African American Education System

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African Americans are placed in situations where it is almost impossible to succeed. The school system in impoverished areas fails young African American men who eventually turn to the streets. Growing up in Baltimore, Coates felt trapped. He understood the only way to escape was through education, however the education systems in impoverished areas often failed their students. It appeared the only other solution was to join the gangs on the streets, where he knew he would inevitably lose his body. Coates describes the many problems that attempted to prevent him from succeeding in life, to his son, “The streets were not my only problem. If the streets shackled my right leg, the schools shackled my left. Fail to comprehend the streets and you …show more content…
It has recently been discovered that the American school system is more segregated than it has ever been before. Richard Rothstein, the author of the article Race and Social Problems, was shocked by this discovery. In his article he discusses the correlation between education and poverty. He also explains why so many African American children have a much poorer education than white children. Schools that the most disadvantaged black children attend are segregated because they are located in segregated high-poverty neighborhoods, far distant from truly middle-class neighborhoods. Living in such high-poverty neighborhoods for multiple generations adds an additional barrier to achievement (Rothstein). For many, the only way to get out of poverty, is to get a good education and to use this education to get a good job. However, low-income families are not able to afford a good education, thus a cycle of poverty continues. For black families, mobility from dangerous areas is limited. Studies show that 67% of African American families hailing from the poorest quarter of neighborhoods a generation ago continue to live in such neighborhoods today (Rothstein). Schools that the most financially challenged African Americans attend are segregated because they are located in high-poverty …show more content…
The American Dream is only experienced by white Americans because the Dream can only exist by the subjugation of African Americans. In order to first learn “how to live free in a black body”, one must learn why it is so hard to do so. Coates first explores this question by defining the Dream and the Dreamers to his son: “The Dream smells like peppermint but tastes like strawberry cake. And for so long I have wanted to escape into the Dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on our back, the bedding made from our bodies” (Coates 11). The Dream is seductive and impossible to resist. The Dream acts as a safety blanket, offering comfort and pride to those who use it. However for African Americans the blanket is made from the flesh of their stolen bodies. While it may appear that Americans have betrayed their word to protect the “government of the people”, that is not in fact true. America’s problem is not its betrayal of “government of the people” but what the political term “people” means. The “people” of America are only white Americans, not African or Native Americans. Therefore America has protected its “people”. The Dream symbolizes a neat suburban life: the American Dream. In reality, the Dream is an exclusionary fantasy, only for white people. This urban bliss is used to obscure the racist

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