were better than black people and didn’t want to be around them in anything they did. For example, in buses, whites were given privileged seating in front; but blacks had to sit in the back.

Moreover, if there were not enough front seats whites could preempt blacks from their back seats. There were separate restrooms, drinking fountains, stores and, of course, schools. Segregation remained the same for many years until one day in 1955 a black woman named Rosa Parks sat down in the front of a bus where all of the white people were sitting. When she was told to move to the back of the bus, she refused to budge. This action set off an uproar among blacks who questioned their rights for the first time. In the 1960’s, the governor of Alabama, George Wallace, was a militant supporter of segregation.

In 1963 two blacks, Vivian Jones and James Hood, sought admission to the traditionally segregated University of Alabama. According to legislation at the time, they had every right to go there; but ince the governor was so anti-black and pro segregation, he didn’t like it one bit. As the two black students prepared to enter the college, George Wallace stood in the doorway, blocking their way addressing the need for segregation. He refused to move, so the national guard was called in to restore order and admit Jones and Hood to the University of Alabama.

This was an important moment in black history because it marked the first time a black person had been admitted into an all white college. Although laws pertaining to civil rights were enacted that ended segregation, hatred and racism still continued; and it appears to be even tronger now than it ever has been. Today there is no legal segregation in colleges but a recent study revealed that most southern colleges remain segregated. In this day and age, there are many diverse ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds that populate the same colleges. With this great amount of people, there is naturally much tension between the many groups.

From this tension arises the hate groups on college campuses. Whether they are against whites, blacks or any other groups, they cause many problems in the steady flow of education. Although everyone has the freedom of speech, even if the majority isagrees with it, they do not have the freedom to do whatever they want to fellow human beings. These hate groups become uncontrollable when they assault or desecrate things that other races value. In October 1995, two black students from Rowan College in New Jersey were beaten on the college campus by a couple of white football players.

The fight occurred at the Study Hall pub when racial slurs were used against the black students. When the black students asked them to quit with the verbal assault, the football players drug them out to the football field and began to beat them until someone saw it happening. It was stopped immediately and the football players were escorted away. The two students suffered minor injuries and have recovered. The football players were kicked off the team and may even be suspended from the college if charges are filed. This is just one example of the racial prejudice in colleges, even in a small college of 9,000 students.

In a larger school the problems are understandably magnified. At Rutgers University in February, the school was racked with controversy. The president of Rutgers, Francis L. Lawrence, was caught saying that black students do worse on the SAT tests because they are enetically inferior to other students, particularly white ones. This incident spurred a protest on the floor of a basketball game between Rutgers and UMass at half-time. Soon hundreds of classmates streamed onto the court, forcing the suspension of the game. The one black woman, who started it, is now known as the Rosa Parks of Rutgers.

Lawrence was not reprimanded for his comments but this shows that even the leaders of schools are not free of prejudice. But, most of the time it does not matter how large the school is, just how many students are involved in the riots. Probably one of the biggest school iots in history was at the University of Massachusetts on October 27, 1986. The World Series had just ended, where the New York Mets beat the Boston Red Sox. Hundreds of students, many of them drunk, came pouring out of their dorms. White Red Sox fans began taunting and shoving black Mets fans.

After a while, a huge mob of 3,000 whites were running all over the campus, chasing and beating anyone they saw who was black. Luckily, only ten of the black students were severely injured, but that was ten too many. Black students now are facing the same oppression in schools as there was many years ago. Groups such as the Nazi skinheads make it very difficult for blacks to get a good education because they are constantly worried about being verbally or even physically assaulted. This, however, could be part of the problem says Shelby Steele, a black professor of English at San Jose State University.

He says that because of black feelings of inferiority, people have exaggerated the level of racism on some campuses and that blacks should try to move on with their lives rather than be pulled down to a lower level of petty fighting. “Instead of demonstrating for a black ‘theme house,’ black students ight be better off spending their time reading and studying. ” This kind of hatred is not peculiar to the colleges alone. Many teenagers who are either in the hate groups or have a lack of faith in equality are made this way through their high schools.

Many high schools are either all black or all white and influence the way that teens think. The all black schools even resemble the schools of old. They have minimal funding and substandard equipment. They are always in the worst neighborhoods and are filled with drugs and violence. In all white high schools, on the other hand, students are not ccustomed to being around blacks. This might be one of the reasons that blacks and whites do not mix well in colleges. In 1994, a principal from an Alabama high school opposed interracial couples’ attending his school’s prom.

The students and parents protested, saying that the kids had the right to take whoever they wanted to prom. Although he was fired as principal, his ideas have left their mark, that students should stay away from other races. He probably isn’t the only principal or authority figure that thinks this way. When students learn this behavior from high school and heir parents they take it on to college with them. When these diverse backgrounds get mixed together in college, many confrontations occur. The movie Higher Learning is a great example of the way many college campuses are today.

There are many groups of students going to the same school, ranging from whites to blacks to Asians and different religions such as Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc. Of course, there are even hate groups. In the movie, a group of neo-nazis do not want to have anything to do with the blacks or Jews who go to that college. Usually the blacks tend to stay away from he group so as not to be a part of a fight but one can only take so much. There are numerous beatings and verbal assaults against the blacks; and, when they try to fight back the police always take for granted who started the fighting, and arrest the black “troublemakers”.

By the end of the movie, there is a peace march on the campus and the nazis don’t like it. The group persuades one of the members to go to the top of a large building with a gun and open fire on the peace marchers. He does and a black woman ends up getting shot. Her boyfriend runs to the top of the building and proceeds to beat the nazi. The cops find them both, drag the black man off and start to beat him as if he just picked a fight for no reason! As the cops approach the white student, he becomes frightened and sticks the gun in his mouth. He says if they come any closer he will shoot himself.

The movie ends with him actually shooting himself, which goes to show the confusion that most of these people have. Most of them probably don’t even know why they hate, they just know that is what they were brought up to think so it must be right. Obviously that is not the case. Even though this movie was fiction, the type of college campus it portrays is not. These kind of things are happening everywhere, and most of them aren’t even publicized. When one goes to college one would expect to go there to learn but that is not always the case, as often seen on the news.

Although there is widespread violence in college, it does not go unpunished. Many of these beatings and riots that are going on in recent times are broken up by the police before anyone seriously gets hurt. The people who partook in the crimes are usually apprehended and punished for their actions. Some people would say that the offenders are not punished well enough, because here has not been a decline in violence as of late. The court system has done little in improving the life on college campuses. A lot of the cases brought up are simply forgotten about because of “more important matters.

It is just a mere excuse on their behalf to support these kind of racist actions. “University administrators at many campuses prefer to ignore racial incidents or keep them out of the news. ” This kind of thinking is increasing the gap between races and putting more fuel on the fire of racism. This is not always the case, as seen in the Rowan College, Rutgers and UMass events. But, even when they show some action toward ending racism through fair decisions, there is a limit to what they can do. According to the first amendment, the hate groups that are formed do have a right to march, protest and show what they believe in.

There is no law against having a nazi flag or being a skinhead, but there are laws to prevent slander and violence. That is where the human nature of peacemaking comes in to play. Nearly every human wishes deep in their heart for peace on earth, with the exception of those who take part in the hateful actions mentioned before. Past peacemakers such as Martin Luther King Jr. ave struggled and even given their lives for the cause of peace; and because of this, blacks have a lot more rights and a higher acceptance in society than they did 30 or 40 years ago.

But they still do not have the full respect they deserve as fellow human beings, so more work is needed. Although nothing can be done about existing hate groups existence, there is hope for the next generation of people to be a lot more open-minded. The only way for that hope to be realized is if all the people of the nation, and even the world, band together and stop racism before it starts. By educating young children and bringing them up to know the difference between reality and ignorance. Programs are already in place in most schools that are not bias against other races or genders.

If there is a school that is predominantly black or Spanish, courses are set up to meet the needs of the children. Spanish and Spanish History are taught to Spanish children and black culture and history are taught to black children. “Even in colleges, many students are encouraged to take a course in ethnic studies or cultural diversity which are often taught by newly hired minority faculty members. If these children are taught the correct values that should have been taught a long time ago, then they can grow up to be leaders of a new, equal nation that gives everyone an even chance at life and free from hatred.

In the meantime, the laws should be increased against any kind of hate crime, especially in schools. To many of these offenses are slipping through the cracks of the court system without any kind of punishment whatsoever. No form of racial abuse should be tolerated in the slightest and if offenders knew this, then maybe it would mark the beginning of the end of racial injustice. Today’s current status is, sadly to say, very much unchanged from the eighties and early nineties when a lot of the bad incidents occurred. There is still much to be done and hopefully much to look forward to.

I, for one, would like to see an end to all of this violence and hatred that is ripping the country apart. If everyone could put aside their differences and look at their similarities they have with other people, then this world would be a better place. I think it is really unfortunate what is going on with today’s schools. School is supposed to be a place where people are educated and aught so that they would not be ignorant to all areas of learning, not a place where ignorance thrives and real education is only handed out to those who have white skin, or those who are fortunate enough to afford a good college.

No one should have to put up with any form of abuse, especially when they are trying to learn and make something of themselves so that they can have an equal chance for success in the future. Perhaps if everyone would have a positive outlook on this problem in the future, there will be an end to all of the violence and hatred in our nation’s schools and everywhere else that this pestilence exists.

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