We Have to Be Mindful of How We Speak About Black People in front of Kids.

Let me be clear from the jump! This title means that all adults should be mindful of how they speak in front of kids about Black people. 

… not just Black folks. 

I’m not excluding us either! Black people can also reinforce negative stereotypes of us as well. All means all!

As educators and parents, we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that a lot of the trauma Black children face in public schools is because of us. Turning a blind eye equates to:

  1. Elevating negative stereotypes 
  2. Not addressing the enforcement of negative stereotypes 
  3. Saying “I’m just joking” about systemic racial stereotypes 

I think after seeing the “Women of The Movement” series on ABC featuring the story of Mammie Till Mobley and Emmett Till, it’s vitally important for us to not take stereotypes lightly. Stereotypes of Black Americans have literally caused people to make assumptions about us that have led to the senseless killings of many Black people. 

I am extremely sensitive to the negative stereotypes of Black children reinforced in public schools. 

Why do educators, parents, and advocates constantly remind Black students they are failing? 

How is this being done?

It’s the labels we use such as economically disadvantaged and socioeconomically deprived. Public education uses data on children in public schools to capitalize off of their deficiencies. 

Standardized testing is one example. We justify testing by saying we need performance tests to gather data and provide resources. The resources are provided while also showing the students in a negative light.

To that I say, no ma’am and no sir.

Systemically we understand the public education system uses the negative stereotypes of Black people to keep Black children in public schools oppressed. 

It’s also perpetuated in such through Title I and other supplemental services provided to schools. Let’s be honest; we all hear people say, “I don’t want my child to go to a Title I school.” 

The negative perceptions that Title I schools are for bad, involves slower learning, or poor kids in many instances equates to “oh that’s a Black school!”

Children read, listen to, and see how we speak about them. Black children in public schools feel the negative stereotypes about them in debates over critical race theory, standardized testing, equity battles, resources and even behavior. 

We need to speak life into them, and let them know they are more than the negative words and labels used to describe them.


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