Racism In Special Education Essay

1255 Words 5 Pages
Is special education racist? This is a question that, on the surface, may seem simple, however, it is a topic that professionals in the field of education have grappled with for quite some time. There is an array of supporters on both sides of the question, and both sides of the issue have evidence that they swear proves their stance on the issue right. The problem therein lies with the fact that it is no possible for both sides to be right, no matter how much evidence they are able to provide. According to an article in the New York Times, around twenty percent of the students who receive special education instruction in public schools across the country is twenty percent (Farkas, etc). So, when, according to the United States Census Bureau, …show more content…
With the startling statistics that surround the special education system as a whole, it is amazing that there are so many people who argue that special education is not racist, but that it actually helps minority students who by and large come from more challenging backgrounds than their white counterparts (Farkas, etc). While environmental factors do have an impact on students and the quality of education they receive, that does not make up for the fact that young black students, predominately male, are placed into special education classes at a faster rate than any other demographic range (Phippen, J. Weston). This has nothing to do with the student getting what is needed in order to be successful in school and whatever …show more content…
The answer is simply this: everything. Though police brutality has just in the past few years become such a hot debate, the black people versus white people in the media has not. Because of the way they are shown by news outlets, the public can very easily come to the racist and wrong opinion that black people have far more behavioral problems than white people do. So, when it comes to referring students for special education, those same inferences of who is more dangerous can come into play. If the media tends to criminalize black people and victimize white people, that is how the public will begin to see them. These inferences become stereotypes. When there are stereotypes about a certain type of person being dangerous, then at the first sign of trouble, a teacher will be more likely to work to get that student removed from his or her class. When this happens, suddenly there is an influx of black students in special education who do not belong there, and because of the typically lower standards that are held for students with IEPs, the students who should not be in there are no longer able to reach their full potential. Along with that, oftentimes special education students develop a learned helplessness which directly contributes to the poverty cycle, which will then be used as an excuse as to why those black students suddenly do belong in the separate classroom, or at least should be handled by someone who is considered more

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