FOR WHITES ONLY- COLOREDS NEED NOT APPLY
How can we prove that Black parents love their children and want to see their children’s educational success? What words could we create to explain that Black parents do not wish harm upon their children, they do not pray for poverty, abuse, neglect or incarceration for their children. Could we describe the feeling that Black parents have for their children as love? Real love? White love? Black love? Is there a reason some kids “get to have a good education” but others do not?
Black Parents aren’t involved in their children’s education? Black parents aren’t involved in schools? Well, we cannot tell that by looking at Kelli Williams-Bolar of [wikipop]Ohio[/wikipop]. She utilized her father’s address because she wanted a better school for her children; an education a non-college educated mother cannot afford and is not allowed to have? How many times do single white mother’s move in with their parents to get back on their feet? How many times do their white neighbors convey empathy on the economic situation of the woman and her children? How many times do white neighbors and teachers turn a blind eye to the housing rules to afford these young white children another start? I have white friends that used their parents address to send their children to the “good schools” for free. Is there a reason this does not make the news? Is there a benefit to sending a message to Black parents that wanting more or trying to access a well resourced school for your child may cost your freedom?
Well, there is no such empathy for this mother. She is spending 10 days in jail because she wanted too much for her children. She is spending 10 days in jail because she could not afford to purchase a home in an affluent neighborhood where her children would have access to a quality education. But the rhetoric abounds that Black parents are not active in their children’s education. They do not care. The crime she has committed is being poor and Black. This is an example to the wide world that Black parents do care about their children’s education, even if they are not the PTO president. Congratulations Ms. Williams-Bolar; the historical rhetoric around Black parents not being involved or astute in the lives of their children’s education now has a counter narrative to the overwhelming rhetoric around Black parent involvement.
Gerardo Lopez in Parent Involvement as Racialized Performance, argues that parental involvement is white middles class rhetoric and norms and their problem with this position of parental involvement is that is uses the lens of whites to critique the behavior of other groups and their parenting styles and abilities.
In this regard, the discourse surrounding parental involvement constructs a racial division where by marginalized parents are viewed as lacking the abilities and skills necessary for educational success. Policy solutions, therefore, suggest that parents need to adjust their behaviors in order to mimic/emulate mainstream modes of appropriate home-school interaction.1 (Lopez, 2003, p.74)
This racialized access to education is steeped in [wikipop]Derrick Bell[/wikipop]’s [wikipop]Critical Race Theory[/wikipop] analysis of the ability to obtain land ownership, which in turn dictates the access of quality schooling for children. The racial covenants, historical discrimination and institutional and systemic edicts of racism have already provided the platform that Black parents may not be starting with same intergenerational wealth or socio-economic privilege as their white counterparts. So the state of Ohio has decided to criminalize loving your children and wanting the best for them. The state of Ohio is sending a message, by any means necessary we will hunt you down, find you and put in jail if you ever attempt to want more for your children than you can afford. It did not matter that she was going to teach in the district where her children are currently attending school. It doesn’t matter to the judge that she is months away from graduation and, thus obtaining employment in the district. No this sends a message to everyone watching, if you dare dream higher for your Black children’s educational attainment you should read the sign that might as well have been placed in most white schools…”FOR WHITES ONLY- COLOREDS NEED NOT APPLY”.
- Lopez, G. R. (2003). Parent involvement as racialized performance. In G. R. Lopez & L. Parker (Eds.), Interrogating racism in qualitative research methodology, (pp. 71-95). New York: Peter Lang. [↩]
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